What To Wear to a Nursing Interview

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 28, 2021 | Published November 5, 2020

Updated October 28, 2021

Published November 5, 2020

A nursing interview gives you the opportunity to make the right first impression with your prospective employer. While preparing good answers to their questions is important, preparing to dress appropriately will further demonstrate your professionalism. Being mindful of your nursing interview attire can improve your chances in the selection process and may even convince the interviewer to hire you over another candidate. In this article, we describe the various types of nursing interviews and list what to wear and what not to wear during a nursing interview.

Related: What To Wear: The Best Job Interview Attire

What are the various types of nursing interviews?

During a nursing interview, hiring managers assess your qualifications for the job you applied for. To best prepare for the interview process, it's important to consider each stage of the nursing interview process. Each of these interview types aims to understand your experience and unique qualifications for the job. Here are the various types of nursing interviews:

  • Screening: During a screening interview, you'll likely discuss your background with someone from the human resources department. Interviewers use a screening interview to narrow down their candidate pool and determine which they want to bring back for a selection interview.

  • Selection: A selection interview further narrows down the list of viable candidates for a nursing position. During this interview, interviewers determine which candidates they want to turn down and which they want to advance to a series interview.

  • Series: More elaborate than the other interviews, series interviews involve you meeting with different interviewers at separate times. For example, you may meet with a hiring manager and then a unit supervisor or a registered nurse.

  • Panel: While you meet with different interviewers at different times during a series interview, you meet with up to five interviewers at once during a panel interview.

Related: Top Nursing Interview Tips

What to wear to a nursing interview

During a nursing interview, it's important to impress the interviewer with not only your answers to their questions but also with your choice of attire. Arriving with a professional outfit helps you feel more confident and has the potential to make you stand out against other candidates. Here are some options for what to wear to a nursing interview:

  • Suit: Consider wearing a tailored and solid-colored suit for your nursing interview. A suit shows your professionalism and helps you feel more put together and well-groomed. Men should add a tie to their outfit when wearing a suit.

  • Dress shirt or blouse: A button-down dress shirt or a conservative blouse is appropriate for most occasions. No matter the top you choose, make sure it's wrinkle- and stain-free.

  • Dress slacks: Pair a nice top with a pair of black or navy slacks or dress pants. Make sure they're ironed and if you're wearing a button-down shirt, tuck it into your pants for a polished look.

  • Professional shoes: Instead of wearing casual footwear to your interview, opt for low-heeled shoes, flats or dress shoes that match your outfit. Make sure they're properly cleaned and polished.

Related: What To Wear To a Nursing Interview

What not to wear to a nursing interview

While it's important to know what to wear to a nursing interview, it's also smart to know what to avoid. Overall, it's important to not wear anything too distracting as this can put your interviewer's focus on your outfit rather than your qualifications. Keep in mind that while you should be memorable, your outfit shouldn't. Here are some things to avoid wearing for a nursing interview:

  • Scrubs: Though nurses wear scrubs on the job, it's best to leave yours at home before heading to your nursing interview. Leaving these behind and dressing appropriately for a nursing interview can impress the hiring manager and give you a greater chance of getting the job.

  • Luxury clothing: Avoid wearing expensive brand-name purses and clothing with brand logos. While you may feel more socially accepted wearing this clothing, it may not convey the empathy and warmth that people look for in a nurse.

  • Tight or revealing clothing: Not only is wearing something tight or revealing unprofessional, but it's also a distraction that can take your interviewer's attention away from your performance during the interview. If you opt for a sleeveless dress or top, wear a jacket or cardigan as well.

  • Elaborate jewelry: If you decide to wear jewelry, keep it to a minimum. Wear minimal jewelry such as a small pair of earrings and a simple matching necklace. Men can opt for a conservative dress watch that matches their shoes or belt.

Tips for what to wear to your nursing interview

Consider these additional tips:

  • Keep it simple. Avoid wearing anything over-the-top, revealing or flashy. Choose minimal patterns and prints and avoid bold and bright colors.

  • Wear light makeup. If you decide to wear makeup, simple makeup in understated colors is just enough to show up polished and presentable.

  • Beware of wardrobe malfunctions. Before you leave for your interview, test your outfit's wearability. While your skirt may not seem short when you stand, for example, you may need to tug it down when you sit. Testing your outfit ahead of time can help you avoid any potential embarrassment.

  • Dress for the position. The more advanced the position you're interviewing for, the more professional attire you should wear. Therefore, while you can get away with dress slacks and a button-down shirt for a nursing interview, it's best to opt for a suit when interviewing for a nursing management position to show a higher level of professionalism.

  • Show up well-groomed. Apart from wearing a professional outfit, make sure to consider proper hygiene and grooming. Consider getting a haircut, fixing your hair appropriately, trimming your nails and ironing your clothes. If you want to paint your nails, opt for natural colors like beige or light tan.

  • Cover your tattoos. Medical facilities tend to vary when it comes to their opinions on tattoos. Play it safe and cover your tattoos for your nursing interview until you're informed of the facility's policy regarding tattoos.

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