Nomination interview


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Dec 3, 2008
Just out of curiosity, what should one wear to a congressional nomination interview? (This may have already been asked in which case sorry for the redundancy)
I wore a full suit w/ jacket. They complimented me on how nice I looked, but I saw others in kakhis with a collared shirt and tie.
either a full suit, or a uniform (if you have one). I wore my AJROTC uniform, because it is highly decorated.
I also wore a full suit with jacket to my Senator's interview.
My son wore a sport coat, white shirt and tie, khaki slacks with his shined low quarters (from CAP). One of the interviewers commented on his spit-shined shoes and said, "looks like you already know how to shine shoes." It lead into a discussion of CAP and went positive from there (and he got nom's). The point? Everything about you will be noticed by someone, even your shoes! Remember, you're dressing to impress the retired officers and civic leaders who will likely make up the interview team -- not to impress your friends. Good luck! :thumb:

I hope you don't mind me asking, but where are you from? I saw a kid at the Allard (CO) interview who was wearing a well decorated AJROTC uniform.

and just to reaffirm the general consensus, suit and tie will be best. However, I did get away with slacks and a polo shirt at my first Senator's interview (and got a nom), but it was quite warm that day, so maybe they made an exception.
I live in Florida and, despit the extreme heat, I wore a full suit. Many others wore the same, however I did see one person wearing jeans. It was pretty weird.
however I did see one person wearing jeans. It was pretty weird.

THAT is someone you do not want to be. rule of thumb when your waiting at a nomination interview when your looking at the other candidates,

dress to impress, for guys: sport jacket, tie, slacks
don't be 'that guy' who knows he's the least well dressed, you NEED that nomination!
I am the AF Rep for my other words, I'm on that board that interviews YOU!

I would "highly" recommend that you, at a bare minimum, have on very nicely pressed slacks, bright shiny shoes, a well pressed shirt and tie. And please...know that the tie should NOT be only half-way down your goes to the belt.

I would "prefer" you to show up in "professional looking attire" as that's what my MOC will be wearing when he greets everyone at the breakfast we hold prior to the interviews. IF you are in JrROTC (any service) or CAP...if you wish to come in Service Dress, please do. BUT BUT BUT...make certain it's precisely correct, no stains, all your ribbons, badges, accoutrements in proper order, etc. Trust me; it'll generate questions; be ready to answer them.

How you look in a uniform does weigh on some folks; sorry to tell you, just a fact. The one young man several years ago that came in a CAP uniform...he was probably 5'9" tall...around 260lbs. He did NOT look good in his uniform and didn't know the military fitness requirements.

Our principal nominee for USAFA this year....full suit, tie, everything was immaculate. And he looked/acted the part. One could easily see him in a uniform serving. Again, is that fair? Probably not but...first impressions take 10 seconds to be made...and they last the duration of the interview.

You want to make the BEST impression you can in that VERY short time.

AFA '83
However; and I'm definitely NOT CONDONING WEARING JEANS to your MOC, ALO, or any other interview; each person is different and some have to attitude and surroundings to pull it off. Not saying that jeans are OK; but that with the RIGHT ATTITUDE and CONFIDENCE, a person can pull of a MOC/ALO interview in a bathing suit. A perfect example was a MOC interview a couple of years ago. Doesn't matter the person's name. In our state; Wyoming; Jeans are very much the norm for everything. In many parts, weddings are still attended by people in "NICE" jeans and jackets. Not uncommon to see our rep and senators; and even governor in Jeans. Obviously they aren't always like this. However; there was the one applicant who came in for an interview in NICE jeans, shirt, tie, and jacket. (The senator told me). This applicant however had the confidence (Not arrogance); pride, passion, determination, patriotism, experience, grades, volunteer, skills, etc... You name it and this person walked on water. Not just in his actions but in his presentation. From what the senator told me; this person could speak and present himself in such a way that you wouldn't have any idea what they were wearing.

So I'm not mentioning this to say it's OK to wear Jeans. I'm saying this to say that getting the nomination goes so far beyond what you are wearing. By the time the interview comes; it's TOO LATE to change your grades, SAT/ACT, sports, community involvement, bla bla bla. In other words, on the day of the interview, it's too late to change ANYTHING. There are only 2 things you have control over on interview day. The first impression you give when they LOOK AT YOU; and the VALIDATION FACTOR when you open your mouth. When you open your mouth, you will validate any and all impressions the interviewer has of you. You can change negative impressions, you can impress them, you can validate negative impressions, etc... It's all in your hands. But even if you are the most professional looking applicant walking in those doors, it DOESN'T GET VALIDATED until you open your mouth. This is the JOB INTERVIEW of your life. Make it count. Maybe you can't afford a $300-$500 suit. Maybe all you can do is a nice pair of pants (Sunday Church) with a nice shirt and tie. That's OK. The way you look POSITIVELY; will count for about 10% of your interview. The way you look NEGATIVELY will count for about 50% of your interview. But what you do when you open your mouth; the passion; the excitement; the dedication; etc... that is presented; will take that 10-50% and turn it into 80% GOOD or BAD. The other 20% will be your actual record. This is the same in all job interviews, review boards, promotion boards, etc... Military and civilian. This is how the interview process works. best of luck... Mike....
Christcorp said:
Not saying that jeans are OK; but that with the RIGHT ATTITUDE and CONFIDENCE, a person can pull of a MOC/ALO interview in a bathing suit.

^^ Seen the movie Pursuit of Happyness? Yep, thats what it reminds me of :smile:
yeah, that movie was a story to show that anything can happen if you are determined. I would also like to say that you should make sure you are comfortable in what you wear. If you are squirming and tugging at your clothes, they will see it. I know, at my interview where I earned my nomination, they threw some hard questions at me, and did so in a fast manner. All I did is made sure I looked whoever asked the question in the eye, kept my hands on my lap, and kept an appropriate tone of voice. I believe all of these are what helped me receive a nomination.

Again, good luck to all of you who are still trying, and if you are still waiting to hear about it from your MOC, call them. Make sure they know that you are still interested. And also, if you haven't already done, thank them for giving you the opportunity.
What about for a Summer Seminar application interview at my ALO's house? Would a nice pair of khakis and a polo shirt work? Or would you recommend a shirt and tie?
Dress nicely, but make sure you're comfortable, too. According to "The Air Force Academy Candidate Book," some panelists look down upon girls wearing slacks to the interview, but it was cold here in Minnesota, so I wore slacks and a nice blouse and it was fine. For me, it was hard to compare my outfit to everyone else's because I was the only girl in the waiting room for all three congressional interviews. Some of the guys looked uncomfortable in their suits and probably gave a negative impression by squirming around, so try not to fidget. It sure seems like there aren't very many girls on these forums. Where are you all :confused:?
i went by the candidate book and wore a skirt to one interview, but then to my other two i wore slacks. i got all three nominations, so appearance isn't everything. lots of kids wore their uniforms as well.

for guys it says (and keep in mind this is copyright 1995):

"a sport coat, nice shirt and tie with shoes well shined would be the ideal dress... the really important thing is to be neat and color coordinated."

and just to add... "few panelists like to see wealth flaunted."
and flieger83 what about females??? Do you have suggestions there also?
I would hope that slacks are acceptable, but then again the reps might think differently.
and flieger83 what about females??? Do you have suggestions there also?
I would hope that slacks are acceptable, but then again the reps might think differently.

The ladies that interviewed with us this year were typically in a slack suit or dress. Mind you, this is Arizona; it was very temperate here. is a factor. I thought the "fanciest" looker was in a darker pants suit, very feminine, but also very "sharp."

She already had 2 LOA's when she interviewed with us; again, as others have said: attitude, confidence, etc., are all VERY important; it's not really about appearance provided that the appearance is "professional."

Does that make sense or am I rambling in my post New Years Day steak dinner?

AFA '83
You lucky dog! Wish me luck tomorrow when I meet my ALO for the first time in person!