Changing Jobs: How Do I Interview As A Nurse

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Happy Wednesday!

Guys, it has been so hectic around here! I've successfully moved to Phoenix, AZ. So far, it is very different from Florida! Steps are underway to get me integrated into my new employer and it has been so enjoyable actually. Very exciting. Sara and I will continue to be writing content for you guys, but bear with us as we work on the logistics of working in different cities and time zones. Onward to today's post!

I wanted to continue our series on transitioning to another RN position with a discussion of how to interview. Keep in mind this is from my own personal experiences and does not reflect the diversity of ways managers make their decision to hire based on the interview process.

First, you will want to prepare for your interview. Go to bed early! This will make you mentally clear and not quite as keyed up. Eat breakfast if you need to. Whether it is in person or remote (Skype or phone), you want to dress the part. Business casual is usually the most appropriate for a nursing interview. If you are interviewing for a position within the hospital system you already work for, you can wear your usual work attire (scrubs). Doing this for remote interviews can seem annoying, but it will get you in the mindset of that professional setting.

Make sure you have all of your necessary documents with you to show or discuss. This would include your resume and cover letter, certifications, and special projects you worked on that you want to show off. Having your resume is also nice because they will ask you to tell them about yourself and it gives you a good springboard to having something to say. It will also help you to keep your dates of previous employment in order; if you have a complicated history.

Bring something to write with and pad to take notes on. You don't want to be the possible hire who can't even show up with a pen. That does not send a good message. During interviews you also may discuss a lot of information and you won't remember it all, so bring a pad of paper to take notes.

If this is your first time interviewing for a nursing position or at all: Practice! Get a friend to ask you questions. Some universities and colleges even have a career service center where you can have a mock interview and get immediate feedback. These questions will be in-depth and thoughtful, so you should give them the consideration they deserve.

Think before you speak regarding the question. You can verbally stall by saying, "That's a great question..." or "Let me think..." The manager knows these are thoughtful questions and they deserve thoughtful answers. Don't fill the silence with noise or just start nervously talking. The hiring manager wants concise answers, so you should take a deep breath and give a full response.

The questions will be pretty standard at first:

"Tell me about yourself."

"Why are you looking for a new position?"

"What draws you to this position or hospital in particular?"

You get the idea... Then the more difficult questions start to come up if the interview is going well. These are often behavioral based and require specific examples. In the interviews I've been a part of, the questions reflect the mission, vision, or values of the organization. Before the interview, look at those and brainstorm what they may ask to see if your values align with that of the company. This kind of goes back to our previous discussion of researching the company and it will help you with this activity.

Some examples I have had are:

  • "Give a specific example of when you had to change your tactics to get proper care for a patient?"
  • "Describe a time when you had to stand up for a patient and go out of your way."
  • "Tell us how you observed a problem on your unit or in your hospital and initiated change?"
  • "Describe when you have lost the trust of your patient and how you worked to resolve the issue."
  • "Give an example of a time when you were part of a group that was not pulling their own weight and you had to confront them. How was your team dynamic afterwards?"
  • "Give an example of when your actions directly improved a process or policy for patients."

Notice how all of these examples require specific answers. Do not give them a frivolous response. Do try to be specific. Give the answer in the following format:

  • Situation
  • Action
  • Outcome

This will help your interviewer organize their notes and makes your interview smoother. They may remember back to your interview and their notes will be clear and easy to read. You're not even their yet and making their job easier!

Job hunting can be very stressful, but if you remain positive and organized you will come out employed!

Please continue to monitor...

- David RN

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