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Q: What should I wear to the interview? A: Dress to impress, but do not stand out

The medical school interview can be a daunting prospect. A committee of doctors judging your every move, your words, your thoughts! But there are many things you can do to ease the pressure. The first is to make sure you look the part.

For every interview, follow these simple tips:

Most FAQ

  • Should I carry a portfolio?: Most people feel weird not carrying one, only cause they have nothing to hold. There is absolutely nothing in those portfolios that you may need during an interview (your interviewee has your file beforehand). However, you might want to carry one just in case so you can jot down some notes or look busy.
  • What kind of pen?: It does NOT have to be a Mont Blanc. Just a nice looking cheap $2 knockoff will do just fine.

Interview attire guidelines for men and women
  • Suit: A two piece matched suit is always the best and safest choice.
  • Conservative colors / fabric: Navy, dark gray (and black for women) — are safe.
  • Other color trends may come and go; avoid the extremes.
  • Solids or very subtle weave patterns or plaids (the kind that look solid across a room) are safest.
  • Cost / quality: You are not expected to be able to afford the same clothing as a corporate CEO. Do invest in quality that will look appropriate during your first two or three years in medical school. One good quality suit is sufficient for all you medical school interview (and maybe even residency ones) if that is all your budget allows. You can vary your shirt/blouse tie/accessories.
  • Details: Everything should be clean and well pressed. Carefully inspect clothes for tags, dangling threads, etc.
Additional interview attire specifics for men
  • Don’t combine a suit jacket with pants that don’t match.
  • Ties: Tie styles come and go. Select good quality silk ties. Avoid fashion extremes, like character ties, in interviews. Don’t wear a tie with a stethoscope on it!
  • Facial hair: If worn, should be well-groomed. Women, don’t do it.
  • Jewelry: Wear a conservative watch. If you choose to wear other jewelry, be conservative. Removing earrings is safest. For conservative industries, don’t wear earrings. Observe other men in your industry to see what is acceptable.
Additional interview attire specifics for women
  • Don’t confuse club attire with business attire. If you would wear it to a club, you probably shouldn’t wear it in a business environment.
  • Suit: Wear a two-piece matched suit.
  • Suit – pants / skirts: Tailored pants suits are appropriate for women. Pants suits can be an excellent choice for site visits, particularly if the visit involves getting in and out of vehicles and/or the site is (or includes) a manufacturing plant or industrial facility. If you wear pants, they should be creased and tailored, not tight or flowing.
  • Skirt lengths: Much of what you see on television shows that masquerades for professional attire is actually inappropriate for a work environment. Your skirt should cover your thighs when you are seated. Showing a lot of thigh makes you look naive at best, foolish at worst. A skirt that ends at the knee when you’re standing looks chic and professional. Longer skirts are professional too; just make sure they are narrow enough not to be billowing, but not so narrow that you can’t climb stairs comfortably. Don’t purchase a skirt or decide on a hem length until you sit in the skirt facing a mirror. That’s what your interviewer will see. Ask yourself whether it will be distracting or reinforce your image as a person who looks appropriate for a business environment or gathering. High slits in skirts are not appropriate. A small back, center slit in a knee-length skirt is appropriate. On a calf length skirt, a slit to the knee to facilitate walking and stair climbing is appropriate.
  • Jewelry / accessories: Wear a conservative watch. Jewelry and scarf styles come and go. Keep your choices simple and leaning toward conservative. Avoid extremes of style and color.
  • Cosmetics: Keep makeup conservative. A little is usually better than none for a polished look.  Nails should be clean and well groomed. Avoid extremes of nail length and polish color. Doctors are by nature conservative people.
  • Shoes: You will be walking around! Should be leather or fabric / micro fiber. Shoe styles and heel heights come and go. Choose closed-toe pumps. Regardless of what is in style, avoid extremes; no stilettos or chunky platforms. Make certain you can walk comfortably in your shoes; hobbling in uncomfortable shoes does not convey a professional appearance when walking around the hospital.
  • Purse / bag: If you carry a purse, keep it small and simple.  Purse color should coordinate with your shoes. You may choose to carry a small briefcase or business-like tote bag in place of a purse. Leather is the best choice for briefcases; micro fiber or fine wovens are also acceptable.

If someone remembers what you are wearing, that is probably not a good thing! Keep it simple. If you want to add flare, maybe a tie that is unique for men or a scarf for women.

For interview tips, preparation and consultation, visit