Just because it's through a webcam doesn't mean you can't dress to impress.
Right now, video interviews are becoming increasingly common in the hiring process, with video-conferencing software such as Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams exploding in popularity. If you have a video interview coming up but have never experienced the process before, it's easy to feel intimidated and unsure of what to do.
You might also be unsure of what to wear — especially since you're more than likely calling from the comfort of your home. The general rule of thumb? Always dress professionally, just as you would for an in-person interview. Continue reading for tips to ensure you come off looking your best and make a good first impression through the camera.
What to wear to a video interview: General tips
Use the GoldenHour App to improve your lighting
While one of the many benefits of a video interview is that you can do it from anywhere with a good internet connection, finding a space with good lighting for the call might be a struggle.
If your bedroom, living room, or home office does not have big windows to provide good natural lighting or light fixtures that keep you well-lit, you can try using the GoldenHour App, which is available to Mac users. This application allows you to use the sides of your computer screen to illuminate your face with a warm, rosy glow — much like the late-afternoon, golden hour lighting everyone loves.
Choose the right colors to wear
While it's understood that you should dress professionally for your video interview, what colors are appropriate? What colors will work on your webcam?
To look best in the camera, it's better to avoid bright colors and distracting patterns. Instead, opt for clothes that are neutral in color and do not blend in with the background, such a beige, grey, black, navy blue, etc. While most people associate white clothing with looking sharp and presentable, it may not be the best choice on camera. White clothing will appear brighter on the camera, making it difficult for the interviewer to keep good eye contact with you.
Conduct a trial run
It is highly recommended to preview your look on camera before the actual video interview. Record in front of a wall with neutral colors, avoiding wallpapers and distracting patterned walls. All the focus should be on you — not the background.
Position your webcam so that it's at eye-level when you sit down, and be sure that you have sufficient lighting in the room so you can be clearly seen without shadows or too much backlight. Turn on all the lights in the room and close the curtains to prevent glare if you're recording in the daytime. Record yourself for a few minutes to make sure that your outfit and environment look acceptable.
How should you dress from the waist down?
While the camera angle should show you from the waist up for the video interview, there is a possibility that you might have to stand up during the interview to reach for something or grab materials. Therefore, be sure to avoid a no-pants error!
You also wouldn't want to be caught wearing your pajama pants or other inappropriate clothing. It is best to wear a professional skirt or pants throughout the interview, even if you don't think you will be standing up.
Extra tips for women
Avoid wearing too much jewelry
While it may be tempting to accessorize your outfit with matching jewelry, it's best to keep your accessories at a minimum for video interviews. You should especially stay away from shiny jewelry that would catch the light on camera, as this would be very distracting to the interviewer.
How should you do your makeup?
In general, you can play around with colors for your lipstick and eye makeup — just make sure that the end look makes you feel comfortable and confident.
If you have oily skin, be sure to use an oil blotter and face powder to prep your skin, as oil is more obvious on camera. If you would like to add some colors to your cheeks, opt for natural-looking blush, and don't go for heavy contour, as the shadows can be very distracting — especially if the colors are not blended well. Remember, this is not the time to challenge your makeup skills. Instead, stick to what has proven to give you an effortless look.
Now while some women shy away from using eye makeup for video interviews, some glam on your eyes could actually help! Don't be afraid to use some soft colors and even a little bit of glitter under your eyes to brighten them up. End your look with a pop of color on your lips to draw attention to the words you speak. You can go with a classic red lip or other hues that show bits of your personality while still looking professional.
Extra tips for men
Should you wear a suit?
This is a dilemma many men face when it comes to the video job interview. Some may argue that wearing a suit is an absolute must, while others may feel that it's an overkill. Truth is, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to this; it all depends on the organization that you're interviewing with and their work culture.
Your outfit and level of formality should match the industry that you're planning to get into. If you're interviewing with a firm where employees wear suits every day, then you should definitely wear one for your video interview. On the other hand, if you're interviewing with startups or other organizations with a more relaxed work environment, you can just go with business casual.
The idea of a video interview might sound scary if it's your first time, but you can certainly ace it with sufficient preparation beforehand. For more tips on succeeding in your video interview, check out the articles below:
The best time to prepare for the interview? Before you land one. That's where our interview coaches come in.