But if now you’re thinking, “Oh crap, I’ve landed an interview at this institution I’ve really been wanting to interview with – what do I do now?”, don’t worry.
Sure, the interview process can be intimidating but we’ve collected a list of the 10 best interviewing tips for nurses that’ll impress your interviewers and help you land the job you want.
Here’s a list of the 10 Things You Must Do To Ace Any Nursing Interview:
1. Come On Time
Punctuality = Professionalism. Arriving to your interview late doesn’t make a good impression. In fact, if there are multiple people being interviewed that day, you may lose your slot. Have your route mapped and allow for traffic or unexpected delays. It never hurts to be 30 minutes early – that just gives you more time to prepare.
2. Be Presentable
First impressions matter. You want your image to say: “Professional, Smart, Prepared”. You don’t have to dress uber-formal, but smart business attire is recommended. Hair (and facial hair for guys) should be neat, jewelry simple and cologne or perfume at a minimum, if any at all.
3. Come Prepared
Research the organization and position you’re applying for. Know the organization’s history, why/how they were founded, what their mission statement is and any other relevant information.
Be familiar with the position and department you’re applying for. Know the job requirements and duties.
Also, bring plenty of copies of your resume. Some panel interviews can include as many as 15 – 20 people and you want to make sure everyone gets a copy. Even if your interview is a one-on-one, they may ask for copies to distribute around the department.
TIP: Get yourself a simple, presentable briefcase. Even a nice computer bag will work, but it looks more professional than just bringing a stack of papers.
4. Take Your Time
If you’re nervous, don’t rush through your answers and explanations. Take a breath, calm yourself. Take some time to think about your responses. It’s an interview, not a race.
5. Have A Story To Tell
You MUST have a story to tell. In fact, you’ll need a couple of stories. You’ll be asked open-ended behavioral questions, asking how you did this, solved that or why you did something.
Work on 2 – 3 monologue style stories. They should be thorough but short and to the point. They should show that you can solve problems, multi-task and work well with others.
The Mayo Clinic recommends the SHARE method:
S – Describe a specific Situation
H – Identify Hinderances or challenges
A – Detail the Action you took
R – Discuss the Results or outcomes
E – Evaluate and summarize what you learned
Here’s some common open-ended behavioral questions:
- Why did you decide to get into nursing or healthcare?
- Have you ever dealt with an angry patient and how did you handle the situation?
- Have you ever had a conflict with fellow nurses and how did you resolve it?
6. Know When To Shut Up
Don’t be afraid of silence. If your interviewer stops talking for a while, it can be a bit awkward but it’s actually an interviewing technique. Many people are so uncomfortable with a break in conversation that they’ll just start blabbing. DON’T do this.
You can dig yourself into a hole or say something you don’t want to. Simply answer their question to the best of your ability and if the silence lingers just ask them if there’s anything you need to elaborate on.
7. Show You’re A Team Player
Nursing isn’t a solo job. You’ll be working as part of a team with fellow nurses, technicians and doctors. Your interviewer will want to know how well you’ll work with others. So, highlight anything you’ve done or things you do that let them know you’ll be a productive member of the team.
TIP: While they want a team player, they also want someone who can work independently and show initiative. Make sure to include how you’re a self-starter and can work without constant supervision.
8. Know Your Strengths & Weaknesses
You know you’ll be asked about what you think your strengths are. For a nurse, strengths including compassion, attention to detail, work ethic and working well with others are always attributes they’re looking for.
You’ll also be asked about your weaknesses. Pick something relatively minor like, being shy or becoming emotionally attached to patients. Don’t choose anything that would get in the way of your job as a nurse. Most importantly, you’ll need to highlight what you’ve done to improve yourself and grow out of this “weakness”.
9. Have Your Own Questions
Many interviewers will ask you if you have any questions for them. YES, you need to have questions for them. It shows curiosity and initiative and frankly, doesn’t look good when you just say “Nope”.
Here’s some common things you can ask about:
- Ask them to describe the culture or work atmosphere of the department you’re interviewing for
- Inquire about mentorship or career development programs
- How do they measure success and quality of care?
- How do they solve problems within the department?
- Ask about their residency program and how they evaluate competency
10. Smile & Relax
A smile goes a long way and our brains have hardwired positive responses to them (just don’t plaster on a creepy Joker smile). Take a breath, calm yourself, smile and be friendly but professional.
You’re going to be nervous but you’ve already made it through nursing school, relax. Nurses are in high demand; you will find a job you love