How to Prepare for Your Nursing Job Interview

How to Prepare for Your Nursing Job Interview

Finally, your hard work of submitting your nursing resume and applying to jobs has paid off! You’ve got an interview! It is so exciting when you are scheduled for a nursing job interview, but there are some steps you have to take in order to prepare for it. I remember how excited I was for my first job interview.

I made some mistakes of course but thankfully ended up getting the job. In this article, I want to share with you some very important tips on what you should do to prepare for your nursing job interview.

Video on How to Prepare for your Nursing Interview

If you want to watch me talking about how to prepare for your job interview, check out the video below!

Things you need to do Before the Job Interview

Hygiene tune-up: This is a perfect time to get a haircut, manicure, and pedicure, trim your beard (men), color your hair if needed etc. You want to look your best!

Buy a new business savvy outfit: If you don’t own any business attire clothing this is the time to buy a nice looking outfit. Women should concentrate on buying an outfit that includes either slacks or skirt (knee length, according to the experts, is the shortest you want to go), nice blouse with a blazer. For shoes, try to wear close-toed heels, no more than 1 inch high. TJ max and Ross have great deals on business clothing for women. Men should concentrate on a suit and tie with matching slacks with dress shoes.

Practice Mock Interview Questions & Etiquette: Usually, in a nursing job interview you will face the same type of interview questions. For example, “How would you handle a patient that is behaving violently?” or “What can you offer our unit in regards to providing patient centered care?” Here is a complete list of nursing interview questions.

The questions that interviewers ask Registered Nurses during interviews can vary from questions related to previous employment to work-related scenarios. The following are a few RN interview questions that interviewers ask nurses:

  • Do you prefer working with others as a team or alone? Explain you reasons.
  • Do you find the field of nursing difficult?
  • Are you interested in advancing your current career someday?
  • Are you a self-motivated person?
  • How would you handle a situation where your replacement doesn’t arrive?
  • What is the most rewarding aspect of being a Registered Nurse?
  • How would you handle patients who constantly complain?
  • What do you think is your biggest contribution to your patients?
  • How do you handle patients’ family members who are unhappy with your services?
  • How would you handle a rude physician, supervisor, or co-worker?
  • How do you deal with the stressors of your job?
  • What made you decide to become a Registered Nurse?
  • Are you affiliated with any professionals nursing organizations?
  • How has your nursing program prepared you for your career?
  • What do you do in order to keep current with the latest nursing practices and findings?
  • What do you think are the most important skills that a nurse can have?
  • What made you decide to leave your current position?
  • How do you handle the day to day aspects of nursing?
  • How do you handle emergency situations?
  • How have you assisted coworkers in the past?

Tip: Practice mock interview questions with a family member or friend and try to set-up the environment like how an interview would be conducted. In addition, practice interview etiquette by saying “thank you”, “yes mama or yes sir”, non-verbal cues (looking them in the eye as they talk and eliminating fidgeting nervous habits).

Bring copies of your resume: A rule of thumb is to bring a physical copy of your resume. Many times a potential employer receives your resume electronically, so they don’t have a physical copy. Also, by bringing a physical copy it will remind them of you every time they look at their desk with your resume on it. More than anything it makes you look professional and serious!

Bring your nursing portfolio: Not sure what a nursing portfolio is? This is something that you will let them look at and return to you. A portfolio is more thorough than a resume and shows the employer you are a qualified nurse.

Calculate what time you need to leave to get the interview: There is nothing that says “I’m not a responsible person”, when you show up late for a job interview. Seriously, this is a pet-peeve for many hiring nurse managers. So, before you head out to your job interview account for traffic, parking, walking in to the building, finding the human resource department, etc. This is very important if you aren’t familiar with the area.

Tips for How to Behave during the Interview:

Make a great first impression: When you first meet the manager, look them in the eye, shake their hand, and introduce yourself.

Offer them a copy of your nursing resume and portfolio. Don’t just hand it to them, ask them if they would like to have a copy of it.

Let them control the interview. It is okay to ask questions, but always let the manager do most of the talking. I know that when some people get nervous they talk a lot or laugh nervously. Try to avoid this.

Don’t lie! If you don’t know the answer to something or can’t remember, simply just say that you don’t know. If they catch you in a lie, it will look really bad and probably end your chances of getting the job.

Use manners! Turn off your cell phone completely (you can many times hear if a cell phone is on vibrate), use thank you’s, yes (not yeahs), no (nahs).

Express gratitude at the end. When you are done with the interview, shake their hand and thank them for their time and the interview.

Following-up after an Interview

This is a MUST! I seriously think this was one of the reasons I got one of my dream jobs. The place I wanted to work had a super low turnover rate (meaning people hardly ever left the position….the job opened up may be every 2-3 years) and there were limited positions. I think that by following-up I showed the manager I was very interested in becoming part of the team and wanted the job.

When you follow-up you will want to send an email to the person who interviewed you. Many times after the interview you will get the person’s business card which contains their email. If you don’t get a business card and need their email, you can easily obtain this through the human resource department.

Here is a sample follow-up letter:

Dear (Interview’s name),

I just wanted to send you a quick email to thank you again for giving me the opportunity to interview for the position. I am still very interested in this position, and I would love the opportunity to join your team. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please let me know.

Thank you again for your consideration,

(Your Name)

(Your Address)

(Your Email)

(Your Phone Number)


Remember getting the job interview is just the start, and you need to prepare before the interview to ensure you have everything in order to get the job.

Geoffrey Nevine — IT Services and IT Consulting

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