5 Tips for a Successful Nursing Interview

Although interviewing for a job can be nerve-racking, you can ease some of that stress by being prepared and knowing what to expect. Here are five interview tips for nurses.

1. Prepare for the interview.

Preparation has three main parts: Put together your credentials, be ready with answers to standard interview questions, and research the organization.

Credentials: Create a folder that contains all the documentation you might need for the interview and fill out the applications and other forms. These documents should include an updated resume, your nursing license (or proof of passing the NCLEX for new nurses who have not yet received their license), proof of your certifications, copies of advanced training certificates, a list of references and letters of recommendation.

Answers: Develop a succinct story about yourself that highlights your personality and strengths in a way that fits the job. Review typical job interview questions and develop answers you can adapt to fit the specific questions you are asked. Here are a few questions an interviewer may ask:

  • Tell me about a difficult situation and how you handled it.
  • Tell me about a mistake you made and how you dealt with it.
  • What motivates you to be a nurse? (For new nurses: Why did you decide to become a nurse?)
  • Why do you want a job with us? Why should we hire you? Why are you the best person for the job?

Research: Learn about the organization, its approach to healthcare and its current situation and challenges. Work this knowledge into your answers when appropriate.

2. Remember the basics.

Any set of interview tips for nurses includes some basics: Dress appropriately. Arrive on time (or a few minutes early). Turn off your cell phone. Greet the interviewer by introducing yourself. Have a confident handshake, smile and make eye contact. Be polite to anyone you meet while on site. Practice common courtesy and common sense.

3. Listen, answer confidently and carry on a conversation.

Listen to the questions and answer them directly. If you are asked a question that is not clear to you, ask for clarification. If needed, take some time to think before you respond. Interviewers do not always expect rapid-fire answers. If the interviewer does not ask a question and you think the information is important, work it into the conversation.

Also, use your preparation research to ask intelligent questions about the organization. Questions might include the status of the unit, projects currently in development and how you would be integrated into the existing work group.

4. Show interest, positivity and passion.

Let your passion for the nursing profession and your interest in the organization shine through. Show you are excited about your career, that you can offer something unique, and that you have a specific reason you want to work for the organization.

5. Ask for the job and follow up.

At the end of the interview, if you want the job, ask for it. Also, find out when a decision will be made or if the interview process has any other steps, such as a follow-up interview with someone else. Ask if the interviewer needs any documentation and pull it out of that folder you prepared.

On the same day as the interview, send a thank-you note. Keep it short. Thank the interviewer for their time. Reiterate why you are a good fit or how you could contribute to the organization.

If you do not hear anything, call. State your interest again and ask if they need anything else to make their decision.

By using these interview tips for nurses, you may just land your ideal job.

Learn more about the URI online RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.


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