How should I dress for my interview?
July 30, 2007 8:30 AM   Subscribe

How should I dress when interviewing for a job as a veterinary technician?

If I were interviewing for an office job, I'd dress formally, but that seems like a strange choice for a job where I'd most certainly be dressing for comfort and practicality if hired. Would it be okay to wear a polo shirt with jeans or khaki capris and sneakers?

There's also the reality that the interviews are -at- veterinary offices and there's a nonzero chance that I'd get formal clothes dirty/covered with cat or dog hair/etc.

Piggyback question if you'll indulge me: is it true that if a job listing doesn't specify "no calls" it's good/OK to call to follow up a few days after sending your resume by fax or email?
posted by needs more cowbell to Work & Money (19 answers total)
If it is a formal job interview (i.e. not with a close friend over cocktails), wear formal job dress. I've interviewed for positions as a busser and a garden coordinator, both which definitely did not require office wear as I'd be picking up dirty dishes and digging in a garden, but still wore dress pants and a fitted button down shirt with low heels to the interview. No matter how you actually dress on the job it is good to show you're serious during the interview.

I wouldn't worry about wearing a skirt suit as it's a vet office, not a financial or law firm. Unless they are weirdly conservative there.

*waves* Good luck with the interview!
posted by Anonymous at 8:43 AM on July 30, 2007

Definitely wear at least a buttondown shirt and slacks. They won't expect full formal wear, but you'll have to be at least dressed VERY professionally even though you'll be wearing scrubs when you actually work there.
posted by SpecialK at 8:51 AM on July 30, 2007

Response by poster: PROBABLY RELEVANT: I'm female.
Unfortunately, my wardrobe consists mostly of rather formal stuff (too much so for a vet office, really--stuff) and casual.
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:53 AM on July 30, 2007

Seconding schroedinger and SpecialK on the attire. Nice slacks, good dress shoes, and a tailored shirt or sweater are critical (and probably better than a true suit for this case).

But adding that a personal thank-you note (on nice thick cardstock, splurge on Cranes or something similar) should be an essential follow-up to every job interview.. much more effective than a call to a busy office.

My husband does a lot of hiring, and whether or not the interviewee sends a written note (not an email) is a critical part of his decisionmaking. Other recruiters seem to agree - it's a classy, professional gesture that never goes out of style.
posted by nkknkk at 8:55 AM on July 30, 2007

... except that's not what you asked, exactly, is it? Sorry for my hasty reading.

Still, I think calls to a busy vet's office may be perceived as annoying rather than helpful.
posted by nkknkk at 8:56 AM on July 30, 2007

Wear a suit. If you really can't bring yourself to wear a suit, then at least wear nice pants/skirt and a blazer. It's an interview and most likely the doctor(s) will be interviewing you, so you want to show them that you can be professional.

With the possible exception of retail/food service jobs, you can't go wrong by erring on the side of being a little too formal.

Piggyback question if you'll indulge me: is it true that if a job listing doesn't specify "no calls" it's good/OK to call to follow up a few days after sending your resume by fax or email?

It probably can't hurt.
posted by tastybrains at 9:06 AM on July 30, 2007

Response by poster: The reason I'm not sure is that some of the job listings make a point of specifying that it's a physical job. I feel like dressing up too much might give the impression that I'm not expecting a very physical job.
posted by needs more cowbell at 9:14 AM on July 30, 2007

When setting up the interview you can inquire if you are going to have to do any demonstrations that would require specific dress. If not, then wear the suit.

I did work in an animal hospital when I was in high school. The vets actually wore dress slacks, shirts & ties under their lab coats. The techs wore scrubs, but they weren't interviewing at that point. If they need you to demonstrate something, most likely they can provide you with a scrub shirt or jacket to wear.
posted by tastybrains at 9:39 AM on July 30, 2007

Best answer: I was always given the advice of wearing two "levels" more formal to the interview than what you would expect to be wearing for the job. So for a vet technician, I would wear a tailored shirt and slacks. Decent shoes. No need for a blazer, or a suit, or a skirt.

(I'm a post-doc scientist at a medical school and wear jeans and a t-shirt at work. I wore a nice shirt and pants for my interview, which is what most other people interviewing for our lab seem to have done as well).
posted by gaspode at 9:41 AM on July 30, 2007

Best answer: My wife hires veterinary technicians. Err on the side of too formal. Jeans and sneakers would not be looked on favorably. A suit would be perfectly acceptable. Your experience or answers to questions will make your understanding of the job requirements apparent. Also, a call is probably a good idea. All of the vets I know are so harried and busy that if your resume is at least half decent and they have you on the phone they will probably just tell you to come in for an interview.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:52 AM on July 30, 2007

tastybrains makes a good point if you are not familiar with the field -- many times hospitals will ask you to come in for a day/half-day of observation and practical interviewing as a kind of second interview (sometimes they pay you for this, usually not). For this you should definitely wear scrubs or comfortable casual wear that you don't mind getting filthy.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:56 AM on July 30, 2007

On the other hand, if I were the other techs and I valued wearing clothes geared for comfort and practicality, I might choose not to hire the person who came in wearing a full-on suit unless I suddenly decided that I really did feel like putting on full makeup and doing my hair up all nice too... before I came to work and expressed anal glands all day. This is not to say that the techs are going to do the hiring, but it seems likely that they will have their own choices and preferences for co-workers, and will have ways of making them known to the vet or whoever formally hires.

Even I might not wear sneakers, and I deeply resent that people would look at me funny if I wore shorts, t-shirt, and crappy old sneakers to everything. Decent-looking non-sneakerish all-day shoes maybe -- nurse shoes, basically. You'd probably want them anyhow, since sneaks would probably wear out in a couple-few months.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:58 AM on July 30, 2007

Best answer: I just called my vet's busy, upscale office and asked. The vet who does the hiring said, "Wear something nice like for any other professional interview."
posted by acorncup at 11:01 AM on July 30, 2007

Regarding the call, I'd say it's probably a good idea. I'm in the middle of a job-hunt. In my case, there are a lot of applicants for most of the jobs I'm applying to. It's much more of a worry to fall through the cracks than to be annoying, if your position is anything like the one I'm looking at.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:06 AM on July 30, 2007

I think it's safest to err on the side of more formal. I have never found it to be the case that people confuse what you wear to the interview, with what you wear on the job day to day.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:18 AM on July 30, 2007

It is always better to be overdressed to an interview than underdressed.

It's an interview - don't dress like you'd dress if you were going to work there. Dress formally to both 1) show respect and 2) impress.
posted by twiggy at 1:29 PM on July 30, 2007

Yes, how you dress for the interview is not a reflection of how you'll be expected to dress for the job.

I think the "dress two levels up" advice is a good guideline. For example, when I interviewed for a summer job as a daycamp leader, I wore a nice skirt and blouse. When I got the job and actually worked with the kids, I wore shorts and a T-shirt every day.

So if you'll usually be wearing scrubs at your vet tech job, two levels up would probably be a nice pair of pants and a button-down blouse/shirt, at the very least. If you're strapped for cash, visit thrift stores or consignment stores; when I was on a tight budget, that was where I shopped for my interview clothes, and I always found nice stuff.

At the interview, you want to show that you're capable of understanding what professional attire is, and you want to acknowledge that an interview is a special occasion.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:08 PM on July 30, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the input everyone--I'm glad I asked because I was way off-base in thinking that informal would be the way to go in this situation.

ROU_Xenophobe, you make a good point, though now that I've given it some more thought, I think it's pretty unlikely that anyone will see me (specifically) as the sort of person who will make everyone else look underdressed. Even when I dress up I try to get away with things like reasonable shoes and minimal makeup.
posted by needs more cowbell at 2:12 PM on July 30, 2007

Nothing fussy - a friend of mine was turned down for a job at a vet's. The reason they gave her was (she said) that her nails were too nice - that she looked like she wouldn't be willing to get dirty.
posted by dilettante at 2:40 PM on July 30, 2007

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