What do you wear to a tech interview? Is it different when meeting via Zoom, and do people still wear suits? Deciding what to wear to your interview can be challenging, particularly as more companies embrace remote-first and work-from-anywhere cultures.
What To Wear To A Tech Interview
Since I have no sense of style, at least according to my partner, I spoke with Brandi Fowler, a fashion and lifestyle editor and host; Rae Allen, a wardrobe stylist; and Atarah Styles, a plus-size style and image expert, to get their insights on common questions regarding what to wear to a tech interview, including:
- What should I wear to a tech interview?
- What should I wear to a Zoom interview for a tech job?
- Can I underdress for a tech interview?
- Can I overdress for a tech interview?
- What is the best color to wear to an interview?
- Are there colors to avoid wearing to an interview?
- Is it bad to ask about the dress code for an interview?
What should I wear to a tech interview?
There are several factors to consider when deciding what to wear to a tech interview. For starters, Allen says that her top advice is to dress in a way that makes you feel comfortable and confident. “Stepping into an interview where you feel less than your best can be extremely deflating,” she explains.
That said, Allen says that a professional look is always expected, even when interviewing at a tech company, but that you can use colors and silhouettes to show off your personal style. “Make sure to find a look that isn’t too distracting; that will take away from the actual interview.”
“You want to keep the focus on your skills and why you would make the perfect addition to their team, no matter what you’re wearing,” reminds Fowler.
You can review the company’s culture, in addition to considering the level of the role, to get an idea of how much personality is appropriate.
Tech Job Interview Outfit Options
How does this all come together into the perfect tech interview outfit? Fowler says that a safe interview option is a white, long-sleeved button-down top and slacks, coupled with dress shoes, stylish pumps, or closed-toed heels.
For those of you who want to show a bit more personality in your interview outfit, particularly in the spring or summer, you can add a pop of color with your button-down, but remember to keep your attire professional, cautions Fowler.
And what about wearing a tie to a tech interview? According to Fowler, “You can’t go wrong with a tie either, but it’s OK to skip wearing a tie too.”
Styles recommends investing in quality blouses and layering pieces for your interview and provided the following options:
- Dress shirt, tie, and quality dress shoes and dark socks
- Button-down shirt with blazer and chinos
- Pantsuit or skirt suit with closed-toe shoes
- Dress with a cardigan
Regardless of what you ultimately decide to wear to your interview, Styles says it needs to be polished, professional, well-fitting, and wrinkle-free.
What should I wear to a Zoom interview for a tech job?
When meeting with a tech company via Zoom, you’ll also need to take time to prepare your interview outfit. Proceed with caution before throwing on a pair of sweatpants.
“Zoom interviews should be treated with the same respect as an in-person opportunity,” explains Styles. She says this includes not only putting together a polished outfit but also practicing good hygiene and grooming.
Since you never know what might happen during your interview and may need to show your bottom half, Allen recommends opting for a full head-to-toe outfit rather than the “Zoom look.” She also suggests that you avoid prints because they can come off as too busy on camera.
Zoom Job Interview Outfit Options
So what does this look like all put together? A few Zoom interview outfit options Allen suggests include:
- Polished button-down with tapered trousers, dressy joggers, or clean denim
- Button-up shirt or blazer paired with a skirt or relaxed trousers
- Business casual dress in a neutral color or color that fits your style
- Sheath or fit and flare dress
Fowler agrees that your attire needs to be professional when interviewing with a tech company via Zoom and provided the following outfit options:
- A white button-down with a blazer (navy or black is fine)
- A button-down with a pop of color, blazer optional
You also want to ensure your area is well lit. It also helps if your background is interesting; otherwise, Fowler recommends blurring it out.
Can I underdress for a tech interview?
Your comfort is paramount when choosing your outfit for a tech interview, but you want to be cognizant of the dress code at your target company and demonstrate an understanding of the current culture, as well as convey a sincere interest in the role.
“While many tech companies are known to be more laid back with their dress codes, it’s not advised to dress like your prospective coworkers,” says Styles. “Being underdressed at the interview sends the message that you don’t value the opportunity or their time.”
Fowler agrees and says that “Just because the interview is with a tech company doesn’t mean you should dress casually for it… Your appearance will make an impression, and you want to make sure it is a good impression. What you wear should show that you are taking the interview seriously.”
Allen adds that “There is always a fine line, but it is always better to be overdressed than underdressed.” According to her, you want to avoid wearing sandals or flip-flops, shorts, or tank tops to a tech interview. When in doubt, she believes that it’s best to opt for a suit, professional dress, blazer and pants, or blouse or skirt when interviewing for a higher-level role.
Can I overdress for a tech interview?
While it can be difficult to overdress for a tech interview, it can happen, so be cautious. “Wearing a three-piece suit isn’t necessary, for example,” shares Fowler. “Be professional, but you don’t need to be overly conservative.”
Similarly, you don’t need to wear a suit to an informal lunch interview either, explains Allen. “However, if you dress in a suit, and that’s your personal style, it could work.”
That said, ties are not always necessary, according to Allen, and you’ll want to be mindful of large jewelry and over-accessorizing, too. “A form of overdressing could also be wearing too many items and mixing too many colors,” she adds. “Less is more in this scenario.”
Styles agrees and argues that some tech candidates go overboard when accessorizing for their interview. “A classic watch or simple pendant necklace is timeless. Avoid bangles, oversized earrings, or jewelry that clangs. Keep your heels under 3.5 inches.”
“Being too extravagant with your attire can potentially send the wrong message and is also distracting. You also don’t want to give the impression that you’re out of touch with tech industry norms,” she adds. She says that if you feel like you’re wearing too much, you probably are.
“Your personality and qualifications should outshine your attire,” says Styles.
What is the best color to wear to an interview?
If you’re not sure what colors to wear to an interview, Styles says to go with navy blue. According to her, “It’s a universally flattering color, and it’s available year-round! It’s the color for tech professionals who want to exude confidence and show trustworthiness.”
Are there colors to avoid wearing to an interview?
When it comes to colors to avoid during your interview, all three of the experts concur that you want to avoid bold and busy prints that might distract the recruiter or hiring manager.
When interviewing via Zoom, Fowler says to avoid greens and oranges, as they can sometimes make you look sickly or be unflattering to your skin tone. Allen adds that brown, yellow, and orange can be distracting during an interview.
You also want to avoid blending in with your background, says Styles. This can happen if you wear a white blazer against a white wall.
Is it bad to ask about the dress code for an interview?
If you’re still feeling uncertain about what to wear, or simply want some reassurance, it doesn’t hurt to ask the recruiter. Team Blind can also give you additional insight into the company culture and dress code.
“Asking your recruiter about their dressing standards ahead of time shows you’re intentional and serious about making an amazing impression,” explains Styles. “Recruiters and HR employees are generally happy to provide guidance on what’s appropriate.”
“You can avoid asking about the dress code for an interview by examining the company culture and wearing a suit,” says Fowler. According to her, you can’t go wrong in wearing a suit for an interview with a tech company.
Final Thoughts On What To Wear To A Tech Interview
My hope is that this article helps you feel more confident heading into your next tech interview. As Allen explains, “You only have one chance to make a first impression,” so “you want to show up as your best self.” At the same time, you don’t want your outfit to distract from your key message. You should instead focus on impressing a prospective employer with your job qualifications. You’ve got this!