Are you looking for a new job or your first nursing position, and wondering what to wear? You’ve come to the right place. Interviews can be tricky, and when you want to make the right impression, it’s important to not overdress or underdress and avoid things that could be potential red flags for a recruiter.
We’ve collected responses from Utah-based HR personnel at our health care partner facilities who conduct nursing interviews every day. We asked them about dress expectations for their candidates. Here’s their thoughts on what to wear to a nursing interview:
Cleanliness and personal grooming is a priority
The number one factor that recruiters and HR directors mentioned was that they want their candidates to appear clean and well groomed for the interview. Clothing, they said, is secondary to having personal grooming and hygiene to a professional standard. So trim your beard, comb your hair, brush your teeth, so that your effort and enthusiasm for the position shines through. Sarah Davis, Human Resources Business Partner at Ogden Regional Medical Center said, “I would say when they go out of their way to look presentable, that tells me they would go out of their way in their work.”
Business casual and above is usually appropriate
For most facilities, business casual and above is the norm, although this varies by facility. Do you need some examples of business casual? Here’s a guide from The Balance Careers. Long-term care facilities tend to be more casual than larger hospitals. Here’s some examples for contrast:
Long Term Care Nursing Interview Dress Standards
Scott Hoffman, Director of HR at Sunshine Terrace Assisted Living, said, “Business casual is fine for us. Scrubs are fine if they want to come in scrubs but most people come in business casual. A full suit is certainly overkill for us.”
Jennifer Munn, an HR Representative for Harrison Pointe Healthcare said, “Really what we look for is that they’re clean cut. Jeans are fine as long as they are nice and clean with no holes. To me, when I do an interview, I don’t necessarily pay too much attention to dress as long as they don’t come in shorts or sweatpants, it’s just an overall look of being clean and presentable.”
Hospital Nursing Interview Dress Standards
Julie, a Recruiter in Talent Acquisition for McKay Dee Hospital, said, “Professional business casual or professional. Stay away from jeans or scrubs, think of a more professional dress code. A shirt and tie would be appropriate.”
Sarah Davis, Human Resources Business Partner at Ogden Regional Medical Center, said, “Business casual is great. Appearance and hygiene is extremely important for the interview, so a shirt and tie, slacks, dress clothes, that’s what we’re looking for. There’s no need for an entire suit, but just professional.”
Tonya King, New Grad Recruiter for Intermountain Healthcare, wrote in an email, “We prefer business casual or business professional. No scrubs, jeans, or t-shirts.”
We hope this helps provide some overarching guidelines for what to wear to a nursing interview at a hospital or a long-term care center.
You may have more specific questions for your interviews, as well. Below are some additional frequently asked questions for appropriate attire for nursing interviews.
Do candidates for LPN positions have different standards of dress than RNs?
All the facilities we contacted said that their standards are the same for RNs and LPNs.
Are scrubs appropriate?
For some long-term care facilities, scrubs may be acceptable as long as scrubs are clean, well-kept, and you are otherwise well-groomed and presentable. However, this was not true for all facilities, so to be safe, we recommend dressing in business casual attire.
Do I cover up my tattoos for a nursing interview?
Facilities vary on whether tattoos should be covered, so it is best to cover your tattoos for the first interview until you are briefed on the facility’s policy.
Can I wear jewelry to a nursing interview?
Most companies recommend avoiding excessive or loud jewelry for the interview process, but small items are acceptable. ZipRecruiter recommends keeping jewelry to a minimum for RN interviews.
Should I wear cologne / perfume to a nursing interview?
You should avoid wearing perfume or cologne in an interview. Sarah Davis, from Ogden Regional, said she finds smelling strong perfume or cologne overwhelming and unpleasant.
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Here’s more nursing interview tips from now-retired Director of Nursing Susan Jero: