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Blog/Career Advice for Life Science Professionals

What Scientists Need to Wear in an Interview at a Life Science Company

Dressing for an interview at a life science company, whether it is a biotech or a pharma, is the same as for any company interview. Even though technical environments can be very casual, scientists should dress professionally for the interview.As a life sciences recruiter, at Clark Executive Search, who specializes in finding scientists and doctors for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, I often coach my candidates about what to wear during an interview.

Whether the interview takes place on a regular workday, a Saturday or an off premise location like a restaurant, a suit for men and conservative clothes for women is a must. Even though you might meet technical casually people during your interview, you might also meet nontechnical people, who expect proper business attire. So it is best to be over dressed rather than underdressed and be prepared for all circumstances.I have complied a list of the do’s and don’ts of interview attire:


– Dark well fitted dark suit

– Conservative tie that is currently in style (wide or thin?)

– White dress shirt that is long sleeved and fully buttoned

– Socks long enough to cover calves when you cross legs

– Shined black shoes with thin soles (no athletic or thick soled shoes)

– Jewelry should be a plain such as a dress watch, wedding ring, and cufflinks (no gold chains, big rings, sports watch)


– Well -fitting dark suit (a suit is preferable to a dress: jackets are a power symbol). Avoid anything clingy, short hemmed, of extreme style or with low neckline

– Light colored tailored blouse or shirt that is long sleeved

– Hose (clear or dark to match suit; run free); bring extra in case of a tear during the day

– Dark well made pumps (no open toes or backs)

– Professionally manicured (no chips, fake nails, loud colors)

– Jewelry should be subtle and stationary such as pearl earrings and necklace (no dangling earrings or bracelets)

– Smart purse that is relatively new and conservative to match suit

– Hair should be no longer than shoulder length and if longer pulled back (swinging hair is a distraction and can get mussed if you have to go outside)

Both sexes:

– Maintain good posture

– The mouth should be free of missing or chipped teeth and odor free

– Candidates should only use light aftershave or perfume, but preferably none at all

– Eyebrows should be under control (no one brow, please)

– There should be no hair from ears or nose

– Hair should be recently cut or styled

– Shoes & belts should not show wear or scuffs

–  Body Piercings should be removed (women may leave pieced earrings, but only one in each ear!)

Scientists and doctors might wear white lab coats on a daily basis at a life science company, but for an interview be sure to dress for success.

Related: These have to be the BEST graphs I have seen about interviewingby Liz Fosslien. Very funny , but also good information. And here is an answer to the question “can I wear the same clothes to a second interview?”