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What to Wear to a Nursing Job Interview

Nursing Interview Outfits – What to Wear to a Nursing Job Interview

Shout out to all the caretakers and nursing staff that manage to keep their cool and cater to the sick even in the most stressful of situations. The medical sector is pretty demanding with its endless shifts, numerous patients, and backbreaking work is not everyone’s cup of tea. There are numerous applicants every year who want to be a part of renowned hospitals and medical institutions. Simply clearing the entrance exam doesn’t guarantee a nursing job; you also have to face a direct interview with the panelists.




Now, every candidate is familiar with the kind of questions asked, what most people do not know is how to present themselves in an interview. Your overall appearance and body language should create a powerful first impression in the minds of the interviewer, earning you some extra brownie points. Today, we will not talk about the technicalities of the interview but about your appearance. Read on to know more about the proper nursing interview attire for the nursing job:

Don’t Show Up in a Nursing Uniform

So you are shortlisted by a prestigious organization, all set to face the interview the next morning but for a teeny tiny problem. What should I wear? Well, you definitely cannot show up in a pair of scrubs or an old nursing tunic. Remember, you’re going for an interview and not some Halloween costume party. Unless you’re interviewing for a job with your current employer or have to show up for a face-to-face meet up without any prior notice, avoid wearing a uniform. It is highly unprofessional to show up in your old or current uniform when applying for a new institution.

Normally, a sharp business suit or conservative clothes are best suited for interview candidates. However, if you’re a fresher entry-level nurse then something casual like dress pants, shirts, slacks, and blouses would do just fine. Whatever you wear, ensure that it is clean and well ironed. You cannot afford to put forth a shabby first impression.

Follow the Dress Code

Some organizations have a specific dress code for interview jobs that all applicants have to follow. A dress code establishes a sense of uniformity and equality amongst the candidates, thereby boosting the morale of everyone appearing before the panelists. Make sure that you follow the dress code specified by the institution. If there is no dress code specified, you have some level of freedom to choose your outfit. However, again you have to consider the position you’re applying for. Prefer wearing light, neutral colors only as it creates a very somber, calm, collected and professional appearance. Avoid wearing heavily embroidered, sequenced or fancy clothes to an interview as it doesn’t really match or suit the decorum of the place.

Your nursing interview outfit does not necessarily have to be brand new, just very clean, well-ironed and fitted. Also, pay special attention to basic hygiene. Have a haircut, trim your nails, shave that beard, and keep your accessories to a bare minimum.



Consider the Position you’re applying for

One of the most important aspects of a successful interview is the kind of impression you create when you first walk into the room. The type of nursing role that you’re interviewing for also is a major determinant in how you dress up for the day. The amateur nursing assistant or internship candidate is not expected to show up in expensive-looking suits. The healthcare industry for all its technological advancements is still relatively conservative, so a very casual laid-back look is really not appreciated in the workspace.

If you are an experienced nurse who’s applying for a high-ranking position as that of an RN or CNA, then you need to dress up according to it. Invest in your wardrobe; wear a sharp suit, pantsuit or a knee-length pencil skirt with a crisp white blouse. Grey, blue, white and black are classic colors you can wear for the interview. Yes, your skills and qualifications are obviously important, but all that comes later. The first thing that the interview panel notices about you is the attire, the hair, the makeup and your conduct.

Accessorise Smartly

People working in the medical sector, especially nurses have a very hectic and often haywire work schedule. They have to deal with numerous patients, assist several doctors and perform a number of tasks throughout the day. Of course, you cannot show up to an interview for such a job wearing a 24-carat diamond ring or a heavy gold chain! Accessories can make or break your overall look. Stick to wearing just a ring, studs or a simple chain. Also, a watch is a must. Wearing a watch implies how punctual you are and value time. Refrain from wearing any flashy bracelets, chunky necklaces, scarves or hear gears. Opt for a minimalistic, demure, collected and utterly professional look. Save your hipster, funky look for parties and other personal engagements outside your workspace.

Some organizations also strictly forbid the candidates and prospective nursing professionals to not wear any nail paint or apply acrylics (fake or natural) anywhere. Tattoos, hair color, henna are all a big no-no. Your appearance should comply with the standards set forth by the healthcare industry.

Hair and Makeup

Your hair and makeup should obviously match the outfit you’re wearing for the interview. However, ensure that you don’t overdo it. Most people in an attempt to impress the interview panel end up doing the exact opposite. Keep the makeup to a bare minimum, just some light touch-up for covering your dark circles, marks and fine lines on the face. Choose a nude or light lip color. Some simple eyeliner or kohl would go wonderfully with any kind of outfit. The nursing interview outfit must not be something outrageous, vulgar or flashy. Your appearance will only help you halfway, your caliber and talent would ultimately be the reason why you bag the job.

Moving on to the hairstyle, a simple ponytail would work out just fine. Women who have short hair can choose to leave it open or tie it up loosely using a hair clip or pin. For those who have long waist length hair, well, you have to tie it up. A tight professional bun is always your safest bet. Avoid wearing fancy, vibrant clips, brooches and hair ties. Tame those locks and remove any additional hair accessories that you might otherwise prefer to wear on any other normal day.

Other Useful Tips

Unlike books, people are often judged by how they appear. In an interview, the first impression usually creates the maximum impact- you cannot afford to screw it up. Every candidate manages to prepare a powerful resume, only a few of them ace the art of putting forth a powerful personality. There is no set fashion or conventional norms for women who are applying for the nursing position. Wear something traditional, well-tailored and professional. You need to look like an adult who is capable of handling responsibility and deal with people. The panel not only marks you on your answers but also how well dressed and confident you are. It’s not just what you wear but how you sit and conduct yourself also plays a major role in establishing a good impression. Listed below are a few tips that would further help you:

  • Grooming is necessary, get a haircut, trim your nails and wear well-polished shoes
  • Always carry your resume in a file or a professional briefcase, avoid carrying purses or fancy bags
  • Avoid wearing designer clothes, accessories. Also, don’t opt for fancy hairstyles.
  • Always wear a polite smile, it creates a good impression

As for the kind of shoes to wear, go for flats or professional platform heels, avoid strappy sandals and shiny slippers.

The Bottom Line

Nursing is probably among the most coveted and honorable career options for medical students who want to serve the sick and cure their suffering. Empathy, sensitivity, integrity, adaptability, honesty are among the few virtues that every applicant must have to become a good nurse. Remember, looks won’t get you the job, but a professional appearance sure will. Your interview outfit for the nurse job need not be the most classy or chic of clothes from an expensive brand. Just wear decent, well-fitted and clean clothes. Don’t try to be overtly fashionable. You wouldn’t want to distract the panel from the strong clinical skills you’re there to display.