Preparing for an interview might seem intimidating, but there are several steps you can take to prepare yourself for a successful interview. Preparing for an interview simply means taking time to thoughtfully consider your goals and qualifications relative to nursing. To accomplish this, you should perform basic research on the school you are applying for and carefully review the job description to understand why you would be a good fit. Let’s look at the steps to preparing for an interview.
While you will not be able to predict every question you’ll be asked in an interview, there are a few common questions you can plan answers for. You might also consider developing an elevator pitch that quickly describes who you are, what you do and what you want.
Practice answers to common questions
The interview panelist often has a list of questions that help them determine your skills and ability to fit within the healthcare facility. Though you won’t be able to prepare for every question they ask, you can practice answers to basic interview questions that most nursing hiring managers use. Some common nursing interview questions include:
- Why do you want to be a nurse?
- What do you find rewarding about being a nurse?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- What’s a mistake you made and how did you handle it?
- What are some of your strengths? Weaknesses?
- What’s your biggest accomplishment and why?
- How do you manage stress?
- What do you think is the hardest part of being a nurse?
- Describe how you have handled difficult people in the past.
- Do you have any questions for us?
By preparing for common questions early, you can better respond when the time comes. This makes a better impression on the interviewer because it shows you care about the position and took time to prepare.
Dress professionally for the interview to make the best impression. Unless the hiring manager specifically states that you should dress in scrubs or bring any equipment, you can opt for a business professional dress. For men, this includes a suit and tie when possible. You can also wear a jacket and matching pants. For women, a button-down shirt or blouse with dress slacks or a long skirt will likely do. Try on your outfit the night before the interview to ensure it fits correctly and is free from any stains and wrinkles.
Besides clothing, consider other aspects of your appearance. Ensure your hair and facial hair is neat and tidy, and wear modest accessories. Polish your shoes if you need to, and consider matching your belt and shoes to create a uniform appearance.
Research recent news about the College.
Look for awards the school has won, the funding they have received, or past students who are making waves. These are the types of things that might be mentioned in the interview or that you could ask more about.
Prepare Questions of Your Own
Interviewers shouldn’t be the only ones asking questions during an interview. You’re there to make sure they are a good fit for your career goals as well. Make sure to prepare a few questions ahead of time, but don’t shy away from asking questions based on the information gleaned during the interview. If you know who you’re interviewing with ahead of time, do some research and come prepared with relevant questions to ask. See what their background is, ask them questions about their experience, and see if you have a connection with them.
Highlighting Your Skills
Before you go for a nursing training interview, review your skills. Nursing demands hard and soft skills, so be ready to talk about your specialty, training, and experience, as well as your ability to interact with patients.
During the interview, be ready to use the STAR method to expand on the skills you have listed. You may even want to outline some specific situations on paper so you don’t have to fumble for examples.
Extra Tips for Your Nursing Training Interview
In addition to assessing your knowledge and clinical skills, your interviewer will also be gauging whether or not you will be a good fit for the culture of the nursing organization. They can assess whether you seem positive, flexible, and willing to grow; whether you exhibit appropriate social skills; and whether you demonstrate leadership abilities. While you recount stories about your previous experiences with patients, she’ll be evaluating the level of care and compassion you’d offer those who come to her clinic or hospital for help.
For all these reasons, it is important to come across as amicable during your interview. Be sure you make eye contact and smile throughout, and try to sound open-minded rather than set in your ways. Let your passion for your work come across in what you say, especially when you’re describing any interactions with patients and their families. This can help you stand out as a memorable candidate.