How to dress for a video interview

Your job may have been hit by the dreaded pandemic, or you may have just decided it's time for a change, but whichever it is, it's likely that your next interview will be on video.

Now this has become the new norm (and I don't see it going anywhere in the near future) if it's not something you're fully comfortable with dressing for yet, I've got together 5 outfit suggestions of what you can wear for your video interview with varying levels of formality, dependent on the job you're going for.

As a general rule of thumb, you should dress up a notch for the interview from the way you'd dress in the office once you had the job.......we may not be going into offices at the moment, but the same rule would apply.

Outfit 1 - formal business wear

What should I wear for a Skype or Zoom interview

If you're going for a job where you'd wear a suit and tie in the office, or even a suit without a tie then stick to the full on look for your online interview.

As your head and shoulders is all someone will be able to see of you, they'll be focusing in on details, so don't forget to try and get a dimple in your tie knot, and ensure the width corresponds with your collar shape and the lapels of your suit jacket.  A knitted tie is a tiny bit more casual than a silk one or the in between option would be a grenadine tie. Finish off with a subtle, elegant watch.

What to wear on the bottom half: The trousers to the suit, dark socks and black Oxfords - just in case you have to get up mid call!

Navy knitted tie - Huntsman - £105
'Max Bill' automatic Bauhaus watch - Junghans at Liberty - £1,080

Outfit 2 - business casual

What shall I wear for an online job interview - smart casual

If you'll never have to wear a suit to the office of the job you're going for but would still be expected to look at the smarter end of smart casual, then opt for a blazer and formal shirt (with a stiffened collar,  not a soft one and not button down).

When choosing your shirt, think about the collar shape and whether or not it suits you - perhaps even more important in this situation, than normal when the interviewer can see the whole of you. If you have a narrower face shape and/or long neck then a spread collar or regular collar with a higher collar band will be preferable to a longer point collar. But if your face is round and/or your neck short then a slightly longer point collar and a lower collar band, rather than a wide spread will suit you better. If you want to go more in depth on this point, then check out this article on Permanent Style.

You could go a little more casual with your blazer for this look - one with no lining or padding for more of a relaxed look.  Add a pocket square for a bit more interest and personality - silk is a bit more formal and a patterned cotton one will be more casual.

What to wear on the bottom half: Grey flannel trousers and dark brown or burgundy Derbies

Pink superior cotton shirt - Emma Willis - £200
'Flexo' navy slim fit jersey stretch blazer - Reiss - £275
Silk pocket square - Paul Smith at Liberty - £50

Outfit 3 - smart casual

How should I dress for a video interview

This look would be more suited to a fairly casual office where you'll never have to wear a suit to work and most people will be dressed in some form of shirt and chinos, and probably t-shirts and sweaters too.

Here you could go for a slightly alternative style shirt with a grandad collar, and wear it with a knitted blazer for a smartened up casual look. A high contrast between your shirt and jacket will look more formal than a low contrast.....for example, if we swapped the pale blue shirt in this outfit for a white shirt it'd look more formal. But if we replaced the dark navy jacket with an airforce blue one it would look a bit more casual.

And don't forget - even though we've gone down the scale in formality - make sure your shirt is ironed!

What to wear on the bottom half: Mid grey chinos and brown suede chukka boots

Navy wool cardigan blazer - Altea at Mr Porter - £280
Blue grandad collar cotton chambray shirt - Frame at Mr Porter - £195
Sterling silver P4 Bancroft cuff - Alice Made This at Mr Porter - £345

Outfit 4 - casual end of smart casual

How to dress for an online interview for a tech positiion

We're really sliding down the scale of formality here but this is the sort of outfit you could wear if it's going to be jeans, hoodies and trainers all the way, once you have the job.

A button down shirt is neat and when the focus is going to be on your top half for the video interview that's already a bonus point. Avoid wearing striped shirts, which can distort on camera as demonstrated by Gareth Southgate superbly in a recent TV interview! You'd probably rather the interviewer concentrated on what you were saying, than why your shirt was doing weird things.

A cardigan echos the lines of a blazer so feels just that bit smarter than a crew or v-neck sweater. Make sure any knitwear you wear is in a fine gauge - a chunky knit would be way too casual for an interview. Also avoid any logos and stick to darker more sombre colours to keep some formality to the outfit.

If you think you might be making notes during the meeting, then a great pen is a nice attention to detail.....and if you're paying attention to detail with what you're wearing and your accessories, it gives the impression you'll do so in your new role too!

What to wear on the bottom half:  Dark smart jeans and tan brogues

White 'Tomlin' slim fit button down Oxford shirt - Rag & Bone at Mr Porter - £160
Burgundy extra fine merino wool cardigan - Falke - £189
Copper fountain pen and holder - Ystudio at Mr Porter - £165

Outfit 5 - casual

What to wear for a casual business interview online

For most interviews this will be too casual but if it's a tiny company, you'll be wearing a uniform or you're having an informal chat rather than an interview, then this would be relevant.

A collar on a knit adds a touch of formality to it and set in sleeves (like the ones above) rather than raglan sleeves (a diagonal line like you see on a sweatshirt) are smarter. Opt for a plain white t-shirt with a neat neckline to wear underneath. Make sure it's white and not greyed with age and get rid of any pilling on your jumper with a clothes shaver before the interview.

If you wear glasses, check that you don't have a strong reflection in them - test it out as you may need to change the angle of your laptop or monitor.

What to wear on the bottom half: Dark smart jeans and plain leather trainers

'Trafford' grey knitted merino wool polo shirt - Reiss - £90
'Bless' white regular fit crew neck t-shirt - Reiss - £25
Tortoiseshell glasses - Oliver Peoples at Mallon + Taub - £315

A few other things to remember:

Background - don't forget to tidy up your background or set up your computer so you're against a plain wall. Check how this looks might want to add a plant in so it doesn't look too of my clients told me his colleagues said he looked like he was in a prison cell!

Lighting - face the window so you're not silhouetted or looking shady......not the best start to an interview if they can't see you properly.

Distractions - switch your mobile to silent, and unplug your home phone if it rings near where you'll be. Close the door so pets (cute as they may be) can't come wandering in. Let children and other family members know not do disturb you!

Framing - have the top of your head positioned about 3/4 of the way up the screen and the lower edge of your screen at the upper part of your chest...and make sure you're centred.

And lastly......good luck!

Have an interview coming up and would like some help? Book in for an Online Consultation or Personal Shopping trip here:

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"I booked Sarah at Sartoria Lab for a colour and styling session - she was great! She gave lots of useful advice and I feel like I'll definitely have more direction when I'm shopping for clothes from now on."

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