Q. I have been in the Navy for 9 years now and I have an interview coming up and would appreciate your opinion in regards to attire. I don't own a suit since I have yet to need one, so I was planning on wearing my dress uniform since I'm still in the navy, and I feel it says a lot about me. Is this a bad idea?

Respectfully, Joe

Joe: You want your oral board to run smoothly without any surprises. Since what you wear is the strongest non-verbal statement you can make when you walk into the room a uniform, any uniform, might not get you off on the right footing. Are you willing to take that chance?

For some reason candidates have been convinced by themselves or others that this will some how separate them from the other candidates. It can but not in a way you were looking for. It often hits the panel that you are asking for more points.

Understand you are applying for a snot nose rookie position. You have no time or rank with the department you are testing for. So donít wear your military, volunteer, other department, dogcatcher (no offense) or other uniform to your interview. If you don't have a suit, rent one.

Here's one:

A candidate from out of state called from southern California the night before his oral board. He asked if it was all right if he wore his military uniform to his oral? I asked him if he had brought anything else to wear. He said no. He said his dad and other members of his family that are in law enforcement told him it would make him stand out. I told him to go ahead and wear his uniform and we would talk later.

Did he get called back? Not yet.

Men: Do wear a wool suit in dark blue or gray. If you already have another color, wear it. Pinstripes are fine, but avoid brown, black, or high fashion brightly colored suits. Sport coats or blazers are out, so is polyester. Tie should be in a solid color such as navy, red, maroon, yellow stripe, or paisley print. Wear a white, off white, or pale blue long sleeved shirt in cotton or a cotton blend. Starch it no matter what the instructions say. No patterned shirts!

Donít: Wear casual or novelty watches, too much jewelry, monograms, religious, political, or fraternity affiliation accessories. Beards are out; mustaches are a gray area. When in doubt, shave it off. Donít wear cell phones, pagers or any other electronic leases.