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How important is appearance?

Has 7 years experience. Specializes in Hospice.

Hello all!

I would like to get some input from my fellow nurse managers out there. How important is appearance during job interviews to you? Do you prefer your interviewee to wear scrubs or professional attire? How do you feel about coloured hair (pink, purple, blue, etc)? How do you feel about piercings and/or tattoos? How do you feel about missing teeth and/or no teeth at all?

I have interviewed many healthcare professionals from CNAs to Doctors, and I have seen many things that make me wonder if I am right or wrong in my expectations.

Please help me get this straight in my mind.

Thank you!

knoxnurse236

Has 1 years experience.

I'm not a manger but we do peer interviews. Its normally the charge nurse and one of us. I have sat for many interviews. Pink hair or unnaturally colored hair would in no way fly. Scrubs are fine, just be neat. No wrinkles. Piercings should be kept to a minimum at work, you have to consider your patient population. In the hospital most people are elderly. I don't know how to answer the teeth question, I haven't been put in that position. At the end of the day, yes appearance is important and we physically score you on how you look. Appearance had its own category on our interview form.

Jules A, MSN

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

At the end of the day, yes appearance is important and we physically score you on how you look. Appearance had its own category on our interview form.

Interesting, I had no clue in our politically correct society that this would still fly. Personally I think appearance is important in life unfortunately and especially during an interview. Although I happen to enjoy interesting hair color, tats and piercings I believe it shows good insight to down play them and cover what can be covered during the actual interview.

I did have an administrator at a hospital where I work mention that they spoke up for a RN we had both worked with at another job after the interview. This is an amazing nurse but morbidly obese. It kind of surprised me that they felt necessary to mention not to judge by appearance because their knowledge and patient care is excellent. I guess I'm glad they did because this nurse was hired and of course the team is thankful. I would more go by whether the overweight person was clean and well groomed rather than their BMI. :(

Whether any of us like it or not, appearance is important. It is well documented over many years that only 3 - 10% (depending on which source you look at) of our communication is the words we say. The remaining 90 -97% is nonverbal communication. Appearance is a big piece of nonverbal communication. Most of us, whether we realize it or not, are making all kinds of judgments about people based on various aspects of their appearance all the time -- that's more or less hard-wired into our brains.

With the increasing emphasis on client satisfaction in healthcare settings, healthcare employers are getting more (not less) concerned as time goes on about what kind of image their employees are presenting to the public and, as we all know, with the current employment climate, they can afford to be picky. We can expect that to continue until things change dramatically in healthcare and/or employment.

I just sat in on an interview for a clinical position for a nurse who originally had an am appt but then call to request rescheduling to the afternoon because she had been called in to work a shift. It was fine with us and she warned us that she would be arriving in scrubs. Also fine with us.

So she shows up in her working garb with hair pulled back and it was a fantastic opportunity to see how she acted and appeared after a shift on a SNF rehab unit. Seeing her relaxed and non harried was definitely a point in the positive column, much more relevant to how she will handle the job pressure than cleaned up after a relaxing morning which tells us nothing other than she knows how to dress appropriately for an interview.

Re appearance, I've seen it played out where physical appearance has a predictable outcome in over all performance and patient satisfaction. There's is a certain look that is well received by patients and coworkers alike and a point where obesity affects stamina, activity tolerance and agility.

Edited by Libby1987

Hello all!

I would like to get some input from my fellow nurse managers out there. How important is appearance during job interviews to you? Do you prefer your interviewee to wear scrubs or professional attire? How do you feel about coloured hair (pink, purple, blue, etc)? How do you feel about piercings and/or tattoos? How do you feel about missing teeth and/or no teeth at all?

I have interviewed many healthcare professionals from CNAs to Doctors, and I have seen many things that make me wonder if I am right or wrong in my expectations.

Please help me get this straight in my mind.

Thank you!

Professional attire is preferred but scrubs that are neat are fine too. I've seen staff interview after a 12 hr shift in scrubs and they were fine. We didn't hire the girl who showed up in a "Juicy" velour track suit and looked like she needed a shower after her workout. It looked like she just rolled out of bed and made no attempt at her appearance.

Hair color doesn't matter as long as it is neatly groomed. We have a guy with blue hair & a girl with bright red hair & another with rainbow hair.

Piercings & tattoos should be discreet or covered. Your facility & neighborhood should dictate acceptable practice in that area. We have staff with nose and eyebrow piercings & tattoos on arms & neck (for the areas that are exposed by scrubs). Any area not exposed by scrubs is not our business.

People have missing teeth all the time. But is their smile pleasant and sincere? As for no teeth? Never ran into that as most people will get dentures or implants.

As to obesity...we don't judge your weight (big or small) per se but rather our perception of your ability to perform on the job.

New area of concern: accents! I don't care if you have one, but if I can't understand what you are saying, chances are that neither can the patients. That leads to poor patient satisfaction. Unfortunately, I work in a wealthy neighborhood so patient satisfaction is huge!

Interesting, I had no clue in our politically correct society that this would still fly. Personally I think appearance is important in life unfortunately and especially during an interview. Although I happen to enjoy interesting hair color, tats and piercings I believe it shows good insight to down play them and cover what can be covered during the actual interview.

You can judge on any criteria you want as long as you are not discriminating against any one who is a "protected status" such as race, religion, disability, etc.

I always ask myself..."Do I want this person representing me or my company". I have not hired based on not looking professional in an interview. Pink hair is fine if you are working the drive thru but thats not a professional look.

BuckyBadgerRN, ASN, RN

Has 4 years experience. Specializes in HH, Peds, Rehab, Clinical.

I think appearance is important everywhere---not just in the job arena! I'll say it, I judge the person in Tweety bird pajamas at Target (not just the bottoms, we're talking the whole she-bang!), or the person that comes in for their appointment with their fanny cheeks hanging out of a too small pair of shorts. It's not that hard to pull on a pair of tasteful bottoms that cover everything or put on actual clothes when heading out into the public.

Flame away, I can take it. I don't let my boys wear sleeveless shirts because, trust me, NOONE wants to see a guys pit hair, so I'm starting them young =)

WKShadowNP, DNP, APRN

Has 19 years experience. Specializes in Hospital medicine; NP precepting; staff education.

For health care I don't mind scrubs or dress clothes for an interview as long as the individual is neat and clean. Once upon a time I had a restaurant. Interesting gamut of applicants would appear. Most of the time, the level of care put into the appearance reflected on reliability and responsibility. I didn't mind a server coming to apply wearing jeans answer a blouse. She was clean, pressed, and put together. She even apologized saying it was her best clothes. That may or may not have been true, but she presented well. She worked out.

I have a coworker whose lack of ...what's the word I want...finesse? in dressing irks me to no end. Her pants hang low on her hips so that the crotch is closer to her knees than should be, when she bends over I see her tramp stamp. I told her one day that I don't need to know she was wearing green underwear. I also told her I'm going to buy her a pair of suspenders.

Management have told her to improve her appearance but nothing changed . She has the means but I just don't know with her. She's just as sloppy in her work...cellophane wrappers trailed behind her in a wake of slobiness. ..

Yrs. Appearances matter and whether accurate or not leave the impression of what your work may be like.

BlakelyRN

Specializes in Nursing home and Home Health.

When I interview applicants I try to look through the eyes of the patient. Does the person appear professional and approachable? If an applicant fits the position they are applying for; are they willing to change an aspect that may appear unapproachable or unprofessional such as a large sleeve tattoo, multiple facial piercings, their clothing, colored hair or bright makeup?

Just consider that if the applicant seems to be "the one" appearance issues may can be resolved.

Edited by BlakelyRN
added a word

FieryGingerRN

Has 7 years experience. Specializes in Hospice.

Thank you all for your comments! I agree with all that has been posted. Appearance and first impressions have always been important to me. I feel like health care professionals should present professionally.

Tattoos do not bother me as long as they are not offensive, and can be mostly covered by the scrubs or appointed uniforms. Piercings tend to be distracting, depending on the location and amount of them. Colour, I am not sure about. I think moderation is the key. Teeth...this one really bothers me for some reason. I understand people sometimes are missing a tooth here or there, but no teeth to me is distracting as well. I find myself focusing on the lack of teeth and then I am not truly giving this person my full attention during the interview.

Adele_Michal7, ASN, RN

Has 5 years experience. Specializes in Pediatric.

Hello all!

I would like to get some input from my fellow nurse managers out there. How important is appearance during job interviews to you? Do you prefer your interviewee to wear scrubs or professional attire? How do you feel about coloured hair (pink, purple, blue, etc)? How do you feel about piercings and/or tattoos? How do you feel about missing teeth and/or no teeth at all?

I have interviewed many healthcare professionals from CNAs to Doctors, and I have seen many things that make me wonder if I am right or wrong in my expectations.

Please help me get this straight in my mind.

Thank you!

I'm going to have to suspend my disbelief in a major way to buy that someone would show up to a job interview with no teeth. I totally believe it, but it's shocking to me.

I suppose there could be a whole thread, though, on shocking job interview candidates. Lol.

FieryGingerRN

Has 7 years experience. Specializes in Hospice.

Seriously, no teeth!! I know there must be a rule or law about asking the applicant about it, so I didn't ask where they were. Good idea about the new thread! I could share many stories!! :roflmao:

About the no teeth..

OP included CNA's to MD's. I've known CNA's who had a less than healthy background that was trying to make a living but couldn't afford the expense of tooth replacement without employment. I'm not quite what I would suggest to them if they're trying to find work when they couldn't afford to fix their dentition.

There's intentional dress and appearance and then there's what can't be helped.

Ir would certainly make me pause particularly with professional staff but I couldn't laugh about it.

ACNP2017

Specializes in ER, ICU, PACU, hospital medicine.

I have a coworker Im surprised got hired. She's loud, obnoxious, wears wrinkled scrubs that are too small for her, and has a constant odor of stale cigarettes. The amount and color of her make up makes her look like a clown. She just doesn't look like she takes care of herself. Her hair is long and greasy - Ive yet to see her hair kept back.

There are just so many GOOD nurses out there who present themselves well ...why did they pick her?

FieryGingerRN

Has 7 years experience. Specializes in Hospice.

Thank you for your reply, Libby1987. I do understand that there are expenses that unfortunately come with tooth replacement. Maybe in that situation it could not be helped. I am thankful that I have dental coverage.

FieryGingerRN

Has 7 years experience. Specializes in Hospice.

ACNP2017, I don't know. I have worked with many nurses that do not care about their appearance. This also happens in the non health-care fields. I think appearance is important no matter what you do for a living. If we do not care about the way we present ourselves what does that say to our patients and/or co-workers? Can we expect less care to be given by that nurse? I sure hope not.

Please everyone understand, I definitely did not post this to laugh at anyone, I just wanted to know if anyone else has had the same issues, and how they handled each situation. I have to stay on top of my staff about see-through t-shirts, smoke smell, wrinkled scrubs, piercings, etc. We have a dress code, but there are always those that try to push the envelope.

gibsongirl

Has 33 years experience.

Clean and neat in appropriate attire. Scrubs, business casual or casual for a staff position. Less crazy about seeing roots than off color hair. I take note of nails and teeth. I can't help it. Unfortunately, lack of teeth puts me off but If the person passes the drug screening, I would still consider them.

Orca, ASN, RN

Has 25 years experience. Specializes in Corrections, psychiatry, rehab, LTC.

We expect some people to come in scrubs. People may interview with us either before or after work. Neat and professional is the key, if you aren't in work attire.

One interviewee sticks with me. This particular nurse (RN) had been personally recommended by one of our staff physicians. She came in dressed like she was going fishing at the lake. Plaid flannel shirt, badly worn jeans (complete with holes) and shoes that should have hit the trash can a couple of years earlier.

We didn't hire her.

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