Even after sending out multiple resumes and receiving interview invites, it can be difficult to land a job offer. Maybe it’s time for you to create a strategy for your interviews, but where should you start?
This guide will provide you with valuable insights into the nurse job interview process, from researching about the job to making a strong closing statement. This way, you can be more prepared to answer challenging questions and confidently showcase your qualifications.
Preparing for Your Nursing Interview: Strategies to Succeed
Between 2021 and 2023, the demand for registered nurses is expected to increase by 6 percent, resulting in approximately 203,200 job openings annually for this occupation. A significant number of these job openings arise from the necessity to fill vacancies due to the retirement of experienced nurses and the transition of other nurses into alternative occupations.¹
You have plenty of opportunities to tap into, so be ready for your upcoming interviews by first gathering the information you need and preparing the answers and documents about you.
1. Compare Your Qualifications to the Job Posted
Start your preparation by comparing your qualifications to what is listed on the job post. You can create a comparative list so you can have a better idea of how well you fit the role.
Include both your soft and hard skills on the list. Incorporate your achievements and expound on them with personal anecdotes and examples, especially those that align with the employer’s requirements. This can help you determine your personal goals and possible contributions to the company.
2. Look Up Information About the Facility
Looking up the organization you’re applying for will be advantageous to you as interviewers may test your knowledge about their business. It’s also a great way to see if you want to work with them or not.
Some of the most important things to know about them are their values, mission, and vision. These may give you an idea about their work culture and if you’ll be comfortable in that environment.
Check their social media pages and online reviews to know what their current and past employees are saying. This can help you know what it’s like to work there and if their offered salary and benefits would be enough to meet your needs.
Related Reading: Your Nursing Assignment’s Ending: What’s Next?
3. Clean Up Your Social Media
Some employers may check your social media accounts to get a first impression. It would be best to clean your social media pages to showcase your personality and skills.
Make sure to take down any inappropriate posts or photos. Having a well-written bio or about section on your profile that includes details about your profession is also good. If you don’t have the time to clean up your pages yet, it would be best to keep your accounts private.
4. Prepare for the Different Interview Types You May Go Through
There are various interview types that the interviewers may conduct with you. Here are the things you need to know about them.
Phone Screen Interview
From an HR perspective, the purpose of this interview is to filter out the best candidates from all the applicants. They’ll usually ask basic questions about you, such as your educational background, employment status, clinical experience, and career goals.
When you receive an interview for a phone interview, make sure that you’re available on the set schedule you agreed on. It would be best to take the call in a quiet room where you wouldn’t be interrupted or end up mishearing the other person on the line.
Once the interview is coming to a close, ask about your next steps. Gather information on how long you should be waiting for an update.
If you get invited to an in-person interview, you may ask them for details about the person you’ll be meeting with, as well as the location and schedule of the next interview, if applicable. In-person interviews provide an opportunity for the employer to gain deeper insights into your personality and assess your compatibility with their team.
Here are the types you may undergo:
This is your first opportunity to meet a hiring manager.
They’ll consider how they feel about you and if you’ll fit their unit. They may also check how enthusiastic you are about working with them. Most importantly, they will gauge how your strengths can help the team reach their goals.
Take this moment to match yourself to the role by discussing relevant personal experiences and showing your personality.
In this in-person interview format, you can expect to have one-on-one interviews with multiple people. This usually takes place for management-level roles.
Each person you’ll be speaking with will be involved in the decision-making process, so make sure to engage each person with eagerness and meaningfully answer their questions.
Be mindful that the interviewers will compare their notes after talking with you. Remember to provide consistent answers to the same questions.
Most facilities also utilize peer interviews, where you may encounter potential co-workers. This helps the employer gain insider feedback through your answers to staff-specific questions.
Additionally, this lets them know if you can fit in with the team and their work culture. It would be best to prepare stories highlighting your experiences, specifically those that address clinical and behavioral questions.
You may find yourself facing a panel of interviewers, so be prepared. This interview type helps employers gain insight about you from multiple departments’ leads. Just in case, it would be best to bring several copies of your resume with you.
You may feel vulnerable and anxious when you face them, but make sure you maintain eye contact when speaking to each of them and engage the entire group in a conversation.
5. Practice with Mock Interviews
Mock interviews can help you formulate the best answers to possible questions. Practicing your answers can also help you impress your interviewers.
Enlist the help of someone you trust to assist you in this mock nurse interview. They should ask you both behavioral and clinical questions and provide you with feedback.
6. Be Ready to Share Your Real-Life Experiences
Common questions during nursing interviews usually lean toward behavioral-based questions and it’s best to answer these questions with stories of your real-life experiences. The questions you will be asked may cover any of the following themes:
- Teamwork and collaboration
- Time management
- Patient care
- Communication style
- Motivation and values
Telling a good story can help you leave a lasting impression on your interviewers and support the details you included in your resume. Through this, the interviewers can gain a better idea of what you value, how you react to certain situations, and how you solve problems. Here’s a structured guide, called the star method, that you can use.
- Start by specifying a situation. Include who was involved and why it happened.
- Explain your specific role in the task. What’s the story behind your involvement?
- Talk about the actions you took to resolve the situation. Identify each step and explain why.
- Showcase the results and highlight your strengths. Remember to tell them about what you learned and how it influenced you.
7. Prepare Your Portfolio
A nurse portfolio verifies the details in your resume and proves that the statements you made during the interview are all true. Here are the documents you can include.
- Cover page with your first name, last name, and nursing credentials.
- Most recent resume
- Nursing license
- Nursing credentials with copies of both the front and back of the cards
- Certificates, special training, and awards
- Recommendation letters
- Performance reviews
- A checklist of your annual skills
- Job descriptions from every role you’ve had
- Transcripts from your college and university
- Your written patient education plans
- Your personal statement of nursing
- Protocols and procedures
- Written summaries of patient stories stating your key role
Related Reading: Crafting the Perfect Nursing Resume: A Step-by-Step Guide
8. Make a Lasting Impression by Asking Relevant Questions
It’s best to prepare important questions for the end of your interview. They will most likely ask you if you have any and it would be best to have some. Asking questions lets them know that you’re really interested in getting hired.
Here are a few things you may want to ask about:
- What is your estimated timeline for getting back to candidates about their next steps?
- Will there be any training for the new person in this role? How will the training be conducted?
- What is the culture in this healthcare team like?
- What will be the metrics for evaluating my performance if I get the role?
- What do you think makes this unit a great place to work?
Ace Your Nursing Job Interview by Being True to Yourself!
Sharing your personal experiences can make it easier to answer job interview questions. Take pride in your skills and qualifications because you have so many more stories to tell!
Remember to follow up with an interviewer when enough time has passed to remind them that you are very much interested in working with them.
Related Reading: Tips on How to Ace Your Immigrant Visa Interview
PRS GLOBAL WILL HELP YOU CONNECT WITH POTENTIAL EMPLOYERS IN THE U.S.
If you’re looking for your next big opportunity in nursing, dream big and consider becoming a global nurse with the help of PRS Global.
Through the direct hiring of healthcare staff, we connect qualified international nursing professionals like you with USA healthcare providers. We’ll help you take care of your employment requirements! Get in touch with us now and we’ll help you get closer to your next opportunity.
1 “Registered Nurses.” Bureau of Labor Statistics, 8 Sept. 2022, www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm#tab-6. Accessed 19 July 2023.