What To Wear to a Nursing Interview

By Brittney Wilson, BSN, RN - February 17, 2020
Categories: Interview Tips

What to Wear to a Nursing Interview

Your degree, qualifications, and experience matter when it comes to applying for a job interview. However, there is something else that matters too but is often disregarded: what you wear. You can only make one first impression, so be sure that what you are wearing sends the right message. Now you might wonder what to wear to a nursing interview. Do you wear something different to a nursing interview than any other interview? Well, with so many options to choose from, you might feel overwhelmed for choice. In this article, we’ll focus on the best attire for a nursing interview, so you can feel confident to land your dream job.

Dos – What To Wear to a Nursing Interview

Understanding your Audience

First things first, the most important criteria is the target audience. When it comes to exploring nursing interview attire options, you want to do a little research to understand a little about the interview board. Who will be conducting the interview? Is an HR professional in charge of the interview round? Or will a clinical nurse be conducting your interview?

So the choice of your interview attire depends on the interviewing board. While many nurses interview in scrubs, and that may be acceptable if you’re interviewing in the morning directly after a night shift, some old-school hiring managers may make a judgment based upon this. Because of this formal interview attire, such as business causual, typically works best for most nursing interviews. Underdressing can send the wrong message across that might cost you the job.

Dress for the position

It is the position you are applying for that might give you the answer to the question “What to wear to a nursing interview.” Typically, for an entry-level nursing position, you can wear business casual attire. This can be dress slacks or skirt with a button-down shirt. When I was growing up, people would often call business casual style clothing “church clothes.” They’re nicer than your lounging around clothes, but it doesn’t have to be a business suit. However, for a nursing management position, the idea is to appear more professional. So you may benefit from wearing business a suit or a well-taylored business-dress.

You can easily put together a “business suit” with the following:

  • A well-fitted blouse (solid colors preferred)
  • Slacks
  • A skirt that’s not too long or short
  • A cropped professional jacket
  • Dark-colored shoes
  • Nude-colored hose

It’s even safer to pair a white shirt with traditional black slacks or skirt. Or you may want to wear a tailored, solid-colored suit for a professional and well-groomed look. Pair your nursing interview attire with polished and clean plumps, or sensible ballet flats. Nurses have to protect their feet, after all. If you’re comfortable in heels, wear them. If not, find your most professional black nursing clogs, and walk a little taller too.

Accessorize smartly

Love accessories? What sort of accessories should you wear to a nursing interview?

Well, keep jewelry and accessories to a minimum. If you love to accessorize, do not go overboard with it. Wear a smart watch to show that you value time. Chunky necklaces, flashy bracelets, and a heavy gold chain or ring are not meant for a nursing interview. A simple chain and a pair of studs should be enough to accessorize your looks. If you really want to class it up, a strand of pearls can do wonders. We’re not trying to go back to the 50’s here, but pearls are timeless and convey a sense of put-togetherness.


Wear your hair in a well-kempt and professional manner. If you have untamed curly hair, consider a classic up do. You’re going to have to wear it up on the floor anyway, so best to show you’re a pro at that. If you have straight hair, a well-placed part can be all you need to complete a professional look. Tame your locks and avoid wearing any wild hair accessories except a hair clip or pin. A messy bun is usually not appropriate here, but I’ve seen a few that work. Remember, the idea is to look professional and not pretentious. Your appearance should comply with healthcare industry standards.


Wear light, daytime wear makup. Thing winged eyeliner and fake eyelasses are not needed here. This isn’t Instagram or the club.

Don’ts: What Not To Wear to a Nursing Interview

When it comes to dressing for a nursing interview, first impressions count. You should try to avoid wearing clothes and accessories that might distract the interviewer’s attention and send out a wrong signal.

  • Revealing clothing, stiletto heels, ill-fitting dresses, and heavy makeup are not meant for an interview.
  • You shouldn’t walk into a nursing interview wearing glitter on nails, shoes, clothes, or hair.
  • You should avoid strong or overpowering scents. Many people have allergic reactions to strong scent, and you never know the interviewer might be one. So avoid wearing overpowering scents.
  • You may also want to avoid wearing scrubs to a nursing interview. This is not the most appropriate outfit for an interview. There are exceptions, but even if your interview is right after a shift, it only takes a few minutes to pop in the bathroom and change.
  • Do not go overboard with colors. It is appropriate to choose muted colors. Remember, the idea is to go a little bit softer in terms of color choice. The colors should not be screaming at you.

All in all, your nursing attire for the interview should be professional and maybe even a little classy. Aim for a decent, well-groomed professional look when it comes to finding the right solution. Now you’ll never have to wonder “what to wear to a nursing interview.”