I’ve seen a few postings on the APVMA Facebook group about people wanting advice for how to dress for an interview other than for vet school. I think this is a great question and I will open with my opinion that there probably isn’t a single right answer.
What does attire during an interview say about the applicant? Possibly the most important thing it says is, “Do you understand the cultural norms of this industry?” Veterinary medicine is still a fairly conservative industry- hence the suits for vet school interviews. However, non-academic positions may have different expectations. Throughout this post I will use words like formal and informal as relative indicators of attire, rather than their official use for western dress codes (which are probably not what you think- check out the Wiki article).
If at all possible, visit the practice/business to get a sense for how the current staff dress and what the appearance of the business is. Do they have a uniform dress code (more formal)? Do the men wear ties (more formal)? Is anyone wearing a suit (most formal)? Is anyone in a T-shirt (informal)? Are they wearing slacks (most formal), khakis (less formal), or jeans (informal)? This will give you a general sense for the business culture.
Here are the ‘levels’ I will use throughout. I don’t believe a T-shirt is ever acceptable in an interview- feel free to disagree in the comments! Here is my very general guide for attire for positions.
Men: Suit & tie; slacks
Women: Pantsuit or skirt suit
Men: Long-sleeve shirt with tie; a sport coat can substitute for a tie; slacks or khakis
Women: Slacks, khakis, or plain skirt; long-sleeve blouse; may wear a jacket with a short-sleeve or sleeveless top
Men: Long-sleeve shirt, khakis
Women: Long-sleeve shirt, khakis or plain skirt
Button down shirt, jeans
Full-time technician, receptionist, or equivalent
In-hospital: Most Formal or Formal
Ambulatory large animal/equine: Formal or Informal
Extern, volunteer, part-time technician, etc.
In-hospital: Formal or Informal
Ambulatory large animal/equine: Informal or Least Formal
It’s hard to go wrong just wearing a long-sleeve shirt and tie and khakis for men and blouse with khakis or skirt for women. Also realize it depends on your own personal level of formality and how you carry yourself. Some people feel more comfortable in more formal clothing, others feel more comfortable in less formal clothing. As long as you stay within a reasonable range, I think it should be fine.