If you’re applying for a healthcare job, you may be wondering whether you should wear your scrubs to your interview. This simple question is a struggle for many healthcare professionals.

So in this article, I’m going to discuss that question. I’ll give you the popular opinion on that question and why I think it’s WRONG!

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Should I Wear Scrubs to an Interview?

I focus on nurses in this video but rest assured, it applies to anyone in the medical field, including CNAs, Dental Assistants, Vet Techs, etc. FYI make sure to check out my job board to search for jobs.

You shouldn’t wear scrubs to an interview. Instead, you should wear professional/business attire to an interview. It makes a good first impression and shows you’re serious about the job. Interviewers (especially HR professionals) expect professional attire, not work attire, to an interview.

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Why You Shouldn’t Wear Scrubs to an Interview

The popular opinion among nurses and some other healthcare professionals is that it’s okay to wear scrubs to an interview. As stated above, I disagree with that position.

I think there are many good reasons why you shouldn’t wear scrubs to an interview. Below I list out just a few of them.

1. It Makes a Poor First Impression

Have you heard the saying, “First impressions are everything?”

While many of us have heard of it at some point or another, we don’t necessarily place much weight on it. We all like to believe that people won’t form hasty conclusions about us without getting to know us first.

We would like to believe that our personalities will make a lasting impression on others. Unfortunately (for most of us), this isn’t always the case, and research suggests most people make an assessment about another person within 7 seconds of meeting them.

That’s right! Within just a few seconds, people are already forming an opinion on whether or not they like you.

First impressions are the most lasting.

Proverbs

With all that said, you should understand how most people (including you) make a judgment and form an opinion on someone, and that’s usually through nonverbal cues.

Such as:

  • How the person is dressed.
  • Are they smiling?
  • Do they make eye contact?

All of that leads me to my point of wearing professional attire. Still, even in the age of casual clothing, professional/business attire is still considered highly desirable and makes good impressions. Lastly, professional attire is still expected for certain professional fields (I’ll discuss why this is important in point #3).

2. It Looks Like You Take the Job Seriously

There’s something about taking the time to dress up in professional attire that just screams you take the job seriously. Besides, remember when I said above about first impressions? Well, there’s more to that story as well.

You see people have many biases, and one of those biases is called the halo effect. Halo effect is the tendency for positive impressions of a person, company, brand, or product in one area to positively influence one’s opinion or feelings in other areas.

For example, an interviewer looks at a job candidate and thinks this person is dressed really well and professional and looks put together. They must be good at this job.

The Halo effect occurs when evaluators aren’t entirely aware of their biases because they can’t separate their feelings into what should and shouldn’t influence them.

Take the above example of the interviewer evaluating someone based on their professional attire. If you think about it, just because you’re dressed well doesn’t mean you’re good at your job or the perfect candidate.

You could be the most well-dressed candidate and still be the worst applicant there. Unfortunately, as humans, we often make parallel biased assumptions even if there’s no rationale correlation.

REMEMBER!
You’re trying to get a job, so your goal is to use whatever advantage you can to your benefit, and I believe wearing business attire could be one advantage you can use.

3. It Might Be a HR Professional Interviewing You

Here’s another thing to consider. Let’s say you disagree with me and most professionals who work in your field also disagree with me (which might not actually be far from the truth).

The issue is that it’s not always one of your peers that’s interviewing you or that’s on the interview panel (if it’s a group interview). Sometimes Human Resource professionals are there, and HR professionals are not typically nurses, CNA’s or any other health professional. Nope! They’re usually non-medical people who graduated from a college of business.

Guess what attire business schools push for interviews…you guessed it, professional attire. How do I know this, you ask? I know this because I was a business major before (and got my business degree) going to nursing school.

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Here’s What You Should Wear

With all that said, I wrote an article all about what you should wear to a nursing interview, so check out that linked article for more information.

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Frequently Asked Questions

It’s best to wear professional clothes to an interview and not work attire because wearing scrubs to an interview could be seen as unprofessional to your interviewer.

For an interview in the medical field, unless you’re told otherwise by your interviewer, you should wear professional/business attire for the interview. That means no scrubs.