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What To Wear For A Zoom Interview - According To Experts

It might seem simple, but knowing what to wear for a Zoom job interview is hard.

There’s something about having an interview in your own home that makes it simultaneously both easier and harder to dress for; are you to make a head-to-toe effort or should you see it as a casual opportunity to wear your PJs?

Here at Psyche we conducted research to find out people’s thoughts on how to dress for a virtual job interview. Our poll revealed that overall people are less anxious about about Zoom interviews than regular face to face interviews. We also discovered that 67% of people are actually less worried about what to wear for a Zoom interview, whilst 80% believe that it’s the perfect occasion for “business on the top, casual on the bottom”. 

But is this the right way to land your dream role?

Looking at three different looks from Psyche in both menswear and womenswear, Jo Caine - MD of recruitment at Cathedral Appointments, has given us professional advice on their suitability for Zoom interviews.

With 1 being the smartest look and 3 being the most casual and unacceptable, ‘the more formal style of image one is certainly appropriate wear for a lot of office-based jobs, as well as candidates looking to secure management or senior-level roles’ says Jo.

Of course, every job has different expectations when it comes to interview attire, with number 2 showing an ideal smart-casual look that’s perfect for a wide range of businesses in the modern age.

‘While I would always suggest candidates should err on the smarter side when it comes to virtual wear, with more companies still working from home and approaching work with a much more casual lens, style two would be acceptable for a lot of companies in this “new normal”’, Jo continues.

‘If you’re unsure of exactly the type of company you’re interviewing for and their expectations, spend some time getting under the skin of its culture. Look at their website to get a feel for the organisation – what images are there and what are the team wearing? This should give you a pretty good indication of how to dress for your interview.’

However, ‘style three is a big no-go’, Jo says.

‘No matter how cool, hip and young the company is you’re applying for, no employer would appreciate being greeted by a candidate in their pyjamas or tracksuit – no matter what designer label is plastered on the front!’

Our data also showed an almost even split between those who would wear a tie for a Zoom interview and those who would skip this accessory completely. Kim Connor Streich, marketing director at Debut  commented:

Whilst many people think that having a zoom job interview means you can take the opportunity to lay on your bed or only get dressed from the waist up, this is a recipe for disaster. You still need a professional and smart attire suitable for the job you are interviewing for - from head to toe. Your outfit can really impact your mindset and how you feel which will in turn impact your confidence, energy and more’.

Backed up by experts in the recruitment industry, here are some more top tips for choosing the right outfit to get you that dream job:

  1.  Wear the same as you would in-person - including shoes!

Though 75% of people in our poll said that they would do their interview without shoes, dressing the same as you would for an in-person interview helps you get in the right mindset, feel more confident and appear more professional.

Switching up slippers for what you’d normally wear to the office instantly helps get you prepared for a more work-based environment and in a professional mindset, and putting on a smart shirt instead of a casual T-shirt can have the same motivating psychological effects.

Jo Caine says: ‘Don’t wear pyjama bottoms! However tempting it may be, you never know when you might need to stand up to get something.’

‘Remember you’re still on a call with a potential employer and so a smart, clean look is crucial.’

  1. Avoid loud, distracting prints and bright backgrounds

Remember that you are the main event during the interview’ says Kate Palmer, HR Advice Director at Peninsula. ‘You don't want any distractions, including your outfit’ she says. Take this into account when choosing your outfit, and opt for something of a solid, muted colour with no pattern or lettering. It’s important that your background isn’t too busy and bright either, as this can distract from what you’re saying.

  1. Dress for the business you’re being interviewed for

It’s vital that you dress appropriately, depending on the business in which you’ve applied for. For example, smart-casual looks may be best for modern businesses with sociable offices, while smart looks are more appropriate for formal professions such as teachers, lawyers and solicitors.

Kate Palmer states that it’s ‘always better to be overdressed than underdressed for an interview, whether it's on Zoom or not’, so if in doubt, dress smartly.

  1. Plan your outfit in advance

A few hours before your interview, wear your interview outfit and take a look on your computer to see how you look through the webcam lens. Ensure you look presentable in all aspects by keeping your personal appearance tidy and well groomed. It may be tempting to opt for a filter, but 83% of people who took our poll voted against using filters such as a skin smoothing or brightening filter. You want to appear as your truest self to your prospective employer!