What to Wear to a Nurse Interview: Dressing for Success

While it may be tempting to show up in scrubs, it is essential to stick with business attire for the interview process. Classic colors and styles are recommended, as you don’t want your outfit to distract from your message and qualifications.

Women should consider wearing low-heeled shoes or flats that match their outfit, while men can opt for black or brown dress shoes with matching socks Indeed. Aim for a professional yet subtle look with colors such as black, navy blue, or gray for a polished and reliable appearance Berxi.

Understanding the Importance of Professional Attire

When attending a nursing interview, the way you dress can play a significant role in making a positive first impression.

A professional attire demonstrates your commitment to the role and shows that you respect both the interviewer and the institution. It also helps set you apart from other candidates, displaying a sense of organization and preparedness.

While scrubs are commonly worn by healthcare professionals during their work, they should not be worn to a nursing interview.

An interview requires a more formal outfit that communicates your professionalism and dedication to the job.

It’s essential to choose clothing that not only makes you look polished but also communicates the key qualities desired in a nurse, such as compassionate care, effective communication, and strong work ethic.

By dressing appropriately, you signal your understanding of the nursing profession and your potential as a suitable candidate. Some suitable options for a nursing interview include:

  • Tailored, solid-colored suits with a matching dress shirt or blouse
  • Conservative ties for men
  • Dark-colored professional shoes
  • Minimal jewelry for women

Ultimately, your attire should reflect a balance between professional formality and comfort, allowing you to focus on the interview content and effectively showcase your skills and qualifications.

General Guidelines for Nurse Interview Attire

As you prepare for your nursing interview, it’s critical to choose the right attire to make a professional first impression. This section will provide some general guidelines to help you succeed.

Colors and Patterns

Stick to neutral colors like navy, black, and gray, as these convey a sense of professionalism and authority. Avoid overly bright colors or distracting patterns. Instead, opt for subtle patterns or solid colors for your clothing, such as a shirt or blouse, under a neutral suit.

Fabric and Material

Choose clothing made from high-quality materials that are comfortable, well-fitting, and ironed. Wrinkle-resistant fabrics like polyester-blends and wool are excellent options, but avoid fabrics that are too casual, like denim or overly sheer materials.

For women, skirts should be above the knee, while men should wear dress pants or tailored slacks. Accessories should be minimal and simple to avoid drawing attention away from your professionalism and qualifications.


Select professional, closed-toe shoes in a neutral color that match your outfit. High-quality flats or low heels are suitable options for women, while men should wear polished dress shoes. Avoid wearing sneakers, sandals, or any casual footwear that might detract from your professional image.

Gender-Specific Recommendations

Attire for Women

Women should opt for a professional and polished look during a nursing interview. A tailored, solid-colored suit or a conservative dress paired with a blazer is an excellent choice. Ensure that the dress or skirt length is appropriate, ideally around knee-length. Wearing a button-down dress shirt or a blouse in a neutral color coordinate well with the suit or dress.

When it comes to footwear, closed-toe shoes such as pumps or flats in neutral colors like black or nude are recommended. Accessorize minimally, opting for simple and elegant jewelry rather than flashy or oversized pieces. Combine these elements to achieve a polished and professional appearance for your nursing interview.

Attire for Men

For men, dressing for a nursing interview should reflect a sense of professionalism and maturity. A solid-colored, tailored suit is always a suitable option. Alternatively, you can wear dress slacks with a coordinated blazer. Pair your suit or slacks with a button-down dress shirt in a neutral or subdued color, and consider adding a conservative tie to complete the outfit.

Choose dress shoes in a neutral color, like black or brown, and be sure to wear coordinating dress socks. Avoid flashy accessories, instead opting for a simple wristwatch and a belt that matches your shoes. By adhering to these guidelines, you’ll convey a professional image appropriate for a nursing interview.

Accessorizing Appropriately

When attending a nursing interview, it’s crucial to choose accessories that are both professional and understated. This demonstrates your attention to detail and helps you make a great first impression. In this section, we will discuss some tips on accessorizing appropriately for a nursing interview.

First, limit the amount of jewelry you wear. Opt for small, classic pieces like a modest watch, stud earrings, or a simple necklace. Large or flashy jewelry can be distracting and may give off an unprofessional impression. According to CareerStaff, it’s important that you maintain a modest and professional appearance, which includes selecting the right accessories.

Next, choose a professional bag or briefcase to bring any necessary documents, such as your resume, licenses, and certifications. A clean, neutral-colored bag works best and should match your outfit. Avoid overly decorated or informal bags, as they may not convey the right level of professionalism.

Hair should be styled neatly and away from your face, allowing for clear communication and showing your attentiveness during the interview. Both men and women should avoid extreme hairstyles or colors, as they may not be well-received in the professional environment of a nursing interview.

Lastly, be mindful of your footwear. Select comfortable, closed-toe shoes that complement your outfit and allow you to maintain a professional appearance. As a medical professional, the importance of proper footwear cannot be overstated. Avoid overly casual shoes, such as sneakers or sandals, as they may not be suitable for a nursing interview setting.

Grooming and Hygiene

As a healthcare professional, maintaining a clean and well-groomed appearance is crucial during a nursing interview. Good hygiene communicates professionalism and reflects an understanding of the essential role cleanliness plays in the healthcare setting.

Pay attention to the following grooming and hygiene tips:

  • Personal cleanliness: Ensure that you have showered, brushed your teeth, and used a deodorant prior to the interview. Maintain fresh breath by avoiding strong-smelling foods or smoking before the meeting.
  • Hair: Your hair should be clean, neatly styled, and away from the face. Both men and women should keep their hair tidy, with facial hair carefully trimmed and well-maintained.
  • Nails: Clean and short is the best approach for nails. Avoid long nails or loud nail colors, as they may not be considered professional in a clinical setting. Opt for neutral or natural colors if you choose to wear nail polish.
  • Moderate makeup and perfume/cologne: Women should opt for minimal makeup, with natural tones or shades that enhance their features without being overly dramatic. Both men and women should use perfume or cologne sparingly or not at all, as strong scents can be overwhelming or irritating for those with sensitivities.

Taking the time to ensure proper grooming and hygiene not only creates a good first impression but also demonstrates your commitment to upholding the highest standards of cleanliness and professionalism in the workplace.

Body Language and Nonverbal Communication

While dressing appropriately for a nursing interview is important, it’s also crucial to be aware of your body language and nonverbal communication. This can greatly impact the interviewer’s perception of you and your overall interview performance.

First, ensure you maintain good eye contact throughout the interview. This demonstrates confidence and attentiveness. Avoid staring, but engage with the interviewer by looking at them when they’re speaking and when you’re responding (Nurse Key).

Next, pay attention to your posture. Sitting up straight with your shoulders back projects an image of self-assurance and professionalism. On the other hand, slouching may convey a lack of interest and disorganization (iHire).

Be mindful of your hand gestures when speaking. Use them sparingly to emphasize a point or to express enthusiasm, but avoid excessive movements that may be distracting or convey nervousness.

Finally, take note of your facial expressions. Ensure you appear engaged and approachable by smiling and maintaining a pleasant demeanor. This can leave a positive impression on the interviewer and help you stand out among the other candidates.


In summary, dressing professionally and appropriately for a nursing interview greatly influences the impression you make on the interviewer. It’s essential to choose attire that demonstrates your commitment to the profession and your professionalism.

Wearing a tailored, solid-colored suit with a conservative dress shirt or blouse can help you convey a polished appearance. Avoid casual clothing items such as denim, jeans, shorts, sneakers, open-toed shoes, flip-flops, or sandals. Remember, your choice of attire plays a crucial role in showcasing your attention to detail and preparedness for the role.

As for your hairstyle, opt for a simple and neat look, avoiding fancy hair accessories. Keep in mind that a proper grooming and personal hygiene are also essential aspects to consider when dressing for a nursing interview.

To maximize your chances of success, take the time to research the healthcare facility you’re interviewing with and consider their dress code and culture. Following these guidelines will help you present yourself in the best possible light and increase the likelihood of securing the nursing position you desire.