How to Dress for an Interview in the Health Field

by Nicole Vulcan

When you're working in the health care field, that cutesy pair of scrubs with the little bunnies on them may be perfectly acceptable - but that's not necessarily the case when you're headed for a job interview. For most job interviews in health care, you'll need to find the more upscale clothing in your closet. As with any job interview, it's important to do some research and preparation before the big day so you'll know how to fit in.

Gather Information

As with any job in any profession, it's important to understand the company culture and the way employees are expected to dress before you go in. In advance of the interview, research the hospital, clinic or office to find out what employees wear. In some clinics, nurses and doctors wear scrubs; in others, they wear dresses and ties and leave the scrubs to medical assistants or other support staff. Check out the company website or visit the clinic to get a glimpse of what employees are wearing. Not only will this to help you decide what to wear to the interview, it can also help you decide if this workplace is the right fit for you and what type of attire you'll be expected to wear on a daily basis.

Interview Attire

Looking like a professional goes a long way. "Looking the part really is half the battle," reminds the nurses' magazine Scrubs. As a general rule, plan to look a little dressy, unless otherwise instructed. For women, wear a neat dress shirt with a pencil skirt or a pair of tailored pants and a button-down shirt. A suit is not out of the question, especially in clinics with a more upscale clientele. If you do get instructions about the interview process, read them carefully. If you are expected to wear scrubs or other clinical attire, choose clothing that is well fitting, free of holes or stains and shows that you are a professional. Bunny scrubs don't signal professional. If you're still not sure what you're expected to wear for the interview, ask the human resources officer who set up the interview or the recruiter with whom you've been working.

Working Interview

In some cases, you may be asked to do a working interview, in which you shadow current employees and complete some of the tasks that they do. For that type of interview, heels may get uncomfortable - and you'll certainly stand out if you're the only one not wearing scrubs. This kind of interview may be more common as a second interview or follow-up interview, after you've passed through the initial phases of the process.


When it comes to accessories, a little goes a long way. You don't want your attire to draw too much attention. Dressing down can make you look like you don't care, while wearing too much makeup or too many accessories can be off-putting. Aim for light makeup and a few key accessories, such as a watch or a modest pair of earrings. Your hair should be neat as well. On the job, you're likely to wear long hair pulled back, so consider styling it in a similar manner for the interview. Think carefully before you wear heels. If you're going to be touring a large facility as part of the interview, a comfortable - yet stylish - pair of shoes may be more appropriate.

About the Author

Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

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