The job interview is nerve-wracking, and exciting, no matter if you’re applying for your first nursing job or moving into a new position.
There are steps you can take in order to prepare for the interview. The same goes for nurses who are seasoned veterans or new graduates.
Let’s take another look.
The days leading up to the interview
You need to be prepared. This means that you should allow yourself enough time to do everything.
This means that you need to take care of all aspects of your interview that you can control.
What would they look like?
How you feel and look
My opinion is that being happy with your appearance is a major step towards feeling confident. A first impression is crucial for a job interview. Here are some things you can do.
A few days in advance, make a trip to the barbershop or salon.
Make sure you check the outfit that you’ll be wearing. You might not have worn your formal attire in a while. You should make sure that they are still in good condition.
Go out and get a new outfit for your interviews
Men should trim their beards if they have one, and take care of grooming.
You want to appear confident, sharp, and clean. You have full control over this as you enter the interview room. Make sure you are prepared.
You should also avoid drinking in the days leading up to your interview. You need to be rested and not hungover.
To answer interview questions to their best, your brain must be working at maximum capacity. You should not be exhausted mentally and physically before you go.
Practice your interview technique
Many websites offer lists of questions that you could be asked during a nursing interview.
Even if these are not used, you may be asked more general questions about yourself. These include asking you about your nursing experiences, your strengths, and weaknesses, as well as what you can bring to the job.
You can practice answering questions like these. You should be able to recall aspects of your past experience and achievements.
Also, practice answering questions about work situations (e.g. how would you deal with a drunk patient? Or verbally abusive patient).
You will be able to structure your answers in a way that demonstrates your knowledge and skills within the context of the interviewee’s question.
This practice can be taken to the next level by writing out a series questions and asking a friend or family member to ask you the same questions in a face-to-face, sit-down situation.
If you feel that it will not do more harm than good for your confidence, record yourself and then go through the footage. You can see areas where you could make improvements to your body language and verbal communication as well as the nature and content of your responses.
You are the morning of your interview. Make sure you have a great time.
If you are able to stomach it, eat a great breakfast and then do the following:
Keep a copy of your resume in your folder
Although this may seem outdated in these days of email, pdfs, and smartphones, I believe it is a good practice (I’m over 50) to keep hard copies of your resume in your file folder.
Even though the interviewer may have an electronic copy of your resume, it is a good idea to give a hard copy at the beginning of the interview. This will make you look professional and show that you are well prepared.
This means that they will have a copy of your resume on their desk in order to keep you fresh in mind.
Bring your nursing portfolio
A nursing portfolio, which is more detailed than a resume, details your experience and qualifications. The portfolio will include information about your qualifications as a nurse and details about any other achievements.
When you arrive for the interview, ensure that your nurse portfolio is current and with you.
You will leave home with plenty to spare
If you live in a large city and have to rely on public transportation or drive in heavy traffic jams, ensure you are prepared for any eventualities.
It’s better to be there early to review your resume in a local café than to arrive late to the interview and start to panic.
It is common to use common sense in interview etiquette, and be truthful.
It is important to be polite, courteous, and respectful. You should smile, hold firm hands, and show confidence when you shake hands with interviewers.
You can let them take the lead in terms of “take your seat”, etc. Ask them to bring along a copy or your portfolio before the interview starts.
Your practice will be able to come alive once the questions are answered.
Don’t rush, take your time, and don’t rush to answer questions. Also, don’t be afraid of taking a moment to think through the question before responding.
It’s not helpful to ramble to “dead space”.
Interviews will likely include both general questions and more specific questions.
There will be situations where clear answers are required. This is where it is crucial not to lie or cover-up. You should be true if you don’t know something or your memory isn’t working.
As much as possible, speak clearly. As you sit straight up in the interview chair, address each person during your answers.
Another way to do this is to be warm all the time. You want to be a nurse. You applied because you are looking for a job in healthcare.
You will have the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview. If you have something to say, only do this. Do not ask a silly question just because you feel it is appropriate.
If it is time for you to go, please shake hands and say goodbye.
Continue the interview
You should follow up on the interview by reaching out to the HR department or directly with your interviewer within a few days. This is a polite email in which you thank them for the opportunity to interview you. Also, let them know that you are interested in the job and any questions you might have.
Once again, this shows professionalism and your interest in the job. It also reminds you that you are available.