4 Insightful Tips to Help Prepare for a Nursing Interview

After spending countless hours perfecting your resume and submitting online applications, you’ve landed an interview for a nursing job. Congratulations! While you’re probably feeling pretty excited, it’s likely that there is also a bit of anxiety creeping in. Job interviews are almost always intimidating, at least to some degree, and some people are unable to feel anything other than stress and nervousness when the big day arrives.

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Unfortunately, showing up to a job interview feeling anxious and stressed out diminishes your ability to wow your interviewer. Even if you are an amazing candidate for the job, it’s hard to shine when you are caught up in being nervous.

While it isn’t always possible to completely silence your inner fears, being prepared for your interview will go a long way toward calming your nerves. Keep reading to discover a few insightful tips to help prepare for a nursing interview.

Prepare Yourself

Visiting the location where you will be interviewing before your interview is really helpful in terms of keeping your nerves in check. Make sure you know exactly where the interview will be held and, if it is at all possible to do so, go there a day or two before your interview. Determine the fastest route and time how long it actually takes you to get there. Make sure you visit around the same time as when your interview is scheduled to account for traffic. Pay attention to things like whether parking is readily available and if you need to pay for it. If possible, enter the building to see how long it takes you to get to the exact office where you will need to report for your interview.

Spend some time researching the facility/employer/company, too. Doing some research in advance allows you to learn about their values, mission, and other aspects. You can also find out if they have any specialties or if they have recently received any rewards. Enhancing your knowledge about the organization boosts your confidence and can make it easier to answer certain questions during the interview.

Get plenty of rest the night before your interview. On your big day, fuel up on healthy food and make sure you are well-hydrated. Don’t overdo it on the caffeine, as it could make your nervousness worse.

Dress for Success

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You’ve probably been hearing about the importance of dressing appropriately ever since you landed your first interview at the local mall back when you were in high school. Now that you are embarking on your professional career and the stakes are higher, dressing for success is even more important.

If you are a female, you should wear either a knee-length skirt or a pantsuit with a jacket and button-down blouse or collared shirt. If you are wearing a skirt, wear pantyhose. Neutral colors are best. Keep your make-up neutral, too, and avoid showing up for an interview with unnatural hair color. Wear simple jewelry, such as stud earrings.

For male nurses, a suit is the best choice. If you choose not to wear a suit, wear dress pants with a matching jacket. Avoid bright colors and, if you wear a tie, keep it simple. For footwear, choose brown or black dress shoes and socks in the same color. Your hair should be neatly trimmed, and your fingernails should be neat. Avoid wearing any jewelry other than a wedding band.

In general, it is best to avoid wearing perfume/cologne. Your overall look should be simple but dressy. Avoid being flashy or dressing in a way that could potentially offend staff members, patients, family members, etc. Keep the diverse backgrounds of the people you will interact with on a daily basis as a nurse in mind when determining what might be considered offensive.

While you will most likely wear scrubs to work if you are hired, you don’t want to throw them on when heading in for an interview. Save your favorite pair of nursing scrubs for your first day! The same goes for your nursing sneakers.

Practice Your Response to Common and Difficult Questions

When you go in for a job interview, you don’t want your answers to sound rehearsed. However, you also want to make sure that you know what to say when something is asked of you. Think about some of the most common interview questions, such as why you would be a good candidate, what your greatest strengths are, why you want to work for the organization, etc., and consider how you will answer them. Don’t come up with a “script,” so to speak, but make sure you have some idea of how you will respond to common questions.

Consider how you’ll respond to difficult questions, too. If there is a large gap in your resume, for example, be prepared to explain it. You may also be asked to describe your biggest weakness, which is incredibly challenging when you are in a situation where you want to showcase your best qualities!  Practice responding to any challenging questions that you think your resume or application may inspire. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will become with answering those questions that make you want to squirm in your seat.

Prepare Your Own Questions

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A good job interview is a two-way street. There is no reason why the interviewer should be the only one asking questions! Asking some of your own questions during the interview shows interest and serves as proof that you are really interested in the position. Keep in mind, too, that as a new nurse, you are expected to ask questions while on the job. A willingness to ask questions during the interview process shows that you will be able to ask questions when working in the field.

You might want to ask questions regarding the organization’s leadership team, training programs, patient ratios, opportunities for advancement, etc. Avoid asking about things like drug tests, when you can request time off, or smoking policies.

Think of a job interview as a conversation. Looking at it this way can make it a bit easier to relax. Keep the other tips above in mind, too, and you will be able to breeze through your interview with confidence and grace. Good luck!

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