Meeting your military recruiter comes with a lot of unease and confusion, especially when it comes to what to wear. Do I wear a formal suit and tie? Is it ok to come in my jeans and favorite shirt?
Every recruiter is different and has different expectations. It’s usually best to play it on the safe side, though. Using these tips as ground rules, here’s some help with what to wear when meeting a military recruiter.
Dress comfortably, but look appropriate
Much of the advice floating around about what to wear to a meeting with a military recruiter urges people to dress in a way that makes them feel comfortable. There’s enough at stake in these meetings and while, of course, you want to put your best foot forward, dressing in a suit and tie won’t be necessary if it’s going to put you even more on edge.
With that being said, avoid wearing things that might come across as slobby. For women, don’t wear tank tops, short-shorts, or halter tops, for example. And for men, don’t come in with your flip flops and a ratty old baseball cap. Do your best to look presentable, but wear something you feel undeniably comfortable in.
The general rule is to dress business casual; something not too stuffy but more on the conservative side than a t-shirt and jeans. This might mean a polo shirt or nice blouse with slacks. The idea is to feel comfortable without going too casual. If you feel great in a suit, even better! Go for the most dressed up you can get while still feeling comfortable.
Avoid potentially offensive clothing
This one might be pretty obvious but it’s worth mentioning. If you feel the need to own a t-shirt that makes a joke about the KKK or you like to wear pants printed entirely with marijuana leaves, go ahead and choose another outfit.
In general, this isn’t the time to show off all your quirks. Absolutely be yourself and express what your personality brings to the table, but offending the military recruiter during a meeting is going to get things off to a rough start. If you’re not sure if something could be offensive, don’t wear it.
Ask what the recruiter expects
There’s no shame in asking questions before you go in for your meeting with the recruiter. Wearing something business casual is usually a good guess, but if you’re really concerned about what to wear, don’t be afraid to call and ask the recruiter what they expect.
As with most job interviews, and a meeting with a military recruiter is often very much like a job interview, you’ll want to dress for the job you want. If you want to be taken seriously, dress accordingly. If you want to eventually have an officer position in your chosen branch of the military, dress as an officer might.
A military recruiter’s job is to send viable candidates to the appropriate branch, and their name is on the line, too. They’re rooting for you but they also won’t attach their stamp of approval to just anyone. Asking the recruiter what they expect when it comes to a dress code is an easy way to eliminate any guesswork and make sure your meeting starts off on the right foot.
Tidy up your hair
In the military, unkempt hair is a no-no. If you waltz into the military recruitment office with what appears to be a rat’s nest on top of your head, it’s possible that you’ll be sent away. Even if you choose the right outfit, untidy hair can ruin it for you.
If you have long hair, tie it back and keep it under control. Even if you have short hair, run a comb through and slick it back, away from your face. Beards are ok but make sure it’s trimmed and looking good. If your beard hasn’t fully grown in by the time you have your meeting, shave it clean to avoid the patchy look.