What to Wear to a Nursing Interview

Attire provides nonverbal cues to an interviewer

Congratulations! You’ve written a strong resumé. You’ve identified the healthcare organizations in which you would like to work. You know what specialty is of greatest interest to you. And you’ve been sending out resumés. It has all finally paid off. You have been called for an interview.

One thing you may be considering is what to wear to your interview. The first impression you make on a potential employer is the most important one. The first judgment an interviewer makes is going to be based on how you look and what you are wearing. That's why it's always important to dress appropriately for a job interview.

According to a 2016 study published in Forum: Qualitative Social Research, the nonverbal cues you provide in a face-to-face interview offer rich information. This includes how you dress, the signal of which can be misinterpreted if it is not well considered.

What to Wear

"What should I wear to a nursing interview? Can I wear scrubs?"

This is a very common question regarding nurse interview attire. Typically, nursing candidates should wear professional interview attire as opposed to wearing scrubs. A suit would be ideal, but if you are a new nurse or if you are applying for an entry-level position, you may be able to get by with a shirt and tie with slacks for men, or dress pants (or tailored skirt) and a blouse for women.

If you are applying for a management position or an advanced practice nursing position, a suit would be expected.

Whatever you wear, be sure that you appear neat and well-groomed. Clothes should be pressed, tailored, and preferably in neutral colors with a simple or traditional design. Keep accessories to a minimum as well and don't wear any religious icons such as crosses. If you have tattoos, cover them. Make sure your hands are well-groomed, most especially your nails, and keep your hair under control.

Other Tips

Along with attire, it’s time to prepare. You’ll want to accomplish two things during your interviews. Firstly, you should evaluate if this is an organization in which you would like to work, and, secondly, you must convince the interviewer that you are fully qualified for the position you are seeking.

If there is one thing to remember about interviews, it’s that the potential employer believes from reading your resumé that you have the minimum qualifications for this position. It is believed that you can do this job. That realization should boost your confidence.

So along with pressing your interviewing suit, it's time to research the organization and do anything else that will demonstrate you are the best-qualified candidate for the job you are seeking. How can you ensure that you will demonstrate your relevant skills? How can you help your potential employer realize that you are the best fit for this job?

In short, the purpose of an interview is twofold: to convince the employer that you are the most qualified candidate for the job and to signal that you will fit in with the culture of the office. Good luck!

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