What Should You Wear for a Skype Interview?

Not sure what clothes are best for a video interview? Should you wear makeup? Should you wear jewelry? Read on to find out what Lisa suggests.  

Lisa B. Marshall
3-minute read

I received this email from a previous client of mine.  

Hi Lisa,

Do you think can we still speak for a few minutes by phone? I have a recorded video interview coming up and I wanted to ask your suggestion just about my look. Please let me know if I can give you a quick phone call. I would like to pay for this quick consultation.
Thank you.

I thought I'd share my advice publicly since what to wear for a video interview is a common question that comes up—particularly with professional women. Here's my reply:

Of course, whatever you choose for your look it should be professional. For an interview, particularly one that will be recorded, my primary advice is to avoid standing out. Unfortunately, woman tend to be judged on their clothing more than men, so it's important that during an interview to dress NOT to be noticed. You want your conversation partners to focus on what you are saying, not how you look. You don't want your clothes or makeup to distract them.  
One important rule is to use clothes that fit perfectly. When dressing for an interview, you should be sure that whatever you choose fits you properly. If you don't have anything that fits, give yourself time to have it tailored, or go to a high-end department store to purchase something new—they often can tailor the clothes for you.  
Since your interview is being recorded, you may want to also consider rules associated with dressing for video. Again, the goal is to not stand out. This means you don't want to use bright colors or busy prints. You also don't want jewelry that is large or sparkly. A dark blue or black suit is professional for an interview, but feel free to wear other colors and shades. For example, many shades of blue—royal, navy, sky blue—look great on video, but grey and green can work too. (Reds, yellow, orange, and pink don't look good on video.) Choose something that complements your skin color. Feel free to wear a white or colored shirt, but again, you don't want the color of the shirt to distract. Finally, perhaps equally important, is to choose something that you feel confident and professional in.
When it comes to makeup, the same rules applies. Research suggests that some make-up is best. The idea is to highlight your natural beauty. So put on some makeup, but not too much. It's a careful balance when putting on makeup for video, as it does not tend to show up well on camera. For example, put on lipstick, but not a bright red lipstick. Go for a natural color. You don't want people to notice the makeup; you are only using it to make you look healthy and not washed out.  
For an interview, you eyes are most important and you'll want to use makeup to highlight them. Consider using mascara to darken your eyelashes, an eye pencil to smudge your lash line, and a spot concealer to brighten underneath your eyes. Again, on camera, your goal is to look natural and healthy. Finally, one last consideration regarding makeup. When I participate in video interviews, I often turn on lots of lights to be sure I can been seen clearly, but that causes me to get hot and my skin begins to moisten and glisten. So I always use a powder on my face to be sure my skin isn't reflecting, but if your skin is dry, you may want to use a moisturizing foundation.  
Finally, I've heard that people sometime dress only from the waist up. I do not recommend this. You never know—you may need to stand up during the interview and you don't want to be caught with your pajama bottoms on! 

About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.