Interview Tips for Nurses: Common Q & As
Tips and Advice for Nursing Interviews
It’s a great time to be looking for work as a nurse. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay is high, the job outlook is projected to grow much faster than the national average, and nurses have the choice of a wide range of possible work environments from clinics, to schools, to the U.S. military.
If you are on the job market for your first job or looking for a new job, let us answer your questions about how to land your dream position.
Make a good first impression
You don’t want to show up to an interview pale and haggard. Skip social events and Netflix binges the night before a big interview and get a good night’s sleep. In the morning give yourself plenty of time for a healthy breakfast and to find your way to the interview location.
Showing up early signals that you’re responsible and punctual. Remember that your first impression these days probably extends to your online presence. Many recruiters will peruse your Facebook and LinkedIn profile before you even get to an interview. While you job search, consider quickly reviewing your online profiles and removing any controversial content or images.
Dress for success
Men should choose standard business attire: a suit, a collared, button-down shirt and a subdued tie. Wear dark dress socks and shoes, never white socks or sneakers. If you don’t opt to shave, make sure your facial hair is well-groomed.
Women should choose an outfit in a muted color, with a conservative neckline and a suit jacket. Although tailored dress pants are a fine choice, if you select a dress or skirt make sure that the skirt reaches all the way to your knees. Both genders should cover visible tattoos and keep nails short and polish-free.
Prepare for common interview questions about nursing
You will probably have to answer questions about a few big topics, including how you deal with patient complaints, how you’ve dealt with patient’s families in the past, and what made you choose nursing as a career.
In your answers try to focus on specific anecdotes that will make your point and be memorable to the interviewer. For instance, instead of saying that you are the kind of person who listens sympathetically to patients, talk about a specific time that you were able to reassure a patient: “I remember when I was doing some standard pre-operative care, and the patient started to express some anxieties…”
Focus on your strengths as a nurse
You should never lie about your personal strengths and weaknesses, but there are positive ways to answer any question while still being honest. For instance, if someone asks whether you see yourself as a good team-player, and you really prefer to work alone, say “Although I’m happy making a contribution as part of a treatment team, I excel at the problem-solving and one-on-one care I do while working independently with patients. I like when my job gives me a chance to use those skills.”
Send a personal thank you note
Remember the interviewer is assessing your soft-skills as well as your medical credentials. Show that you’re friendly and courteous by sending him or her a personal thank you note after the interview, expressing your appreciation for the opportunity.
You can use the thank you note to mention again something about the facility or job that you particularly noticed and liked, showing that you’re seriously interested in the position. Just don’t rehash your talking points – this is an opportunity to express your genuine appreciation for what the other person did.
Once you land that awesome position, remember that it’s just as important to look professional on the job as in the interview room. Take a look at our selection of professional nurse attire, from tailored scrub tops to sharp lab coats. We offer free shipping on orders over $75, so don’t hesitate to stock up for your first day of work!