Dress to impress: what to wear to your Zoom interviews

By Samantha Boyle, Managing Editor for Reporting

From the time I started applying for jobs in high school until now, when I am about to graduate college and enter the job market with a degree, I have always been told, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Sure, that makes a lot of sense but it is always pretty vague and does not really give you many ideas of what to wear to an interview. On top of that, many interviews are now being moved to video calls so “dressing for the job you want ” could now be pajama pants and a blouse and blazer. Below are some tips for how to look professional on any interview.

Sweatpants or slacks?

If you have an interview over a video call, it could be easy and tempting to just roll out of bed, do your hair, change your shirt and that is it. If you value comfort, it’s a great idea. However, for others, getting on a good pair of pants may help you feel more put together and therefore help you nail your interview. Usually, good pants for interviews could be some black, khaki or dark blue slacks. Depending on the job you are applying for, a nice pair of jeans could also suffice. And even if you do not go all out with the slacks or jeans for this interview, changing out of the sweatpants you have been in for the past couple of days might be a good idea.

Blouses, button downs and blazers

This could arguably be one of the more important choices you will have to make for your Zoom interview because it will be the most visible. Obviously, you should not be putting on some old t-shirt from the back of your closet or the old hoodie you just threw in your laundry. Instead, go for a classic blouse or button down. Again, being on video brings some new challenges. Some patterns that may have worked in an in-person setting may be too busy for a video call and can actually become distracting. Small, busy patterns should probably be skipped and saved for when you can be back in an office. A good solid color is probably your best bet. It may also be helpful to check out your background and make sure the color you wear does not blend into the background and wash you out. If your background is a white wall, skip the white shirt and go for a darker color so you stand out.

Zoom backgrounds

This does not necessarily have much to do with what you are wearing, but rather where you are placing yourself. It is important to find a space in your living area where you can do an interview and keep your surroundings professional. For example, the desk in my room is in front of a wall where I just put up a bunch of posters and art that a hiring committee most likely would not want to see. Maybe I could risk it and hope one of them is a Harry Styles fan, but I do not think I would or should risk that. It is best to find a neutral wall or neutral background that is not too distracting from you. You are the main event for this interview and you do not want a wall or background to outshine you. If finding a neutral background is difficult, you can always hang up a plain white sheet behind you and use that. And always avoid the built in green screen backgrounds. Good luck with your interview!

Samantha is a senior in Media.

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