Interview Techniques for Nurses

Interviewing for a nursing role requires you to demonstrate a variety of skills, ranging from clinical expertise or functional capabilities to core competencies and professional traits such as ethics, adaptability and regulatory compliance. You might also be asked about the importance of data collection in nursing and patient confidentiality.

Developing strong interviewing techniques can improve your chances for getting a job offer, whether you're interviewing for your first job out of nursing school or interviewing for a promotion with your current employer.

Scheduling Considerations

Recruiters generally conduct preliminary interviews via telephone. The purposes of a preliminary interview are to determine if the applicant is still interested in being considered for the job, and to review the applicant's work history. Ensure your preliminary interview is scheduled during a time when you won't have any disruptions or distractions.

You shouldn't agree to a schedule a phone interview while you're at work, particularly if you're currently working as a nurse. Patient care comes first, and it would be difficult to be fully engaged in both your work and a job interview.

Preliminary Interview

The first chance to make a good personal first impression is during a preliminary phone interview, so it's important that you convey a well-spoken, confident demeanor when you confirm your interest in the job and review your work history. Have your resume in front of you when you're on the phone; speak clearly and enthusiastically about the nursing role.

State why you're interested in the job, confirm the specific nursing role, and briefly mention what you know about the hospital or health care facility. Summarize your work history, beginning with your clinical rotations during nursing school. Give a brief statement about your nursing duties, especially if you worked in relevant specialty areas.

Face-to-Face Interview

When you advance to the next step in the selection process, the recruiter, nurse manager or administrator responsible for making a hiring decision will interview you in a face-to-face interview. During this interview, you'll be expected to describe in detail your clinical skills and expertise. You should be able to articulate the specific nursing skills you have.

For example, you could be asked about your proficiency with setting PICC lines for intravenous medication or about the type of training you have in telemetry nursing. It's perfectly acceptable to use clinical terms in your meeting because your peers will understand the terminology, but in other parts of your interview, you'll be expected to demonstrate how you communicate those same procedures to a layperson.

Core Competencies

Without exception, nurses must have core competencies such as good skills in communication, time management, organization and attention to detail. Demonstrate these core competencies as you describe your clinical expertise. Nurses are expected to communicate with a number of people in different roles, such as physicians, hospital staff, pharmacy staff, and patients and their family members.

Give examples of how you interact with various people during the performance of your nursing duties. Be able to describe specific instances where your communication skills were vital to your nursing success. For example, illustrate your ability to describe a complex medical condition or procedure to a patient.

Career Aspirations

If the job you're interviewing for has promotion opportunities, talk about your supervisory and management skills. Describe instances where you have had to demonstrate your leadership skills, work as a team leader, or instruct newly hired nurses on clinical procedures or oversee their work as a preceptor. Hospital Jobs Online suggests being realistic in your career goals. For example, a nurse isn't likely to make more than two management jumps within a five year period.

Professional Traits

Nurses are responsible for maintaining strict confidentiality of patient records, upholding nursing standards and medical ethics, and providing the standard of care the hospital or health care facility expects. A nurse's professional traits underscore the ability to perform well on the job, as well as to live up to the employer's expectations.

Aspen University suggests that important attributes to mention in an interview include adapatability, dedication to patient care and commitment to teamwork. Incorporate these professional traits into your interview responses and be able to explain how important they are to optimum job performance.