Virtual interviews are the norm now, but that doesn’t make it much easier to determine what you should wear. Even though the interview is virtual and you’re likely taking the interview from home, it’s still important to dress well and show respect. Here’s how to figure out what to wear for a virtual interview.
The easiest and often most underutilized tool when you’re trying to determine what to wear for a virtual interview is to ask. If you’re working with a recruiter, ask them about the dress code. If you’re not working with a recruiter, ask your company contact about the dress code. There’s no harm in asking, and this will often give you the most straightforward answer.
When you’re getting ready for an interview, research who will actually be conducting the interview and follow their example of clothing. Do a quick LinkedIn search and see what they are wearing in their LinkedIn profile picture. If the person you’re meeting often dresses up or you know that you’ll be working in a more formal work environment, take cues from them and dress a bit more formally even if you’re taking your interview from home.
This doesn’t mean that you need to put on a full suit, but if you’re someone who often dresses very casually, grab a blazer to put over your t-shirt and jeans, or opt for a casual button-down shirt. There’s no need to dress super formal for a virtual interview unless instructed to do so, however, you should look respectable and show your interviewer that you put in the effort.
A good rule of thumb
If you often dress very casually for work, start with how you would normally dress and take it one notch more formal. That means adding on a jacket, blazer, a button-down, or something to make you look a bit more put together.
If you often dress very formally, stick with how you usually dress. No need to dress down from what you would wear to any other outing. If you wear a suit to work and you’re interviewing for a similar role, dress in the same manner that you would as if you were going to work.
A study completed at Yale in 2014 used 128 men between the ages of 18 and 32 to test the effect that clothing had on sales. Those dressed poorly (in sweatpants and plastic sandals) averaged a theoretical profit of $680,000, while the group dressed in suits amassed an average profit of $2.1 million. The group dressed neutrally averaged a $1.58 million profit.
The bottom line is that even if you’re taking your virtual interview from home, you should still look professional.
Wrinkles are the enemy
Even if the work environment is casual, there’s nothing worse than a wrinkled outfit. The most expensive and formal clothing immediately looks terrible when covered in wrinkles. On the flip side, a simple t-shirt and jeans look much more put together when clean and pressed.
If you don’t like to iron, (I hate to iron) get yourself a little steamer. Coming to your virtual interview in wrinkle-free clothing is an easy way to ensure that you don’t look like you just rolled out of bed.
This article originally appeared in Michelle Lando.