How To Dress For A Successful Nursing Interview

Author: Rosemarie Eccleston – Senior Vice President, Nursing Services

how to dress for a successful nursing interviewThough I’ve seen a lot in this position, the occasional nurse comes dressed for their interview at Horizon Healthcare Staffing in ways that continue to amaze me.  If they’re not in scrubs, then they’re in sweat pants, hoodies or other such forms of unattractive attire.

I can’t help but exclaim at some point during the interview process, surely you wouldn’t go to an interview dressed that way….or would you?!  As I artfully steer the conversation in the direction of attire, attitude, polish, well put together resume and proper diction, I look closely at the candidate for signs of confusion, indifference or other “signs” that all might not be well on the home front.

As succinctly as possible, I convey the following tips for “dressing for success”:

Neat business attire defined as:


  • Well-fitting jacket or blazer
  • Skirt of appropriate length or trouser-style slacks for ladies
  • Shell or blouse not excessively low cut or tight for ladies
  • Sleeveless tops should be avoided; if not, a jacket, blazer or cardigan sweater should be worn
  • Pale shirt, neatly pressed for men
  • Classically patterned or solid necktie for men


  • Pumps or flats that are clean and polished, not scuffed
  • Closed-toe shoes, no sandals
  • Polished, dark oxfords or tassel loafers for men
  • Nude colored hose for ladies, dark socks for men


  • Hair should be clean and neat
  • Trimmed beards, goatees or mustaches for men


  • If a purse or briefcase is carried, it should be neat and clean, not oversized or excessively decorated
  • Fingernails should be neatly trimmed and clean.  Ladies should remove any chipped or garishly colored nail enamel
  • Jewelry should be tasteful and minimal.  Ladies should avoid pieces that jingle, sway or otherwise attract unnecessary attention


The rule of thumb that goes back for centuries is to dress for the position to which you aspire, not the one for which you are interviewing.  Given a choice between two equally qualified candidates, the well dressed candidate will get the job.

Are you looking for a nursing job? Check out our RN jobs, LPN jobs, and CNA jobs.

Good luck!