An "American Nursing Student" essayist describes job interviews as "matchmaking in your professional life." Review the kinds of things all nurses are supposed to know, but might stumble on during an interview. For example, some nursing interview questions might involve reciting the ABCs of vital signs or describing specific assessments. Be ready for "What if…" and "Describe in three words…" type of questions.
Questions about you
Nursing interview questions commonly revolve around three areas: you and your career, your fit with the organization and clinical knowledge. When answering questions about yourself, remember this is your one shot at showing why you would be a valuable member of their team. Use examples when you can.
- Why did you get into nursing? Do you have any professional affiliations? What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- How well are you at becoming and staying organized and managing time? Are you a team player? Do you have any leadership experience? What kind of training and experience do you have? Tell us about your career goals.
- Why are you leaving your current job?
- What kinds of tasks, shifts or work situations suit you best or not?
- What kind of involvement have you had with any projects or unique activities?
Matching and sizing up
Most potential employers will ask questions to assess whether you are a good fit for their organization. Researching the prospective employer and having some idea about them, their mission statement, for example, is a good idea. Stressing the importance of teamwork is another good strategy.
- Why do you want to work here?
- Why do you think you're the best person for the job?
- What is your desired salary?
- What kinds of benefits are you looking for?
The toughest nurse interview questions serve two purposes. They assess your clinical knowledge and your skill at staying on your toes. If the interview feels a little stressful, it might be intentional. If you are prepared and confident, that is all the better for you. Never hesitate to say that you do not know an answer, as long as you add that you wound never be afraid to ask questions or seek help from peers. Problem solving and prioritization skills are important to emphasize.
- How do you handle difficult staff, difficult doctors or difficult families and patients?
- What do you do if you are shorthanded and there is no help available?
- What would you do if you could not make your scheduled break period?
- What would you do if you saw a staff member, including supervisors and doctors, suggest or perform some unethical, inappropriate or even illegal act?
- Have you ever made any serious errors at work? How did you deal with them?
A job interview is never easy. Research the perspective employer, take care to coach yourself on any number of the questions listed above and always go into such a situation well prepared and with confidence.