What to Wear on a Physician Job Interview

Candidates waiting for an interview

sturti / Getty Images

What you wear to a job interview, even as a physician, can impact the outcome of the interview. Not only does your attire affect others' perceptions of you during the interview process, but it also impacts how you feel about yourself, and therefore, how well you project yourself, particularly via non-verbal communication, during your face-to-face conversations with your prospective employer.

Physicians often do not have to put a lot of thought into what they wear, in terms of fashion. Surgeons work in scrubs much of the time, for example, while other doctors' attire is covered up by a lab coat and a stethoscope.

However, what you wear to your physician job interview is very important to make that first, and lasting impression a positive one. What you wear also depends on the type of physician job interview, and with whom you will be meeting.

Plan for Travel

If you are traveling to another location for your interview, as is often the case, then you will need to pack several items of clothing for various activities during your site visit, if you are staying overnight.

Ask your contact at the hospital or medical group, whether it's a physician recruiter or a practice manager, for a detailed itinerary of your stay, so that you can plan ahead for what you will need to wear during various stages of the interview trip.

Plan for Touring, Weather, and Social Outings

Most likely, an onsite visit will include a community tour, so you will need to bring comfortable clothes for walking around, and getting in and out of a car. Don't forget to check the weather for the area to which you are traveling! It may be shorts and sandal weather where you live, but the weather could be very different where you are headed for your physician job interview.

In addition to a community tour and meet and greet, your site visit may also include a more formal dinner or luncheon, or maybe both. Therefore, be sure you are aware of the dress code for the restaurant where the dinner or lunch meeting will occur. When in doubt, it's always better to be over-dressed, rather than under-dressed, especially in an interview situation when it's important to establish a positive image.

Know If You Need Business Casual or Business Attire

The trend for many workplaces is that they are getting less formal, but never assume that is the case for your prospective employer. In most cases, business casual can work for the less formal parts of the interview, but definitely pack a suit or comparable business attire, just in case you need it.

Business casual would include a dress shirt and slacks for men, but not necessarily a tie. A jacket would dress it up a bit, and then adding a tie would step up your attire to business formal.

For women, business casual is a bit more difficult to define but would include a casual dress, or slacks and a blouse. Business attire would be a suit, either with pants or a skirt and coordinating jacket and blouse.

Again, your recruiting contact at the hospital or practice where you are interviewing should also be able to help guide you regarding the proper dress code for your interview.

If you are interviewing for a leadership role, such as Medical Director, Department Chief, or executive physician job, you should definitely look the part by wearing business attire (a suit).

If you are interviewing locally, most likely you will need to wear business attire for your interview as well. If you are unsure, double-check with the recruiter to determine if you need to wear business attire or business casual.

Most importantly, be sure that your clothes fit well and that you feel comfortable in whatever you decide to wear. If your clothes are too tight, or if they are pulling and bunching, you may be uncomfortable and fidgety. If you feel good about your appearance, you will project a more confident, positive version of yourself in the interview.

Was this page helpful?