What to Wear for Your Virtual Interview?
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What to Wear for Your Virtual Interview?

Not sure what to wear for an interview? Use these tips to choose virtual interview clothes to look your best in tech, media, government, and other industries.

Deciding what to wear for an interview takes some thought, especially for a virtual interview. You might have job interview clothes in your closet, but they might not be the right fit for you today. Or maybe you’re changing industries and need to update your look. To guide you through what to wear to an interview, we need to understand the virtual interview experience.

How to dress for an interview online?

Before jumping into the how-to tips, consider a more fundamental point about interview outfits. Why do people stress about their job interview clothes? They want to make a good impression! Psychologically, you can convey a sense of professionalism when you wear clean, formal clothes to an interview. That's not the only benefit. Wearing business attire is helpful for you as a job candidate as well. Putting on a sharp outfit for an interview signals your mind that this is a professional setting.

The general guidelines on how to dress for an interview online are simple. Use these tips to get ready.

How do the job interview clothes fit?

An easy way to look your best during your online interview is to make sure your clothes fit you properly. Since the interviewer will likely only see you from your waist up, this means your jacket or top should be tailored to your size. If you last bought job interview clothes more than six months ago, they may not fit you as well as they once did. If the clothes are too big, you can get your items tailored so that they look sharp and don’t hang off of you. And in instances where they are too small, don’t despair. Treat yourself to updated interview clothes. A few days before the virtual interview, try on your interview outfit. You can make any adjustments well ahead of schedule.

Are the interview outfits presentable?

When you work from home, you might wear old t-shirts and jeans every day. On tough days, you might even be tempted to wear your PJs to your home office. In the context of a job interview, having fresh, ironed clothing is vitally important. If you have a few days before your job interview, you can take your interview outfits to a dry cleaner.

Do the interview clothes match the context?

In most situations, it is hard to go wrong by choosing business attire. Sure, some tech companies have a more casual dress code. That said, dressing up at the interview is a simple way to show you are a professional. When in doubt, dress up!

Now that you know the general principles for what to wear for an interview, let's get more specific with tips for women and men.

Women's job interview outfit

There are a few general guidelines to keep in mind when selecting a women's job interview outfit. All the factors mentioned above, like fit, cleanliness, and formality, still apply. You also want to choose colors that you like and feel confident in. The following job interview outfit suggestions are great places to start.

  • Jacket and slacks - you can update the classic powersuit with fun colors or mix and match items to build a more casual look.
  • Interview dress - ah, the classic move when you don’t feel like piecing multiple parts of an outfit together. The interview dress is the trusty companion for busy professionals.
  • Shoes - here’s a wild card. In a virtual interview, it is unlikely anybody will see your shoes. If wearing formal shoes helps you to focus and feel confident, wear them!
woman with short hair wearing a brown suit

Men's job interview outfit

Traditionally it was easy for men to choose their interview outfit: they just had to look to the failsafe suit and tie. While this can still be the case depending on the industry, the world of men’s fashion has opened up to include more options. Here are some tips that have withstood the test of time:

  • Suit color - the traditional choice of a navy blue or gray suit is good. These neutral colors have worked well for decades.
  • Dress Shirt - Wear a dress shirt that offers some contrast with your suit. Wearing a white dress shirt is a good option. To mix it up, you can wear a patterned dress shirt.
  • Necktie - Wear a necktie with simple colors or designs. Keep the novelty ties in the closet – this is not the same to proclaim your passion for Marvel or Star Wars.
  • Shoes - Technically, shoes are optional in a virtual interview. However, some people find that wearing formal shoes helps them to stay focused in the interview.

Keep the tuxedo in the closet, though – that doesn't belong in a virtual interview. If you wonder what to wear to a tech interview, an industry known for its casual style, we'll cover that in further detail below.

Virtual interview outfits by industry

The above tips on job interview clothes will work in most cases. That said, there are a few industry-specific tips to keep in mind.

  • Accounting and law. These professions are focused on offering serious advice to clients in need. Therefore, it is traditional to dress conservatively. We'll cover law interview clothes in more depth below.
  • Advertising and Creative Fields. Some industries like advertising and graphic design value creativity and innovation. In that case, you might experiment with more unusual job interview clothes. For example, consider wearing a remarkable watch or a more creative necktie.
  • Technology. Some parts of the technology industry are known for their informal dress code. Before showing up in a hoodie, ask people in your network for tips first. Spending five to ten minutes to clarify the dress code can make your job interview experience much less stressful.

Keep reading for more industry-specific tips on virtual job interview clothes.

mens interview outfit consisting of a blue button up shirt, brown tweed jacket, a navy tie and navy blue pants

Media interview clothes: lights, camera, action!

When you dress for an interview in the media industry, remember one truth. This is an industry that values appearances more than most fields. Personal trainers, makeup artists, and other people are dedicated to making you look good once you are hired. You should select clothes that make you look good and feel confident.

In a way, a virtual interview for a media job is a bit like appearing on air. You need to look your best in a way that the camera will love. Follow these tips

What To Wear

Look for blues, grays, magentas, and browns. A blue or off-white dress shirt is a good pick.

What To Avoid Wearing

Avoid repeating patterns like stripes because they tend not to look good on camera. Likewise, bright green and red can cause problems. Keep jewelry to a minimum as well.

For additional insight on what to wear to a media interview, search YouTube for the people you will be meeting with. There's a good chance you can find a video interview that will give you ideas for the colors and styles that work well for the specific company.

Education interview clothes

In education, you are standing in front of students all day. Your clothes can play a role in making it easy for students to respect you. The specific answer to what to wear for an interview in education varies depending on the context.

Here are a few examples to guide your preparation for a virtual interview in the education sector. Before we get to interview clothes, there is one non-clothing item to avoid. Avoid wearing perfume or cologne – many schools restrict these items due to allergies.

Elementary School or High School interview clothes

For men, it is hard to go wrong with a nice dress shirt and slacks(i.e., navy blue or gray is a good bet). For women, there are some options such as a blouse, skirt or slacks.

University interview clothes

Standard job interviews clothes are still a good choice. If you are a school graduate, you might consider wearing a pin or necktie related to the school. Showing your enthusiasm for the college in a subtle way is a nice touch.

Private Schools

Some private schools have a dress code. It is a good idea to review the dress code and check that your job interview clothes align with those expectations.

Sales and business interview clothes

"I don't think appearance dictates success. I think the way you look has to be reflective of your confidence. If your appearance isn't great, but that's how you feel confident, then you can probably be successful," Says Ryan Serhant, a successful real estate agent in New York City and star of "Million Dollar Listing" in Mr Magazine.

Ryan is right in that the clothes you wear can help you project an image of success and confidence in the sales world. In that case, you might want to consider buying new clothes for your virtual interview. If money is tight, try looking at thrift shops for gently used items. You can take them to a tailor, and iron them at home to spruce them up.

two women sitting next to each other waving at a screen

Government interview clothes

Unlike other industries, the government is not known for celebrating creative fashion. Conservative style is the best guideline to keep in mind for government interview clothes.

Use the following tips to select job interview clothes for a job with the government.

  • Men's job interview outfit. A clean, well-pressed suit in navy blue or gray is an excellent starting point. For a bit of flair, consider wearing a pin with a flag to show your patriotism.
  • Women's job interview outfit. Aim for a professional, conservative look.

For additional inspiration, check the website for the government department before your job interview. There will probably be photos of the executives who lead the department which can give you ideas.

Law interview clothes

Like the government, the legal profession has a dress code that is relatively conservative. Some established law firms in New York were once partially known for their fashion choices (i.e., white-shoe firms). When you prepare for a virtual interview in the legal profession, high-quality formal wear is your best bet.

  • Men's job interview outfit. Wear a suit! There is no better choice. If possible, buy a new high-quality suit.
  • Women's job interview outfit. Wearing a skirt suit or pant suit is a good bet.

For additional insight, look at the insight of the law firm or department. If the partners all wear conservative suits, you should probably choose job interview clothes that match that style.

Tech startup interview clothes

For years, the answer to what to wear to a tech interview has been the same: go casual and don't wear formal clothes. If you're looking at joining a small startup with a handful of employees, that advice might make sense.

You can research the company culture. Some tech companies strongly encourage casual clothes. Look for photos of the company leadership and people at company events to get a sense of acceptable behavior. In addition, reading employee comments on websites like Glassdoor can give you more insight.

In most cases, you should dress up a bit. Even if the company has a casual style, adding a bit of style to your job interview clothes makes sense. For example, wearing nice jeans and a blazer would be a great outfit for a casual tech company. If the tech job involves working with customers, wearing a suit is a good idea.

Dress for confidence and comfort. In a tech interview, you might face challenging questions. For example, job interviews at Google are complicated (e.g., "If you were asked to wash all the windows in this city, how much would you charge?"). Wearing clothes you like and find comfortable can make it easier to focus.

Virtual interview dress: a simple way to make a great first impression

Success in a virtual interview requires preparation and focus. Wearing a good suit is not enough to get you hired, but it can help you make a good impression. It is best to treat a virtual interview like a traditional interview – wear a suit or other business attire. Wearing formal clothes makes it easier to be focused and engaged in the conversation.

Molly Hocutt

Molly Hocutt

Molly Hocutt has been a Content Manager at Livestom since 2019. She has more than five years of experience in SaaS content writing and B2B marketing.