The old adage says you only have one chance to make a good first impression. Now that most interviews are being conducted on Zoom or similar, there’s even more to think about when it comes to dressing to impress.
We’re not totally throwing the traditional interview outfit playbook out of the window, but interviewing on Zoom just isn’t the same as showing up in-person. During a face-to-face interview, a great outfit can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you when it comes to making a good impression. In addition, warm body language and a professional way of conducting yourself before, during, and after the interview can also leave people thinking you are wonderful.
When you click into a Zoom room, though, it’s a completely different setting, and there are fewer opportunities to showcase your personality. That’s why what you wear can help you shine.
Make sure you’re the main event
They’re only going to see a small part of you, and the part they do see will appear small on their screen. Because of that, you need to make sure that you are the main event, and that nothing about your outfit (or your background!) distracts the interviewer from you.
The right choice of colours
There are certain colours you should avoid simply because laptop cameras are relatively low quality, and the way the images register will be more distracting than not:
- No Black – Laptop cameras have a really hard time seeing texture, folds, and seams on black fabrics. There’s a danger your head will be floating above a black blob.
- Nothing Too Bright – Avoid bright colours, especially bright white, red, and orange. While your camera is trying to adjust exposure on your face, your top may glow if it’s white. Neutrals such as blue, grey, charcoal, off-white/cream, khaki and navy are your best choices for on-screen colours as they consistently register with the camera and ensure you look professional, trustworthy, and experienced. Deeper purple, burgundy and green shades also read well, and add more interest to your palette if you find yourself experiencing neutral-fatigue. Red and orange can bleed on the screen, giving off a haze.
Experts recommend women should wear a solid, muted colour long-sleeve shirt with no pattern or lettering. If there is a pattern, make sure it doesn’t have a lot of contrast. Note that V-neck tops elongate your torso and look good on any shape. A necklace could be an easy way to dress up your outfit and subtly add visual interest.
For men, a collared shirt minus the jacket and tie is a perfect example of bringing your look down a notch while still maintaining professionalism. Layer it with a sweater to add more interest or opt for a polo style shirt if you find yourself overheating.
A simple but glowing makeup
Whether it’s Zooming with colleagues or a more important interview, we’re all seeing way more of our faces on tiny screens than ever before. If you’re feeling like your laptop camera isn’t doing you any favours, here are some tips and tricks for fast and easy make-up.
- Hydrate your skin – One of the best bits of advice for looking presentable on the fly is to focus less on covering skin imperfections and place emphasis on cheekbones, brows, and lips instead. A go-to conference-call look requires prepping the skin first with a nourishing oil or moisturiser..
- Highlight your best features – To prevent looking “flat” on camera, it is best to go for a soft contour. You can use contour to your best advantage right now because people aren’t actually seeing you in person. If you’ve ever wanted to try changing the angle of your jawline or sculpting your cheekbones into a whole new dimension.
- The eyes say it all – To look more “convincing and confident” during work Zoom meetings, make-up artists suggest going for “strong, full eyebrows.” Also, biologically, we tend to be drawn to people with expressive, healthy-looking eyes so along with eyeshadow that accentuates the eyes, thick lashes also convey a message of health and well-being that’ll help you shine on video.
- Emphasise your lips – Fewer people are used to wearing colour on their lips, but a bit of lipstick can make you look instantly ‘done’ and translates very well to being on-camera. Even if you’re used to wearing a sheer gloss or balm in the office, makeup artists recommend switching to at least a neutral shade to help you look more put-together on Zoom.
The light makes it all more flattering
Where you sit plays a significant role in how you look on Zoom or in any video. You need proper lighting if you want other participants to be able to see your face clearly, and to avoid looking like you’re sitting in front of a spotlight.
In order from best to worst for video calls, here are the sources of lighting you can use:
- Natural light
- Warm indoor lighting
- White indoor lighting
- The light from your computer screen
Image experts agree that natural light is always the most flattering. They recommend directly facing a diffuse light source — like a window with a curtain over it — for lighting that hits your face symmetrically and isn’t too bright. But if you live in a basement apartment or are Zooming after sunset, you might have to fake it. Experts recommend using a selfie ring light that is affordable and easy to use.
Feeling you might need some extra help to shine on your next Live or Zoom meeting? Why not book one of our media training sessions?