Like most job interviews, an interview for a job as a nurse will begin with the typical interview questions. These interview questions will be followed up by more job-related interview questions like the following:
Q: Why did you choose nursing as a career? When did you decide nursing was the career for you?
A: This is a somewhat simple answer. Because this is a delicate profession where you’re constantly dealing with an array of patients, the interviewer basically wants to know that you are compassionate about the work that you do. To answer this question, talk about your compassion for people, interest in the medical field, enjoyment in caring for people, etc. If you have a personal experience that conveys your empathy and compassion, that will also suffice.
Q: Why do you want to work at XYZ hospital? What do you know about XYZ hospital?
A: This question is a little more complicated and is going to take a little more research. Before going into the interview, visit the hospital’s website and learn specifically about the unit/department of the hospital that the position is in. What type of awards have they received? What are their specialties? What are they known for? Make sure you have this down pat. Once you do this, go to Google News and type in your hospital name. If there is any recent news about your hospital, it will show up in Google’s news results. Read any articles that show up and they should give you a good feel for the current hardships the hospital may be facing, or any big research that the hospital may be pursuing. By walking into an interview with this information, your interviewer will immediately be under the impression that you have followed this hospital for awhile and are very enthusiastic about this job.
Q: What do you dislike the most about being a Nurse?
A: This question is similar to the “what is your biggest weakness question,” and the large majority of people answer this type of interview question wrong. Attempting to “disguise” a strong suit as a weakness is a trick that simply does not work. Rather, be honest. Tell the interviewer something to this effect: “Knowing that some patients are in pain and there is no additional treatment that we can provide is the part of the job I dislike the most. Although I know only so much can be done for every individual, it is hard for me to see any person in pain without being able to help them.” As long as you display empathy with this question, you will nail it.
Q: How do you handle a patient or a patient’s family that is upset with you?
A: Again, show empathy. Explain to the interviewer that you would explain to them that you, the patient’s doctors and the hospital are doing everything in their power to help them or their loved one. Never tell the interviewer that the patient’s family is just taking their grief out on you – this is a sure way to hurt you during the interview process.
Q: Are you a member of any associations or affiliations? Do you have any specialties? Are you planning on going back to school?
A: These are straight-forward questions. All of this objective information should be on your resume, but be ready to answer it. Also, make sure you know the name of any associations/affiliations that you belong to and not just the abbreviation.
Q: What do you like most about being a nurse?
A: For the nursing profession, interview questions like this are fairly simple. Be as straight forward as possible and focus on empathy.
Q: How do you work best? Do you prefer working alone or as a team?
A: Although this question may seem simple, you’d be surprised at the amount of people who say they prefer working alone. When interviewing for a nursing position, this isn’t the answer your the hospital is looking for. You should include in your answer that you entered the nursing profession because you love interacting with people, and that you find working in teams to be the most productive means of accomplishing your organization’s goals. If possible, bring up past examples of how you excelled in group atmospheres. Conclude this question by explaining that although you prefer working as a team, you are more than capable of working by yourself when the job calls for it (paperwork, menial tasks, etc.)
Q: Your replacement doesn’t arrive. What do you do?
A: This interview question can be somewhat tricky. Frankly, you want to answer by telling the interviewer that you would stay at the hospital until there were enough people to handle the shift. You can phrase this many ways, but be sure to come off as a responsible adult. The employer wants to know that despite other obligations, your patients come first.