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Besides “Wear Pants”: How to Dress to Impress as a Senior-Level Professional


If you remember your first job interview, you probably recall the stress and emphasis on making a good impression on your potential employer. 

The truth is that the need for a good first impression doesn’t go away, even if you are applying for a senior-level position. In some ways, the way you present yourself maybe even more important in a higher-level position as you will need to exude the qualities that reflect great leadership in order to convince your potential employer that you are the right fit for the job. 

While it’s undeniable that your experience, qualifications, and career accolades will play a major role in the hiring process, it would be unwise for anyone seeking a new job to overlook how you dress for an interview just because it might be considered ‘superficial’.

Ultimately, you only have a few seconds before someone will make some initial judgments on who they think you are. Your physical appearance and what you wear to an interview will make a major impact on that initial impression, so it’s important to take into account every detail.

What if it’s a Zoom or Video Call Interview?

These days, video call interviews are becoming increasingly common for obvious reasons. Even if the role you are applying for is a remote position, it doesn’t mean that it’s appropriate to take a Zoom interview in your pajamas. 

It’s just as critical to make a good first impression in any type of interview and to carefully consider every element that could provide an advantage for you in the hiring process. In fact, video interviews require additional consideration as they are quite different from an in-person meeting.

This article will share a few tips on what high-level professionals should wear for a Zoom or video call interview.

It Doesn’t Need to be a Suit, but it Does Need to be Professional

The standards for workplace attire are changing, so you may not always be required to wear a full suit for every interview. 

Of course, this option shouldn’t be dismissed as it might be the best choice depending on the company, but what’s more important is to research and understand the company culture so that you can dress to impress a good fit with that particular team. 

Regardless of your final choice, it should be very professional and create the impression that you are well-established and confident in your experience and qualifications. It should also imply that you’ve found success in your previous positions so that employers can feel confident about you finding success with their company.

Be Conscious of Material and Color Choices

While you certainly want to look your best no matter what you are wearing to your interview, there are additional considerations that should be taken for a Zoom interview.

What might look great in a mirror, might not look so hot on a video call. There are a few potential problems that you should be aware of:

  • Some materials or fabric may be too reflective for a video call
  • Don’t choose colors that may blend into the background
  • Don’t wear too many similar colors that might be indistinguishable via video
  • Be wary of patterns that might look strange on video

For example, certain fabrics with small, complicated, or ‘busy’ patterns can end up looking blurry on camera. Tight or dense patterns like plaid or pinstripes can ‘buzz’ on camera and could make your interviewers feel dizzy or distracted.

Ultimately, you should do a test video call before your interview to ensure that your decisions are coming across as intended.

Make Sure Your Clothes Look Good When Sitting Down

Chances are that you will be sitting down for the majority of any video interview. It’s important to make sure that the clothes you have chosen still look good when sitting in front of a computer.

Try to avoid any clothes that bunch up or wrinkle when you are seated and pay very careful attention to your top half as that will be the most visible part of your attire. Of course, your outfit should be from head to toe (just in case!), but it’s important that your clothes fit you best for the position that you will be in for the majority of the interview. 

It’s also important to choose something that will be comfortable for the duration of the interview so that you can avoid any fidgeting or discomfort during the process.

Other Important Tips for Professional Zoom Interviews

While your clothing selection is crucial for a successful interview, the very nature of a video call interview does require a few additional considerations in order to ensure that you can still make a great first impression.

Here are a few important tips to keep in mind:

  • Good, bright lighting is necessary to ensure that everyone can see you clearly
  • Check your background to make sure that it is either neutral or supports your image
  • Strong internet connection is critical for a smooth interview
  • Test your setup, camera, and audio to make sure everything looks good and is working properly
  • Maintain strong eye contact through the camera, not the screen

Want to learn more and further prepare yourself for a leadership position? Check out IvyExec’s Online Classes for more!


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