What to Wear for an Online Job Interview? Look Like a Pro and Ace Your Interview

7 min read
a woman holding tablet dress formal for online job interview

Most businesses, corporate organizations, and even federal agencies now hold virtual interviews when conducting the screening process for job applicants. This significantly reduces scheduling conflicts between applicants and recruiters while further expanding candidate screening. Thus, job seekers should take online job interview seriously by preparing for the big day. This includes what to wear for an online job interview.

Although a virtual job interview is often held at home, this approach doesn’t differ a lot from conventional in-house interviews. You still need to get ready for the critical stage of your application by preparing to answer the most common interview questions and dressing up professionally.

Preparing what to wear for an online job interview may ensure that you feel confident in answering interview questions or in demonstrating your skills. In this post, we’ll discuss the appropriate clothes you should wear, a pre-interview checklist, and practical tips to make your job search journey successful.

What to Wear for an Online Job Interview per Industry

When you’re choosing clothes to wear for a video interview, consider matching them with the type of industry your prospective company belongs to. You should be fully dressed, including shoes and accessories, to look confident in front of the hiring manager. You may adapt to the company culture by observing the dress code of employees, managers, and executives that you can find on the internet. Here are some of the common attire you can use for a remote job interview.

a woman follow tips on what to wear for an online job interview and confident in front of laptop

Button-down, Blazer, and Blouses

Button-down tops and blouses are perfect in almost any type of industry. However, mind the style and color. For instance, when you apply in the academic or media sector, you can experiment with neutral tones and subtle pattern combinations to make yourself look professional, yet fun and approachable.

You can wear a suit to achieve the professional look you want, especially if you’re applying in the finance sector, corporate, or government office. Remember that you may look less professional when you wear clothes with excessive details and busy patterns, plus you may appear wild in the video feed buffers.

Skirts and Pants

For the bottom part, it’s still recommended to wear slacks and skirts, but be sure they’re stretchy enough to help you move comfortably. Although the interviewer can’t see what you’re wearing on your lower body, it’s best to show up in complete business or casual attire.

If you’re applying for a vacant position in the academic industry, you can wear dresses but don’t overdo them with accessories. Dressing up in full can help you focus more on the questions that will be asked of you.

Footwear and Accessories

Regardless of industry, wear the most comfortable shoes you have and avoid going barefoot to prevent getting distracted during the interview. In addition, if you prefer to wear accessories, just wear a simple necklace and less-intricate earrings, so your interviewer won’t pay attention over your accessories rather than listening to the answers.

How to Dress for an Online Interview

Sometimes, the professional look you need to present depends on the overall attitude and culture of the company. In some startup enterprises, wearing business casual attire is generally acceptable, while a three-piece suit may seem too formal. Traditional businesses, on the other hand, require employees to dress in formal wear. Thus, research your target company to find out what to wear for an online job interview.

What colors to wear for an interview?

While the style of your interview outfit may coolly reflect your professional appearance and personality, you can’t ignore the importance of colors in job interviews. Colors have a significant impact on how they perceive you as a worthy candidate.

Apart from mood and perception, color can exert visual effects on your video appearance, especially if you’re leaning against a solid-colored backdrop. It’s best to wear neutral tones so you won’t appear too loud on camera. Here are some neutral color options you can try:

  • Black implies leadership and a “moving forward” attitude.
  • White perceives one as organized, trustworthy, and flexible.
  • Blue indicates a winning attitude, reliability, and team leadership.
  • Gray expresses logical and analytical personality traits with a burst of independent thinking.

When using neutral colors, be sure that there is contrast between the outfit and your background, since dark shades appear much better on video. However, if your backdrop has contrasting details, such as sandy white wall and an artist painting, choose a neutral color that will provide emphasis for you. Do this instead of allowing your interviewer to notice your surroundings.

What colors to avoid for a job interview?

Adding a splash of color or any soft accent to reflect your own identity isn’t bad, but don’t overdo it. For any kind of interview, it’s technically fine to wear whatever color best represents you. However, there are color shades that imply negative perceptions, such as the following:

  • Purple reflects a fun attitude or high interpersonal skills, while green or yellow indicates flexibility, being goal-driven, and well-rounded, but people may think you’re not always serious about your job.
  • Red is perceived as power, excitement, and highly enthusiastic. However, this may also imply defiance or aggressiveness.
  • Brown is generally recognized as reliable, independent, and trustworthy, yet idealistic in a conventional way.
  • Orange is unacceptable in all industries for its poor appearance in a formal setting.

If you want to use such colors, just combine any of them with a neutral shade as your accent. You can choose soft tones or lighter shades to reflect your personality without going overboard. Don’t consider these colors, especially if mixed with busy patterns. This is because they make you look unprofessional in front of your interviewer.

a woman choosing what to wear for online job interview

What Not to Wear for an Online Job Interview

Even though a virtual interview is done remotely, it’s equally as crucial as an in-house interview. After all, you still do the same preparation prior to the interview, such as deciding on what to wear and listing down questions for the hiring manager. Here’s what you shouldn’t wear:

Pajamas and Home Dresses

Never consider wearing leggings, jogging pants, or pajamas to a job interview. Doing so lets you avoid getting embarrassed when you need to stand up or adjust the camera. You may even get caught when your pet knocks your computer out or pulls the equipment wires. It’s harder to act in front of the camera since you’re only halfway dressed.

Excessive Makeup

Using makeup for an interview isn’t a big deal if you want to look appealing in front of the camera, but don’t go overboard. Makeup is less important for a job interview, as hiring managers will likely focus more on overall grooming. Before your scheduled interview, do a test run with your usual makeup look, adjust the lighting around you and tweak as needed until you achieve the desired video appearance.

Fancy Accessories

Avoid wearing anything catchy like dangling earrings, lavalier necklaces, or chokers. Simply keep your accessories as sleek and discreet as possible.

Busy Patterns

If you don’t want your appearance in the video conference to look blurry, don’t wear stripes or busy patterns. Dots and chevrons tend to make you look less professional. Keep the style details in your top outfit minimal so the interviewer will only focus on your answers instead of your clothing.

The Use of Body Language for an Online Interview

You might be unaware of it, but your body language has a huge impact on your hiring manager. You need to demonstrate your professional body language because video conferencing limits your ability to make handshakes. You may follow these practical tips below:

1. Maintain composure when you’re asked questions you didn’t anticipate. Give yourself ample time to collect your thoughts before answering back, but don’t take it too long. In addition, expect the interviewer to ask you to describe yourself in a few words.

2. Sit up straight and avoid slouching during your interview. Focus your attention on the camera and not the person on the other screen. Make sure you can see yourself clearly in the middle of the screen and there are no wide blank spaces both on top of your head and on either side.

3. When you answer questions, be sure to maintain eye contact with the interviewer to build a connection and rapport. After the interview, give a gentle nod and a warm smile.

4. Be energetic and enthusiastic during the interview to show how interested and excited you are to work with the company.

Related Article: Power Words to Describe Yourself to Potential Employer

a man happy with the result of online job interview

Tips You Can Follow to Make a Good Impression

Aside from knowing what to wear for an online job interview, it’s also important that you have what it takes to impress hiring managers. To help you, here are some surefire tips to leave a mark.

1. Make sure everything is already prepared two to three hours before your interview.

2. Set up your computer on a home desk or kitchen table to prevent unnecessary movements. All equipment, including camera, headset, microphone, and other devices for the interview must be in good working condition. Check them before the interview to make sure they’re working properly.

3. Move into a dedicated home space that is quiet and away from distractions. Barking dogs, TV sounds, and rowdy kids in the background are definitely annoying for the interviewer. It’s best to tell your housemates or family members about your upcoming interview and avoid entertaining visitors, home delivery, and other errands before the interview.

4. Find a neutral tone as your backdrop and make sure it doesn’t clash with your attire. Clear out any unpleasant scenes and clutter, as these can give a wrong impression of you. If you want to add something that will represent your personality, keep it minimal or just leave a picture.

5. Get yourself in the mood to speak by practicing. You can practice answering common interview questions that you find on the internet. Consider studying the work culture, history, and visions of the company to impress your hiring manager.

Related Article: 10 Helpful Tips to Prepare for a Zoom Interview

Succeed in Your Next Job Interview

Ignoring what to wear for an online job interview can put you at greater risk of not getting hired. To help you become equipped for the big day, make the necessary job interview preparations. When you’re ready for it, standing out in your interview is easy to achieve. However, deciding what to wear for an online interview isn’t just the key to landing your target job.

More than the business attire you choose, the overall personality you demonstrate is what really matters to the interviewer. Don’t forget to send a thank-you letter or a follow-up email to the interviewers to show your deep appreciation for their efforts.

To increase your chances of landing your target post, hire the best resume writing service provider. They can help you come up with an impressive resume to get the interview invite you’re waiting for. Not only that; the best resume writers can write you an effective thank-you letter to best follow up your application as well. Check our lists for the top resume services today.