CONGRATS! You’ve just been offered an interview for a nurse practitioner job! *Cue the sweaty palms and tachycardia* If you’re immediately wondering the secret to standing out as a top candidate during your interview, keep reading. There are some important differences between NP interviews and the RN interviews you may be used to. And today I’m going into all the details with my best nurse practitioner interview tips.
You’ll learn how to prepare for your nurse practitioner interview, and specifically:
- Common questions you can expect to be asked during your NP interview
- Important questions you will want to ask during any nurse practitioner interview
- The one thing you can’t forget to do after the interview!
Tips to Rock Your NP Interview
The interview process for nurse practitioners can be a little bit different than the process of interviewing as a nurse. So if this is a new experience for you, or if you just need a little bit of a refresher – maybe you’re moving into a new NP role, keep reading so I can teach you my best tricks and tips of the trade.
Before you go into your interview, maybe the day or two before, there are a couple things that you should be doing in advance.
NP Interview Research
The first step to preparing for your NP interview is doing research.
I want you to do some research about where you are interviewing. Hopefully, this is something that you’ve already looked up, maybe before you even applied. But if you’re getting this interview, and it’s not a place that you’ve really explored, you want to do some research ahead of time. You want to research the clinic or the hospital, their mission statement, the types of patients, they see their target, demographic, their values.
This ensures you have a good understanding of the basic information, so that when you’re actually in the interview you’re not asking things that very easily could have been Googled, and found online before you showed up. This will show that you have a vested interest in them as an organization. And it’ll also leaves time for you to ask more valuable questions and echo to them the things that you already know. It can go a long way by acknowledging something that you have researched ahead of time, and then asking a deeper, more significant question to help you learn more about the organization as a whole.
Something I want you to remember is that when you are interviewing, you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you.
So while they will have a lot of questions for you about why you’re a great candidate for them, keep in mind that you should be interviewing them as well. You want to have the mindset that you will have your choice of positions and that you’re going to choose the best option for you. And if you’re strategic about your job search and your strategies, hopefully that will be the case.
Questions To Expect in an NP Interview
There are definitely some questions that come up time and time again in all interviews, especially nurse practitioner interviews.
The first question in a nurse practitioner interview is almost always some version of “so tell me about yourself.”
I recently had an interview for a new role that I have accepted, and I met with no fewer than four people. Guess what? Each of those four people started with the same question. So this is a question that I would say to plan ahead of time know what you’re going to say in response to this question. Focus on showcasing your value, your talents, your interests, your passions, professionally. I advise you here not to get into too much personal information when they say to tell you about themselves. The interviewer wants to know about you as a nurse practitioner and as a healthcare provider.
Because this question is sure to come up in your next nurse practitioner interview, definitely think about it ahead of time. This is a great example of when you should literally practice. Practice in a mirror, in front of a trusted friend or family member, even consider recording yourself. You want to make sure you’re not caught off guard or uncomfortable when they just give you the floor to start the conversation without a specific question.
Another question that you may want to prepare in advance is why do you want to work here.
So that’s when your research will come in handy that you’ve done in advance. Now you can echo back to the interviewer things that you know about their organization, about their patient population, about their values, and their mission. Highlight the details and how they align with your personal and professional missions. You want to say how you see yourself fitting in because of what you see in them as an employer that is attractive to you.
The other major set of questions that I recommend having an answer to are situational questions.
These are the questions that start with, “tell me about a time when…” For example:
- Tell me about a time when you experienced conflict and how did you handle it?
- Tell me about a time when you were recognized for doing something well
- Tell me about a time when there was an ethical dilemma in your workplace
- Tell me about a time where you had a disagreement with a patient or provider or colleague
- Tell me about a time when you demonstrated teamwork
These are all situational type questions that will come up often in nurse practitioner interviews. My best recommendation is to remember one or two patient scenarios and go over them in great detail when preparing for your interview, then tuck those one or two scenarios into your back pocket.
Maybe you can recall a patient scenario that was medically complex, ethically complex, or behaviorally complex, and with any luck, you’ll have one or two that check all those boxes so that you can remember just one or two patient scenarios. Then you’ll be able to answer those questions on the fly because you’ll have recalled and remembered these one or two scenarios inside and out.
This is also the type of situation where it’s okay to take a little bit of storytelling liberties. Now, I’m not at all saying to fabricate or lie. But let’s say there were two very similar patient scenarios that answer one question, you could weave that into your storytelling without differentiating the two if that makes sense. Because the important thing here is not necessarily an accurate timeline of events. This isn’t a quality assurance review or anything. This is an opportunity for you to tell a story about something that you did well, or some sort of challenge that you faced, and a problem that you solved.
Preparing for Multiple Interviewers in an NP Interview
Something else that you will notice that’s different from nursing position interviews is that you will likely interview with more people than you thought you would! You might interview with someone from administration, or a practice manager or chief nursing executive. And you may also interview with someone like a medical director, who’s a physician, or another nurse practitioner, or PA who’s the lead in your clinic. So remember that these are different people that you’re interviewing with, whose names you’ll want to remember. And you may have different questions for each type of person.
- If someone who’s in the executive level is interviewing you, you may have more questions about the organization as a whole and their mission and how you fit in.
- Whereas if you’re interviewing with someone who would potentially be your peer, you could ask about whether he or she feels supported by working here. And you can ask more questions about what it’s like to be an employee.
- Or if you’re interviewing with someone mid range like the medical director, you might ask questions such as, how does this clinic or hospital or organization support the success of new employees? Or tell me about the orientation process here? And how long would I expect to be on orientation?
It’s a good idea to make sure you have a list of these questions that you plan to ask different team members. I recommend actually writing them down and keeping them with you as you go through each step of the interview, so that you can remember to ask them!
Questions You Should Ask During an NP Interview
There are some additional questions you should ask during an NP interview. Some of these could happen in subsequent interviews, but if the topics come up, I think these are important details to ask about.
- Who is your employer or who would be your employer? Something that’s very different with NP practice from nursing practice, is that in some scenarios you might work for a hospital but not actually be employed by the hospital. Instead, you might be employed by a private group like a physician group that’s contracted hospitals. So you’d actually be employed by a particular group, but then you’d have privileges and you’d work physically at the hospital. Understanding this structure is important just to know who the actual employer would be.
- Is this an employed position or an independent contractor position? Independent contractor position means that you’d be issued a 1099. That means that the employer doesn’t withhold your state taxes and you aren’t eligible for benefits. On the other hand, if you are an actual employee, then differentiating whether you’re full time part time or per diem will help you figure out what benefits you’re eligible for.
- How does this organization support new nurse practitioners or nurse practitioners in general? I touched upon this a little bit earlier, but this may be one of the most important questions you want to know. You’ll want to know what type of mentorship they have set up to ensure your success. Ask what their orientation process looks like and who you will be orienting with. Will it be with a nurse practitioner like yourself? Will it be with a physician? Exactly who will be training you?
- What are the conditions of your employment if you are employed? Is that a contract employment? Or is it an at will employment? Will you be getting an actual contract that requires pages and pages of review and signatures? Or will this be more of an offer letter and then your employment is at the liberty of the organization’s employee handbook? Those are the two main ways that employed nurse practitioners are offered positions and you’ll want to clarify which you are dealing with. I talk more about contracts here. You’ll want to know which you are dealing with so that you know how to review that offer when you receive it.
Those are my basic interview recommendations and tips for new or seasoned nurse practitioners. I hope that you found this video helpful.