How to Look Your Professional Best in a Video Interview

Posted by Ashley Jones
Video Interview

The past few months have brought sweeping changes to our daily routines in both our personal and professional lives. As employers and job seekers adapt to the new norm, video interviewing is becoming a standard step that can be expected in the recruitment process. With hairdos begging for a cut and sweatpants in vogue, are you camera ready for your next virtual appearance? Use these tips to ensure you present your most professional self in your next video interview.

Look Polished From Head to Toe

The key to a successful video interview lies in treating it as closely to an in-person interview as possible. This means putting as much effort into your wardrobe choice and grooming habits as you would for a face-to-face interaction.

Professional Attire

Give extra attention to your top half, as the interviewer will typically be able to see from your head to your collarbone or chest. But this does not mean that your lower half should be neglected. If something unexpected requires you to stand up during your video interview, you’ll want your bottom half to match the professional attire you’re wearing up top. Being fully dressed also helps put you in the right frame of mind, so wear some nice pants, and shoes too.

When we think of interview attire, suits with crisp button down shirts often come to mind. While it’s not always necessary to sport a suit and tie, it’s always better to be overdressed than under. Doing some research on the company beforehand will help you understand their standards and what it means to dress the part in their eyes. And you can always ask your recruiter for guidance if you have questions about how formal to dress.

Neckline and Sleeves

It’s hard to go wrong with a neatly pressed button down shirt, but for women especially, keep your neckline in mind—the higher the better. A moderate or lower-cut top might be completely out of the field of view once on camera. Instead try a mandarin collar or something with a slight V that frames your face. You might also choose a top with a slightly wider neckline that modestly shows a little skin. But the only bare skin visible should be your face and neckline, so wear long sleeves, a blazer, or suit jacket. Avoiding sleeveless tops and bare arms provides needed contrast to showcase your face—and sleeves are expected when dressing professionally.

Colors and Patterns

Contrast also comes into play when selecting your color palette. Skip neutral colors that wash you out, and choose a jewel tone instead. Saturated colors like emerald green or sapphire blue work great with all skin tones. They’re not too bright or muted like white and black. If your heart was set on black you can always go for navy instead. The key is deep colors that complement your skin. And stick to just one or two solid colors at the most. That said, stay away from prints and patterns. They can appear blurry, overpowering, and distracting on camera.


As for accessorizing with jewelry, keep it to a minimum or none at all. While you may have a great statement piece to show off, save it for another occasion to limit distractions. If you do wear jewelry, small and simple is ideal. Select either earrings or a necklace—wearing both or something too large can cause distractions, especially if they are shiny.

Hair Care and Shaving

If you’re used to frequenting the hair salon, taming the mane might be daunting at this time. And if you don’t typically cut or color your hair yourself, keep the scissors in the drawer to avoid rookie mistakes. Instead of focusing on color and cut, do what you can to make your hair healthy with conditioner or other treatments. Using dry shampoo can also help to lessen the contrast on dark roots that have grown out.

A fresh shave is always advisable for an interview. If you want to keep your facial hair, check the company’s LinkedIn or Instagram accounts to see if their employees are sporting beards. But this can vary by department or role. For instance, you should likely shave if you’re interviewing for a client-facing position. If you do keep your beard, be sure to trim, comb, and condition for the most polished appearance possible.


If you’re going to wear makeup, think conservatively. But you might want to apply your products a little more heavily than you usually do, so the camera picks up your features. Some bronzer or blush can also help to avoid the camera from washing you out—once again, a little contrast is key.

Prepare Your Set and Tech

Looking professional goes beyond what you’re wearing or how you style your hair. Things like where you’re sitting or your username and profile picture on the video platform also set the tone right off the bat.


Though platforms like Zoom have options to add a virtual background, avoid these at all costs unless you have a green screen. It can look glitchy and serve as a big distraction when not working properly. Try to situate yourself somewhere with a blank background, like an empty wall without pictures. You want the interviewer focused on you, not deciphering some poster or piece of home decor in the background. And always clean up your surrounding area. If a blank wall isn’t possible, tidy up as best you can to limit distractions and appear organized.

Lighting and Glare

It’s also important to think about your light source. Natural light often looks best, but don’t sit with your back to a window. You want the light coming from in front of you so that you’re not in the shadows. Sometimes it can take a little trial and error with your webcam to find the right position that lights up your face while also avoiding glare. If a lamp is causing glare, try pointing it towards the wall behind you instead of directly aimed at you. Or if jewelry is catching the light and causing glare, it’s best to simply remove it. When running a screen test for lighting, try to do it at the same time of day that your interview is scheduled for, and also test again the day of.

Username and Profile Picture

And finally, remember to take a look at your name and profile picture associated with your account on the video platform you’ll be using. This is the very first thing they will see, so be sure it is professional. This is a simple yet important part of forming a great first impression.

Keep these tips in mind as you prepare for your next virtual interview and you’ll be looking your best, ready to impress. For more information on how to succeed in a video interview read here.


  • Ashley Jones

    Ashley Jones is ClearedJobs.Net's blog Editor and a cleared job search expert, dedicated to helping security-cleared job seekers and employers navigate job search and recruitment challenges. With in-depth experience assisting cleared job seekers and transitioning military personnel at in-person and virtual Cleared Job Fairs and military base hiring events, Ashley has a deep understanding of the unique needs of the cleared community. She is also the Editor of ClearedJobs.Net's job search podcast, Security Cleared Jobs: Who's Hiring & How.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, June 04, 2020 11:07 am

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