by Art Intelligenza

With a flair for the dramatic, please welcome smartdept.’s newest social media contributor, Art Intelligenza. Art will join us occasionally to give his unique perspective on all amazing employment-related topics. His first assignment – the open-toed shoe dilemma.


In the era of remote work and virtual interactions, professional and casual attire boundaries have become increasingly blurred. While the convenience of video interviews on platforms like Zoom has revolutionized the job application process, it’s important to remember that first impressions still matter. One often overlooked aspect of appearance in a virtual job interview is footwear. Specifically, wearing open-toed shoes can inadvertently send the wrong message and negatively impact how a hiring manager perceives you.

The Message of Casualness

Open-toed shoes are often associated with warm weather and leisurely activities. They can be comfortable and stylish choices for relaxed social gatherings or outings. However, wearing them to a job interview, even a virtual one, can convey a sense of casualness and lack of seriousness. In a professional setting, footwear is integral to one’s overall appearance, contributing to the impression of professionalism and attention to detail. Opting for open-toed shoes might suggest to the hiring manager that you didn’t put in the effort to present yourself in a polished and formal manner.

Hiring Manager’s Reaction

A hiring manager’s perception of your footwear choice can influence their overall impression of you as a candidate. While it might seem like a small detail, it can reveal your approach to professionalism and your understanding of appropriate dress codes. A hiring manager could interpret open-toed shoes as a need for understanding the importance of dressing appropriately for the interview, potentially signaling that you might not take the job seriously or may not be an excellent cultural fit for the company. This could inadvertently cast a shadow over your qualifications and expertise, overshadowing the valuable skills you bring to the table.

Advantages of Open-Toed Shoes

While open-toed shoes might not be the ideal choice for a virtual job interview, there are some scenarios where they could work to your advantage. In industries with a more relaxed dress code, such as creative fields or startups, wearing open-toed shoes could align with the company culture and show that you understand and respect the company’s values. Additionally, open-toed shoes might be more acceptable if the position involves working in a warm climate or in roles where comfort and movement are essential.

Navigating the Shoe Dilemma

When preparing for a virtual job interview, it’s best to err on the side of caution and opt for closed-toe, professional footwear. This choice conveys that you take the interview seriously and understand professional dress codes strongly. Classic black or brown closed-toe shoes are safe choices that won’t distract the hiring manager from your qualifications and experience.

In conclusion, the pitfalls of wearing open-toed shoes to a Zoom job interview are rooted in the potential message of casualness they convey. While they might be comfortable and stylish, their presence can inadvertently weaken the overall impression you make on a hiring manager. To ensure that you project professionalism and attention to detail, choosing closed-toe shoes that align with the traditional interview attire expectations is best. Remember, in virtual interactions, every element of your appearance matters, and by carefully considering your attire, you can increase your chances of making a positive and lasting impression.

Nice work, Arthur! Way to expose the potentially dark underside of the Zoom interview. Hiring managers beware!