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Have a Video Interview? Land the Job with These Outfit Tips

A woman sitting at a desk and waving at a laptop screen.

Once upon a time, interviewing for a job at a far-off company typically meant flying out to meet them. Now, however, thanks to Skype and other video-calling technology, hiring managers often opt for a video interview instead.

Video interviews allow top companies to hire talent from all over the world. They’re also important in remote work environments, in which companies hire employees they might never meet in person. Phone interviews are common, too, but video creates a more natural interview experience.

However, if you’re the interviewee, a video call poses a unique challenge—what should you wear?

Don’t reach for your regular interview outfit just yet. A video interview requires a different approach, but we’ll help you prep that winning interview look before your big Skype moment.

Set the Stage

First, you have to prep your space. Where you plan to sit during your video interview will also influence what you should wear.

When you go to an in-person interview, you don’t know what the setting will look like. For a video interview, however, you control the setting, which can give you an advantage.

Choose an area for your interview that offer an attractive, uncluttered background, and bright or neutral lighting. The background doesn’t have to be totally blank—a few simple decorative elements, like houseplants or a painting are fine. Just try to avoid having too much going on behind you.

If you can, sit somewhere with a neutral paint color, so nothing will distract the interviewer from you. Take a few selfies in your interview space and make sure it looks great.

Start with Color

Now that you have your backdrop, you’re ready to choose an outfit. Choose a color first. You want something that will stand out from the background but will also be flattering on you and on camera. Patterns are okay, but avoid any with tightly spaced lines. Video-conferencing software and compression can sometimes make tight linear patterns look like a big mess.

Video flattens your appearance, so try to wear an outfit that stands out from the other colors in the room—you don’t want to blend into your furnishings or walls.

Opt for something that contrasts with the background. For example, if the wall that will be behind you is yellow, you wouldn’t want to wear a yellow outfit.

You might also want to avoid those trusty interview standbys, black and white. While black clothing can look professional, it might wash you out on camera. You also don’t want the details of your outfit to get lost in shadow. White can present the opposite problem and appear too bright on camera, obscuring a clear view of your face.

If you want to stay neutral, gray or navy are good go-tos. Rich, deep colors, like burgundy or hunter green, also tend to work well on camera. Just make sure your outfit color doesn’t clash with anything in the background.

Keep Silhouettes and Accessories Simple

Bold, simple elements look best on camera, where details tend to be lost. Avoid elaborate or complex silhouettes in favor of simple classics, like a blazer and slacks. Solid colors usually work best, but if you want to wear a print, try to keep it simple.

Similarly, bold, clean lines work best for any accessories. A delicate piece of jewelry, like a pendant necklace, probably won’t show up on camera. Here, you can choose something a little bolder, but still professional, like a chunky watch.

Consider Wearing Some Makeup

Makeup should never be expected at a job interview. However, on camera, a bit of makeup can help your expressions show up more clearly, which can work in your favor.

If you’re comfortable with it, enhance your eyes, eyebrows, and lips, so your interviewer can more easily see your face. A bit of blush or bronzer can also prevent the camera from washing you out.

If you normally wear makeup, you might want to apply a bit more than usual as the camera will make it look less intense. Just keep it classic and professional like you would for any job interview.

Men can also benefit from a makeup trick or two. If your skin looks too shiny on camera, a bit of colorless matte powder or a few pats with some oil blotting paper will take care of it.

Dress Your Bottom Half

Unfortunately, dressing professionally from just the waist up won’t cut it for a video interview. You don’t want your interviewer to catch a glimpse of your sweatpants if you have to jump up and get something.

Put together a head-to-toe professional outfit—but do pay extra attention to your top half, as that will be the most visible.

Avoid Sparkle and Shine

Fabrics with sheen and jewelry that gleams can work well in many professional ensembles. However, for a video interview, try to avoid anything that catches too much light.

You’ll want your light source to be facing you, so your face is easy to see. However, direct light turns anything remotely shiny into a blinding beacon on camera, so opt for matte finishes.

A video interview offers you a unique opportunity to control everything from the background to your appearance. You don’t have to show up sweaty from running to catch the train or bundled in a massive coat because it’s freezing outside. Use the opportunity to dress yourself, and your surroundings, for success!

To increase your chances of getting a video interview, you might want to check out our tips for finding a remote job!

Elyse Hauser Elyse Hauser
Elyse Hauser is a freelance and creative writer from the Pacific Northwest, and an MFA student at the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop. She specializes in lifestyle writing and creative nonfiction. Read Full Bio »
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