How to Prepare for Your Nursing Interview

NursingMarch 05, 2020

With classes, clinicals and graduation nearly (or already) behind you, it is time to put your knowledge, skills and empathy to work.  Your education and experience have prepared you for the job opportunity, now it is time for you to shine in interviews.

Interviews offer employers a chance to get to know you and determine if you have the right skill set and are a good fit for their team.  Interviews also give you the chance to learn more about a specific workplace and see if it matches your own values and needs. While it is natural to feel a little anxious, being prepared, and knowing what you expect to get out of the meeting, will help calm your nerves and build your confidence.

The Phone Interview

Most employers initially screen candidates with a phone-based interview.  This call helps them to verify a candidate’s skills, experience and expectations.  They will ask a series of questions to learn more about your education, career goals, clinical experience, and overall interest in nursing.

Prepare by reviewing your resume before the call and noting any specific experiences that are highly relevant to the particular job you are discussing.  Do not forget to have the resume and notes on hand to help you during the call. Be sure to take the call in a quiet place, give the interviewer your full attention and answer the questions as clearly and succinctly as possible. A helpful interviewing tip is to follow the STAR formula with your answers, talk about a: 

  • Situation you were in
  • Task you were assigned
  • Action you took
  • Results you achieved

Avoid speaking negatively about a past or current employer and, before you hang up, thank the interviewer for their time and ask what the next steps will be. 

The In-Person Interview

If you make it past the screening interview, your next interview will likely be in-person. So far, your qualifications and attitude are a fit for this organization and the position they have to fill. Now it is time to go deeper into the getting-to-know-you process. 

You will probably meet with the hiring manager, who will assess your strengths and personality to see what you will bring to their team. In some cases, other decision makers may join the interview, including members of the nursing staff. Dress professionally, and make sure you know how to find the location and where you can park if you are driving.  You should get to the facility a few minutes early so that you are on-time for the meeting. Finally, know the name of the person you are meeting and bring extra copies of your resume for people who may be pulled in to meet you.

In-person interviews often include behavioral questions, such as, “How would you deal with a difficult patient?” or “How do you effectively manage your time?” Be sure to maintain eye contact with all participants, engage in conversation with everyone in the room, and try to relax and let your personality shine. It can help to ask a friend or teacher to help you prepare by conducting a mock interview where you can practice answering hypothetical questions. The more you practice answering questions, the more natural the conversation will feel when you are in your interview. After the interview, be sure to send a thank you card or email to each person you met. 

The ultimate goal of an interview is to determine if you and the hiring organization are a match for each other. While the experience can be nerve-wracking, each interview you have gives you one more chance to practice the process. Practice makes perfect—the more practice you get, the closer you are to finding the perfect job.

Take the first step in your journey towards a career in nursing by contacting Fortis today to learn more about our programs. Visit us by clicking here or call us at 855-436-7847.