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What to wear to a medical school interview?

pi

Junior doctor
Administrar
I'm curious what chinaski and any other pros here have to say about visible tattoos. As a nurse with arms tattooed to the wrist, I have been in good company with other similarly-decorated nurses out there, but I admit I am yet to see this on a doc.
Not one of the pros, but I know of a medical student with tattoos that are visible on hands, upper chest etc. To be perfectly honest, he does get some weird looks from patients and others, but no one has "told him off" for it.
 

Havox

Sword and Martini Guy!
Emeritus
I'm curious what chinaski and any other pros here have to say about visible tattoos. As a nurse with arms tattooed to the wrist, I have been in good company with other similarly-decorated nurses out there, but I admit I am yet to see this on a doc.

To my knowledge I have not suffered any professional adverse effects as a nurse as a result of my appearance (otherwise in every way professional in the 'normal' sense). To the extent that I have been judged by people because of the tattoos (which has happened openly only a couple of times, and never by a patient) I think I have quickly compensated for this by proving my worth as an intelligent and hard-working clinician. I would like to think this would be the same in medicine, but for the times that it is not (I appreciate medicine is often more 'traditional' in its values), there are always long-sleeved shirts, right?
Long sleeved shirts are a given for guys anyway. Tattoos aren't an issue as long as you dress proper and carry yourself in a respectable way. In a sense yes, I do think nurses get away with things that the medical profession don't but tattoos have become so universal that unless you're getting extreme it doesn't matter.
 

Because Reasons

New Member
I think this is a fair point of discussion here, the link you've provided is useful though :)
So you wont be blaming me when this turns into a 20-page mud-slinging match about tattoos then? ;)

To clarify my original post: opinions of all welcome, obviously.

Long sleeve shirts are a given for guys, agreed, but also sleeves should be rolled up for infection-control whenever touching a patient/performing a procedure. Rolling and unrolling my sleeves every 5 minutes would be both time-consuming and distracting, I can't imagine even the strictest hospital/consultant would prefer my doing that to having a few inches of tattooed skin exposed....?
 

Havox

Sword and Martini Guy!
Emeritus
So you wont be blaming me when this turns into a 20-page mud-slinging match about tattoos then? ;)

To clarify my original post: opinions of all welcome, obviously.

Long sleeve shirts are a given for guys, agreed, but also sleeves should be rolled up for infection-control whenever touching a patient/performing a procedure. Rolling and unrolling my sleeves every 5 minutes would be both time-consuming and distracting, I can't imagine even the strictest hospital/consultant would prefer my doing that to having a few inches of tattooed skin exposed....?
Most doctors won't care about the tattoos unless you have something offensive on there. As for infection control, sleeves down most of the time on rounds but if I'm doing procedures or just busy, sleeves rolled up and left there until it's cold. You need to hand wash anyway and you don't want to wet your sleeves.
 

CCH

Regular Member
After going through many interviews myself (both for medical school entry and medical positions thereafter), and having worked on panels for interviews (not for medical entry), here are some of my thoughts about dress...

Gentlemen:

Try as much as possible not to deviate from the standard shirt/pants/tie routine.
You are attempting to create an impression of professionalism, confidence and trust.
This is the beginnings of building your professional façade - individualisation comes much later in your medical career.
Your clothing should not draw attention away from your facial features, they should not be distracting.
If you by chance visit your local hospital, notice what the interns and HMOs are wearing.
Dark coloured pants. No shorts. No tight/'slim' pants.
Collared shirt with button-down. No polos.
Tuck your shirt in ;)
Avoid plain-weave solid-colour shirts (they are hard to keep tidy especially if you are travelling.)
As a general rule: Pattern tie with solid-colour shirt. Solid tie with patterned shirts.
Please don't have a French cuff with cuff-links. Either button down your cuffs or use a plain knot for French cuffs.
Wear a watch - again, something that is not distracting.
Even if it is a hot day, don't wear short-sleeve shirts. Instead, very neatly roll up a long-sleeve shirt.
No suit jackets or hunting jackets. You do not need a jacket. You should not wear one. Especially this time of the year.
Make sure your hair is neat. If you choose to style it, keep it lite. Use wax, keep it matte.
Get a hair-cut or at least a touch-up. Shave!
Brush your teeth (I once had to interview a young lady with some vegetable stuck between her teeth...this was highly distracting to say the least.)
Remove your piercings. (Somewhat controversial, I know...play it safe, this is an assessment, not time for personal statements.)
Dark coloured shoes, preferably Oxford style. Please, please, please polish your shoes, and re-sole/re-heel them if necessary.
Make sure your pants reach no further than the top of your shoe heels when standing - take them for a $15 hemming job.
Socks should match your pants.
Shoes should match your belt.
Tie length should just reach your belt.
Minimise jewellery.
Avoid skinny ties. Avoid bow-ties.
Learn how to tie your tie, and remember to adjust it before the interview (a slanted tie is very distracting!)
Don't put anything in your front pant pockets, and minimise the items in your back pockets.
Your shirt and pants should be of similar fit (it is very distracting when one is noticeably more loose / more tight than the other.)
Avoid overly bright or contrasting colours.

[h=3]tl;dr Not distracting, comfortable, neat, matching and unobtrusive.[/h]
 

CCH

Regular Member
Ladies:

Same theory of dressing how an intern or HMO would dress applies.
Again, like your male peers, don't wear a power suit or anything that can be considered "psychological armour".
Shirt/skirt combo or an appropriate dress.
Make-up should be lite, drawing attention to your eyes.
Perfume can be worn, but apply lightly. Note that the scent intensifies with heat and stress depending on how you apply it, so err on the side of caution.
Wear shoes with flat soles. I have noticed colleagues on interview panels criticising high heels or overly elaborate footwear.
Similar to the "no shorts rule" for men, avoid skirts or dresses that are too short - when sitting down or crossing your legs, the fabric should at least extend to your knees.
No cleavage - again, the point is to not distract from your face and your speech.
Keep jewellery to a minimum (this includes any nail art), and I would actually recommend wearing a watch.
I would not recommend wearing a tie or wearing cuff-links; this is not a comment on the expression of gender through clothing...the same rule applies: minimise distraction.
Keep your hair tidy - a good mental exercise is to imagine whether your current hairstyle would be appropriate for working as an intern in the emergency department.


Suit vs. no suit?

People will have different opinions about this, here is my thinking after having been through the interviewing process and now working as a 'professional interviewer' of sorts.

Cons:
* Interns and HMOs do not wear suits. Medical students do not wear suits. Many consultants do not wear suits.
* Your suit may function as a psychological barrier, impeding your attempts at establishing rapport with your interviewers.
* School-leavers usually feel uncomfortable in suits, and indeed they usually look uncomfortable.
* The suit jacket is an unnecessary annoyance when travelling for interviews, especially during the hot Aussie summer.
* The suit evokes different feelings in different people - some positive and some negative - there is no way of predicting this.

Pros:
* A well-fitted suit may evoke ideas of confidence and professionalism when worn by the older applicant
* A well-fitted suit is a powerful way of modifying the appearance certain bodily features that may be considered "less desirable" - e.g. abdominal obesity.
* Wearing a suit may be an effective method of communicating with some interviewers - e.g. as a demonstration of your dedication or sincerity in becoming a doctor.

Overall, my feeling is that most interviewees should not wear a full suit. This is especially true for school-leavers.
That is not to say you won't pass your interviews if you do though!
 

cc101

Regular Member
a bit off the topic - girls - when you enter the interview room, will you shake hands or say good morning sir / madam or what?
 

Erinjayne

New Member
I interviewed at UWS on Tuesday and must say I was completely surprised at the way some of the other female candidates dressed. There were sandals, mini skirts and singlet tops. All of the guys were in dress pants/long sleeve shirt combos- some with ties, none with jackets.
I felt like a total nanna in my over the knee pencil skirt, long sleeved button up and closed toe heels...I even wore stockings!!
Is this the norm???
 

catchingup

New Member
Your suit may function as a psychological barrier, impeding your attempts at establishing rapport with your interviewers.... Wearing a suit may be an effective method of communicating with some interviewers - e.g. as a demonstration of your dedication or sincerity in becoming a doctor.
Whaaaaat? I know I'm responding to an old post, but whaaaaat? I mean there's some funny shite posted on here from time to time, but Dr Freud's suit styling guide here brought a smile to my face.

Imagine the panel's conversation after the interview:

Interviewer 1) He had great ideas and was well prepared, but felt that we couldn't develop a strong rapport. I really struggled to align my psyche with him.
Interviewer 2) On the other hand, we know that he really wants to be a doctor, and that this desire is well informed, on account of the fine gaberdine fabric. It was a Super 120, if I'm not mistaken.
Interviewer 1) True. True. Such a powerful ambivalence.
Interviewer 2) The tie breaker for me has to be the cravat. It says 'Safe pair of hands'. I really got a sense of him as an Old Boy. I say let's give him a shot.
Interviewer 1) OK. Welcome to medical school, my boy.
 

chinaski

Regular Member
I interviewed at UWS on Tuesday and must say I was completely surprised at the way some of the other female candidates dressed. There were sandals, mini skirts and singlet tops. All of the guys were in dress pants/long sleeve shirt combos- some with ties, none with jackets.
I felt like a total nanna in my over the knee pencil skirt, long sleeved button up and closed toe heels...I even wore stockings!!
Is this the norm???
Is it the norm that some girls don't seem to understand the difference between something they'd wear to a night out and "professional attire"? Yes, sadly. Academic smarts don't necessarily equal common sense.
 

A1P

Regular Member
This is included in UWA's email to interviewees :

=============
INTERVIEW ATTIRE

We work to ensure that each component of the selection process is fair to all applicants. Do not wear any uniform, accessories or badges, which identify membership of a particular organisation. This is to avoid the perception that bias has entered the selection process.

You do not need to dress too formally. Be smart, comfortable, but not too casual. The best kind of clothing for an interview will not distinguish you from the crowd. Clothing which is untidy or too revealing (such as low cut tops or short skirts or shorts) is inappropriate in this situation.

Examples of appropriate clothing would include: smart work pants and collared shirts (tie not necessary) for men and dress pants or knee-length skirt and smart top for women. It is important that you feel comfortable throughout the interview so that you can concentrate on the questions asked. Therefore ensure that you wear comfortable dress shoes and if it is cool you should bring a jacket/coat/cardigan etc. Be prepared to cope with a variety of airconditioning systems.
=============

Can't be any more clear than that :)
 

Erinjayne

New Member
Even if common sense is lacking, don't these people use google? I think I viewed about 15 different sites/articles relating to med interview clothing. I hope it doesn't affect their chances, everyone I spoke to seemed very genuine and deserving.
I think UWA is very kind for sending out that advice to its applicants - one less unknown is one less unknown, even if it's only to do with outfit choice.
 

JJ0098

New Member
Hi, I'm new to this forum. I was wondering if its okay to cross your legs in an interview, especially if you are wearing a skirt that is a little above the knee? Does crossing your legs send bad body language?
 

sn1p

WSU MBBS III
With all due respect, I don't understand the people who are asking whether jeans (and otherwise smart casual attire) is okay to wear to an interview. This is a potentially game changing, career defining, life making event, why would you not just suck it up and wear the most professional and appropriate attire that you could, regardless of how uncomfortable it would be? Why work this hard to be offered an interview, then disrespect the interviewers, the other candidates, the medical school, and the medical community as a whole, by dressing sub-par?

End rant/start joke: I'm guessing those people are taken by USyd/UQ/non-interview schools ;)
Can confirm for UQ ;)
 

JJ0098

New Member
Hello All,

So I will be attending an interview at UoA next week, and wished to get some advice/thoughts on my planned attire. First of all though I am a Male and straight out of school - a skinny 17 y/o, I checked the weather forecast when choosing my interview and avoided the hot days (should be 19º max on the day of my interview). Currently my planned outfit is as follows;

(** Denotes I have a query about given line)

Clothes;
Long Sleeved Turquoise Shirt - Slightly patterned. (slim fit)
Chrome (silver/grey) Tie (Thin)
Black Suit Pants (slim fit)
Black Belt with Flat Buckle.
Black Formal Shoes
Black Socks

Other Stuff;
**Lynx Black Deodorant - Aftershave yay or nay?
**No Cuff Links? Should I go buy some simple stainless steel ones?
** HAIR - WHERE DO I EVEN START I JUST DONT KNOW? Should I use some wax and comb it over and look like someone from 1900s? What is to casual when it comes to hair? What is formal? Should I use no wax at all? I usually run with a fairly messy look which I feel just isn't suitable here. Panic.

Bonus questions;
I live rurally and this will be my first time driving anywhere near the city.... should I bring a change of shoes to drive in?
Being from the city myself I suggest you bring a comfortable pair of shoes to drive in and then wear your interview shoes. I mean for the interview you are sitting down so even if they are uncomfortable you won't really feel it.
 
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