A guide on dressing for those pesky virtual job interviews, courtesy of The Pandemic.
Fashion month just ended (14 Sep 6 Oct) and it’s a shame. There really is nothing better, in this writer’s obviously biased opinion, so look at lush and extravagant fashion showcases. We have seen the highlights of Loewe, subverting said luxury with a wink and a little very garms looking for bubbles; on a separate note, we also had the privilege (not really) to testify a sneaker collaboration between Cole Haan (the people who make the dress shoes you get at the mall) and the workplace courier company Soft.
Let’s be clear: I’m not serious sneakerhead (I prefer vintage sweatshirts). But it doesn’t take a genius to recognize the irony of a collaboration between a shoe designer (the object that takes care of covering the feet that take you along, but not for now of course) and an app optimized for our work -hour home. In other words, it’s a fashion item that perfectly sums up the absurdity of the moment. How 2020.
But I digress. One thing fashion shows don’t highlight is the supposed new normal: party downstairs and business upstairs. For all those video chats and zoom meetings, we now have a habit of wearing business or business casual on top and sweating (or just simple underwear) below. Basically the WFH got us all tired real pants. Add virtual job interviews to the mix, which still happen despite the dismal economy, and it’s all a recipe for disaster, like the time I poured lemon juice into my banana smoothie made from milk.
So I figured this would be a good time (you’re not doing anything, are you?) To do a refresher on interview dress codes that specifically take into account the virtual nature of the interviews themselves. And yes, it will take pants.
What is the job?
This is a question you must ask yourself. Because the type of job you’re interviewing for, whether you like it or not, will at least somewhat determine what kind of outfit you should wear for your interview. The rise in Silicon Valley coincided with a more relaxed and relaxed style of work. If you are applying for a job in an arts or creative company, you can also expect things to be more casual.
But the World of finance is still so formal. Between all these options, there is even more variance. It’s enough to make you give up and go back to watch Emily in Paris and root for Lily Collins’ eyebrows. But don’t stop. Lucas Bravo can wait.
1. Take a moment to research the industry in which you are seeking employment. It is as basic as it gets. You are just assessing what the industry standard is at the moment.
2. Next, search for the specific company you are applying. This will give you a clue about the corporate culture. There will also usually be photos on the company’s website that can indicate some of the dress code rules for current employees.
There are many industry specific interview dress code guides (here is one from 2018 for finances). In most cases, the safest bet for both men and women is casual attire. Below, we’ll dive into what that means, even on your computer screen.
A better casual business
the Career Guide Indeed.com sure dressing for interviews “Business casual generally means dressing professionally without being too formal.” Forget the t-shirt and the pockmarked jeans (as well as the Patagonia Baggies I’m sure you are wearing it right now).
The gentleman in the photo above has the right idea (thought to be fair, I can’t see if he’s wearing pants or not). His collared shirt is ironed and neat and his hair is neat. You can’t go wrong with a White or blue dress shirt, tucked in (there’s still that pesky pants problem). A formal blouse with a casual jacket or blazer works well for women as well as.
If you find your home office a bit cold, add a sweater, cardigan, or jacket up. The temptation here is to go with one of these so called “fun” sweaters, but don’t fall for this trap. This is a job interview, not a chance to show your last ugly christmas sweater. Keep it neutral: Grays, blues, browns are all great options and will invariably go with the rest of your ensemble.
On a personal note, I’m a demon for second hand, second-hand and vintage clothing. Fashion is make a carnage on Earth’s climate (hey, I live there!) and big shock: we don’t have a backup planet (even if I hear Elon musk and Jeff Bezos are making huge strides on this front. Elon, please call me!). Check out your local second-hand store, Good will, or applications like Depop and Poshmark for great finds at reduced prices. I’m serious on this one.
Trust is the key
Now you have a few clothing options, what next? This is where the fit comes in. Lots of job interview clothing items will leave you here, with some ideas for your wardrobe and that’s it. But not me. I wouldn’t do that to you.
Why is fit important?
The actual fit of clothing matters so much for several reasons.
1. Done you seem sharper.
Your potential employer wants to know that you are making an effort to prepare for your interview, including how you dress and look. It signals that you are ready to answer all questions. For some reason, employers correlate appearance and effectiveness. Like it or not, you might as well make the most of it.
2. Done you more confident.
When you look better, you feel better. It’s as simple as that. By coming to an interview (even virtually) with your best duds, you’ll be ready to answer any questions they ask you. And the trust will be reflected and transmitted to the interviewer, even through the computer screen.
The elephant in the room (aka pants)
Now, I wouldn’t normally do a completely different section on pants for an item like this. I would have just mentioned a pair of solid chinos or pants for the guys (again in neutral colors) and the same or a pencil skirt (at least knee length) for the girls. But these are times of pandemic we live in: previously unimaginable, unforeseen, unintentional. So the question is: should you put on pants for your virtual job interview?
*Sigh. Suspenders for discarded vegetables. * Yes, yes you should. Be with me! Wearing exactly what you would for a job interview in person (pants and maybe even shoes too!) Will put you in the free space right succeed. You don’t want to spend part of your interview thinking about the fact that you’re currently wearing the same pair of underwear for the third day in a row. You want to focus on the interviewer questions, and as long as your new clothes look good on you, that’s exactly what you’ll do.
Brush these ways
I know I said it was about the clothes. It was a little white lie. Because a job interview, even a virtual one, is simply more complicated than putting on a spotless shirt and calling it a day.
1. Show on time (or early!).
There is a good joke from Mike Birbiglia about how early is hours, hour to hour is only a SECOND, then late is (* disturbing voice *) forever. It’s true in real life, and it’s even true virtually. But showing up early is more complicated numerically; I would recommend clicking on the link (for Zoom) or pressing call (for Skype or other platforms) about a minute before the scheduled time. Some platforms (like Zoom) will put you in a virtual waiting room until the host is ready or leave you in the meeting until the other party shows up.
2. Sit down Straight ahead.
I’m not your parent, I tell you to sit up straight at dinner time. When you are practically interviewing, there are fewer mistakes to make (like giving someone a weak handshake, looking too carelessly, etc.), but it also means every little detail matters more. So sit up straight and smile for the camera.
3. Make make sure your space isn’t too distracting and that it’s as neat as your brand new outfit.
It’s okay to have art on your walls and even to have your bed as the background of your appeal. We are all dealing with imperfect solutions and space limitations right now. But make sure that the art that is visible is relatively tame or tasteful and doesn’t signal anything about you that you wouldn’t want your potential employer to know. The bed thing is simple: fair. To do. Your. Bed. It’s done, that’s it.
4. Be a active listener.
While online video tools are reliable, they are not the same as normal conversation. I don’t recommend too many verbal listening cues (uh-huhs, yes, etc.). Keep things nonverbal with a nodding head (don’t be a bobble head though). Tilt your head slightly left or right as you listen. It’s a great non-verbal signal that shows you’re paying attention.
You can see that dressing for your next job interview is more than just clothes. It’s all about attitude, preparation and telegraphing to your future employer that you want this job. The old saying of “dress for the job you want, not the job you have“applies here. If your current position is” professional Netflix binger “(me too!), but the position you want is Accounting, Cyber security, or whatever else, then you have to dress for it. Of course, if finding a job is your problem (which is more than understandable), consider back to school to hone your skills and certificates. I have said it before and I will say it again. We are living in a stressful time. Don’t let your next virtual job interview stress you out even more.
This press release was prepared by Coastline College blog. The opinions expressed are those of the author.
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