Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by BSCAR, Sep 30, 2016.
Is it more along the lines of khakis and a button down or a suite?
For crying out load, this is a no brainer. Hummm, Im going before a board with members who, with great probability, are alumni of SA and represent a Congressperson who will be offering a slot to the most prestigious military leadership institute. You may be the only one in the waiting room sitting in khakis, button down and sneakers, as you gaze at your competition wearing nice suits and well groomed. And look, whats in those nice business binders? Is that a list of accomplishments and resumes neatly gathered for presentation?
Got it? Get it? Good!
Push Hard, Press Forward
You only have one chance to make a first impression. Make it memorable.
Khakis and a button down would be acceptable, but a suite would be much better. A conservative business appropriate suite and tie for an interview is never inappropriate. You could be overdressed, but it will not be looked at negatively. Treat the suite as your interview uniform. Neat, clean, pressed. Dress to impress.
I'm a fan of a suit or blazer with gray pants. Khakis, even extremely pressed ones, are still very casual in my opinion. I would wear a crisp, pressed shirt and nice tie and dress shoes. I think you should dress to show you understand the importance of the occasion. Make sure you have a good haircut and do a good job shaving. Make sure your shoes are shined and practice your handshake with someone. JMHO
If you own a suit - wear it. If you do not, dress as professionally as you can afford. I would argue that most of the people doing interviews appreciate that not everyone has an interview wardrobe at 17/18 and as long as you don't show up in jeans and a t shirt, they will not pass judgement on your dress.
There was a young woman that wore sweats to her congressional interview - she was heading to a competition that was 10 minutes away from the interview site. She received a nomination because she explained in advance and during the interview that she had an equally important commitment to her team, so the interview team understood why she was 'dressed down'
My DD wore her school uniform, which was professional but not as nice as what some others wore.
If your nicest attire is Khakis, a button down shirt and a tie - you will be fine.
I would wager that if you had enough time, someone either a guidance counselor, minister, GoodWill, maybe even a local clothing store - could hook you up with a nice suit for the day if you prepared in advance.
If you are thinking about wearing a suit, make sure you look good in it. Defeats the purpose of wearing a suit, if you don't look good/professional.
I served on several nomination panels and the panel discussion never went to how the candidate dressed. We might have been thinking it, but after discussing academic/leadership/interview answers, never got to discussing what the candidate looked. A disclaimer is if the candidate appears to be overweight, we discussed if we think the candidate could handle the physical rigor at the academy.
Certainly for the MOC interview, a shirt/tie (or perhaps a suit) would be the appropriate attire much like if attending any other job interview. Most likely, everyone else being interviewed will be dressed that way so you don't want to be the only one in attendance not wearing a shirt/tie.
Dress as nicely and professional as you can afford. I strongly recommend wearing a suit. Next best is sport coat and tie followed by slacks, dress shirt, and tie. Most will not consciously hold it against you if you don't wear a suit as long as you dress nicely, but your competition may gain an edge in perception if they appear more professional. Often perception is unconscious and the interviewers don't realize they are reacting to appearance. And your confidence can suffer if you are the only orange in the apple barrel.
I worked my way through graduate school selling high-end men's clothing to businessmen, young professionals, and students preparing for interviews. Here is some advice:
Suit: Dark. Preferably 100% wool, but a good wool/polyester blend is ok. Solid navy blue or charcoal gray. Avoid pin stripes or patterns unless you know what you are doing. Otherwise you risk looking like a gangster if you get the stripes or pattern wrong. Fit - slim to full depending on your build. It should drape comfortably without looking like it was painted on or like a parachute.
Shirt: Solid white or light blue with a point collar. The spread of the collar should be moderate - not extremely wide or narrow. Button-down is acceptable, but is considered less formal than point collar. Button cuffs, no french cuffs.
Tie: Silk, moderate width. Stick with ties that are primarily some shade of red or dark blue with other colors as accents. Pattern - Rep, Club, Paisley, Solid. Can have a little flair, but nothing too wild.
Shoes: Black, leather, well shined. Oxford or Cap toe.
Belts: Black leather with modest silver or gold buckle. Moderate width 1" - 1 1/4"
Socks: Over the calf. Dark - navy, black.
Go to a men's store like Brooks Brothers and ask them to show you reasonably priced clothing appropriate for an interview. Many have clothing lines geared toward the price range of a younger person. If what you see is out of your price range, you will at least get an idea of what to look for in a department or discount store.
Look Sharp, Be Sharp, Act Sharp.
I had a young man on a board five years ago that I knew. He was dress very nice, a suit. His baseball coach gave me the back story on him: He didn't have much nor did he need much. He idolized his grandfather who served in the Army, and followed his mentorship. So the candidate worked hard to succeed in academics and baseball. When it was time for his MOC board all he had was baseball t-shirts and jeans. So he pushed a lawn mower and saved enough for a nice suit. I had a lot more respect for a kid who had goals and worked for them. You don't see a lot of that type of character today. He made the effort to succeed.
Push Hard, Press Forward
Autocorrect on my iPhone. I had recently been typing the address of a senator's office in my phone;the ending portion of the address was Suite 100.
This thread has focused on men and suits. Any help for my DD? Suit for her as well or is a professional dress or skirt appropriate?
Yes they all work. Look neat and professional. Make sure the skirt is not too short.
It's not a date, church or social event, it's essentially a job interview. Think about young professional attire: suit with skirt or pants; coordinated separates with jacket, blouse/shell and skirt/pants; tailored dress or sheath dress with jacket, appropriate to her age (not a Supreme Court law clerk interview). Shoes appropriate to the outfit, and what she feels comfortable and confident in. All would be fine. No dangly jangly jewelry, no prom night make-up, no school colors nails, everything low-key and non-distracting, making a frame for facial expression and speech. Buns not required.
Excellent post by AROTC! If her hair is long wear it conservatively. You want to avoid the "hair cut" question for females. In other works they could ask, would cutting your hair be an issue? You want to keep the interview on line with your character and credentials.
Push Hard, Press Forward
Whether girl or boy, I would suggest a suit. At our MOC interviews 99% of the applicants wore suits.
Thank you... let the shopping begin!
During a few interviews I have seen applicants show up in JROTC uniforms with full regalia. I have always wondered how the Board sees this. They should be proud of their accomplishments but does it help in an interview where all that background should be in their application? Daughter wore normal business attire (not normal) and son wore sports jacket, tie and slacks (again not normal).
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