Nursing Job Interviews - Self Presentation


Published: 10 February 2018

What interview tips can healthcare professionals source from the current literature?

Personal Appearance

An intriguing finding came from Maier et al.’s (2014) study, in which males wearing red were perceived as less favourable to other candidates.

Firstly, males wearing red on their shirt were interpreted as being less intelligent than those wearing green (Maier et al. 2014).

Next, males with red on their tie were thought to have less earning potential and leadership capabilities than those wearing blue on their tie.

Finally, males with red on their tie had less chance of being hired and were perceived as being less leader-like or able than those with green on their tie.

Regardless of gender or job type, facial piercings are stigmatised and negatively affect interviewees’ perceived job suitability (McElroy et al, 2014).

Pierced students were interpreted as being (McElroy et al, 2014) less truthful, extraverted, not as agreeable, of dubious character, less sociable, less attractive.

The same study also found that pierced adults were perceived as being less diligent, not as open, more sociable, not as trustworthy and less of character.

Nursing Job Interviews - Self Presentation - Ausmed

Body Language

Cuddy et al.’s (2015) study found that job applicants who practised high-power poses (i.e. open and expansive body language) prior to the interview, had superior performance compared to those that implemented low-power (i.e. contractive, closed body language) poses.

This meant that the candidates who applied high-power pose preparation for their job interview were more likely to be hired than those with low-power pose preparation.

The interviewees’ body language created a nonverbal presence, more captivating and enthusiastic than the other candidates.

The study emphasises the importance of practising an open, high-power pose before the actual interview takes place in order to promote desirable traits and increase chances of employment.

Chen and Lin. (2013) concluded that candidates’ non-verbal impression-management techniques were positively associate with the mood of the interviewers. This meant that the interviewer’s perception of the candidate’s job-fit and organisational-fit were influenced; thus, their choice to hire the candidate was also affected.


Similarly to the findings of Cuddy et al. (2015), Bourdage et al. (2015) reported co-workers are unlikely to accurately detect impression management (manipulative behaviours) or ‘honesty-humility’ factors in the work environment.

This point is helpful for nurses attempting to gain employment, yet is concerning for the interviewers.

A study by Roulin et al. (2015) identified that interviewer’s had difficulty distinguishing between honest and deceptive impression management.

A problem for interviewers, organisations and the nursing/healthcare industry is, evidently, that interviewers may often be unable to identify deceptive impression management, meaning less competent and dishonest candidates could be hired for jobs (Roulin et al. 2015).


For females applying for management positions, Latu et al. (2015) suggest that stereotypes still exist implicitly that lead to males being perceived as more competent managers.

Hogue et al. (2012) also examined gender issues in the workplace, revealing males are more likely to intend to use false personal information for image creation than females.

Intentions toward Image Protection (i.e. hiding unattractive personal truths) are higher for men and for women high in Machiavellianism relative to women low in Machiavellianism.’ (2012)

Stories and Self-Promotion

Bangerter et al. (2014) found another difference between men and women in their study. Males were more likely to share stories in their interviewers than females (Bangerter et al. 2014).

It was found that stories were shared less than a quarter of the time, but the production of stories ‘increased hiring recommendations’, whereas ‘self-descriptions decreased them.’

However, Paulhus et al. (2013) warn that ‘chronic self-promoters may thrive in job interviews where such behaviour is encouraged.’

Knowing when it is appropriate to self-promote and when it is undesirable to the interviewers is key. A better approach may be to promote the competence of oneself through the sharing of experiences that promote one’s own skills and knowledge in the form of stories or practical examples.