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Mar 2, 2015

How to Stand Out: Interviewing for a Nursing Position

You made it through nursing school. Woo! You passed your boards. Yes! Now, you’re ready to start interviewing for jobs … (deep breath). Interviewing for a nursing position is the last step between you and the job you’ve been training for, so it helps to know a little about what you can expect and what you should do to prepare. We’ve put together a short list of things to consider before your next interview.

Tip 1: Have your resume ready
Your potential employer has probably already seen your resume. That said, you should always bring a few extra copies in case they – or you – want to reference it during the interview.

Make sure your resume has information about your work history (including position titles or clinical rotations), education, references, nursing-specific credentials you’ve earned, and board scores if you have them. If the resume you already sent in is missing any of these details, update it now and make sure to point out the updates during the interview if you get a chance.

Tip 2: Dress professionally
This is good advice no matter which industry you work in. If you’re going in for an interview, you should make the effort to look professional. Guys should skip the jeans and polo look. Women should avoid shorter skirts and jeans as well. Try searching for “interview attire” on the Internet and see what pops up. You’re likely to get a good idea of what’s appropriate and what isn’t.

Tip 3: Research and practice
Before you even go in for your interview, you should find out some basic information about the hospital you’ve applied to. Visit their website and look up articles about them online. Get to know a little about their history and what they’re known for. It can also be helpful to talk to current or former employees if you know of any.

As part of your interview preparation, you should also practice answering some of the tougher questions you’re likely to face. Consider your answers to questions such as:

  • How do you handle difficult patients or families?
  • How would you give a treatment you’ve never administered before?
  • How would you handle emergency admissions during a shift change?
  • How do you deal with occasions when you’re short-staffed?
  • How do you deal with other coworkers when there’s a disagreement?

Tip 4: Don’t talk about money …
… Unless they bring it up. If they do, you should know what your bottom line is. If this is your first nursing job, or you have no idea what you can realistically expect to earn, research what other nurses are making in your area.  If you’re looking for other benefits like paid days off, health insurance and employee profit sharing, make sure you know your limits in those areas as well.

Tip 5: The end of the interview
Whether you think the interview went well, or couldn’t have gone worse, make sure to get on the same page with your interviewer before you leave. Will you be calling them? Will they be calling you? When will you be in touch next? How long will it be before they make their decision?

Having answers to these questions sets expectations for the future and will prevent you from stressing out down the road.