So, you’ve got your first big firefighter interview coming up soon! You passed the written test and physical agility exams with flying colors. But as you know, first impressions make a huge difference, and you want to make sure that you’re dressing the part for your upcoming firefighter interview.
You’re expected to dress business professional for a firefighter interview. For men, that means a suit and tie and, for the ladies, a pantsuit or skirt/blouse combination. It’s also important that your hair is neat, all piercings are out, and you’re not wearing anything exotic or attention-seeking.
The first thing that your interviewer will notice when you walk into your firefighter interview is what you’re wearing. Because it can make so much of a difference, we’re going to go over what business professional is and how you can “dress to impress” at your big interview!
For more information on preparing for the firefighter interview, read: 15 Tips for Firefighter Interviews
Dressing Business Professional
You’ve heard of casual, business casual, and business professional dress codes, but you want to know exactly how this applies to the fire service. For any type of job interview in a professional setting, including firefighter interviews, you want to go business professional.
That absolutely means dressing to impress. Business professional involves wearing formal clothing, meaning suits for men and pantsuits or a skirt/blouse for women. It also means avoiding exotic or flashy clothing that comes off as unprofessional and inappropriate.
What to Wear
Obviously, the dress requirements for business professional are a little different between men and women. Either way, you’ll likely be wearing your most formal attire that’ll prove to your interviewer that you’re both highly respectable and professional.
Here’s what men should be wearing to a firefighter interview.
- Full suit. You definitely don’t need to invest in a tuxedo or anything too elaborate, but a full suit is a great start for the guys! Not just any suit will do, however, so you need to make sure that you’re selecting a suit that fits well and is one solid color. Both the suit jacket and the pants should be the same color, preferably black, blue, or gray. Here is a great option.
- Collared shirt. It’s best to remain simple when it comes to choosing a collared shirt for your big interview. You should lean more toward a basic color or pattern that doesn’t draw too much attention to your outfit, solid white is always a safe choice. Make sure that your collared shirt is pressed and buttoned properly before arriving at your interview. Select a tie that matches your suit and your collared shirt and you’re ready to go! I recommend something like this.
- Leather dress shoes and dress socks. A nice suit and shirt can make your outfit look professional and respectable, but a crummy pair of shoes can easily ruin it. When it comes to business professional, you want to make sure that you’re wearing leather dress shoes that are shiny (not scuffed). You then want to pair them with a pair of high, black dress socks to finish off the look. This is a good choice for simple professional shoes.
- Belt. Even if you think your dress pants fit well, you should absolutely be adding a belt to your interview look. We recommend choosing a simple black leather belt that matches well with any color, pattern, or style of pants. It is a good idea to have a belt color that matches your shoes. The belt is also a good indicator of tie length measurement, which should ideally extend to the buckle of your belt. Something like this is good.
Here’s what women should be wearing to a firefighter interview.
- Skirt suit. One of the most professional yet feminine outfits for a professional job interview is the skirt suit. This style combines a suit jacket with a skirt of the same color, so you should follow the same guidelines when it comes to choosing a color. Make sure you’re picking a black, blue, grey, or another neutral color for your skirt suit. The skirt should extend to about the knee level. Something like this.
- Pantsuit. If you’re not the type of woman that enjoys wearing skirts or dresses, pantsuits are a viable alternative when it comes to a job interview. Just like men, your suit should be of one solid color, preferably one that’s neutral, and have a matching jacket and pants. There are several styles of pants for women’s pantsuits, so you can experiment with what looks best for your body type. Here is the kind I am referring to.
- Collared shirt/blouse. When you wear any type of suit for a job interview, you want to wear a collared shirt underneath. Choose a button-down collared shirt and try your best to select a style, color, and pattern that’s considered somewhat tame. Again, you can’t go wrong with solid white. ake sure the shirt is pressed before the job interview. This kind of shirt/blouse.
- Pantyhose. Whether you’re wearing a pantsuit or a collared shirt, you may want to wear a pair of pantyhose. That’s because unlike your male counterparts, you’ll be wearing dress flats or heels rather than basic dress shoes. Since you can’t wear socks with this type of shoe, pantyhose are the next best option.
- Heels or flats. This one is kind of left to your personal preferences when it comes to footwear. You can wear flats, pumps, or heels, but you need to make sure that the exact shoe that you pick is professional and not too flashy. Try to limit the heel height to about three inches, if possible.
- Jewelry. When you wear jewelry on a job interview, there’s a fine line between classy and unprofessional. You’re free to wear small pendants, necklaces, rings, and a professional bracelet, but limit the amount of jewelry that you’re wearing. My recommendation is just to leave the jewelry at home.
Now you know exactly which section of the department store that you should be looking in when you’re deciding on an outfit for your big firefighter interview. But, before you head out to the store to pick out an outfit for your firefighter interview, there are some things that you’ll definitely want to avoid wearing for the interview.
Things to Avoid Wearing
There are quite a few unspoken guidelines when it comes to what not to wear to an interview. Following the suggestions that we mentioned above is a great start, but there are some limitations to each. Taking it too far can hurt your chances of being considered for the job.
Here are some things you absolutely should not wear to a job interview.
- Revealing clothing. This one goes for both male and female firefighter candidates. For the ladies, this means making sure that your skirt isn’t too short (above the knee) and that your collared shirt or blouse isn’t too low cut. Your clothing shouldn’t be too tight and be seen as “sexy” in any sense when you’re on a job interview.
- Poorly fitted clothing. As much as you don’t want your interview outfit to be too tight and revealing, you also want to make sure that it fits you and your specific body type properly. That means you should be able to close and button your suit jacket, but it shouldn’t be so baggy that you look like a slob. Basically, you should look like you’re wearing clothing that’s your size!
- Distracting clothing. The best way to absolutely ruin your interview outfit is by wearing distracting clothing. The term “distracting” can mean a lot of things, actually. Don’t wear any clothing with bizarre patterns, bright or neon colors, or any other features that’ll cause all of the interviewer’s attention to be focused on your outfit rather than what you’re saying in the interview!
- Anything with slogans or words. This shouldn’t be an issue if you’re wearing business professional attire, but we think it’s important to mention. You shouldn’t be wearing any type of clothing with phrases, slogans, or words. You want to dress as plain as possible when it comes to a firefighter interview.
- Comfortable clothing. As much as it would be nice to be comfortable while on a job interview, most business professional clothing just isn’t comfortable. This isn’t the time to cut corners and choose less visually appealing clothing in order to be more comfortable in your job interview. You have to bite the bullet and risk being uncomfortable for a little while in order to receive a job offer!
A lot of these recommendations should be common sense, but they can really make a difference when it comes to making a good impression on your job interview. We recommend that you make every effort to avoid each of the above characteristics when it comes to planning out your interview outfit.
Choosing the right outfit is obviously important for your firefighter interview, but you won’t make too great of an impression if you show up looking like a slob. That means you need to put a little more effort into grooming to make yourself more presentable for your big day.
It’s important that your hair is groomed, any facial hair is neatly shaven or trimmed, and that you remove any visible piercings prior to the interview. The minor details are also important, so limit the amount of cologne/perfume that you’re using and ensure your nails are trimmed.
How to Groom
The right outfit can be eye-catching and set you apart from other interview candidates, but poor grooming habits can bring your name all the way down to the bottom of the list. Every fire chief wants a professional and neat firefighter on their force.
You don’t have to do anything crazy when it comes to grooming, but you absolutely do need to focus on looking presentable. Here’s how you should be grooming for a firefighter interview.
- Trim and fix your nails. This one actually goes for both men and women. You should make sure that your nails are trimmed, not chipped, and not too long. The best way to guarantee this is by trimming your nails a few days before your interview. If you’re a female candidate, you might want to avoid flashy nail colors and styles.
- Neatly comb and brush your hair. Simply put, it should look like you attempted to brush or comb your hair on the morning of the interview. This is the time to experiment with “professional” hairstyles, so you want to make sure that your hair is out of your face, you don’t overdo it with the hair products or gel, and that you look presentable.
- Use light makeup. Now, nothing says that the ladies even have to wear makeup at all while on an interview. You might want to use a little makeup to cover up some blemishes or discolorations of the skin, but don’t take the makeup too far. Your interviewer shouldn’t really be able to tell that you’re wearing makeup at all.
- Touch up your facial hair. Some guys absolutely love their beards and mustaches. There is nothing saying you have to shave these before an interview, but anyone who ask me, I tell them to shave it off. No beards will probably be a grooming requirement by your fire department when you get hired. You can always grow your mustache back later.
- Brush your teeth. This sounds obvious, as you should already be doing this every morning, but you might want to take the extra effort to brush your teeth right before the interview as well. It wouldn’t hurt to use a little mouthwash, floss, and even brush your tongue. Your interviewer shouldn’t be repulsed every time you open your mouth to answer an interview question.
- Take a shower. This one goes without saying. Taking a shower means much more than just standing under the stream of water and letting the water run down your body. You need to be using shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Make sure you’re scrubbing all the nooks and crannies and ensuring that all leftover dirt is gone before your interview!
Doing each of these things is a great start when it comes to helping to guarantee a job offer, but there are also a few things that you want to avoid when it comes to your grooming habits prior to your job interview!
Things to Avoid When it Comes to Grooming
So, your outfit is planned out, your hair is touched up, and you’re ready to leave the house. But, there’s a little more that you have to think about before you’re ready to go.
Good grooming habits will be a bonus when you’re being interviewed for a job as a firefighter. At the same time, bad grooming habits will greatly reduce your chances of receiving a job offer at your ideal fire department.
Before you leave the house and begin heading to your interview location, make sure you’re not doing the following.
- Wearing noticeable piercings. Regular ear piercings should be fine when it comes to a firefighter interview, but now’s the time to get rid of any extra visible piercings that you might have. That means you shouldn’t have any nose, eyebrow, lip, or other facial piercings on the day of your interview!
- Trying out a new hairstyle or product. Interview time is the time to stick to what you already know and what you know works for you! You might want to try out that new skincare product, a new style of makeup, or even a new hairstyle, but there’s no guarantee that it’ll go the way you planned.
- Wearing too much makeup. Makeup is fine in moderation for job interviews, but wearing too much can be distracting and a little overwhelming for your interviewer. Not only does it take away from your professional appearance, but it also won’t be a habit that you’ll be able to continue when you’re hired to be a firefighter.
- Applying too much cologne or perfume. A small squirt of cologne or perfume should be fine, but too much can be overwhelming and maybe even intoxicating. You want to smell good on your job interview, but you don’t want your interviewer to experience a coughing fit as a result of you putting too much cologne or perfume on.
If you’ve made it to this point in the article, then you’re probably already dressed to impress and groomed professionally! That means it’s time to hit the road and make your way over to your interview to show your interviewers just how qualified you really are.
If you pass the interview, you will need to prepare for the next step, read: Fire Academy 101: What to Expect and How to Prepare
Now that your firefighter interview is getting closer, you want to prepare your outfit ahead of time and make sure you’re making a good impression on your interviewers. Now’s also the time to adopt solid grooming habits. Here are some tips for preparing for your interview.
- Wear business professional attire, so a professional suit, pantsuit, or a skirt/blouse.
- Choose colors and patterns that are calm, professional, and not at all flashy.
- Practice good hygiene, comb your hair neatly and make sure you smell decent.