Prepping Nursing Job Interviews

Once you get over the excitement of landing an interview, the realization that you’ll have to go on an interview will likely start to set in. After all, you worked so hard to insure that your cover letter and resume were perfect, and you would hate to blow it now. But you can relax, because the truth is, anyone can do well in a nursing job interview provided that they spend some time preparing for it. If you’ve scheduled your first job interview, here are some tips that will allow you to put your best face forward.

Be In the Know

Put yourself in the shoes of an interviewer for a moment. If someone came to you saying that they were enthusiastic about working for your company, but knew absolutely nothing about the company, would you believe them? Would that be a plus or a minus for you? As you can imagine, it’s critical that you research the company you’re interviewing with before the interview. Once there, you’ll be able to ease your knowledge of the company into the conversation in many ways – whether that’s answering a question about why you want to work there, or by telling them how your skills will fit into their environment.

Understand Your Place

Many people are intimidated by the interview process because they believe that the interviewer has all of the power and will be the only one making decisions. But that assumption is false for two reasons. The first is that an interview isn’t just a one-way process. Yes, the employer is trying to figure out whether or not you’d make a good fit at his company, but you should also be trying to determine whether his company would make a good fit into your career path. In order to know this, you’ll have to be an active participant in the process and ask questions. Don’t make the mistake of just sitting there and answering whatever questions he throws at you. You’ll be expected to ask a few of your own, too.

The other misconception about the interview process is that the interviewee doesn’t have any power. But it’s important to remember that the reason you were called for an interview is because the employer – or the person doing the hiring – thought you had what it takes to do the job. They wouldn’t have granted you an interview if that weren’t true. So you should be confident in your skills, and portray that confidence in a friendly, helpful manner.

Be Prepared

You will be asked many questions during the interview, and it would be wise to prepare your answers in advance. One of the most important questions you’ll be asked is how you will prove to be an asset to the company.” In order to answer this question best, you should be ready to match your experience and skills to the ones required by the job. In other words, show the interviewer how, by hiring you, they can fill their needs.

In addition to this question, interviewers love to throw out other questions that sometimes trip up applicants. Be prepared for this by anticipating those types of questions and having an answer already prepared. Some of the questions you might be asked are:

  • When you think it’s okay to miss work?
  • In times past when your replacement has been late and your shift was over, how often have you agreed to stay until another replacement could be found?
  • Tell me about a time when you had a disagreement with a supervisor? How was it resolved?
  • What is your response when a patient is making unreasonable requests over and over again?
  • How do you handle a supervisor who repeatedly asks you to switch gears and attend to other tasks before you finish the one you’re working on?
  • Why did you leave your last position, and why should I believe you won’t leave this one?
  • What makes you a good fit for our facility?
  • What do you know about our organization?
  • Why should I hire you?
  • What will you do on a day when you’re scheduled to work and your child is sick and can’t go to school?

Be Professional

Finally, you should make sure that your dress is professional and appropriate. It’s difficult to know what to wear to nursing job interviews because, while on the job, you’ll dress in a uniform. But for the interview, you should dress just as if you were going to any professional interview. If you’re a man, you should wear pressed slacks and a nice shirt – possibly even a tie, depending on the atmosphere where you’re applying. For a woman, you should wear a nice suit or dress that’s appropriate for an office. A good rule of thumb is to dress one level above your interviewer. For instance, if they only wear slacks and shirts, put on a tie. If they wear dresses, you should show up in a suit.


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