You’ve graduated from nursing school, passed the NCLEX and now it’s time to look for your first job as a registered nurse. The entire process of a job search — tailoring a resume, applying for different positions, and putting your best self out there — can feel overwhelming. However, with a bit of preparation and practice, you’ll be ready to nail your first nursing job interview.
At Joyce University, we know our graduates are ready to succeed at their first job, so we’ve compiled these tips to help you succeed at your first healthcare job interview.
During an interview, healthcare employers ask both clinical and behavioral-based interview questions. While clinical questions may assess your practical knowledge, behavioral-based questions are asked to get a sense of how you perform and are based around teamwork, patient-care, time management, communication style, and core values.
Every hospital, doctor’s office, and lab is unique, often with its own specialty or advantages. Decide for yourself why you want to work at this particular facility and demonstrate why you are qualified to work there through concrete examples. Whenever you answer a question, use it as an opportunity to cite an example that showcases your experience and skill set.
Soft skills like empathy, friendliness, compassion, emotional intelligence, and adaptability are the intangible skills essential in the modern healthcare environment. These are not only necessary for communicating effectively with patients and colleagues, but contribute to critical thinking and holistic problem solving which directly impacts your quality of care.
In addition to showcasing your clinical experience, managers are looking for people who will fit in with their team, who use sound judgment and knows core competencies.
Interviewers shouldn’t be the only ones asking questions during an interview. You’re there to make sure they are a good fit for your career goals as well. Make sure to prepare a few questions ahead of time, but don’t shy away from asking questions based on the information gleaned during the interview. If you know who you’re interviewing with ahead of time, do some research and come prepared with relevant questions to ask. See what their background is, ask them questions about their experience, and see if you have a connection with them.
The interview is all about first impressions and how you dress for your interview will make a lasting one. It communicates two things to the interviewer: how you compose yourself professionally and how seriously you take the work. Keep interview attire simple, natural and professional. Choose dressy versus casual, and avoid being flashy. If you get the job, your uniform may be a set of scrubs, but dress sharp for your first meeting with a potential employer to help make a memorable impact.
Avoid asking about pay or benefits at the first interview. Salary and signing bonuses are important topics of conversation, but save those negotiations for after an offer has been made.
Right after your interview, take the time to send a note or email thanking the interviewer for their time. It may seem simple, but this gives a personalized touch setting you apart from another new nursing graduate.