What questions should a nurse ask during an interview for a manager position?

By | 2015-08-26T19:51:52-04:00 August 27th, 2015|0 Comments

Dear Donna,

I have the opportunity to interview for an assistant nurse manager position at another hospital. Can you suggest some good questions for me to ask during the interview?

Needs to Know What Questions to Ask


Dear Needs to Know What Questions to Ask,

In the early part of the interview, while you’re getting to know one another, ask clarifying questions related specifically to job duties, responsibilities, size and scope of department, reporting mechanism, etc. Here are some examples of early interview questions:

•    What are you looking for in an ideal candidate for this job?
•    Why is this position open?
•    Who would I be reporting to?
•    What is the chain of command?
•    What type of orientation is provided?
•    Describe the department staffing.
•    What type of support staff does the department have? (Volunteers, unit/department secretary, aides, etc.)

Hopefully some of them will be addressed without you having to ask. But if they aren’t, don’t be afraid to speak up.
Later in the interview, once you have established rapport and had an opportunity to sell yourself, ask more pointed questions, such as:

•    What are the biggest challenges the department faces right now?
•    What problems/issues exist in the department that would need addressing in the first 2-3 months? (This is appropriate when applying for a supervisory or management position)
•    Where do you see the company/department going in the next few years?
•    Are there opportunities for continuing education?
•    Are there any opportunities for promotion from this position?
•    How would you describe your management style? (When speaking with the person you would be reporting to)
•    What are the most important traits you look for in a manager?
•    How long have you worked here? (Can be asked of anyone who interviews you)
•    “What do you like most and least about working here?”

Don’t ask these questions in rapid succession, but throughout the interview. Some of them can be saved for a second interview, which is customary for many management positions. It is generally not appropriate to ask about salary and benefits on an initial interview. It is acceptable to carry a small notebook with your questions so you don’t forget them and to jot down brief notes during the interview as long as you are not continuously writing and maintain good eye contact with the interviewer throughout.

Best wishes,


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About the Author:

Donna Cardillo
Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, CSP, is president of DonnaCardillo.com. Known as The Inspiration Nurse, she is a keynote speaker, retreat and seminar leader, and author of "Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional" and "The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career." She brings more than 25 years of clinical, management and business experience to her role as career guru.

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