Dressing Up for An Interview in the Remote Era: 6 Tips

May 23, 2022


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The days of long commutes and uncomfortable dress pants and ties are seemingly a thing of the past. The Great Resignation has prompted employers to meet the demand for greater flexibility in a newly-remote workforce.  

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, workers have demonstrated unprecedented productivity, with the realization that many jobs can, in fact, be done from the comfort of home—and if projections are correct, remote jobs will account for 25% of the United States workforce by the end of 2022.

Since 2019, about 57% of hiring managers have conducted virtual interviews to screen candidates, with more than half intending to continue the practice when the pandemic restrictions are lifted. 

Whether you’re interviewing for a remote or in-person role, you’ll likely find yourself in front of the camera at some point. However, what you wear for a virtual interview matters as much as in person. Here are six tips for dressing up for an interview through Zoom.

1. Get Groomed

Bedhead and unkempt facial hair isn’t exactly the best expression of professionalism if you’re trying to land a new position. That’s why grooming yourself before a virtual interview is essential. You wouldn’t simply roll out of bed for an in-person meeting, would you?

Nicely comb and style your hair and be sure to schedule a haircut if it’s a bit overgrown. While a 5 o’clock shadow is now a culturally acceptable look for men’s facial hair, opting for a neatly trimmed shorter beard is ideal for making a good impression.

2. Match Company Culture

A formal suit and tie may not match a company renowned for its laid-back culture. However, your clothing should still be a step up from casual for a remote interview.

Take cues from the company culture and pick out clothes appropriately. Even if they boast a casual dress code, dressing up for an interview with a button-down shirt looks polished and professional on camera.

On the other hand, a well-ironed dress shirt and suit jacket are suitable when virtually interviewing for a high-end corporate role. 

3. Wear Pants

Many people have grown accustomed to life in sweatpants over the last couple of years. However, if you want to feel more confident and focused during your remote interview, you should pull out that pair of slacks hiding in the back of your closet.

Even if the hiring manager can’t see your pants on camera, you send a message to yourself that you’re a professional who is most certainly the most qualified candidate for the job.

Plus, what if you shifted in your seat or had to stand up? Imagine what a hiring manager would think about your spaceship pajamas.

4. Avoid Loud Patterns

Video conferencing has proven to be an impressive technological advancement that’s changed our daily lives for the better. Of course, buffering issues and fuzzy feeds remind us of its imperfections. 

As such, you’ll want to avoid wearing busy patterns or choose to wear them in a toned-down, controlled manner. Video glitches may make bright patterns more distracting and dizzying—and you want the hiring manager to focus on you. 

It’s best to wear a solid color instead, but if you decide to wear something with a slight pattern, break it up with a jacket or cardigan.  

5. Consider Color and Contrast

When picking out an outfit for your virtual job interview, consider whether it will make you stand out in all the right ways. 

For example, if you intend to have a white background while wearing a solid white shirt, you might blend into the wall. The same goes for wearing a black shirt against a dark backdrop with little lighting.

Your skin tone, hair color and clothing should work together to offer a bit of contrast. Rather than wearing white or black, perhaps choose something blue, purple or gray instead. 

6. Background Matters

With video interviewing, your backdrop becomes a part of your attire—opening you up to scrutiny by hiring managers. Be mindful that the camera captures only a small frame, making excess clutter stand out even more. 

While guidance for virtual interview backgrounds is yet to be determined, tailoring the space to fit company culture is your best chance to impress future employers. For example, more traditional corporations will likely have different expectations for at-home professionalism than creative fields or the tech industry. 

Of course, if there’s no hiding the mess behind you, you can blur the background by changing your video settings before logging into the interview.

Dress the Part for Your Virtual Job Interview

Virtual interviews are an opportunity to showcase your expertise and personality as a perfect fit for the company. Dress the part to feel the part—and don’t forget to test out your interview outfit on camera well in advance.

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Jack Shaw is a senior writer at Modded. Jack is an avid enthusiast for keeping up with personal health and enjoying nature. He has over five years of experience writing in the men's lifestyle niche, and has written extensively on topics of fitness, exploring the outdoors and men's interests. His writings have been featured in SportsEd TV, Love Inc., and Offroad Xtreme among many more publications.