What to Wear to a Nursing Interview

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Written by Ayana Dunn, BSN Content Writer, IntelyCare
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Reviewed by Kathleen Walder Content Writer, IntelyCare
Job applicants waiting for an interview

Your qualifications and experience got you in the door. Now you may be wondering what to wear to a nursing interview.

First impressions have a significant impact on an employer’s perception of you. How you present yourself communicates your awareness of professional standards and respect for your potential employer.

Thankfully, how to dress for a nurse interview is no different than most industries regardless of your specialty. Think business casual for staff nurses and business formal for nurse administration. Before we dive deeper into what those phrases mean, let’s explore some general advice to keep in mind as you search for nursing jobs.

Dress to Impress Yourself, Too

Wearing formal attire increases feelings of confidence and power. People dressed professionally also exhibit higher levels of creative thinking and increased chances of successful negotiations. Wouldn’t you want that going for you in your next job interview?

Look Neat

Ensure your clothing is wrinkle-free and fits well. If you have long hair, make sure it’s out of your face in a bun, ponytail, or combed behind your shoulders. Although piercings and tattoos don’t dictate a nurse’s skill, it’s best to cover tattoos and minimize the appearance of non-traditional piercings.

Here are some things to avoid wearing in a nursing interview:

  • Wrinkled and untucked shirts
  • Visibly soiled or torn clothing
  • Sneakers and open-toe shoes
  • Jeans, leggings, or yoga pants
  • Shorts and above-knee skirts
  • T-shirts

Keep It Simple

This is no time for extravagance. If you wear makeup, make sure it looks natural. If you choose to wear jewelry, err on the side of minimalism. Your color choice does not have to be dull, but avoid excessively bright hues and patterns when deciding what to wear to a nursing interview.

Color Psychology

Speaking of colors, the shades you choose could potentially work in your favor. The mind makes associations with certain colors. Blue is often linked to peace and trustworthiness, while green elicits feelings of growth and calm. Choosing colors related to qualities you want associated with you might be advantageous when preparing what to wear to a nursing interview.

Can You Wear Scrubs to an Interview?

No, don’t wear scrubs to an interview. Remember you’re interviewing, not working a shift. One exception is if the company asks you to wear scrubs for shadowing. Even if that’s the case, you can still change your outfit from professional wear to scrubs after the interview.

Can I Show Any Individuality?

Ask yourself if it’s necessary to showcase your unique self through your fashion choices, considering how you’ll have plenty of time to express yourself after you’ve landed the job. Proving you can meet interview expectations implies you can meet the expectations of the role you’re seeking.

Showing off your uniqueness through style has the potential to be charming if you’re strategic about it, but you also run the risk of giving the impression that you won’t adhere to tradition. Be thoughtful about this decision.

You can add your own flair through color choice, ties, small earrings, and pins. Make sure your accessories don’t take any attention from you. How you perform in the interview is the most important display of your individuality.

What to Wear to a Nurse Administrator Interview

You can never go wrong with business formal. It’s the safest interview attire and a must for nurses applying for managerial and other administrative positions. Here are some examples of business formal attire when you’re planning what to wear to a nursing interview:

  • A pantsuit with matching jacket
  • Dress pants or knee-length skirt
  • Optional nude or dark stockings
  • A collared blouse/dress shirt or dress-material top
  • Belt and tie — bold and patterned ties are acceptable if they complement your outfit
  • Dress shoes, short heels, loafers, oxfords
  • Dark dress socks

What to Wear to a Staff Nurse Interview

As with administrator interviews, business formal is always a safe choice for a staff nurse interview. There’s some leeway, however. Unless your research reveals the company’s culture is super-formal, business casual is also acceptable. While it’s more relaxed, it maintains a sense of professionalism. These business casual items may be considered for your next interview:

  • Dress pants, chinos, knee-length skirts
  • Button-down blouses/dress shirts
  • Fitted sweaters, blazers
  • Dress shoes, loafers, oxfords, short heels, flats
  • Ties and belts that match your outfit
  • Dark dress socks

Your Next Job Interview Is Waiting

Now that you know what to wear to a nursing interview, you should have no trouble finding the right outfit. But what about the right job? We can help with that. Check out all the available nursing jobs on IntelyCare and apply today.