Guide to Nurse Job Interview

post and read interview feedback from your medical school visit.

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Amy Turner
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Guide to Nurse Job Interview

Post by Amy Turner »

This guide will help future nursing school graduates. There will be more to add but it's a start.


I. What to wear
II. What to Bring
III. Questions to Expect From Your Interviewer
IV. Questions You Should Ask Your Interviewer
V. What Employers/Interviewers Look For
VI. Final Words


Looking professional is important and that is one part of the battle. Your interviewer will be looking at how you dress, how you present yourself, eye contact, attitude, and a firm handshake all within less than a minute. Wearing jeans to an interview is already a red flag to your employer no matter how nice your shirt and shoes are.

For men: Keep in mind that facial hair needs to be maintained and clean. Beards are acceptable but needs to be maintained.

Your scent will be taken into consideration: A good quality bath soap is all you need. Avoid strong scented such as ( but not limited to) perfume, cologne, after shave, lotions, and etc. Strong fragrances can trigger someone's allergies. The main point here is that you don't want to smell bad but you do not want to give a strong scent as well.

Strongly Advised: Wear a watch. This is as important as knowing the date.


Must haves:
    A pen/ pencil
    Small Notepad or small notebook.
    A folder
    Several copies of your cover letter
    Several copies of your resume attached you your cover letter
    References/ Reference Letters
    Nursing License/ Proof you have passed NCLEX (mainly for new graduates)
    CPR Card
    Pertinent Certifications

A pen/ pencil and a small notepad/ small notebook will be needed to write down some important information your interviewer has told you. Also, write down some questions you may have for your interviewer prior to the interview. You will need a folder to place all of your papers.

Several copies of your resume and cover letter will be needed because you be asked to provide more copies. Keep in mind that some hospitals/ nursing homes may have multiple staff members interviewing you to see well you communicate, especially through other departments. They will need to have your resume and cover letter on record.

Reference/ Reference Letters will tell the interviewer what kind of worker/student you are/were.
Your interviewer will need to see proof that you are a nurse or have at least passed the NCLEX.
The reason for the CPR card should be obvious.

Pertinent Certifications should relate to the floor/ department you will be working at. You will need to prove that you are qualified for that area of work.


One of the most important parts of your interview is how you answer questions asked by your interviewer. THIS IS SOMETHING YOU WILL NEED TO PRACTICE AT HOME PRIOR TO THE INTERVIEW. Keep in mind that staff from other floors/ departments may be in the room with you and your interviewer asking you questions to see how you communicate through different floors and departments. They will be testing your interpersonal skills as well. Don't forget, be prepared to be questioned on anything on your cover letter, resume, and reference letters. And of course, know your strengths and weaknesses. They know that you are not perfect.

Here are some questions/scenarios to expect:

    A conflict you encountered and how you handled it
    A time when you were late
    A time when you used good communication
    How you handle stress
    A time when you were in a leadership position
    A time when you disagreed with a rule or policy
    A time you went above and beyond for a patient/customer
    An incident of workplace conflict and how you addressed it
    An error and how you addressed it
    An example of collaboration in the workplace
    Tell me about a time there was miscommunication between you and another person, how did you handle it?
    What does patient centered care mean to you
    What are some evidenced based practices that has affected your work?
    What is your ideal working environment?
    Tell me what your idea of a “leader” is?
    What professional journals are you currently subscribed too and how has it affected your practice?
    Prepare for questions that test your critical thinking and prioritization skills
    If you are applying to med surg floors, prepare to answer med surg questions. If you are applying to psych facilities, prepare to answer to saftey questions and etc.
    "We've hired new grads before. They're fast learners, really eager to do good, but most only stay to get their 6 months or 1 year of experience, and then they leave for another job. How long would be willing to commit to us? Where do you see yourself 6 months from now?"
    How would you handle a family or patient who is displeased with your patient's care?


Asking questions during the interview shows that you are interested in working with the hospital/nursing home and their staff. It shows that you want the position being offered.

    How would you describe a typical week/day in this position?
    What are the types of floors does this facility have? (mostly for nursing homes)
    How long is orientation?
    What are the prospects for growth and advancement?
    Is it possible to have a look around the unit?
    What are the responsibilities of this post?
    How many staff/patients are there?
    Do you have a set staff to patient ratio?
    Is overtime expected? How often?
    Do you have a preceptorship scheme? (If you are a newly qualified nurse)
    How does the service audit patient satisfaction?
    How does the service gather patient feedback?
    How will your post fit within the multidisciplinary team?


The following information has been provided by /u/brianprimm, a MSN RN, who has spent two years in the hiring position:

For New Grads:
When looking for a new grad, I was looking for someone teachable. Someone with previous customer service experience. Sadly, waiting tables and personality is a big chunk of what I needed. I don't expect you to know what to do in a code, so I'm not going to quiz you on drugs, or interventions. I want to know that you are trainable and will blend well on my unit. I want the other nurses to work well with you, and the patients to feel cared for. I have plenty of real world experience already. I want someone who can grow. You can teach a rubber monkey to do chest compressions, but I need someone who can hold the hand of a dying patient and say the right thing to that surgery patient who is in 8/10 pain and we are slow on the call lights tonight

For Experienced Nurses

For RNs with experience, I know that you know how to take care of patients. I also know that you can play the game, and are well prepared to answer my questions. It's a small world, and if you are local, you can be sure that I'm calling around to check you out. Your old manager or stroke coordinator or diabetic educator? Chances are I have worked with one of them and a quick text message and they will give me the skinny. Basically, don't burn bridges, don't expect your ICU godliness/knowledge to trump a crap personality, and be positive and upbeat and focus on mad customer service skills
Remember, new grads aren't expected to know too many clinical questions and answer them perfectly as well but they are expected to think critically and anticipate what is happening with the patient and what the doctor might order. (input provided by /u/tigretime)


Be careful about what you say on social media sites. Make sure you are on the most private setting possible. I have said some stupid things on Twitter before which have prevented me even being considered for a CNA job in the past.

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Re: Guide to Nurse Job Interview

Post by nnnpatel »

i am new here

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Re: Guide to Nurse Job Interview

Post by JamesMarkham »

CNA jobs are in high demand due to the fact that people will always require medical patient care. Even in a bad economy with high unemployment, nursing assistants are needed due to the shortage in the job place. As with any job nursing job search, applicants must have a plan in place. Before starting your search, applicants should have their cna certification and license. In addition, applicants should have nursing work experience. Finding the right nursing assistant position is the next step. Working hard and preparing towards getting a nursing job that is a good fit will ultimately lead to success.

Here are Additional CNA Job Search Tips

Prepare a custom resume suited for the job listing. Be sure to add your skills and work experience. For skills, add things that make you stand out and are pertinent to the job. Also, instead of listing job responsibilities, try to turn them into how your work benefited your employer.

Research your potential employer. Knowing a lot about your employer not only demonstrates your interest but also that you are organized and prepared. Doing the proper homework before an interview will clearly set you apart from other candidates.

Network with people in the medical profession. Health workers know are familiar with their medical facility and can introduce you to a nursing position or at the very least refer you to human resources. Nurses have contacts with colleagues on other floors, so they may put you in touch with a hospital department that needs CNAs.

Find different sources for job listings. Good job sources include nursing publications and job websites. Some of the most popular nursing magazines include The Nurse Practitioner Magazine and Nursing Made Incredibly Easy! Magazine. Good job search websites include,, and If there is a job that seems like a good fit, send a customized cover letter, resume, and application if necessary. If you are unable to get an interview, try to go to an informational interview. That will help get your foot in the door.

Use your school’s career center where you received your CNA certification. The career center is a good resource during your job search and can introduce you to a listing jobs from local employers. The career counselor can also give you advice to your career and goals.

Seek out local nursing homes and hospitals. There are some instances when CNA jobs are not publicly listed. It may be necessary go to the medical facility and reach out to the manager of human resources. The hiring manager may give you an interview if there is an opening or keep your file on hand and inform you when there is a position.

Reach out to to your friends and family. They may know people who needs care or they may be able to contact people within their network for you. Even if friends and family are not in the nursing or health care field, they can often provide useful leads.

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Re: Guide to Nurse Job Interview

Post by edwardwilson »

Thank you for the Guidance, Great help!

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