Interview Tips for Nurses

Last updated on February 6th, 2023 at 10:33 pm

It will be thrilling to get a call after spending days or weeks preparing your CV and hours spent completing online applications.

It’s crucial to spend some time getting ready for the big interview, both psychologically and physically. The important components of a good nursing job interview are dressing appropriately, adopting a job interview attitude, and planning what to say.

A variety of questions are frequently used in nursing interviews to assess your capacity to provide patient care and collaborate with a medical team.

You can use a few strategies to help you think through all the factors involved in preparing for a nurse interview, such as the kinds of queries the hiring manager might ask and how to show yourself most effectively. In this article, interview tips for nurses we provide useful tips on how to prepare before and during your nurse interview.

Nursing Interview Tips Before the Interview

Analyze and compare.

Analyze the job description and compare your qualifications as a starting point. Carefully read the job posting, then read it once more. Make a list of comparisons to simplify everything. List the credentials the company is looking for on one side. List your successes, anecdotes, and examples that specifically address the demands of the company on the opposite side of the page.

Review the organization’s social media sites

Visit Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to locate your prospective company, then respond to the following questions:
• How are they getting along?
• What do they repost, exactly?
• How are their staff members responding?
• What are the ratings from patients saying?
All of the above can give you a sense of their culture and ideals.

Find out more about the organization

A vital part of preparing is learning about the organization and the position you are seeking. You ought to be quite clear about whom you’re going to work for and some of the tasks you’ll have to do. During the interview, you can be asked, “Why do you want to work here? By being able to include specific information about the position or firm, you will be able to more convincingly explain why you are applying for that particular job.

Spend some time online investigating the company

Browse the website and go through sections like the “About Us” page, which ought to contain key staff member biographies as well as the organization’s mission and values. To find out if this organization is active in the community, look for any stories about it online.

Read the job description once more and make a list of some of the main areas that you can discuss in the interview. Look for specific competencies or characteristics that you strongly possess in the job description. Include some examples of your leadership in your responses, for instance, if the job posting promotes these talents.

Practice common nursing interview questions

The hiring manager will frequently have a list of questions to ask you to help them assess your abilities and compatibility with the healthcare facility. You can rehearse your responses to the common nursing interview questions that nursing hiring managers use, even though you won’t be able to prepare for every question they ask. Typical nurse interview questions include the following:

● Why do you want to become a nurse?
● What about working as a nurse do you find fulfilling?
● In five years, where do you see yourself?
● What error did you make, and how did you respond to it?
● Which of your strengths stands out? Weaknesses?

You can react more effectively when a typical question arises if you are prepared in advance. This gives the interviewer a better first impression because it demonstrates that you care about the job and spent the time to prepare.

What to Wear to Nursing Interview

Put on an appropriate outfit. Make a good first impression by dressing properly for the interview. It is typical to wear business professional attire unless the recruiting manager specifies that you should wear scrubs or the usual nursing uniform.

Men are recommended wear a suit and tie. You can also wear a pair of slacks and a jacket that match. For ladies, a dress, office pants, or a long skirt matched with a button-down shirt or blouse should work. Try on your clothes the night before the interview to make sure they fit properly and are spotless.

  • It’s crucial to make a positive first impression during the nursing interview. Fresh nursing graduates can achieve this goal by dressing professionally and acting positively. Here’s a guide on how to dress well for interviews:
  • • Dress professionally for business by donning a matching suit, jacket, and shirt or blouse with a button-down collar. Women may don a knee-length skirt and, at their discretion, pantyhose. For guys, ties are typically chosen.
  • Choose conventional or neutral hues instead, such as navy blue, tan, beige, or various tones of brown and grey. Avoid using flamboyant colors or patterns.
  • Don’t show up to the interview in scrubs.
  • A modest overall dress code should avoid showing too much skin or tattoos.
  • Clothing should be spotless, pressed, and free of stains, tears, and wrinkles. Try them on beforehand to ensure a suitable fit.
  • Tennis shoes, sneakers, sandals, and open-toed shoes should not be worn; only clean, scuff-free dress shoes should be used. Men’s dress shoes and socks should have the same hue.
  • Leave the nose ring, dangly earrings, and long necklaces at home, and wear only minimal jewelry.
  • Hairstyles should be tidy and contemporary. Don’t change your hair color or style on the day of the interview.
  • Less is more when it comes to smells in a medical setting, so wear little to no perfume, cologne, or aftershave.
  • Men should have well-groomed facial hair or should be clean-shaven (if relevant).
  • Nails should be kept short and tidy. If any polish is used, it should be neutral in color.
  • Consider your appearance in addition to your clothing. Make sure your facial hair and hair on your head are neat and dress modestly. If you want to present yourself uniformly, consider matching your belt and shoes, and polishing your shoes if necessary.

Make sure your social media accounts are clean

Potential employers frequently form their first opinions of candidates through social media. Make sure your online presence reflects you as best you can by clearing up your accounts. If you haven’t already, do it right away; however, it’s better to do it before submitting your resume.
Here are some pointers regarding social media:

• On each account, choose acceptable profile pictures.
• Add a business-like photo to your profile on LinkedIn.
• Edit all your accounts’ bios, headings, and descriptions to fit your professional identity. Or just leave it empty.
• Run a search for your first and last names on Google. Ensure that all of your portraits are classy and appropriate. Remove any offensive photos you discover.
• If you don’t want potential employers to see your social media pages and images, change your privacy settings to private. We advise erasing any incriminating updates and photographs if you decide to make your settings public.
• Examine each account, including Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.

You can never predict what platforms they’ll use.
Online interaction and social media can be advantageous too! Employers might see it as a sign of your commitment if you run a blog, Instagram account, or YouTube channel connected to your work, for instance. Make sure to bring up these side endeavors in your interview!

Go to the interview with the proper mindset.

Be courteous. As soon as you go inside the building, smile, and say hello to everyone. Be courteous to every employee since you never know when you could work with them again. It is advantageous to be polite and nice because hiring supervisors might also inquire about various team members about how they feel about you. If the front desk employee is not occupied when you arrive early and wait in the lobby, you can ask them questions. By asking a range of inquiries, you may demonstrate your interest in the workplace and get a sense of how much the staff enjoys working there.

Demonstrate your capacity to adapt and think critically. Interviewers are fully aware that nursing students are not prepared to work autonomously, regardless of how excellent their GPA, references, or school may be. Six months of on-unit training are typically necessary. New nursing graduates should demonstrate their capacity to adapt, problem-solve, and follow directions in a fast-paced setting instead of attempting to impress their interviewer with their scant clinical experience.

Be humble and have a positive attitude. The know-it-all, smarty-pants sort of fresh graduate nurse can be difficult to train, so try not to appear like one when answering interview questions.

Studying diligently is one thing, but it’s quite another for novice nurses to believe they know more than those who are trying to teach them. A new nurse with a negative attitude will not work out.

Prepare ahead of time by studying, reading, and reviewing. As a potential staff nurse of the hospital, show that you are eager to learn. By doing some research on the facility and the department.

When preparing for the interview, the following questions must be considered:
• What services and departments at the hospital are most renowned?
• Is it a state-run establishment, a private hospital, or a teaching hospital?
• What are the core values and objectives of the hospital?

Spend some time brushing up on all the different treatments and procedures that the hiring manager may ask about if you’re applying for a certain type of nurse, like a pediatric nurse.

Making the employer see that you are knowledgeable about every facet of your field of expertise can be very effective.

Consider making a list of inquiries you wish to make to the employer after the interview as you prepare. Asking inquiries demonstrates your interest in finding out more about the hospital or facility and that you are well-prepared. Think about issues like:
● Why is there a vacancy for a nurse?
● How many different shifts would I be working?
● How many other medical specialists would I usually collaborate with?
● Is there room for advancement to a role as a unit nurse or nurse manager?

Try to start preparing at least a few weeks in advance, if you can, as there will likely be a lot of information to study. Beginning your interview preparation as soon as you begin seeking employment is beneficial since it provides you with plenty of time to conduct a polished interview.

Ensure you know the best route to the interview venue. Make a journey there the day before the interview if the job interview is taking place somewhere you’ve never been. This can be useful for identifying things like potential traffic or parking concerns. Try to eliminate as much doubt as you can about your trip.

Things to Do During the Interview

After selecting your dress, styling your hair, and adjusting your attitude, remember to:

Clearly define your destination. It can be challenging to navigate parking, find the right building, and then find the unit where you’ll be interviewing if you’re interviewing at a big medical complex. To avoid getting lost when traversing the halls, plan this ahead of time.

Show up early. Arriving early for the interview demonstrates your eagerness for the chance. Additionally, it can assist you in making any last-minute preparations, such as checking your look and turning off your phone. To check in with the front desk and for further instructions, aim to arrive around 10 minutes before the interview.

Any idle time you have can be used to observe how coworkers interact with one another to get a sense of the work environment and culture.
Plan on being ten minutes early. This exhibits readiness, promptness, and respect for the interviewer’s time.

Be confident and show professionalism. When the interviewer shows up, be confident and socially adept by grinning, shaking their hand, and making and maintaining eye contact. Despite feeling a little uneasy, try to be as genuine and professional as you can.

Keep your responses short and straight to the point. Keep your responses pertinent and on-topic to the inquiry. Avoid using filler words and stay on topic.

Practice professional language. Avoid using vulgar language or slang, and refrain from embellishing or bragging about your experiences.

Be wary of your body language. Before we ever speak, our body language can express our actual emotions and feelings. Watch yourself in the mirror while you practice answering interview questions. If you observe your phone conversation, you can see that you use the same facial expressions during interviews.

While practicing, there are a few things you should pay attention to:

Facial expressions
o Do you wrinkle your brows? That might resonate negatively with the interviewer.
o Do you make eye contact? That might suggest insecurity and/or dishonesty.

Hand Placement
o Do you frequently use your hands to speak?
o Try keeping an eye on your hands as you speak. Do they cause a diversion?
o Are your hands positioned awkwardly?
o Are you a “hair toucher”? Others would interpret that as being uneasy.
o Do you bite your nails? Maintaining your hands in your lap while periodically emphasizing points is advised. Consider gripping a paper clip if your nervous behavior includes your hands to regulate it.

While terrible posture might convey the opposite of confidence, strong posture does the opposite. Place both of your feet firmly on the floor, sit up straight, and keep your shoulders aligned with the interviewer.

Mirror the interviewer. We’re not advising you to imitate every move they make. However, non-verbal cues like body language and voice tonality are what make people feel most at ease with others. As an illustration, if your interviewer leans to the right, you do the same. Encourage your interviewer’s enthusiasm by demonstrating your own. Try it, but don’t go excessive or draw attention to it.

Consider the interview as a dialogue. How would you introduce yourself to someone new? Would you clumsily give memorized textbook responses? Most likely not. Let your personality shine! You’d probably engage in conversation by telling stories and asking questions. It’s okay to laugh a little.

Take notes. Bring a small notebook and pen to take notes and a few extra copies of your resume to give out if requested.

It’s not necessary to be an expert. Finding the candidate with the highest knowledge is not the interview’s main objective. Many companies will appreciate someone who is honest and says, “I don’t know but, here’s how I’d find the solution,” as opposed to making up an answer that you’re not sure if medically approved or not. Managers want employees who are teachable and trainable, rather than inventing something or repeating a Google reply. More importantly, nurses affect patients’ lives, so it is important that you are 100% sure of what you’re talking about and how to perform it.

Interviews can be awkward and unsettling for anyone, especially fresh nursing graduates! But remember to practice, practice, practice! Following these interview tips will help you discover a lot more about who you are and how to best present your abilities and potential to be the best nurse you can be. Keep in mind to let go of any arrogant attitude and to be modest, eager, and willing to learn. Show the interviewers you’re fully prepared to join the ranks of their amazing staff nurses.

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Anna Curran. RN, BSN, PHN

Anna Curran. RN-BC, BSN, PHN, CMSRN I am a Critical Care ER nurse. I have been in this field for over 30 years. I also began teaching BSN and LVN students and found that by writing additional study guides helped their knowledge base, especially when it was time to take the NCLEX examinations.

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