I walked into HR, filled out an application, was invited then and there to interview with the head nurse of the just about to be opened Pediatric unit, we talked for about 45 minutes, and I walked out with a job.
Oh, and I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt because I just stopped at that hospital in between running errands and really had no thoughts of interviewing that day.
Like I said, it was almost 40 years ago. There weren't 200 nurses competing for 20 positions like there is now. Back then, you had an interview and you were either offered a position or you weren't.
Back then there were three ways to become an RN: Hospital based programs (which were rapidly being phased out), two year ADN programs at the local Junior College (Community College now) and four year BSN programs at a University. Employers pretty much knew what they were getting back then.
I graduated from a well known University with a respected BSN program, which the prospective employer saw when she looked at my application.
Now, with for profit diploma mill schools on every other block, it's more of a crap shoot. Especially since so many have been fooled into believing that there's a Nursing shortage. Employers have to have something to weed out the overflow of applicants, so they're using GPAs to do it.