Nailing The Nursing Interview: My Favorite Tips and Tricks
Today is the day you have officially graduated (or soon to be), and you are ready to enter the nursing world! Exciting day but a daunting task, especially if this is one of your first times ever interviewing for a full-time position through a hospital. I get asked all of the time about interviewing, how do I personally interview, what do I even ask them?! I do not have any nursing experience. How do I even get a job or answer any of these questions or scenarios they throw at you?! Just stop… take a deep breath and try to relax. I find interviews to be somewhat fun… yes, you heard it here first! At first, interviews used to freak me out completely- my hands would shake, I would sweat profusely, and I couldn’t stop to breathe when I spoke. But now, I don’t let interviews own me; I own the interview! Here is the thing, what people don’t like to tell you is that all an interview truly at the end of the day is getting to know you as a future nurse. Yup… THAT IS IT! They want to see who you are as a person, what got you into nursing, ask you about past experiences, and know where you might fit in their hospital. From the numerous interviews I have done from CNA, NA to my first actual graduate nursing position, I have picked up some tips and tricks I think may help ease those nerves of yours!
1. Always be genuine when introducing yourself.
When an employer starts off the interview, they almost always ask or say, “So tell me a little about yourself.” This is the time to brag about yourself a little bit- don’t be shy! They want to know about you; name, where you are from, what school you attend, degree, passions (within nursing- especially if they pertain to the job you are applying for!), etc. This can be a game-changer for your interviewer and can set the tone for the rest of your interview! Be yourself! Smile, eye contact (yes- even with Zoom Interviews), let your personality shine through. They are going to love that.
2. No Experience, No Problem, No Sweat!
I get asked almost every time I help someone prepare for an interview, “What do I say to them? I have no experience; I have just focused on school!” THAT IS OKAY! Be honest; they will LOVE it if you do honesty! And want to know a secret? There were plenty of nurses before you who had no experience either, and they got jobs- so can you! In interviews, you can say things like, “I do not have any experience working through a medical facility, BUT during my clinical experience, I did this___.” It does not have to be on the floor RN experience. It could be from nursing school clinical, classroom experience, clubs, or organizations. As long as it pertains to the question, it does apply. Something else to keep in mind, most employers will prompt you and say, “It can be from anywhere clinical, school, etc.” So do not panic.
3. Research the facility and job position BEFORE an interview!
Before you even apply for the position- the first step is to read over the position thoroughly. Make sure you like the description, fit the requirements for that position, and that the things you need from a job match up! If all boxes check, research the facility- their mission, their values, the overall goals of the position and company. If you check all the boxes, you are set! In the interview, they may ask you what made you apply for the position or company- you can then pull from the company mission statement, visions, or even personal experiences you may have had through that hospital.
4. Come prepared… with ALL the extras!
When walking into an interview, you always feel your best when prepared. My best tip to anyone who interviews or goes into an interview- come prepared with “Extras.” Extra copies of your resume, cover letter, letters of recommendation, certificates, and certifications. I usually make the interviewer a folder and fill it with all the information printed out. 9/10 times I have had an interviewer say, “I am trying to pull up your resume.” You can pull out this folder and hand it to them, and I have always been thanked profusely and been told this shows them how prepared I am. Brownie points for you- take them! Also, do not be afraid to ask the interviewer if you are allowed to write information down. ALWAYS bring a small notebook and pen to write down anything you may need to jot down or to have questions you need to be answered readily available.
5. ASK QUESTIONS ASK QUESTIONS ASK QUESTIONS!
“Do you have any questions?” I always make it a point to have at least two questions prepared to ask at the end. Whether that is about training, scheduling, orientations, or even more profound questions about the culture of the floor you may be working on. I always ask them at the end of the interview to ensure I know this information, but it also shows the interviewer you are very interested in the position! More brownie points!
I hope these few little tips help decrease the interview anxiety and also help you get prepared to kill that interview! I am cheering you on- you have got this!!
Written by: Haley Goff