Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on Hurst Review Services’ Hurst Hints blog. It is republished here with their permission.
When you walk into your first interview, there’s no way of knowing exactly what to expect. Many employers ask questions that are specific to the role and company for which you have applied, and it can be difficult to be fully prepared for such inquiries. However, there are common interview questions that nursing students and fresh graduates should anticipate.
It’s important to come to an interview well-prepared. To do so, you’ll want to dress professionally, research the company, have copies of your credentials, and be ready to answer an interviewer articulately and confidently. Here are five common nursing interview questions for which you should prepare:
1. Tell me about yourself.
According to Nursezone.com, this question is generally asked so that interviewers can evaluate your judgment.1 When posed with this opportunity, avoid using a mundane chronology to describe yourself. This is an opportunity to separate yourself from other candidates by highlighting specific skills you can bring to the company and experiences that relate to the position. Perhaps, what is most important when answering the question is being able to decipher what details are significant and what can be left unsaid.
2. Why did you choose nursing?
For nursing students and recent graduates, this question provides an opportunity to discuss what makes you passionate about the profession. Don’t dwell on the issue of salary; instead, talk about what you enjoyed about nursing school and what you’re excited about as you enter the profession.2 This common question allows interviewers to learn about your professional goals and aspirations as well.
3. What do you know about the company?
Anytime you walk into an interview, you should have done extensive research on the company. Whether it’s a hospital or private practice, interviewers can measure how invested you are in the position by the amount of preparation you’ve put into the interview. After all, you should learn about your potential workplace before deciding it’s the right fit. Do your homework and showcase your knowledge of the company to stand out in interviews.2
4. How do you work within a team?
Being a team player is an important part of nursing. With that said, if you work better independently, you should still discuss this quality in your interview.3 However, emphasize your past experiences working on a team, and discuss how you collaborate with a group. Remember that in the nursing profession, you’ll need good social skills as you’ll constantly be interacting with physicians, other nurses, patients, and visitors. Furthermore, quality patient care relies on being able to work with others through tough situations efficiently, meaning teamwork is often crucial.
5. What questions do you have for us?
This question provides another opportunity to highlight your research efforts.3 If you’ve done your homework on the company, you’ll likely want to learn more about specific aspects of the position. Having several questions prepared also demonstrates that you are interested and invested in the role. Moreover, this puts the ball in your court and allows you to make the interview a mutual exchange. It’s as important to decide if you truly want the position as it is to be hired on. A couple of well-thought-out questions will also help you stand out in the interviewer’s mind.
As you are preparing for an interview, remember to run through common questions such as these several times and practice answering them. Preparing your answers will help keep them concise and to the point, while also helping you remember everything you want to include. Each interview is not only a job opportunity, but also a learning experience.
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1“Interview tips,” Nursezone.com. http://www.nursezone.com/Advancing-My-Career/interviewing-tips.aspx.
2“How to answer the most common nursing interview questions,” Allnurses.com, June 25, 2012. http://allnurses.com/nursing-interview-help/how-answer-most-748905.html.
3“Savvy answers to tough interview questions,” by Lisa R. Hathaway, RN, BSN, Lippincott Nursing Center, January 2005. http://www.nursingcenter.com/lnc/journalarticle?Article_ID=541687.