Dressing for Residency Interviews

As the class of 2020 is getting ready to travel near and far for residency interviews, student often ask how they should dress for interviews. There is no one right answer for everyone, but a few tips can help you put your best (well-shod) foot forward:

  1. You want your outfit to be the least memorable thing about you. The residency interview is a chance for program directors, residents and selection committees to get to know you better.  You want things like your personality and your accomplishments to shine and for program directors to remember you for what you said, not how you looked.  So, pick an outfit that is professional and flattering, but not one that stands out in any way (either too sloppy or too flashy) This is one day where blending in fashion-wise (including facial hair, makeup, hair style, and body art) is a good look.
  2. Suits are the norm. Most students during interview season will stick to the classic suit (skirt or pants) so think very carefully if you are planning to wear something different. This suit does not have to be expensive, but it should fit well.  Tailoring is a cheap but often transformative fix to an outfit- get those pants hemmed and buttons fixed before you head out.
  3. Pick something professional, but as comfortable as you can manage. You will be busy on interview days, and may have long walks between venues.  Give extra thought to your shoes, and spend some time breaking them in if they are new.  This is not a time to get new blisters!
  4. Carry-on is important. If you are travelling to many interviews, you likely will be going from one site to another quite quickly.  A carryon bag ensures that your clothes make it with you to the next venue, so pack smart and pack light.  If you are worried about wrinkles with a small carry-on bag, consider a travel steamer or make sure you have access to an iron at each location.
  5. Prepare for the worst. That little sewing kit your mom gave you is helpful during interview season.  Pack stain removers, mending kits, extra ties, hosiery and shirts so you can worry about your answers, not your clothes.  Don’t let a mustard stain ruin your confidence!
  6. See what’s worked for other students. There is a ton of info on social media for interview dressing tips but remember that some of these sites offer affiliate links and get paid for endorsing certain brands and products.  No one will be looking at your label- pick something that you like, looks good on you, and fits into your budget and you will be good to go!

Please share your own tips and tricks with us and other students and let us know if you have more questions about the interview process.  We’re here to help!

Dr. Aviva Goldberg
Associate Dean, UGME Student Affairs
Max Rady College of Medicine
Rady Faculty of Health Sciences 
University of Manitoba