Published: Sep 14, 2020
As the great philosopher Lizzo put it: “[w]oo girl, need to kick off your shoes. Got to take a deep breath, time to focus on you.” When it comes to dressing for an interview, take the singer, songwriter, and musician's words as truth. The focus should be on you, not on what you're wearing. And take heart, with many interviews going virtual post-covid, the rules for good interview attire have not changed that much. Dress the same as you would in a face-to-face interview.
To get yourself in the right frame of mind, pretend that you are meeting with the interviewer in person, and prepare in the same way. Wear something neutral and professional. Most experts recommend avoiding bright colors or loud prints. Instead, choose neutrals like black, white, or navy. Both men and women can't go wrong choosing a button-down shirt paired with a blazer. The blazer is a symbol of professionalism and may help you feel confident. If you wear the same type of slacks you would for an in-person interview, you will feel put together and that feeling may come across in your interview. If you decide to go for comfort (ahem, sweatpants), that's find; just remember not to stand up during the interview.
If you want assistance with choosing what to wear, some retailers such as J.Crew, Banana Republic, and Kate Spade offer free styling. A personal shopper will curate a look for you using the clothes available at their store. Another alternative to is to sign up for a clothing subscription service such as Stitchfix and Nordstrom’s Trunk Club. Their stylists will interview you to understand your needs before sending a clothing subscription box based on your style. The best part of a clothing subscription is that you only pay for what you want to keep and you send the rest back. Describe the type of interview, and let the stylists work their magic.
Video interviews then to emphasis on your face, so now is not the time to experiment with a new hairdo or makeup trick. Your hair should be out of your face, and makeup should be natural looking. Additionally, accessories should also be simple. Sometimes a great pair of earrings or a necklace can pull an outfit together, but they should not draw attention.
Another thing to consider for the interview is your posture and how you hold yourself. Body language can tell an interviewer more about you than your outfit does. Sit up straight. Tuck a small pillow behind you for comfort and as a reminder not to slouch. Additionally, be sure that your laptop is on a raised platform, so that you're not looking down. You want your face to be in the center of the webcam frame. Lighting is important, too. Conduct the interview in a space that's well-lit, so the interviewer can see your face clearly. Consider purchasing a ring light, which sits behind your computer and provides very flattering lighting.
With these basics taken care of, turn your thoughts inward and take a few deep breaths. Remember Lizzo’s advice: You want to be “feelin’ good as hell.”
Recently, we spoke with Tim Ihlefeld, the CEO of Harqen, which provides on-demand video, voice, and text interviewing technology services. We asked Ihlefeld about his company, how he anticipates recruiting and interviewing to change post-Covid-19, and what he thinks will be the long-term effects of the coronavirus on traditional HR practices.