How to Answer Nursing Interview Questions: For the Newly Graduated

By Daniel Gelinas

After long hours of reviewing and nerve-wracking days waiting for your board exam results, you are now finally a registered nurse. Passing the exam or to appear in NCLEX is just the beginning. “In the real world” means working in a medical organization, like a hospital or a school. One of the initial steps would be job application, followed, hopefully, by an interview. When you get a call for interview, it is of course good news but can also feel a little terrifying. This article provides sample nursing interview questions and answers, to help the new graduate achieve excellent interview results.

Common Nursing Interview Questions and Answers for the New Graduate

“Tell me about yourself.”

This is a rather vague and common interview question, not just in nursing, but in most industries. The best answer to this question is to narrate your educational and job experiences. As a new graduate, you can share your training and medical exposure. For example, “I took up Nursing at the University of California and was able to work as a volunteer for _________'s medical mission for 6 months”.

“Why do you want to work for us?”

This is another common question for nursing job interviews but many applicants stutter with their answers. Why? Poor preparation! Do your research about the company or organization that you are applying to. “( Name of Hospital ) is a medical institution throughout the state, providing the highest quality of healthcare to local residents. I applied to this hospital due to your good reputation in terms of handling your staff and in this regards, it would be an honor to belong to your organization as a registered nurse.”

“Why should we hire you?”

Some nursing interview questions rephrase this as “What do you have as a nurse that other applicants don't?” Avoid overly tooting your own horn, it can be risky. Just try to be modest but emphasize your credentials and experience. Stress the qualities that you have; like physical endurance and flexibility, that will help you in performing your duty.

“What are you weaknesses and strengths?”

For this type of question, you must highlight your skills, knowledge and positive traits as your strengths. For your weaknesses, it is a little bit trickier. To be successful in any type of job interview, with this kind of question, you must redirect those “weaknesses” to become “positives”. For example, “I think I am shy and I find it difficult to mingle with other people. I just use my time working and finishing my job”. This said, your employer will know that you will not spend your time gossiping in your stations during duty hours.

More Tips on Nursing Interview Questions for the New Nurse

Nursing interviews will often ask about life experience, so think about stories from your life as a student or as a student nurse, which may help in supporting your answer. Stories explaining - what made you decide to become a nurse or about the most challenging patient you have handled and how you see yourself 10 years from now.

Finding the right answers to these interview questions is not the main concern for most nurse applicants. It is often a matter of confidence and presentation of your answers. Not all candidates have the ability to remain confident when it comes to nursing job interviews. One helpful trick is to practice answering these questions at home. You can do it yourself or with a friend. If you like, you can set up a mock interview.

As much as you can, try to relax, keep your poise and arrive early so you can compose yourself. Speak slowly and ask for clarifications if need be. Body language, including maintaining good eye contact, is also very important.

Go to the interview prepared with answers to anticipated questions and having done your homework on the organization, the nursing position and its requisite duties. Be aware of your body language and communication skills; it is important you give clear and concise answers. Lastly, always say thank you to your interviewer, especially for their time in accommodating you.

New nursing graduates looking to join the workplace should not be overawed with answering nursing interview questions. The tips and sample questions covered here should give you an edge in facing that job interview. Remember to clearly put on display your skills, motivation and character. Be confident, put on a smile and believe in yourself and you will be all set.

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