Dress for Success: What to Wear to a Nurse Interview

what to wear to a nurse interviewBy Kathy Marshall, Contributor

With so many options, you can quickly become overwhelmed when choosing what to wear to a nurse interview.

While society has definitely lowered the stringent standards of years past regarding proper and professional apparel, there are still some guidelines to follow to make your nurse interview the biggest success possible.

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3 Tips for What to Wear to a Nurse Interview

1. Understanding your Audience

While the nursing uniform has undergone a huge change over the past 30 years, the slouchy comfort of your favorite scrubs or colorful, patterned shoes still might be best left to the floor work. 

When deciding what to wear to a nurse interview, you need to understand who will most likely be conducting the interview.

Many interviews are now conducted by human resource officials, who may have limited clinical experience. And many clinical nurses who have been promoted to administrative positions split their time between running a floor and meeting with department heads wearing suits and ties.

While employers do not expect you to report to duty wearing business casual, coming in for an interview with unknown parties wearing your scrubs can send the message you lack respect or awareness of your environment.

[Related:10 New Grad Nurse Resume Mistakes to Avoid]

2. Styles to Avoid for Your Nurse Interview

First impressions say a lot. And despite the fact everyone should be treated equally, those first impressions do leave an impression. If you come in for an interview wearing any of the following items, expect for a less-than-stellar first impression:

  • Stiletto heels
  • Revealing clothing
  • Ill-fitting clothing
  • Glitter (clothes/nails/hair/shoes)
  • Tennis or running shoes
  • Heavy makeup
  • Strong and/or overpowering scents
  • Rumpled or stained clothing
  • Unwashed hair

Many people have physical reactions to strong odors, so avoid wearing certain scents. Any cologne or perfume, body wash, or hair product should have a neutral or very soft scent.

[Related:4 Easy Steps for Setting Achievable Nursing Career Goals]

3. Versatile Options for What to Wear to a Nurse Interview

You don’t have to completely alter your style to give a good first impression. If you have a love of bright colors, choose an understated piece of jewelry that has a brightly colored-element. 

Are you a shoe junkie? Best to save those over-the-knee boots for night on the town and go with a lower heeled or even flat option.

Are you like many people and rotate from your scrubs to sweats and an oversized top? Look for a stylish tunic to match with a pair of dressier pants.

You do not need to spend a fortune on acquiring that perfect outfit to wear to a nurse interview. 

If you are going to be attending multiple interviews, look for a few tops and pants that can be worn interchangeably, have a muted color scheme, and choose a well-maintained pair of sensible shoes.

Nurse interviews offer many challenges; don’t let your attire get in the way of your one chance.

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