Whether you’re an experienced nurse or just out of nursing school, interviews can be stressful. The best plan of attack, as with almost anything, is to be fully prepared and to ensure you will be able to answer the required nursing interview questions. Here are a few simple tips to prepare.
Take a copy of your resume with you
Even if you have previously submitted a copy, whether in person, mail, email, or by fax, make sure you take a hard copy of your resume to the interview. Things can get lost in the shuffle, and just because the human resources department has a copy, does not necessarily mean the person interviewing you will have received a copy.
This should go without saying, but you would be shocked at the poor outfit choices made by many hopeful interviewees. The best rule for most interviews is to show up in clothes similar to what you would be wearing on the job. With nursing, this is a little different. Unless you are coming to the interview right before or after a shift at your current job, and the interviewer already knows this, it is best not to wear scrubs. As a nurse, you want to present a professional appearance, so clothing appropriate for a professional office job would be best. No jeans, sweats, or sneakers. And conservative is best. Nothing low cut, or too short as it may reflect poorly on your personality.
Never bring up salary at your initial interview unless is first brought up to you by the interviewer. In most nursing facilities, salary is not discussed until a job offer is made. But, be prepared ahead of time for questions regarding salary. It is fine to put negotiables on the application but know ahead of time what you should expect, what the norm is for someone with your experience at this facility and the minimum you are willing to take.
It should go without saying, but be early for the interview
Allow yourself extra time for the little emergencies that might crop up such as traffic, detours, getting gas and having to stop at more than one station because one of them is out of fuel, (yes, it happens).
Here are the most frequently asked nursing interview questions:
1.What is your biggest weakness?
You want a weakness that can actually be perceived as a positive, such as caring too much, or working too hard. State what you are doing to combat this weakness of yours, this will show humility and that you acknowledge your flaws and are actively trying to beat them.
2. Why have you chosen this job?
This is one of the tricky nursing interview questions that every individual will come across. One should respond by saying I have chosen this vocation because… If there is a particular event of person that helped you choose this vocation mention them, if not say something along the lines of ‘ I just love helping patients and to see them become a healthy part of society is so fulfilling’.
3. What is your best strength?
This question must be attempted with trepidation as you don’t want to come off as arrogant but you do want to hit home about your plus points. Always give examples to support your strengths but keep them short and relevant, the interviewer doesn’t care if you are a good parent but they do care if you can get on with people of all ages and backgrounds.
4. Why should we hire you?
This is a question where you describe your unique selling point, while adapting and tailoring your answers to the previous questions on your strengths to the hospital you are applying for.
5. Are you afraid of blood?
It is tempting to reply in a casual or sarcastic manner by saying ‘of course!’ But this may come across as slightly passive aggressive. A suitable answer would be to say that you deal with blood on a regular basis and that you compile blood reports every day. Then end your answer with something along the lines of ‘In fact, I spend more time with blood than my family!’. It doesn’t have to be hilarious but just a light-hearted joke to emphasise your familiarity with blood will complete a substantial answer to the question.
Communication during your interview
Every interview requires good communication skills. Your tone and speed you speak at are vital to a successful interview. Be aware of your body language as well, but don’t focus on every movement you are making as this can distract you from giving a good answer, just rest your hands on your legs and occasionally raise your hands if you are emphasizing a point.
If you follow these tips for your nursing interview questions, you will have a great chance of success. Just be honest and stay calm and remember they choose you for an interview, as long as you do yourself justice you have a high chance of success.