Tips and Advice When Interviewing for a First-Time Nursing Position


There were 3.2 million professionally active registered nurses in 2016, and all of them are hardworking people who have dedicated their lives to helping others. If you’ve devoted your life to nursing, you are likely excited about starting your career. However, before you can get to work, you have to land a job — and that means nailing your interviews. If you are feeling nervous about interviewing, that’s okay! A little nervousness shows that you are serious about success, but too much anxiety can diminish the impact of your performance at an interview. To soothe your nerves and rock every interview you take, use the following tips and advice.

Drafting an Eye-Catching Resume

Walking into an interview with a professional-looking resume for each interviewer is a great power move. Make sure you’re proud of what you hand over to them by using a clean resume template that is easy to read and eye-catching. When drafting your resume, think of it as an opportunity to sell your brand and show potential employers what unique experiences you can bring to the nursing team. Try to pique their interest with bullet points that highlight your skills, but don’t give away too much information. These bits can act as jumping-off points interviewers can base their questions on, and your answers provide you with opportunities to shine.

Researching and Rehearsing

When it comes to interviews, knowledge is the key to showing possible employers your earned confidence. Do plenty of advance research about the hospitals and organizations with which you are interviewing. Look up everything from when it was first founded to the type of scrubs or uniforms their nurses wear. Researching the companies can also point you into the direction of commonly asked interview questions specific to these places, which will come in very handy.

Rehearsing your answers to possible questions in the mirror will give you the confidence to enter the room and shine during your interview. If you can rope in a friend or loved one to help you go over the possible interview questions you expect, that’s even better! Ask your rehearsal partner to throw in a few unexpected questions and to switch up the order so you stay on your toes. If you notice any questions are particularly difficult to answer, work on those again and again until you are confident in your responses.

Mental Preparations for First-Time Nurses

Nursing schools utilize a very specific type of training that molds students into humble and gracious graduates — and for good reason! No matter how hard you worked in school, a new nurse is not ready to work independently in their first position. It takes time and plenty of learning experiences to become the nurse you need to be. So, while some job interview advice out there will tell you to walk in confident — even cocky — dismiss such ideas when going for your first nursing position. Yes, your employers need to see that you were a competent student, but they also need to know that your confidence isn’t the kind that can lead to costly errors on the job. Find ways to communicate to potential employers your dedication to learning from their team and growing with their company. You want to come off as humble and open-minded, as well as willing and ready to absorb knowledge from real-world experience.

An interview is a chance to sell yourself and to show potential employers how you will contribute to their organization as a nurse. Walking in with an eye-catching professional resumé is a great way to start the interview, but before you even walk in the door, you should prepare by researching the company, its history, and its values. Come up with a list of possible questions and rehearse them either in front of a mirror or with a partner. Finally, be mindful of your body language. The wrong little twitches can be off-putting for interviewers, whereas the right kind of body language can engender trust and confidence.

Image by Hush Naidoo via Unsplash

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