Very few people enjoy job interviews, but they are a necessity for nurses who are navigating the job marketplace. Being prepared for your next job interview is half the battle, so steel yourself for the experience and prepare for success.
Dress for success
There’s nothing worse than being underdressed in a professional situation, so make sure you are dressed appropriately when it comes to job interviews.
Female job candidates should wear modest professional clothing (a suit or other ensemble is fine). Whether you wear a skirt or slacks is a personal choice. Muted colors are best (avoid neon and distracting patterns), and understated jewelry is a perfect accent. Shoes should be comfortable, attractive and professional.
Male job candidates should wear polished black or brown dress shoes, a long-sleeved button-down shirt and tie, and solid, nicely pressed pants. A jacket is optional, depending on the setting and position.
If you have tattoos on your neck, face or hands, there’s not much you can do, so compensate by dressing impeccably. Facial piercings may be an issue in certain workplaces, so remove them, if possible.
Do your homework
Doing your homework means learning as much as you can about the facility before your interview. Understand the mission statement, take note of significant or recent successes or recognition the facility has earned and come prepared to ask questions or make salient statements about the position, unit, facility or other timely issues. Potential employers like to see that job candidates know what the company is all about and can express that knowledge freely.
Prepare and practice
If there are certain common interview questions that always make you squirm, it’s best to prepare and practice in advance. While you cannot predict what questions will be asked, you can rest assured there are many common questions frequently asked of interviewees.
Examples of such questions include:
• What are your strengths and positive attributes?
• What are your weaknesses as a nurse/professional?
• How do you handle interpersonal conflict?
You also may face scenario-based questions in which your interviewer will ask you to describe what a prudent nurse would do in a particular type of clinical situation. You’ll have to take a deep breath and think on your feet.
There are myriad websites, books, podcasts, blog posts and articles about nursing interviews. Familiarize yourself with the most common questions and practice for the types of questions that usually make you sweat.
Very importantly, be yourself in an interview. If the interviewers don’t like your personality or way of being, you don’t want to work there anyway. Allow yourself to express your individuality while remaining consummately professional. Authenticity is your best strategy. Use who you are as your best possible asset.