How To Dress For A Nursing Informatics Interview

Have you been called for your first informatics interview and you’re wondering what to wear? Although this is a simple decision to make, once in a while we get a candidate that shows up to an interview dressed NOT for success.

If you work in healthcare, in any clinical role such as a nurse, rehab therapist, or even a unit clerk, it is no anomaly to show up every day for your job in bright and unique colorful scrubs, unless your facility has designated specific “scrub uniforms” for your role.

What about if you have to go to an interview for an informatics role? Is it ok to show up in scrubs? After all, if you have a clinical role in the hospital, that’s what most likely you wear every day and what you’re used to. Will the hiring manager be fine if they see you in scrubs?

My most simple answer to this question is, it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed for a job interview. I would rather show up to an interview dressed conservatively than show up in a polo shirt and jeans.

There might be exceptions to this rule, and I’ll talk about the one case where it might be ok to show up in scrubs to your informatics interview, but in general, a suit and tie (a nice blouse with a blazer for the ladies) will always beat any other outfit out there.

We all know the cliché, “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” And showing up to an informatics interview is no exception to this.

Even though you’re interviewing for a position that might be in the hospital and you might believe that wearing a conservative outfit to the interview is overkill, it is always best to play it safe and be dressed as if the CIO of the hospital might be there.

Dress up for your nursing informatics interview

Dress up for your nursing informatics interview

I’m no fashion guru, but the safest advice I can give is: Men, wear a suit and tie, and do your best to look presentable.

For women, a suit or blazer with a nice matching skirt or pants (whatever is most personally comfortable) is always a safe idea.

Keep your hair tidy and presentable and for both, men and women, do not over do the cologne or perfume. Also for ladies, don’t overdo the makeup.

What about those hot summer days, especially in places like New Mexico, Texas, or Florida—do I still have to dress up to the interview? Couldn’t I just wear some casual clothes, like a short sleeve polo shirt?

Again, remember the following: conservative interviewers will be offended if you’re not dressed professionally, while someone who’s laid back will not be offended if you’re dressed professionally. So wear that conservative outfit in hot days. There are plenty of career sites out there with plenty of tips on how to stay cool even in a hot day while being dressed up.

There are some candidates that will show up in casual clothes to an interview and I have seen some even show up in scrubs. I’m guessing they believe that it’s ok to wear scrubs because they are applying for a job in a hospital.

It is true. As an informatics analyst, I don’t wear a suit and tie to my job, nor do I show up every day dressed in long sleeve shirts and slacks. But I already have a job and I already know the culture of my workplace. Somebody who is interviewing for a job needs to look sharp. No excuses.

Also, keep in mind that you’re not the only person being interviewed for the job. When you dress conservatively, you also get to outshine those people who show up to the interview with casual outfits; being well dressed for the interview does make an impression on your interviewers.

Let’s talk now about the one time that scrubs might be acceptable to an informatics interview. If you’re working at a facility and you’re approached by the informatics hiring manager, and this person tells you, “Would you be interested in interviewing for the clinical analyst position? I know you’re working, but if you’d like, we can do the interview right before your shift starts or after you get off work.”

In this unique case, then it might be ok to show up in scrubs, as you will have no time to get all dressed up and then show up for work, or get off work, and immediately get dressed up for the interview. But even if this happens to you, then always voice your concern to the manager, “I will not be dressed appropriately to the interview because obviously it will be during my workday, is it ok to show up in scrubs to the interview?” Never hurts to ask, but like I said, in these situations, hiring managers understand the predicament and they are not expecting the interviewee to show up all dressed up.

We actually had one candidate who was in a similar situation. He had been attending the user meetings for months and some clinical analyst positions opened up. The hiring manager had a free spot the next day and she asked him if he could come during his shift to interview for the role.

To our surprise, this candidate showed up to the interview in the middle of his shift dressed up with a long sleeve shirt, nice pants (trousers for those in the UK) and a tie. The manager made the joke if he had taken the day off to get ready, but he said that since he worked in the OR, he just took the clothes and put them in the locker room and it took him 2 minutes to get ready. Needless to say, we were delighted to see this type of dedication.

Also, if you’re interviewing with a vendor, ALWAYS show up dressed up!

In short, it is better to be overdressed for an informatics interview than it is to show up and then second guess yourself if you are dressed appropriately for the interview!


Chris (20 Posts)

Chris Smith works as a clinical analyst consultant with 9 years of experience working in the nursing informatics field. He started this blog to help others learn more about nursing informatics because he got tired of reading a lot of misinformation about this field on the web. You can connect with Chris on Google+

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