The golden rule
If in doubt, pretend you’re going to an interview at your prospective workplace. That means dressing smartly and making sure you’re well-groomed. If I really have to spell it out, don’t forget to wear proper clothes on your bottom half in case you have to stand up for any reason! And give your shoes a polish in case they make it into the camera’s line of sight at any point.
As a general rule, a dark-coloured suit and a lighter shirt are normally advised, and a smart tie is usually required for men. In some situations you may not need to wear a jacket, but it’s probably better to assume that you should. It’s very unlikely that you won’t get the job because you look too smart!
Make sure your clothes are in good condition and fit well. Get used to wearing them around the house if you don’t normally wear formal attire so that you feel more comfortable when interview day arrives.
…err on the side of caution, even if the interview has been pitched as ‘informal’, or the role is quirky or creative
…wash and iron your clothes carefully
…brush your hair and consider tying it back if it looks unruly
…check for stains, missing buttons and hanging threads
…accessorise appropriately, for example smart cufflinks or an attractive belt with a suit, or a matching jewellery set
…wear colours that match and complement your colouring
…avoid garish colours or patterns
…wear a tie with cartoon characters on!
…forget to change your slippers for shoes
…wear shirts or blouses that are too tight, or they may gape when you’re sitting down
…display any tattoos that might be offensive or off-putting
…forget to shave or trim your facial hair so that your interviewers can see your lovely face
…wear a short skirt without tights underneath, or your modesty may be compromised!
…apply makeup that makes you look too pale or made-up on screen
…put on noisy jewellery, such as clunky bangles or earrings, which might be distracting for your interviewers
Once you’ve picked your outfit and made sure it’s in tip-top condition, test it out on your webcam. Call a friend on Skype so you can see how you will look to your interviewers. Adjust the lighting if necessary, and focus on your posture. Make sure there is no mess or clutter in the background. Ask your friend for feedback on your interview look (brutal honesty is the kindest approach!) and adjust accordingly.
On interview day, make sure your Skype connection is working and be ready ahead of time. Behave professionally throughout, and don’t forget to smile where appropriate!
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