What to Wear to a Video Interview: The Dos and Don’ts

Reviewed by Hayley Ramsey

wear to a video Interview wardrobe

Dressing for job interview success is an essential part of your regular interview preparation, but when it comes to video interviews — it’s even more important.

With the rise of remote work, many businesses have added virtual interviews into their hiring strategy, carried out over video conferencing platforms like Skype and Zoom. Naturally, when preparing for a virtual interview, you’ll need to place careful attention on your outfit. While your interview attire shouldn’t differ too much from a regular interview, there are some key points that you should focus on when dressing for a video interview.

So, without further ado, here are the dos and don’ts of what to wear at your video interview.

The dos

Here are a few things you should consider when choosing your video interview outfit.

1. Avoid white clothing

If a white shirt is your go-to for a regular interview, you’re going to need to switch it up when you’re in front of a webcam. White can look overpowering on-screen and will wash you out — obstructing the view of your face. To ensure that your interviewer can clearly see your expression, opt for neutral tones like beige and camel, which are less distracting for the hiring team.

2. Add a pop of color

With a regular interview, you’re usually told to avoid bright colors unless you’re interviewing for a creative role. However, with the personal interaction taken out of the process, a simple pop of color can make a significant difference to your interview success. A bold color will enhance your skin tone and make you stand out, instead of blending into the background with your regular black, gray or navy suit.

3. Wear minimal jewelry

Simple jewelry can enhance your outfit and dress up a simple blouse. However, big jewels and bright color can be extremely distracting on camera. That said, be mindful of the noise that accessories make too — you don’t want to annoy your interviewer with clunky bracelets that make it hard for the hiring manager to hear what you’re saying.

4. Dress up your bottom half

Many candidates make a big mistake when they forget to dress their bottom half during a video interview process. For one, it’s been notoriously known that interviewers may ask candidates to stand up during a video call, and you don’t want to be caught out in your PJs now, do you?

Not only that but dressing in a power suit or dress can help boost your confidence and increase your chances of success. According to SUCCESS, wearing a red dress won’t only increase your confidence levels but will give others the impression that you are self-assured and assertive, too.

5. Wear makeup to highlight your features

Makeup is also a great confidence booster and can help highlight your best features on-camera. Naturally, webcams are unflattering and tend to wash us out; to give your skin a healthy and natural glow, wear a light foundation or CC cream, and use concealer to brighten the area underneath your eyes. Make sure you’re sitting in natural light, too. If you’re on the oily side, consider using a blotting paper and some powder before you join your call — you don’t want any shine to distract your interviewer from what you are saying.

It’s essential to keep your makeup natural and neutral — as you would with a regular interview. Simply use mascara, brow pencil and bronzer to enhance your features and make yourself look more presentable on camera.

6. Match the occasion

Some people automatically assume that their interview attire should be more casual as they are interviewing from the comfort of their own home. However, they are mistaken! You should still dress as you would with an in-person interview. Let’s say you’re interviewing with a big law firm and know that their staff wear suits to work; then you need to ensure that you follow the dress code and wear a suit during your virtual interview, too!

7. Try your outfit on before the big day

As with any big event, you’ll need to try your outfit on before the big day. However, when it comes to video interviews, you should test your outfit on a call to see how it looks. A blouse or shirt may seem fine in the mirror, but when you’re sitting in front of a camera, the light may be unflattering and could even highlight the fact that your shirt is see-through. Record your answer and if you don’t like what you see, you have time to change your outfit and make a long-lasting impression.

The don’ts

Now we’ve covered the dos, here are a few things you shouldn’t wear for a video interview.

1. Wear stripes and loud patterns

Stripes and other patterned tops will not look good on-screen. They are unflattering and are distracting to the viewer. Remember, the focus should be on you and not on what you’re wearing, so stick to solid and warm colors.

2. Wear ill-fitted clothing

An essential tip to follow in any interview scenario is to wear clothes that fit properly. You don’t want to wear something that’s either too loose or too tight. So, if you don’t have something that you feel comfortable in, give yourself some time to either take a trip to the tailor or your local department store to buy a winning interview outfit.

3. Show too much skin

This ties in with the previous point; along with well-fitted clothing, you need to ensure that you’re covered up during your virtual interview. Save your spaghetti straps and sleeveless shirts for your weekend attire and wear something that covers your shoulders. That said, be sure that the material that you’re wearing is breathable — you don’t want embarrassing sweat marks, either!

4. Wear sparkles and shimmers

If you’re a fan of glitter, it’s best to save it for your weekend attire. Sparkles are even more distracting on camera than they are in real life, as the light reflects into the camera. Even if it’s a bit of glittery eyeshadow or a simple design on your top — avoid any shimmer at all costs!

5. Wear a black blazer

A black blazer may be your go-to for an in-person interview, but you might want to avoid your trusty jacket, as it can get lost in the shadows on camera and can risk making you appear washed-out. That said, if you’re not much of a color person, try wearing a hunter green or blue suit.

6. Wear clothing with writing on it

Although you might find a t-shirt with a strong motto printed on it empowering, your interviewer will not! Not only does clothing with writing look informal, but it could also send across a message that you’re a “loud-mouthed” job candidate and you’re set in your ways. If you wouldn’t verbally say the words printed on your shirt, it’s probably best left at the back of your wardrobe — or the bin, for that matter.

7. Wear heels

Let’s face it; heels are uncomfortable at the best of times and will serve no purpose on a video call. In fact, if you do need to get up, the noise can be rather distracting, as it will echo on the call. Keep your heels safely tucked away for your video interview and opt for a simple pump instead.

8. Forget about your hair

It’s easy to forget about your hair when there’s so much focus on your outfit. However, it’s essential to make sure that your hair is well-groomed. You can style it in any way that is comfortable for you, as long as it’s kept out of your face.

To summarize, here's a quick overview of what to wear: 

Virtual interview outfit infographic

Styling tips

There are other things to consider other than simply what you're going to wear. Here are a few more tips to think about when preparing for your video interview. 

1. Consider your surroundings

You’re probably wondering what your surroundings have to do with your video interview attire, but it’s role in your interview style is much larger than you think! Let’s say you’re sitting in front of a white wall. You wouldn’t necessarily want to wear a white top, as it will blend into the background. Instead, wear something that contrasts with your background like a colorful top, for example.

2. Make sure your clothes are ironed  

Whether you think it or not, the maintenance of your clothes says a lot about you. Clinical psychologist Dr Baumgartner and author of You Are What You Wear: What Your Clothes Reveal About You said “Anything where it looks like you didn’t take the time or make the effort comes across badly”. So, on this basis, it’s important that your clothes are clean and wrinkle free. Turning up with sloppy attire may indicate that you have the same attitude toward your work.

3. Style your hair

Don’t turn up with messy or wet hair. While you might have just hopped out of the shower, it’s important to dry and style it before your interview. Wet hair gives the impression that you don’t have the best time-management skills. If you don’t have time for styling, just tie your hair up in a ponytail or a neat bun.

4. Be comfortable

While this isn’t necessarily a styling tip, it’s important to be comfortable during your interview. Don’t wear clothes that are too tight and restrict your movement. Likewise, don’t wear something that is too baggy and makes you feel like you’re drowning.

As for your hair, don’t pull it back so tight that it’s giving you a headache or making you feel like you can’t move your head. It’s important to be as comfortable as possible during your interview as it will show — even on camera.

Final thoughts

Without the stress of locating and getting to your interview destination, you have more time to focus on your interview outfit and on-camera presentation. By following these tips, you’ll be ready to impress the hiring manager and shine in your next video interview.

Do you have any other questions about your interview outfit? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Originally published 28 April 2020.