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How to NOT interview for your RN/LPN job!


I just got finished with round 3 of the most frustrating interviews! I was an LPN for 15 years before I went back to school for my RN. I am currently in training for management so I have been "forced" to endure the interview process. I would hope that a nurse that was interviewing for our position would read this, but if not, I have no problem trying to help other LPN's be better or RN's suffer less.

What NOT to do:

Do NOT show up late unless you have called and told me why...and it better be good. All I can think is how many times will this happen when they are employed.

Do NOT show up looking like a hooker. If you wear a skirt, wear one that is longer than knee length and make sure you can walk in it. I am not interested in how sexy you can look. If you wear pants, make sure they are dress pants...I don't want to see your khaki's from 9th grade. If any of your clothes are tight...leave them at home. I remember one nurse who's clothes were too tight and I felt like I was watching her slowly suffocate during the interview. Also NO jeans....EVER...period!!! I had several nurses who wore scrubs and that was so much better than ill fitting, crazy looking outfits. However they were coming to or going to their regular job. If someone who was unemployed showed up in scrubs it would seem a little strange.

Do NOT come with hair that is not a natural color and piercings anywhere but your ears. It doesn't bother me, but my patients will call and say I want to talk to the nurse but not the one with blue hair, and nose rings...she looks freaky and made my baby cry. Plus if I hire you, you will have a dress code that will say no piercings, or unnatural hair color...might as well start now.

Do NOT wear stiletto heels. I love shoes as much as any woman, but I have rarely seen someone who could wear stiletto heels and walk normally. No flip flops or sandals....EVER!

Do NOT show me your tattoos. I personally don't mind them but some of my patients will not like them...so keep them covered. Speaking of covered...I don't want to see your boobs either....check your cleavage before you leave home.

Do NOT come with greasy hair, no make up, un-brushed hair or wearing pajamas. I should not even have to type that.

Do NOT chew gum, play with your hands, play with stuff on my desk, pick at the holes in your jeans, mess with your hair, avoid eye contact or look like a deer in the headlights when I talk to you. I know you are nervous and I understand, I can deal with that, but freaked out or fidgety sends up red flags.

Do NOT tell me what I want to hear....tell me the truth. Most interviewers can tell when you have practiced way to much. I always think...how many interviews has this person had without a job offer?

Do NOT make up stuff....why would anyone say they can do something then set themselves up for failure??? I would much rather you say. I have never done that, I have watched/seen/heard about but I personally have not done it. Then tell me how you are willing to learn and how you are a fast learner with an example (everyone is a fast learner in my interviews)

Do NOT complain about the problems you had in your previous job. All I see is you in my office every day whining or everyone else in there whining about you.

Do NOT tell me how wonderful you are. Tell me what things you do well and have an example to back it up.....everyone does everything well in my interviews.

Do NOT come unprepared. Go on our website and see what we are about. If I see that you have not bothered to care about us, I will assume you want a job and those are offered at other places. We are here for our patients and while the paycheck is awesome and expected, we are not here for that primarily. Find out what kind of things you might be expected to do in a setting like ours and start learning about them and then tell me about how you are brushing up on such and such because you know we probably do a lot of that. I am impressed when someone knows they don't know and are willing to remedy that and have taken the initiative to learn.

What to do.....come with a confident attitude and an awareness of yourself, your skills and your abilities. Come with a smile. Its pretty simple.....or at least I thought it was.

BTW...all of the do NOT's came from things that actually happened in these interviews. It made me ashamed of the nursing profession and seriously worried about the caliber of people the schools are turning out.

I am hoping other managers will add to this thread!

Edited by Joe V

I am not a manager, I am an LPN. I saw the stuff you described (piercings, heels, unkempt appearance)

often with anything from coworkers to check out girls at walmart.

You definitely hit the nail on the head! Sadly, I think society as a whole is turning out less than

caliber people!

NickiLaughs, ADN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency, Trauma, Critical Care. Has 12 years experience.

So true....I think obeying this list will increase the chance of getting a job exponentially. Worse I ever saw was a CNA come to a assisted living to ask for an application in her pajamas...and fuzzy slippers.

GitanoRN, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in Trauma, ER, ICU, CCU, PACU, GI, Cardiology, OR. Has 53 years experience.

Needless to say, I agree with your list 100% musicianRN. In addition, Do Not come in chewing gum or answer your Cell during our interview!!! However, I never seeing someone come in to an interview wearing "Pajamas" Seriously??? :eek:


Specializes in ER/ float. Has 3 years experience.

Wow, get over yourself!! what is it like on the top looking down on everyone else.

If you think you are lowering yourself doing interviews you should have stayed an LPN. Here is some advise for you. Look for a new profession!!!! you lack empathy and understanding. I am not impressed at all.

SNB1014, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 8 years experience.

umm...wow, that was a harsh reaction to interview tips, dont you think?

NICUmiiki, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU/PICU Flight Nursing. Has 6 years experience.

Well... Obviously someone didn't know about these interview tips already. I feel sorry that the OP felt the need to share this because interviewees actually do this kind of stuff at a job interview where you are trying to impress the interviewer enough to hire you. If you can't be at your best at the interview, what do you think would be expected of your job performance???


Specializes in Critical Care, Trauma, Neuroscience. Has 3 years experience.

Wow pajamas????? You've got to be kidding! Thanks for the tips - I like to see it coming from the interviewer's point of view. I'll be a new grad in 2 semesters and I know I'll be extremely nervous when I first go out to interview for my first nursing job! I think pajamas would be the last thing I'd consider wearing hahah!

Someone came in wearing pajamas? :eek: Very shameful and shows absolutely no respect for the company. I swear, what are some people thinking? *smh*

Around here they have interviews for something like "college on my time.com" Their tagline: "Go to school in your pajamas!" That may be OK but going to a job interview in nothing but pajamas is carrying it a bit too far.

Several years ago (before I had my DD), I got my CNA (going into NS at that time) and we happened to have a nice NH run by a top hospital. I was told at that time to wear business casual and look very nice just to pick up the application in case the DON had a moment and decided to interview you there on the spot. I was extremely surprised to see those going in an actual interview wearing cut offs, jeans, short jeans skirts, holes in clothing, et. I mean, it really wasn't that long ago that I graduated and we were given tips on how to dress, act, etc. It just blew my mind what these people wore to interviews.

Thank you for making this post as a reminder for acceptable interview behavior. Yes, jobs may be a little slim, but read posts such as these to give yourself an edge in the interviews process. :)

I agree with 99% of what you said, I just disagree about the makeup part. Why on earth is that a requirement?


Specializes in nursing education.

Needless to say, I agree with your list 100% musicianRN. In addition, Do Not come in chewing gum or answer your Cell during our interview!!! However, I never seeing someone come in to an interview wearing "Pajamas" Seriously??? :eek:

I have to politely disagree with "no gum chewing." My mouth gets really dry, especially when I am nervous. I've gotten called on it but I have to stand by it.

Im a new rpn so I really appreciated this post and it kinda made me feel better about my chances against other candidates ..... Especially those who wear their pajamas to an interview!

he/she is "looking down" on people because she is trying to promote professionalism???

and it is spelled ADVICE !

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience.

It may not be 'fair', but as a manager I tend to regard interviewees with long fake fingernails, multiple piercings, tight jeans, and too much perfume as not serious about working in health care. I also don't want to hear their cell phone going off every 2 minutes during the interview with Nikki Minaj signaling a new text message......smacking gum......tongue rings clicking against teeth....or questions like "can I have July off for a friend's wedding?" :rolleyes:

I agree with 99% of what you said, I just disagree about the makeup part. Why on earth is that a requirement?

i'm no expert on interview technique (i interview terribly due to nerves, and am always surprised when i get a job!) but i'm guessing what the OP means isn't so much 'be sure to wear make-up' as 'take a bit of pride in your appearance'.

i don't really wear make-up, i can't wear it at work because i work in theatres and it just rubs off on my mask and then i look half-done and silly, and so generally forget to wear it in real life, but there is no way i would turn up to an interview looking like i haven't glanced in a mirror on my way past it!

now, to the OP (and other interviewers), you touched on something dear to my heart, and my face. my nose stud.

before having it done, i checked my work's uniform policy, and made sure to use a discreet little stud. nobody mentioned it once it was done, and i have had no indication from anybody in management that it is a problem.

say you were interviewing for another job, how would you feel about me just asking in the interview if it is a problem? or would you just see it and think 'strike 1'?

I thought the list was hysterical, and read similar things a decade ago. Some people are either not experienced enough in a work environment, or are not smart enough, to understand these things and have to be told. Usually when you have to be told even if you follow the directions you probably still don't understand why, or you would have already been doing them. Whats funny is I am a pro tattoo, piercing, cleavage, sexy, skin and cleavage kind of girl, but would NEVER show up for a work or parent related function in such a way. I even grew my hair out from its punk cut and went from platinum and blue to brunette just for nursing school.

GitanoRN, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in Trauma, ER, ICU, CCU, PACU, GI, Cardiology, OR. Has 53 years experience.

I still can't get over the fact that applicants come in for an interview in their .... "PAJAMAS" .... Seriously? Are You Kidding Me?:uhoh21: