Just because the rest of an outfit is off-screen doesn’t mean it should be an afterthought, however. “Of course I wear shoes! It’s something that puts me fully in the zone,” says Laurel Violet, currently interviewing for several early-career roles with museums, galleries and auction houses. A colleague from a previous job at an auction house taught her the importance of always wearing good footwear. “If you’re wearing shabby shoes, the client will always notice, and distrust you. They want us to be precise.”
Now, slipping into her favourite Gianvito Rossi Portofino 60s (“at first they look like granny-ish kitten heels, but they give you tiny baby ankles, like Meghan Markle”) provides a little psychological fillip before a video interview. “Heels make you feel serious and sit up straighter. Your posture is better, which is important on a Zoom call, especially a long one when it would be easy to start to slump and look less interested.”
While many women say they would feel “ridiculous” wearing heels for a video interview or another day working at home, Berkeley is unequivocal. “Put the heels on,” she instructs. “Do whatever you need to do to feel the part, even though nobody can see.”
Differences of opinion on to shoe or not to shoe aside, everyone agrees on the importance of demarcating specific work zones and staging those scenes. Backgrounds especially count during interviews, when anything messy or busy can distract from even the most qualified candidate. “You don’t want laundry in the background,” Miller says. She stacked books to bring her laptop camera to eye level (one of Tom Ford’s top tips, and a great way to avoid up-nostril shots), positioned a lamp behind her computer for flattering lighting, and shut the cats out of her office, which is really her spare room (“they can’t be trusted”).