Making the best first impression is imperative in life, let alone in an interview. It is called the ‘first impression’ because it imprints a picture of yours in the mind of the perceiver, and this applies to your virtual interview outfit as well.
While you have the freedom to tantalize the interviewer by wearing a good perfume, extending a firm handshake, or walking with confidence during a face-to-face interview, a dapper virtual job interview attire is all you have while seated before a computer.
Needless to say, a good virtual interview attire will set precedence for everything that follows.
When we speak of “good virtual interview attire”, a variety of sub-clauses unfold, and it is no longer just about a pressed pinstriped shirt and a dark tie. In this article, we’ll be diving deep into the said variety of attire you could choose from, based on the industry, company, current trend, and other aspects.
To begin with, let us address the question on everyone’s mind; ‘is dressing up for an interview important’? The answer to this question is a resounding ‘yes’ and let me explain why.
In recent years, self-belief, making your talent, experience, and skills speak for you has become a fad. While all these traits are important for your career at a company, you are just another candidate for the recruiter for whom you have the responsibility to extend a professional courtesy. As mentioned earlier, it pays to make the best first impression in any industry.
Underdressing even for a virtual interview not only shows your lack of interest in the opportunity but the sloppiness may cost you a prospective job as well.
So regardless of how valuable you’d be to a company, how talented you are, or how badly a brand wants you, you must first look the part and only then act the part.
A US News report says one of the top 7 things recruiters notice is the attire and Dedeaux says, “I find how you dress is important for a job interview as it affects how you feel and how you are received”.
Now that we understand the importance of dressing up for an interview, let us have a look at some of the basic visual cues that accompany your outfit. Remember that the whole idea here is to stand out during the video interview.
Whilst the interview is going on, every interviewer not only notices you but everything beside & behind you. Sweeten the pot by placing books, light color curtains, plant pots, fairy lights, or something visually pleasing.
Face toward the light or have the light to your right or left so that it gives a cinematic look. This may set you apart from other candidates.
Things that are to be avoided are aplenty so listen closely. First things first, avoid odd wall posters, trash cans, open cupboards, mirrors, and dark backdrops. A dark backdrop is not the way to go as nowhere in an office setting would you see a dimly lit area or a darker wall while interviewing.
If you are the creative kind or are applying for a creative job, feel free to add artworks, quirky but classy wall art, and paintings. Adding a backdrop of something that pertains to the job adds that extra level of personalization which will definitely work in your favor.
Let us set the record straight. There is a pertinent debate going on where candidates and recruiters are discussing if dressing down is better than dressing up for an interview. But if you really want to get the job, forget dressing down and always dress up. Power dressing for the win, always.
With that said, let us see the absolute do’s to wearing the right attire for a virtual interview.
An instinct that everyone must fight, dressing casually just because a company has a laid-back work culture that is made for Gen Z could be detrimental for your prospect of being hired.
Remember that you are still interviewing for the company and researching on Facebook, Glassdoor, Linkedin, and other sites about its dress code. Upon finishing your research, one-up it by adding a professional touch to it.
For example, if a tech company allows tee shirts and denim, wear the same but pair it with a classy blazer.
A blazer is a wonderful idea regardless of the job you are applying for (for both men and women) and it pays to look dapper. A light color, pressed shirt with a darker blazer is always a good look.
In the last few years, numerous videos of professionals who were caught wearing boxer shorts waist down and a full suit waist up have gone viral. This may work (if you don’t get caught) if you are a seasoned professional and are confident to the core but never during a virtual interview.
Always dress up head to toe, even wearing formal shoes is a great idea. Various studies have concluded that power dressing for an interview elevates mood, increases confidence & productivity, aiding better posture, creative thinking, and numerous other benefits.
An added benefit of dressing head to toe is also that it immediately gives you an executive presence, authenticity, keeps you focused, helps you articulate better, and showcases the urge to stand out from the other candidates.
The internet is flooded with videos and articles that help you choose the best color that suits your complexion, hair color, eye color, skin tone, and others. Take the time to get acquainted with the colors that best suit you as it won’t just help you during a virtual interview but with life at large.
It is recommended that you avoid bright colors as the intent is to stand out and not stick out like a sore thumb.
Another factor to consider is how you look for the camera. Make sure the colors you wear don’t conflict with the rest of your outfit, makeup, skin tone, or background. Check yourself in your laptop/phone front camera before the interview begins to make sure you look just right.
Last but not certainly important pointer is the glasses. While you are testing the right colors to wear, also test if your glasses are causing glare from the surrounding light or if there are any other issues.
Be it earrings, tie pins, studs, hair accessories, or even makeup, accessorizing yourself to showcase your personality is recommended. With that said, don’t overdo it or go out of your way to accessorize yourself if it’s not your cup of your tea.
An important point to remember is that such accessories may make noises disrupting the audio, especially if you’re wearing lapel mics, headphones, or earbuds. Testing the audio and the interview tool before taking the interview is also imperative.
If you still don’t have a signature item that you carry everywhere with you, it’s time you get one. A signature item may be anything that takes away the stress, calms you, grounds you and brings you back to the right headspace.
Many people wear scarves, grab a pen, or even place tiny Hot Wheels cars in their pockets. It may feel superstitious on the surface but it works for most people who deal with stress on a day-to-day basis.
If you follow the steps listed in the do’s, you are quite set for the virtual interview but let us look at some of the details candidates still overlook.
For both men and women, wearing clothes that have busy patterns or darker colors distorts & distracts the interviewer. Avoiding stripes of all kinds is a good idea as the camera picks up stripes and makes them appear wavy and strobe-like which is highly distracting.
The idea here is to make the interviewer listen to you, pay attention, and not be distracted with the outfit. The same business must be avoided with your background as well. It is best to avoid walls with busy patterns as a background and stick to light & bold colors.
If you’re wearing white, make sure the light-colored background doesn’t make you look washed out or camouflaged. Ensure that your outfit, regardless of what it is, is always ironed. For both men & women, ironed clothes are noticed immediately on a virtual interview so avoid cloth materials that easily wrinkle.
Being well-groomed is so much more important than wearing makeup. As far as your hair is well brushed, the beard is well-groomed, and there are no wrinkles on your clothes, makeup won’t make a difference in a virtual interview.
Even if you wear makeup, make sure it is not overdone, and only try different things if your room is dimly lit. Keep it minimal regardless with minimum eye makeup, and having a neural skin tone all around helps.
Two dangly things that often distract interviewers, do your best to avoid wired earphones and wacky ties. Wired headphones not only obstruct the view but also often clank with your outfit, making annoying noises only the interview can hear.
As the technology is almost outdated, it is best to invest and evolve using Bluetooth headphones. Not to mention how odd it would look for someone wearing a snazzy blazer or a suit to have dangly, wired headphones connected to their computer.
Considered one of the worst decisions, wearing wacky ties may seem amusing but it is fine to be conservative. Just like striped shirts that cause visual distortions, ties that are wacky, colorful, and Christmasy may take away from the whole point of a professional interview.
With all said & done, here are some important pointers other than the outfit that compliment what you’re wearing. Following these to the tee, you are well on the way to making the best first impression on a virtual interview.
If you are still wondering what is the right attire for a virtual interview the answer is simple.
At the risk of sounding cliche, the best outfit before a virtual interview is a good nights’ sleep and a genuine smile on your face. Avoiding eye bags and dark circles will not only add to the dapper attire you are wearing for the virtual interview but also keep you sharp, on your toes to answer any question thrown at you.
Wear a proper outfit and practice enough with our tool to nail your interview and increase your chances of hiring. Email recruiters a nice video introducing yourself with a confident and personalized pitch for the job role role.