It’s show time! After years of studying and months of essay writing, you have made it past the initial cut and been invited to interview for medical school! This is the final stretch of the admissions process, and you certainly want to put your best foot forward for it. From head to toes, here are 4 tips for men to bring their A game on interview day.
Shave and Get a Haircut
It is important to look clean cut for your interviews. Having an edgy haircut or wearing gaudy clothes and jewelry will likely make a negative impression on interviewers. You want to stand out because of what you say, not what you look like. This principle applies to nearly every other topic covered in this post.
If you have facial hair, make sure it is clean shaven the day of your interview. In terms of your head hair, visit your favorite hairstylist at least a week before your interview day. Having this lag time will ensure that your hair looks clean cut, not “freshly cut the day before.” Make sure you have gone to this hairstylist before and been consistently pleased with the result. Similarly, if you decide to put any product in your hair, make sure you have used it before. No one wants a bad hair day, especially before such an important event.
Beyond not dying your hair different colors, I will avoid making any specific recommendations on choosing a hairstyle. Everyone should know what hairstyle works best with their hair (if not, Google it). Just make sure it is professional and clean cut.
Remove all piercings and cover any tattoos
If you have any piercings or tattoos in visible places (e.g., ears, nose, face, hands, neck), it will likely behoove you to remove the former and cover up the latter for interviews. Male piercings and tattoos are generally considered unprofessional.
Invest in a Suit (or Two)
You need a suit. Period. Purchase a two-piece suit (i.e., your jacket and suit are the same material and color) that is one of three neutral and widely-used colors: navy blue, charcoal black, or grey. This will require an investment of at least several hundred dollars at such stores as Macy’s, Jos Bank, Men’s Wearhouse, or Indochino (these are just examples, not endorsements). It is better to invest in one medium-to-high quality suit than multiple low-quality suits, even if the store has a deal for “buy one, get one”. Wherever you go, make sure that the store clerks take your body measurements and tailor the suit appropriately (make sure to note these body measurements for future reference).
In terms of dress shirts, stick to solid colored dress shirts like white, light blue, or dark blue. Make sure that your dress shirt is in a contrasting color to your suit. It is a good idea to get your suit and dress shirts dry-cleaned after wearing them and before the next interview. Make sure to iron your shirt and pants the morning of your interview.
5 Required Accessories
You will need a tie, belt, shoes, socks, and a leather portfolio. In terms of ties, the first decision is whether to wear a traditional necktie or a bowtie. Either way, make sure you know how to properly tie a necktie or a bowtie. There is an art and science to matching your tie with a dress shirt and suit. Basically, I would recommend going for a tie that has colors that contrast well against the color of your suit and dress shirt and avoiding the following colors: bright red, pink, green, yellow, or orange.
In terms of belt and shoes, stick to black or various shades of brown. The only rule here is that the color of your belt must match the color of your shoes as closely as possible. In terms of socks, you can loosen up a bit and choose fun colors and designs. Just make sure that your socks do not have anything obscene or even slightly offensive on them.
Lastly, your leather portfolio. It is a functional accessory that completes your professional attire. You can use it to store writing utensils and your CV and other paper paraphernalia, and take notes during the interview.
5 Optional Accessories
You can differentiate yourself from the pack by donning a watch, tie bar, pocket square, cufflinks, and/or briefcase. If your watch has a leather strap, make sure the leather is a similar color to the leather of your belt and shoes. In terms of tie bar, I would recommend getting a solid colored silver or gold tie bar. Make sure it is fastened between the 3rd and 4th button of your dress shirt and that it is about ¾ the width of your tie. For your pocket square, I would recommend getting a solid white square folded with a Presidential Fold. For your cufflinks, first make sure that your dress shirt can accommodate cufflinks (the cuffs of most dress shirts sold in the US are secured with buttons). Lastly, a briefcase completes your attire and enables you to carry your leather portfolio, laptop, etc. during the day of your interview.
Packing List for Medical School Interviews (Men)
We will conclude with this example packing list to make sure you remember to bring all the items we covered above on the day of your interview.
Preparing for your medical school interview is crucial. If you want a more detailed guide with all our insider tips on interview success, check out the Med School Insiders course on how to ace the medical school interview. If you seek personalized and individualized assistance, our medical school interview preparation services will provide you the one-on-one help and feedback you need. Good luck this interview season, you’re going to do great!