Since the onset of the pandemic, video interviews have become the norm. And long after Covid-19 is a thing of the past, it’s a good bet that video interviews will be here to stay. This means you need to become an expert in video interview prep. And that begins with what you should and shouldn’t wear. Below are best practices for dressing for video interview success.
1. Choose your shirt carefully
It can be tempting to dress too casually in video interviews, since only a small part of you will often be on camera. But this can prevent you from getting into the right frame of mind, not to mention send the wrong impression. Also, the clothes you wear must be both professional and camera-friendly. The quality of your camera, lighting, and background will tremendously affect how you and your clothing look on screen.
So, first and foremost, don’t just wear any old shirt. When choosing a shirt, aim for it to be unremarkable—something boring is better than too loud. You want your interviewer to focus on you, not what you’re wearing. Thus, it’s best to keep things minimal, neutral, and professional. A classic button-down shirt or blouse is a good option. Stay away from bright colors, deep dark colors, and busy patterns and prints. The safest choice is to wear white, light blue, light gray, or another light color, providing that you don’t disappear into your background—it might not be ideal to wear white against a white wall/background.
2. If you wear a blazer, leave the t-shirt in your drawer
Always research the culture of the company you’re interviewing with to be sure what’s appropriate to wear. While jackets are usually unnecessary, it’s best to be ready to wear one just in case. So keep one in your wardrobe—and maybe even nearby when you’re interviewing.
And if you do decide to wear a blazer in your video interview, keep the t-shirt in your drawer. While it’s possible to look good wearing a t-shirt with a blazer, it’s not recommended. Tees are deemed too casual even paired with a blazer—the collar or neckline can still reveal your innerwear. Note that, like a blazer, a cardigan can also do the trick of making you look prepared and professional if you want a little more than a shirt or blouse.
3. Mind what you wear from the waist down
It can be tempting to not put too much focus on what you’re wearing off camera—that is, not to care about your pants, or wear them at all. But this is a huge mistake. Make sure to wear dress pants (as opposed to jeans or shorts), just in case the camera shows you below your chest.
Also, pants will put you into a professional mindset. In addition, business wear is often considered incomplete without a dress belt. A belt completes your look and puts you in the right mental frame. If visible, it can also show how professional you are and serious you are about the job.
Of course, if you find it more comfortable to wear a single piece instead of pants, then wear a classic and sophisticated dress. Consider a knee-length dress with stockings. Again, don’t pick something bright or too dark, patterns, or textures. A plain, neutral-colored dress will suffice.
4. Don’t over-accessorize
It can be a nice touch to add stylish accessories, but beware of over-accessorizing. Try to keep it simple and pick conservative jewelry. Limit your rings to two, choose smaller and plain earrings, and wear wristwatches that aren’t too distracting. You can also wear necklaces that are classic and stylish at the same time. A thin gold-link chain is a nice option for a professional look.
5. Leave the holiday tie for the holiday party
Depending on the position you’re applying for or the company’s culture, you may or may not need to wear a tie. These days, when video interviewing for most positions, wearing a tie is usually unnecessary. But if you must wear one—if you’re interviewing for a position in, say, law or banking—make sure to wear ties that aren’t too bold or distracting (and never wear a wild, conversational tie like this one). A classic striped or solid-colored tie will do the trick.
A final note
Video interviews are now unofficially part of the new normal. And dressing intentionally for video interviews will help you appear more credible and professional—and get you into the right mental state. When it comes to video interviews, remember this golden rule: move the focus away from your attire, so your interviewer can focus on you, your skillset, and why you’re the perfect fit for the job.
Mariam Simmons is a trendsetter at Alpine Swiss and a business fashion enthusiast with a love for writing. She loves traveling to the world’s top stylish destinations, and gets inspired to create helpful business fashion and lifestyle guides.