The Résumé Rx

Nursing Job Interviews: Ultimate Guide To Landing A Job (start to finish)

Amanda Guarniere

To prepare for a nursing job interview, you have to know the proper attire for an interview, the right body language, and the answer to the most common question they ask. 

In this article, we’re going to give you the best tips to pass that interview! From preparation, what to do during the interview, and even what you should do  after the interview.

We’ve got you covered!

Interview prep to-do-list

Nursing interviews frequently include a variety of questions designed to assess your ability to care for patients and collaborate with a medical team. 

When preparing for a nurse interview, you can use a few pointers to help you consider all of the variables, such as what questions the hiring manager might ask and how you can best present yourself. 

You have to practice answering common questions.

Hiring managers typically have a list of questions that they use to assess your skills and ability to fit into the healthcare facility. Though you won’t be able to prepare for every question, you can practice responses to the most common interview questions used by nursing hiring managers.

Learn about the company.

Learning about the organization and the job you’re applying for is also an important part of the preparation process. You should have a good understanding of who you’ll be working for and some of the tasks you’ll have to complete. A common interview question is, “Why do you want to work here?” You will be able to better demonstrate why you want that job in general and specifically if you can cite specific facts about the job or organization.

Put on the proper attire.

To make the best impression, dress professionally for the interview. Unless the hiring manager specifically states that you must wear scrubs or bring any equipment, you should dress professionally. When possible, men should wear a suit and tie. You can also wear a matching jacket and pants. Women should wear a button-down shirt or blouse with dress slacks or a long skirt.

Consider other aspects of your appearance in addition to clothing. Make sure your hair and facial hair are neat and tidy, and dress modestly.

Arrive early

Arriving early for the interview demonstrates your eagerness for the opportunity. It can also assist you in making any last-minute preparations, such as checking your appearance and turning off your phone. Arrive about 10 minutes before the interview to check in with the front desk and get further instructions. You can spend your free time observing how coworkers interact with one another to get a sense of the type of environment and culture to expect.

Approach the situation with the proper mindset.

Smile and greet everyone you meet as soon as you enter the facility. Be courteous to all employees, as they may become coworkers in the future. Hiring managers may also ask various team members how they feel about you, so be courteous and friendly. 

If you arrive early and wait in the reception area, you can ask questions of the front desk associate if they are not too busy. Asking different questions can demonstrate your interest in the facility and help you determine how much employees enjoy working there.

Prepare well in advance.

If you’re interviewing for a specific type of nurse, such as a pediatric nurse, brush up on all of the treatments and procedures that the hiring manager may inquire about. Demonstrating your knowledge of all aspects of your specialty can leave a lasting impression on the employer.

During your preparation, consider making a list of questions to ask the employer at the end of the interview

Steps to follow  (research, specifics, interview kit)

In a nursing interview, whether you are a recent graduate or an experienced nurse, hospitals will want you to highlight your temperament, skills, and training. Including examples in your responses will provide the interviewer with a clear picture of your previous job performance and potential. 

Here are five common nursing interview questions and sample responses:

What piqued your interest in becoming a nurse?

Most recruiters will ask this question to gauge your dedication to nursing and passion for patient care. Your response will essentially explain why you want the job. This question is less about your medical knowledge and more about your personality. It necessitates that you be unique, genuine, and vulnerable.

Example: “I chose nursing as a career because I enjoy hearing people’s stories. During my senior year of high school, I had the opportunity to travel to Vietnam and care for blind children. The experience made me realize how much caregivers give of themselves every day. It demonstrated to me how simply being present for a stranger can make a difference in their lives. This motivated me to pursue a career in nursing.”

Explain how you manage your shift.

Being a nurse will require you to balance multiple patients at once. Recruiters use this question to assess your ability to prioritize your work using time management skills. To demonstrate your ability to manage your shift, use the STAR technique (situation, time, action, result).

Example: “As a nurse, my responsibilities change with each shift. This is especially true during flu season, when the general ward is overcrowded. To stay on top of my patient care, I set aside 15 minutes at the start of each shift to review my patients’ charts for any significant changes. During my rounds, I try to establish rapport with my patients in order to persuade them to share vital health information. This allows me to make fewer mistakes while prioritizing more serious patients.

Please tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult patient.

This common nursing interview question is designed to assess your temperament. Because hospitals are high-pressure workplaces, recruiters want to know if you can manage your emotions. Use an example to demonstrate your ability to defuse escalating conflicts.

Example: “Many of the children I work with are frightened of injections. To deal with their emotions, I try to reassure them with words of encouragement or distract them by singing nursery rhymes. I believe that working with patients to understand their fears and concerns helps me perform my job more efficiently.”

What qualities distinguish you as a nurse?

You want to use this question to set yourself apart from other candidates who are similarly qualified. Most nurses will have similar knowledge and experience. As a result, you must impress recruiters with non-teachable skills such as compassion and mental fortitude.

Example: “Being trainable makes me a good nurse,” for example. Every day, when I interact with patients, I learn to be more patient and understanding. I love learning about new nursing innovations from my more experienced colleagues during lunch breaks. “My willingness to learn has always given me an advantage in patient care.”

You made an error while treating a patient. What are you going to do?

This is a question that recruiters will ask to assess accountability. As a nurse, you are responsible for another person’s life, so this trait is even more important. Recruiters want to see that you can maintain your cool in the face of adversity. Answering this question truthfully is also a test of your character.

Example: “I can often tell when I’ve made a mistake intuitively. The first step for me is to trust my gut instinct. Following that, I follow hospital procedures to ensure the patient’s stability before paging a fellow nurse or doctor for assistance. Once the problem has been resolved, I clearly explain the situation to the patient and apologize.”

Here are the most important things to remember when you have a nurse interview.

Reviewing the job description and requirements is the first step in preparing for a nursing interview. This will give you a good understanding of the role you’ll be interviewing for and help you prepare for the types of questions you’ll be asked.

In addition, by reviewing the job description and requirements, you will be able to emphasize:

  • Skills
  • Qualities
  • Experience

Before going to any interview, you should ask yourself several questions about the company, such as:

  • What is their background?
  • How would you describe their culture?
  • What are their core beliefs?

Answering these questions will help you better understand the company and provide insight into how they operate. This will be helpful in preparing for questions about the company that may be asked during the interview.

As a result, you must conduct research on the company prior to your interview in order to be as prepared as possible. 

After reviewing the job description and requirements and conducting some research on the company, you should begin practicing your responses to common interview questions. This way, you will be more prepared and confident when answering questions during the actual interview.

Some examples of common interview questions include:

  • Please tell me about yourself.
  • What piques your interest in this position?
  • Tell me about a time when you were unsuccessful at work.
  • What are your career goals?
  • What are your strong and weak points?
  • Why do you want to work for this particular company?

When attending an interview, it is critical to make a good first impression. As a result, you should take the time to select the appropriate outfit to wear.

Your attire should be professional and appropriate for the role for which you are applying. It is critical to arrive early for your interview so that you can relax and gather your thoughts. This will make you feel better prepared and less nervous when the interview begins.

Last but not least, when answering questions during the interview, remember to be confident. This does not imply being arrogant, but rather believing in yourself and your abilities. It will reflect well on you and give the impression that you are a competent individual if you demonstrate confidence. This is a valuable skill to have in any job, but especially in nursing.

Nursing Job Prescreen Interviews

A prescreen interview is a brief phone or video conversation between a candidate and a recruiter. Based on their qualifications and skills, this call seeks to determine whether the candidate is a good fit for the job.

Prescreen interviews can be conducted by the employer or a recruiter. Prescreen interviews may be used by employers to narrow the pool of candidates, while recruiters may use them to get to know the candidate better and determine if they are a good fit for the position.

If both the recruiter and the candidate are pleased, the candidate will be invited to an official interview.

To prepare for a pre-screening interview, anticipate and practice answering nursing-related questions, but also be prepared to answer the following common interview questions:

  • Please tell me about yourself.
  • How would you uphold this organization’s mission and values?
  • What makes you want to work for our company?
  • What would your coworkers say about you?
  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • Describe a time when you acted as a leader.
  • How much experience do you have in this field?
  • What qualifications do you have for this position?

Phone interview guide (dos and donts) 

During the interview process, it is common for employers to start with a brief phone interview. Because the interviewer cannot see your nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions or body language, proper phone interview etiquette is essential. Understanding acceptable and unacceptable practices can help you ace your upcoming interview.

Here are some things to think about as you prepare for your upcoming phone interview:

Speak in a thoughtful and professional manner.

Think before you speak during the interview. Take a moment to think about the interview question and give it your full attention. This allows you to craft the best possible response, one that is both engaging and relevant to the current topic. Speak professionally while expressing excitement about the opportunity to interview with the company.

Check your phone’s connection.

Check your phone connection to ensure you have working service before beginning the phone interview. This reduces the possibility of a disconnect. If you have a home phone or landline, that may be ideal because you will not have to deal with faulty connections, static interference, or dropped calls. 

If you decide to conduct your phone interview using a mobile device or cellphone, consider moving to a location that offers clearer and better service.

Call in on time.

It’s critical that you give yourself enough time to prepare before the interview. Allow yourself at least 15 to 30 minutes to prepare, checking to see if you have the interviewer’s name, contact information, and other pertinent information. When you’re finished, make sure to call in at the appointed time. Having a grace period beforehand allows you to take the interviewer’s call if he or she calls early.

Prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewer.

A critical step in successfully completing a phone interview is to have questions ready to ask the interviewer. For example, you could inquire about the role’s specific responsibilities or who you can expect to work with on a daily basis. Having questions to ask demonstrates your interest in the position and your participation in the conversation. Make sure to ask thoughtful questions that will yield useful and relevant answers.

If you can’t hear well, speak up.

You or the interviewer may occasionally experience poor phone signal, muffled voices, or unavoidable background noise. If you’re dealing with these situations during the phone interview, politely inform the interviewer that you’re unable to hear them. Speak clearly and loudly in case they are unable to hear you. The sooner you bring this to the interviewer’s attention, the sooner you can identify and resolve the problem.

Gather your necessities.

To prepare for the phone interview, gather your essentials so that you can stay engaged with the interviewer throughout the duration. This helps reduce any unnecessary disruptions. Keep your phone charger nearby in case your battery runs out. Make a copy of your resume, portfolio, cover letter, and any other pertinent documents. Bring a laptop or pad, as well as a pen and paper, to take notes.

Conduct preliminary research on the company.

Preparing for your phone interview by researching the company is essential. It is common for an interviewer to ask you questions about the company. For example, they may ask you, “What do you know about our company?” or “Why do you want to work for our company?” These types of questions help the interviewer determine whether you did your homework on the company.

Charge your phone’s battery.

If you’re going to use a portable device or a mobile phone for the interview, make sure it’s fully charged beforehand. Ideally, your phone should be at 100% charge. If that isn’t an option, make sure your phone is at least 40% to 60% charged.

Don’t try to multitask.

It is critical to avoid multitasking during an interview in order to minimize distractions. Instead, concentrate on giving the interviewer your undivided attention. This entails actively listening to what they’re saying and then responding thoughtfully to show that you’re engaged in the conversation. If you need to do something during the interview, politely ask the interviewer to excuse you for a moment and then quickly accomplish your task.

Do not use the speaker phone.

Avoid using your device on speaker because it makes it more difficult for the interviewer to hear what you’re saying. Instead, place the phone against your ear and speak clearly into it. You can also use an earpiece or headset, which allows you to put your phone down while still communicating clearly and eloquently. 

Wearing an earpiece or headset is also advantageous because it frees up your hands, allowing you to take important notes, look up a quick fact, or pull up an important document while talking and listening.

Do not speak in a public or noisy place.

While it is not always possible, try to avoid taking the call in a public or noisy location. Instead, seek out a quiet location with little background noise. This ensures that the interviewer can hear you clearly and is not distracted by background noise. It is best to find a quiet room at home or an enclosed space where you can be alone.

Don’t interrupt the interviewer.

Because you can’t read the interviewer’s nonverbal cues to know when it’s time to speak, try not to interrupt or talk over them. Instead, be patient and resist the urge to speak in the midst of silence. Allow the interviewer to speak first, followed by a brief silence. This pause may indicate that the interviewer has finished speaking, allowing you to contribute to the discussion.

Don’t exhibit bad behavior.

Poor behavior can refer to a way of speaking that is disrespectful of the interviewer’s feelings and time. Instead, use a friendly tone of voice and speak politely. Maintain professionalism while attempting to connect on an interpersonal level with the interviewer. 

Be gracious with your compliments, confident in your self-description, and humble if the interviewer compliments you on an impressive accomplishment or achievement.

Interview Settings

Your office isn’t the only place where prospective employees can be interviewed. When the time comes to hire a new team member, a different setting may be preferable in terms of space, scheduling, and the opportunity to meet each candidate in a more casual setting. 

Interviews can take place in coffee shops, libraries, restaurants, parks, and hotel lobbies. There are some things to keep in mind when conducting virtual or in-person interviews.

In-person interview

Many human resources processes have been digitized and automated as a result of the technologically driven world in which we live. However, when it comes to hiring someone, in-person interviews remain an important part of the process. 

There is no better way for employers to assess your skills, experience, and personality than by meeting you face to face. With so many things that depend on the interview, candidates may experience anxiety. 

Here are the top five dos and don’ts for in-person interviews, from deciding what to wear to practicing how to answer difficult questions.

Take the time to investigate. In other words, don’t be afraid to conduct extensive research on your potential employer. This may be the company where you will spend the next year or ten years of your life. Isn’t it logical to learn everything you can about it? 

You will also be more confident in answering questions if you research the most recent company news, awards the company has received, or large projects the company is currently working on. Not only that, but your potential employer will be impressed by your knowledge of the company.

Dress appropriately. Even if your interview is at a local coffee shop rather than the office, you should present a professional image. Look professional, regardless of the position you’re interviewing for or the industry in which the company operates. Make certain that your clothing is neat and clean. 

It may not be necessary to wear a suit, but business casual is almost always appropriate. To avoid distractions, keep perfumes, colognes, jewelry, and other colorful accessories to a minimum.

Pose inquiries. The interview process is about you getting to know your potential employer just as much as it is about them getting to know you. Feel free to ask your own questions after you’ve been asked a series of them. First, ensure that your potential employer has the time to respond to your questions; second, ensure that your questions are prepared ahead of time by writing them down in a notebook or on a digital device. 

Learn about your job description, the company culture, and the expectations that come with your role if you are hired. This demonstrates that you are genuinely interested in the position for which you are being interviewed.

Avoid getting too stressed. To make a good impression on your potential employer, act as if you’ve already been hired. Be assured, but not arrogant. Maintain a cool demeanor and provide answers to the best of your ability, no matter what questions are thrown your way. 

If you’re unsure how to respond, don’t be afraid to ask for the question to be rephrased or to say something like, “I’m sorry, I don’t know the answer, but I will figure it out and get back to you.” According to research, the ability to admit you don’t know the answer but demonstrate a willingness to find it is a common trait of highly intelligent people.

Arrive on time. Arriving ten to fifteen minutes early shows that you’re interested in and invested in the position and company that’s interviewing you. Avoid being late at all costs, as this will lead your potential employer to believe that if you are late for your interview, you will be late for the job if hired. 

Arriving a few minutes early not only makes a good impression on your potential employer, but it also gives you time to compose yourself after battling traffic, complete any necessary paperwork, and consider the environment in which you may be working.

Virtual interview 

Virtual interviews have grown in popularity over the years. With hiring managers and recruiters increasingly using video to conduct interviews, it’s only a matter of time before you’re asked to attend one. The process can be nerve-racking, but there are steps you can take to ensure you handle it with ease and confidence.

We’ve put together a list of dos and don’ts for acing the virtual interview.

Research the Company

You must prepare for the interview in the same way that you would for any other. Do your research ahead of time and avoid scrolling through Google during the call. Research the company, the job role, and the professionals who will be interviewing you. 

With this knowledge, you’ll be prepared to answer any questions, learn more about the position, and make a good first impression.

Find an Ideal Location

Because you cannot be interviewed in an office, choose a setting that reflects professionalism. Set up your webcam in a clean, well-lit area with a blank background free of posters or objects – you want the interviewer to focus solely on you.

If you are unable to conduct the interview at your home, consider going to a library or in a safe quiet place.

Disrupt the interviewer

Virtual interviews can be aggravating, especially when there are multiple interviewers. People frequently interrupt and talk over one another, resulting in overlapping communication. If this is the case with the interview panel, remain silent and wait for the chatter to stop before responding.

It’s also critical not to cut the interviewers off in the middle of their sentences. If you disagree with something, do not interrupt them; instead, be professional by waiting for the employer to finish speaking.

Check Your Internet Connection

The last thing you want is to be without an internet connection before a virtual interview. By testing your connection beforehand, you can save yourself the stress of having to cancel an interview. If you don’t have strong wi-fi at home, conduct the interview in a quiet cafe or a privately reserved room.

Examine Your Tools

An interview can also be ruined by a sluggish laptop, a broken webcam, or a broken microphone. Make sure the video platform you’re using (such as Skype or Zoom) is operational by testing it beforehand. A good idea is to make a quick test call with a friend. You should also test your audio and microphone, as well as your webcam.

Getting Distracted

Maintaining eye contact with the hiring panel is an excellent way to demonstrate professionalism and confidence during an interview. Otherwise, it is all too easy to become distracted by other things. It is also critical that you do not look at your own reflection during the call and instead concentrate on the interviewer.

Dress appropriately

Because a virtual interview isn’t in person, you should still dress the part. Whether your interview is at home or at the local library, you must still dress professionally. Investigate the company’s dress code and try to match your attire as closely as possible.

Maintain Your Professionalism

When conducting an interview from the comfort of your own home, it’s easy to become too relaxed. However, you must conduct the interview in the same manner as you would in a physical workplace, with a professional tone and stance. That means avoiding slang, maintaining good posture, and focusing on your interviewers.

Do not be late

Even if there is no traffic to contend with, you could still be late for your virtual interview. Technical failures, a broken webcam, or a crying child may prevent you from being on time. Prepare yourself minutes or even hours ahead of time to be on time and ready for that incoming call.

STAR Method in answering interview questions 

We will teach you how to use the STAR technique to answer difficult behavioral interview questions.

During your interview, you will be asked a series of difficult situational and behavioral interview questions to determine your suitability for the position you are applying for.

The STAR technique is an acronym that stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.

The STAR technique is a method for answering interview questions that require you to provide evidence of a previous situation.

For example, if the interviewer asks you to describe a time when you worked as part of a team, you would use the STAR technique to correctly answer the question.

As a result, in response to this interview question, you would:

  1. Begin by telling the interviewer about the SITUATION you were in.
  2. Outline the TASK that needed to be completed briefly.
  3. Provide detailed information about the ACTION you took to complete the task.
  4. Informing the interviewer of the RESULTS of your actions

When it comes to behavioral interviews, the STAR response technique will help you craft compelling and succinct responses while thoroughly answering the interviewer’s question. Just make sure your answers are truthful and that you only share positive outcomes. Let us explain the various types of behavioral interview questions you are likely to face during your interview:

Various types of behavioral interview questions you may encounter during your interview include:

  • Tell me about a difficult problem you had to solve.
  • Tell me about a time when you provided outstanding customer service.
  • Tell me about a time when you messed up.
  • Tell me about a time when you disagreed with a coworker.
  • Tell me about a time when you were forced to work under stress.

As you can see, all of those behavioral interview questions require you to provide details about a previous situation. Do not make the mistake of telling the interviewer what you would do in these situations; instead, tell them what you have done.

SBAR for nursing profession

The situation, background, assessment, and recommendation (SBAR) technique in nursing is a tool that enables health professionals to communicate specific aspects of a patient’s condition.

The SBAR technique is useful because it provides nurses with a framework for quickly and efficiently communicating important details of potentially dangerous situations. It ensures that other members of the health care team receive all relevant information in a structured and timely manner, along with specific instructions on how to respond.

SBAR is a communication framework that encourages team members to share information, encourages quick response times, and emphasizes quality care.

Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation 

The SBAR technique is made up of the following information:

Situation: In this section, you provide a brief description of the situation or problem. Consider identifying key information like your role in the patient’s care as well as the patient’s name, unit, and room number. Explain the situation, including what the problem is, how it occurred, and the level of difficulty.

Background: In this section, you provide relevant and important background information about the patient, such as their admission date and time, diagnosis, vital information, available lab results, and code status. If you have multiple lab reports, consider providing information about the previous test’s date and time, as well as any changes in the results.

Assessment: In this section, you provide a professional summary or diagnosis based on the patient’s situation and history.

Recommendation: In this section, you give instructions to your coworkers on how to proceed with the patient’s care.

Most common nursing interview questions and answers

Being a nurse is a unique position, and the questions you’ll face in your interview will be equally so.

Unlike most other jobs and industries, where you interact with the public as a “client” or “customer,” your interaction with the public is as a caregiver to a patient. That necessitates a set of finely tuned and meticulously crafted interpersonal skills.

If you are a nurse who is getting ready to interview for a new nursing position, you should be prepared to answer the most common interview questions. In this blog post, we’ll go over the most common nursing interview questions and how to respond to them.

“What inspired you to pursue a career as a nurse?”

This is a typical nurse interview question. Because this is such a hands-on, specialized field, employers must understand why you want to be a part of it.

“Please tell me about yourself.”

This is one of those critical questions to get right, regardless of your field. Remember that they are not requesting your life story. Instead, they’re asking you this question to learn what you value and how well that lines up with what they’re searching for.

“What makes you the best nursing candidate for this job?”

This is one of the best nurse interview questions you could possibly be asked. Why? Because this is your chance to really convince the hiring manager that you are the ideal candidate.

“What do you enjoy most about your job?”

There are many benefits to having a good job: the paycheck, the proximity to where you live, the retirement benefits—but remember, when you’re in an interview, it’s not about you. It’s about them.

“How do you handle a patient who is dissatisfied with your care?” ’’

Here’s an excellent example of a behavioral interview question for nurses. As previously discussed, give your interviewer an example from your past to help them understand how you would act in a similar situation in the future.

“What makes you want to work here?”

You must be strategic in this situation. Don’t bring up salary possibilities. Instead, discuss your career objectives and your vision for your future in your industry, as well as how they relate to what you will be doing if hired.

“Tell me about your greatest strength as a nurse.”

This is your chance to really show off what distinguishes you from the other applicants! Consider this ahead of time, and prepare solid examples that showcase this skill.

“How do you deal with job-related stress?”

Let’s face it: Nursing can be extremely stressful. An employer wants to know how you deal with stress and if you work well under pressure.

“What do you find the most difficult aspect of being a nurse?”

This is a deceptive question. No, the hiring manager isn’t asking you to tell him how much you hate early morning shifts because you’re not a morning person and hate getting up before the sun. Remember, they’re looking for someone to fill a job.

“Do you feel at ease working with other doctors and nurses?”

Nurses collaborate with a wide range of people in the medical field, including doctors, technicians, other nurses, and patients’ friends and families, to name a few. While your core answer is most likely “yes,” you must go the extra mile to provide a quality response.

Now that you’re an expert on nursing interview questions, don’t forget that you could be asked dozens of non-nursing questions! Behavioral questions are an example of the type of question you will be asked in a nurse interview.

Behavioral interview questions 

Nursing interview questions frequently revolve around: Because nurses care for patients, provide continuity of care, and interact with various members of a patient’s interdisciplinary team, many nursing interview questions revolve around:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Adaptability
  • Time management
  • Core values and motivation

These nursing interview questions are classified as behavioral interview questions. Real-life examples and stories are an excellent way to respond to behavioral-based interview questions. The interviewer is frequently looking to see how you’d react in difficult situations and if you could adapt to life on the unit where you’re applying to work.


A good nurse must be able to communicate in order to relay critical information about the patient’s condition.

Questions about your communication style ask you to describe how you act in situations where you must relay information on time.


Working as part of a team necessitates cooperation and collaboration in order to provide the best possible patient care. Teamwork behavioral questions will ask you to explain your role on the team.

Furthermore, questions may attempt to determine if you:

can collaborate effectively with others,

are an excellent communicator,

and are an overall dependable nurse.


Nurses must be able to change their behavior to deal with a variety of situations, particularly when the patient’s condition changes.

Behavioral questions about your adaptability ask you to describe a difficult situation and how you dealt with it.

Time Management

Nurses must be adept at balancing their responsibilities and tasks.

Behavioral questions about your time management abilities require you to explain how you prioritize things if you are punctual, as well as your ability to handle multiple tasks at once.

They may also inquire about how a change in plans or an unexpected event affected your behavior.

Core values and motivation

A nurse must be motivated and driven to provide excellent patient care.

Behavioral questions about your motivation as a nurse, as well as your values, are asked.

Furthermore, they may inquire as to how you handle difficult situations or what you believe is the most important factor in a patient’s recovery.

Sample questions for newly-graduated nurses 

Are you a nursing student about to graduate? Are you excited to have your first nurse interview? Perhaps you are ready for the next step but are unsure of what to expect in a new nurse interview.

It is critical that you prepare for and excel at your new-grad nurse interview. Acing your new-grad nurse interview means you were prepared for difficult questions and maintained your cool under pressure. When you perform well in an interview, your chances of landing a job increase.

Preparing for a new-grad nurse interview can be stressful, especially if you have no idea what to expect. To assist you in your preparation, we have compiled a list of the most frequently asked new-grad nurse interview questions.

What inspired you to become a nurse?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions during nurse interviews, particularly new nurse interviews. The path to becoming a nurse can be difficult at times.

Do you prefer a specific shift schedule?

The prospective employer may have multiple job openings. If there are multiple openings and you are offered a position, your preference may be taken into account when determining your shift assignment.

How do you prevent personal issues from interfering with your work?

Everyone has problems from time to time. An interviewer does not expect you to act as if everything in your life is perfect. Instead, they want to know that you can separate personal issues from work responsibilities and that you recognize the significance of doing so.

What are some of your best characteristics?

Interviewers frequently ask job candidates to describe their best qualities. It allows them to learn more about you and is an excellent way for them to assess your confidence.

Do you have a preferred nursing specialty?

Because new nurses are inexperienced, this is a question that some people may not expect to see on a new-grad nurse interview. However, interviewers frequently ask this question to determine whether you might be the perfect choice.

Why body language matter in job interviews

Preparing for a job interview should not be underestimated; you should ensure that your body and mouth are on the same wavelength.

Our body language is essentially nonverbal expression. Body language is a universal phenomenon that exists throughout the animal kingdom. We assert our power over those around us when we spread our bodies out, open our arms, and take up space.

Closing your eyes, crossing your arms and legs, or facing your head downward, on the other hand, creates a defensive expression that defers to those around you. Such defensive postures are more likely to confer power on those around you, particularly if they are in more dominant positions.

Control your body language

Unlike our highly developed verbal languages, we have always been proficient in body language. It’s how we speak in the silence and how we communicate our feelings and intentions to others before we ever say anything.

What are the most effective body languages to use during a job interview?

The Greeting

If you arrive on time, about 15 minutes before your interview, you will most likely be asked to wait at the reception desk.

When your time is up, the interviewer usually walks over to you to greet you. Stand up, smile, and extend a firm, brief handshake to the interviewer. Allow the interviewer to guide you.

In other cases, the receptionist may point you in the direction of the meeting room. In this case, knock on the door, enter upon acknowledgment, and walk with an upright, confident posture, followed by a brief but firm handshake.

Taking a seat

A straight, still, and confident stance is essential for an assertive sit-down.

Sitting straight may seem insignificant, but for many people who slouch and have poor posture, they can appear weak or disinterested during an interview. Improve your posture; it may come in handy in situations other than job interviews!

Another big no-no is fidgeting. It will not only distract the interviewer, but it will also make you sound less confident, so train your mind to sit still.

Finally, take an open stance to project an assertive, confident image. Avoid crossing your legs and arms, which may indicate a defensive reaction to criticism.

Use of Gestures

While sitting still may give the impression that you are confident and calm, making the appropriate amount of hand gestures during the interview may actually increase your engagement with the interviewer.

Keep your palms open and facing up at all times; studies have shown that this type of body language instills honesty and transparency in the audience.

Your most natural gestures can assist you in sounding passionate.

Other body languages

The advice provided above should be sufficient to make a good first impression. However, there are some other nuances to be aware of. However, there are some other nuances to be aware of. Using these additional engagement tricks can work in your favor even more.

Smiling: We believe that this is one of the most important aspects of body language. It is understandable that a job interview is no laughing matter and can be a stressful experience. However, with enough practice beforehand, aiming to smile during an interview will give you a good chance of nailing that interview, especially if you demonstrate you have the right skills for the job.

Acknowledging: Mirroring the movements of the interviewer, especially acknowledging what the interviewer has to say, is one of the best-kept secrets in body language techniques. To demonstrate engagement, another common approach is to nod.

Eye contact: Another important body language technique that can make you appear engaged, engaging, and assertive is eye contact. Strike a balance between staring competition and avoiding eye contact at all costs—keep it natural. If there are multiple interviewers, maintain equal eye contact with all of them. 

Non-verbal cues 

When it comes to an interview with a potential employer, they say that actions speak louder than words. Certain nonverbal cues can either impress or turn off a potential employer.

While job seekers should prepare answers to common interview questions, they should also keep in mind that what they don’t say is just as important as what they do say.

The following are some verbal cues shared by members of the Forbes Coaches Council.

Maintaining good eye contact during an interview or any other form of communication helps to express self-validation and assurance. Poor eye contact can cause an interviewer to be mischievous or doubtful, forcing the listener to process what is being said further. Jane Gios, HR Solutions Network

Though it may appear that being enthusiastic in an interview is a given, I have seen the opposite. In my experience, the candidate often focuses on appearing knowledgeable while overlooking the critical aspects of enthusiasm. 

Employers are almost equally affected. All the knowledge and expertise in the world will not be able to replace the enthusiasm required to overcome daily challenges. Kamyar Shah, World Consulting Group

Head nodding is a sign of agreement, which is fine as long as you agree with what is being said. Too much head nodding can make you appear overeager and, worse, uninterested in what is being said. Maintaining your head still will give you a more authoritative appearance. Alex Rufatto Perry, Practically Speaking, LLC

There was a time when giving a firm handshake in an interview was considered a sign of confidence. However, don’t go too far by crushing the interviewer’s hand—this will also not help your case. Be gentle but firm; lean forward slightly without crouching during the interview; and avoid jiggling your foot or leg like a garden hose. Odgers BerndtsonsEric Beaudan

In interviews, candidates can become so focused on selling themselves that they become anxious for airtime. This may cause them to anticipate their next remark and, as a result, interrupt the interviewer rather than actively listening to them. When we interrupt and fail to actively listen, we send a nonverbal message that says, “What you have to say is not as important as what I have to say!” Susan K. Wehrley, BIZremedies

Wrapping up

Questions to ask your interviewer

Here are the top ten interview questions you should always ask:

  • What happens next in the interview/hiring process?
  • How long does your typical recruitment process take?
  • What are the primary duties of the position?
  • What would my typical day be like if I got the job?
  • Apart from what’s in the job description, what else can you tell me about it?
  • What am I expected to do in my first month or year on the job?
  • What is the key to success in this position?
  • What does it look like when this role is at its busiest and most difficult?
  • Would I have to travel for the job?
  • What kind of hours are required for me to perform the role to the best of my ability?

If you understand the specifics of your position and role, you can move on to larger and more general interview questions.

Questions to avoid in an interview

Your questions will either make or break your interview. You want to make certain that you ask thoughtful questions that demonstrate your enthusiasm for the position and that you are aware of which ones to avoid.

During the interview, you should ask your interviewer or hiring manager questions as they come up. You should be conducting your own interview while they are interviewing you for a position. Here are some examples of questions you should avoid:

Personal queries

Personal questions during an interview can be perceived as unprofessional and inappropriate. It may cause your interviewer to become uneasy, which will not end well for your interview.

Benefits and salary

You should refrain from asking the interviewer about salary and benefits unless they bring it up themselves. This may have an adverse effect on how the interviewer perceives you as a candidate.

Simple inquiries

Before attending the interview, you should conduct research on the position and the company. Inquiring about the company demonstrates to the interviewer that you did not conduct adequate research and may not be genuinely interested in the position.

Inquiring about alternative jobs or positions

When you begin to inquire about other jobs or positions within the company, the interviewer may conclude that you are uninterested in the position you applied for.

Questions that begin with “why?” 

These kinds of questions have a tendency to put people on the defensive. You don’t want to come across as interrogating your interviewer. Rephrase your question so that it does not sound accusatory.

When to send a follow-up

A follow-up email after a job interview can be far more than just a courtesy. It gives the applicant an opportunity to reinforce their interest and enthusiasm for the job in question and helps them stay on the hiring manager’s mind.

A follow-up email after an interview is often expected and can help your application in a variety of ways. For one thing, it allows you to reaffirm your interest in a position and highlight the value you would bring to the company you are interviewing with. 

Furthermore, it assists you in making a favorable impression on the hiring manager by demonstrating that you are thoughtful and appreciative.

Following an interview, the first follow-up email should be sent within 24 hours, expressing gratitude and asking about the next steps.

If you haven’t received any feedback in more than a week after your first follow-up email, you can send a second one as a gentle reminder that you’re waiting for it. This should be a shorter version of the first follow-up email, but it should be just as friendly, enthusiastic, and professional.

Follow-up email sample 

A nursing interview is an important part of the hiring process, and how well you perform can make or break your chances of getting the job. To put yourself ahead of the competition and show your potential employer how much you want the job, it’s critical to follow up with a proper thank-you letter.

Nursing interview follow-up email example

June 28, 2019

Mary Smith, MSN, RN

Clinical Nurse Manager

Children’s Hospital

1234 Main Street

12345, Columbia, SC

Dear Ms. Smith,

I’m writing to thank you, as well as Dr. Jones, Ms. Green, and Ms. Williams, for your time yesterday. It was a pleasure to meet you all, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be considered for the position of full-time staff nurse in your NICU.

As we discussed yesterday, I have seven years of NICU experience and appreciate your cutting-edge facility as well as the level of care you can offer your patients. I understand and welcome the opportunity to work with others in training, having worked in other teaching hospitals.

I could tell you all genuinely care about your employees and patients. If chosen, I would particularly like to serve on one of the various committees you mentioned, such as the Recruitment and Retention Committee. I believe it is critical to participate in ways other than simply showing up for your shift.

As I continue my career as a NICU nurse, I believe I would be an excellent fit for this position. I am enthusiastic, hardworking, and dependable, and I would be delighted to work with you all. Thank you again for your time and consideration.

I’m hoping to hear from you soon.,

Best Regards,

Your Name: BSN, RN


(555) 555-1234

If you haven’t heard back within a week or two, sending a follow-up email after your nursing interview is a good way to check in. Keep your correspondence brief and polite. Even if you do not get this job, making a good first impression may keep you in the running for a future one.

FAQs About Nursing Interviews

What should I say in a nursing interview?

highlight notable accomplishments as well as the acquisition of specific skills and abilities. Take advantage of the opportunity to demonstrate your dedication to nursing. Positive remarks about your previous employers and experiences. Keep your response relevant to the nursing opportunity’s requirements.

What are the 10 most common interview questions and answers for nurses?

Here are the top ten most common questions in a nurse interview:

  • What inspired you to pursue a career as a nurse?
  • Please tell me about yourself.
  • What makes you the best nursing candidate for this job?
  • What do you enjoy most about your job?
  • How do you handle a patient who is dissatisfied with your care?’
  • What makes you want to work here?
  • Tell me about your greatest strength as a nurse.
  • How do you deal with job-related stress?
  • What do you find the most difficult aspect of being a nurse?
  • Do you feel at ease working with other doctors and nurses?

What is a good weakness to say in a nursing interview?

A good weakness to mention in a nursing interview is one you’re actively working on. Whether your greatest weakness is that you are overly detailed with your paperwork or that you say yes to too many people and requests, always explain how you plan to overcome that weakness.

What are 4 key skills that a nurse needs for effective interviewing?

Listening actively

When conducting a health history assessment, nurses must do more than just listen; they must actively listen.

Adaptive questioning

Adaptive questioning, also known as guided questioning, allows you to encourage a patient to fully communicate without interrupting the flow of his or her narrative.

Nonverbal communication

Nursing assessments also necessitate being aware of a patient’s nonverbal communication, such as posture, eye contact, and facial expression.

Compassion, validation, and assurance

Empathy is important in nursing health assessments because it shows that you understand and care about what a patient is going through and helps to establish a trusting nurse-patient relationship.

How do you introduce yourself in a nursing interview?

Begin by discussing your activities prior to applying for this job, and then conclude with a brief explanation of why you’re interviewing. For example, “I’ve been in university nursing school for a few years and recently passed the NCLEX-RN exam.”

How do nurses handle conflict?

Communication, as they say, is essential.

Talking about it is part of understanding the other person’s point of view. An adult conversation is essential for resolving any conflict that arises in the healthcare field. Conflict can have ramifications for the entire healthcare unit and, as a result, the patients.

How do you handle difficult nursing staff?

Try to maintain a calm conversation with the irritated coworker.

If the difficult coworker adopts a negative attitude, you can end the conversation, but you must remain calm.

Everyone goes through difficult life circumstances at times, and while this is not an excuse for poor actions or attitudes, some people need a reminder because they may genuinely be unaware of how their actions affect others.

How do you comfort a patient in pain?

A sense of humor, small talk, and a fun conversation can help patients distract themselves from worrying thoughts about their condition and aid in the healing of patients suffering from acute and chronic pain.

How do you resolve conflict with difficult patients?

We get upset with difficult patients because they are, well, “difficult,” but they may think we are difficult. Make sure they are aware of what is going on and what needs to be done. We don’t always do a good job of informing patients.

They believe we are doing one thing when we are actually doing another. We’ve all had patients who were terrified of the unknown.



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