You are a registered nurse (RN) about to graduate from a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program, and now you are ready for your first job as a BSN-prepared nurse. Or, you might be seeking new employment with better pay. Whatever your reason, you still have to participate in an interview before you are hired. With preparation, you can head off any surprising queries and show that you are the right candidate for the position.
How to Prep for an Interview?
When prepping for an interview, you should read over the job description and take note of what kind of skills and experience the employer is looking for in a candidate. You do not have to be a perfect match, but you want to show the potential employer that you qualify for the job and can handle any situations that may occur with patients.
What Types of Questions Can You Expect?
Not all interviewers ask a fixed set of questions. Thus, every interview is distinct. However, there are usually some common questions that may be posed to you along with a variety of nursing-based inquiries. Here are seven questions you may be asked in an interview with brief suggestions on how to answer them.
- What Can You Tell Us About Yourself?
Interviewers are not asking about your personal life. Instead, they want know if you have the qualifications that fit their requirements. This is a good time to apply what you learned from the job description to form a concise response. You should be able to answer with at least three qualities about yourself that pertain to the position.
- Why Did You Decide to Become a Nurse?
The best way to explain to an employer why you decided to be a nurse is to provide a story. Think about what influenced you to make your decision. For instance, you may have generations of nurses in your family who inspired you, or maybe you were hospitalized for an illness or injury and received excellent care. Perhaps you were motivated by your own experience of caring for a loved one.
- Why Do You Want to Work Here?
Talk about your career goals and how you feel they can be met at the employer's healthcare organization. Try and tie together your aspirations and the organization's reputation. For example, if your field of interest is pediatrics and the hospital is ranked highly in that specialty, be sure to highlight the connection.
- What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses in Nursing?
Employers are trying to find out if you have the necessary attributes to be successful in the workplace. Again, you can use the job description to frame your replies. Keep your answers positive even when talking about your weaknesses. Your weaknesses should be discussed as lessons you have learned; let them know that you are working to improve your performance. You should be prepared with two responses for each.
- Have You Ever Had a Conflict at Work? How Did You Resolve It?
Employers are searching for candidates who exhibit excellent conflict resolution and interpersonal skills. Thus, you need to project that you are able to interact well with colleagues and work as part of a team to deal with problems that may arise.
- Have You Ever Made an Error?
The question is not really about the error you made but how you learned from it. You need to demonstrate that your concern was for the patient's safety and that you took steps to correct and report your mistake. Employers need to be sure that you accept accountability for your actions.
- Do You Have Any Questions?
You should have a couple of questions for the interviewer, otherwise you may appear uninterested. You could ask about onboarding for new hires or nurse-to-patient ratio.
What Not to Do
Do not inquire about money unless the interviewer asks you about your salary preference. To answer this question, you should research the pay grade for the position beforehand so you can quote a realistic amount. Additionally, do not ask about vacation time or days off for a family commitment. These all can be discussed if you are offered a second interview or the job.
By preparing for your interview, you can confidently and articulately tackle any question, and you will increase your chances of securing the nursing job you desire.
Learn more about The University of Alabama in Huntsville's online RN to BSN program.
Sources:The Interview Guys: Top 15 Nursing Interview Questions (Sample Answers Included)
Have a question or concern about this article? Please contact us.