If you find job interviews daunting, following these simple tips will help you nail your next one. Even if you don’t get that job, you’ll know you did your absolute best. And you’ll have had great practice for the next opportunity that comes around the corner.
Don’t forget to smile
An interviewer will expect you to be nervous. Instead of worrying about appearing nervous, accept that you will and that it’s normal. The interviewer will hardly remember that. But that person will remember if you smiled every now and then.
Have some planned answers, but don’t memorize them
Imagine some of the questions you might be asked so you can prepare, such as: How would you describe your current job or role? What is the reason behind looking for a new job? Can you describe a time you advocated for a patient?
Answering some of these questions out loud before the interview will get you comfortable talking about your experiences. But don’t write them down and memorize them verbatim. Stick with key points on an index card. You can even review them just before you go into the room.
Keep two or three questions for the interviewer in your back pocket
We get so focused on answering the questions correctly, we forget that the interviewer might ask us if we have any questions. Have a few ready. Perhaps something will come up that will remind you of a specific question, but if not, having a few general questions in your back pocket will keep you prepared. Some suggestions include: What are some of the more significant challenges on the job? How would you describe the dynamic between disciplines? What do the other nurses on the unit like most about working there?
Keep things positive
When you’re asked about a time that something at work went wrong, explain the situation briefly, then focus on what you learned from it or what you would do in a similar situation next time. Likewise, if you’re leaving your job because your boss is terrible, it might be best to focus on other pertinent reasons, like new opportunities or a different challenge, than on your complaints (even if they’re legitimate).
When we feel nervous, we tend to breathe shallowly, as if holding on to our breath will keep us safe. Focus on filling that belly with air while you listen to the interviewer. It’s tough to hang on to that deer in headlights feeling while breathing deeply. Focusing on the breath will help you relax and feel less tightly wound.
What helps you get through an interview? Share with others. It may be the perfect tip for someone else.