Interview Attire

What do you wear to an interview?

This is a very common question. Certainly, business attire is always appropriate for an interview. Business attire would consist of dress slacks and a dress shirt with tie for gentlemen, and a dress or pantsuit for ladies. Interview clothing should be modest, professional and attractive. First impressions certainly count and you only get one opportunity to make a first impression.

If you choose to wear business attire, there are a few considerations that must be discussed.  For women, if you are wearing a dress, the length of the skirt should be longer than your fingertips when in a standing position.  Clothing should not bare the stomach, sides, or show excessive cleavage. Shoes with heels should be modest (less than 2 inches in height) and should be a suitable color blending with the outfit. Bright colors and outrageous styles should be avoided. For men, shirts should be tucked in and a belt should be worn around the waist.  Neckties should be tied appropriately.  No clothing with offensive logos, pictures, graphics or words should be worn (an interview is not the place for personal expression).

But there is an old saying regarding employment and interviews: Dress for the job you intend to get.  What does this mean? Go into the interview looking like you already belong there!  This makes it much easier for the interviewer to visualize you as part of their team.  If you go in for a healthcare interview, but look more like a receptionist, the supervisor may have a harder time picturing you in a clinical position.  Make it easy for them to hire you…look the part!

Does that mean you should wear scrubs to an interview? That is a personal decision. Are you comfortable wearing scrubs? If so, you may want to wear them for an interview! It is appropriate to wear scrubs to an entry-level healthcare interview. If you are brand new to the industry and haven’t worn scrubs before, you may not be comfortable in them yet. In that case, business professional is appropriate as well, but scrubs may give you an advantage.  However, like everything else…there are rules that must be followed when wearing scrubs for an interview.

2968_REDB1) uniform must be neat and clean without holes, stains or tears

2) uniform must be PRESSED (do not just take it out of the dryer and shake it out) – if you don’t know your way around an iron, take the uniform to a dry cleaner!

3) uniform should be solid in color, preferably darker “core-colors” such as navy blue, royal blue, hunter green, wine, etc. BONUS: if the facility you are interviewing at wears specific colors, find out what color is assigned to CNAs and wear that uniform to the interview!

4) undergarments should not show. Make sure your pants are seated at your natural waist, and an undershirt or cami is worn under a top that gaps in the front

5) shoes should be solid white or black (no bright colors) and should be CLEAN. Athletic shoes are generally acceptable in healthcare, but they should be solid in color.

6) tattoos on the arms should be covered with a long-sleeved shirt (i.e., under armor) worn under the scrub top or a warm-up jacket worn over the uniform

7) facial piercings should be removed or covered with a skin-toned bandage

8) jewelry should be minimal – wedding or engagement rings and stud-type earrings. Necklaces, chains, bracelets, hoop earrings, etc. should be removed.

9) hair should be styled appropriately for a work setting

Conclusion:  By presenting yourself appropriately for a job interview, you are telling the supervisor that you value their opinion and want to make a good impression. This will go a long way in paving the way for a smooth interview experience.



Author: Patricia Ramsey, RN

Patricia Ramsey is a Registered Nurse in Florida. She has over 24 years of nursing experience in a wide variety of settings, including home care, physician's office and emergency care clinic, critical care, and nursing home/rehab. Click here to learn more!

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