Anything can be done on Zoom these days — baby showers, cooking classes, happy hours, first dates, work meetings, and even job interviews. It's a weird time, but in the spirit of being nimble, why not make the most of it? If you are currently job seeking and have a meeting with your potential employer coming up, a Zoom job interview outfit is something that definitely should not be put off until the last minute. While you may think that because this meeting is being held within the confines of a tiny square on your laptop that it's no big deal, but how you present yourself still very much matters.
Obviously, there are certain decisions that you don't have to worry about since you'll only be seen from the waist up; jeans, open-toe shoes, and hemline aren't an issue. And while that takes the pressure off a bit, your top and jewelry are going to be doing the heavy lifting. Ahead, read what three stylish bosses recommend for a Zoom job interview (with advice for both corporate and startup environments), things to avoid altogether, and tips for making a great first impression.
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Zoom Job Interview: Corporate
Anyone who's worked at a corporate company knows that your office wardrobe generally has to be more formal than it would be at a startup. While this doesn't mean your 9-to-5 looks have to be snoozy, it does mean an interviewer will likely expect the prospective employee to come to the Zoom meeting in something that's polished and professional. "While working with one of my clients, Argent, I learned that women are judged by appearance, which has a tangible effect on our career trajectory and bottom line," IHPR Senior Director Sydney Oh shares with TZR. "For me, I know a good outfit can naturally help boost my confidence, so I’d opt for a look that feels classic yet fun." She recommends a suit and knit for a corporate interview; adding that a colorful blazer may help with standing out against a white wall backdrop.
Kara Lacey, Co-founder of The Hours, nods to the classics as a way to feel confident and prepared for a corporate job interview on Zoom. "A classic knit or menswear button-down in neutral or pale tones says I am comfortable but professional," she notes. "Where you can show some personality is with your jewelry — a beautiful gold hoop or a personalized necklace go a long way and don't distract."
Zoom Job Interview: Startup
As you could probably guess, your outfit for a startup job interview (on Zoom or in-person) can show a bit more personality. "Your look can be a little more relaxed to reflect their company culture while still looking put together so you are taken seriously," Sargeant PR Founder Cory Sargeant tells TZR. "I think a patterned top or dress with a nice earring would help you land the job!"
Both Oh and Lacey agree that a startup interview is a good time to bring in prints, colors, and textures — but with one caveat. "Make sure it's not too distracting," Lacey says. "Jewelry, again, can always help make something more traditional pop and reflect more personality." As for Oh, she suggests paying attention to the shape of your top since you'll be seen solely from the waist up. "I would consider playing with prints and colors and sticking with silhouettes that have interesting details and structure around the shoulder or sleeves. I love this printed Carolina K top and always find Ulla Johnson blouses have great volume that is appropriate for Zoom meetings."
Zoom Job Interview: Things to Avoid (And What To Wear Instead)
Regardless of whether your Zoom job interview is for a corporate company or a startup, there are a few things that universally ring true in terms of what to avoid. For starters, don't wear something that's uncomfortable. "Anything that sits too tightly around the neck or requires readjusting," Oh says. "I’m currently going through the interview process to expand our New York team and have found it distracting when candidates are tugging on their clothes, especially around the neckline if wearing a turtleneck." Obviously, a turtleneck won't ruin your interview but better to play it safe. "While it’s easy to look past that distraction, the goal is to stay fully present during talking points rather than following hand gestures as that can potentially take away from the meeting," Oh adds.
"Wear pants! Even if it's a classic legging, don't get caught in your underwear or ripped sweats."
Another thing to consider is if patterns or colors are the best options. "Wearing patterns and brighter colors really depends on your background," Lacey says. "If you have neutral walls, you can play with more color within your wardrobe; if you have a lot going on behind you, keep things calm within your look."
Sound is another element to think about prior to your interview. "If you use your hands a lot while speaking, don't wear anything that might make noise on your wrists or hands," Lacey notes.
And lastly, though it's strange that advising to actually put on pants for an interview is even a thing, these are pandemic times, all bets are off. "Wear PANTS! Even if it's a classic legging, don't get caught in your underwear or ripped sweats," Lacey adds.
Zoom Job Interview: Ways to Impress
The best way to impress your interviewer is simply by putting effort into your outfit. "I can tell when someone has put in the effort to look appropriate and is excited to explore a new company and role," Lacey says. "A great first impression goes a long way." Sargeant looks for confidence in a potential candidate. "I love when someone has fun with fashion because it shows self-confidence, which is an important quality for an employee," she says. "I think wearing a fun pop of color and an interesting jewelry piece would impress me." Oh also views a job interview outfit as an opportunity to share a slice of who you are. "Styling can be a form of self-expression. A look that would impress me is one where I can really get a sense of the candidate’s personality, not the brands they’re wearing."