Interviews are one of the most nerve-wracking experiences. After all, you only have one chance to make a great first impression. Regardless of how much or how little experience you have you want to appear put together, capable, and hirable. While the amount of experience that you have can play a key role in the decision to hire you, how you conduct yourself and answer questions will not only make a good impression, but also set you apart from the other candidates. Whether you’re looking for your first job as a nursing assistant or a new career path as a nurse, here are 5 tips for acing your next job interview:
Dress for the job that you want not the job that you have has probably been drilled into your head since you applied for your very first job as a teenager but it is true. You will be judged by your interviewer on your attire before you even open your mouth to say Hello. It may be easy to feel as if you can get away with dressing down for an interview because most nurses or CNAs wear scrubs to work, but despite the uniform of the everyday job, dressing up for the interview is part of making the right first impression. The interviewer will want to see that you are a professional person who takes pride in their appearance. A general rule of thumb is to dress professionally. Women should wear a pant suit or skirt with nice, conservative blouse. A suit jacket makes for a nice finishing piece but is not required. Men should wear dress slacks, a button up shirt, tie, and jacket. Clothes should be clean, pressed, and comfortable.
Do your Research
Before you show up for a job interview, do some homework on the hospital or staffing agency, as well as the position, before heading into your interview. Doing so will help you to easily reference your experiences with similar situations that the job might entail. Interviewers often like to ask questions such as What interests you in this role? or Why do you feel you would be an asset to our staffing agency/ hospital?. Having these answers thought out ahead of time will portray you as eager and motivated as we know that you are! You should also use these questions to tie in the career goals that you may be able to achieve with the company/hospital. Always be sure to have a few questions set aside for the end of the interview, since interviewers may take a lack of questions as disinterest in the position. Some good questions to consider are What are your nurse/patient ratios? or What do you perceive as challenges to this position?
Honesty is the Best Policy
Some of the most difficult interview questions aren’t clinical, they’re personal. Questions such as “Tell me about yourself” or “Describe a difficult situation and how you handled it” aren’t designed to trick you, they are designed to allow the interviewer to gauge your experience and personality and how you would fit into their company culture. It is extremely important to answer these questions honestly because a dream job on paper will quickly turn into a nightmare for both you and your employer if your experience and personality do not fit in with the role requirements or company culture.
Emphasize your Experience
Your ability to handle challenging situations can set you apart from other potential candidates. Most healthcare facilities are focused on achieving high patient satisfaction ratings and are looking for nurses and nursing assistants who will help achieve those goals. Interviewers love when you share stories about your experience. Come armed with at least one story about a how you worked through a difficult situation or how you went above and beyond for a patient.
If you are looking to change roles be sure to express some type of passion for the role that you are looking to switch into. Interviewers do not care that your ultimate goal may be to work a specific shift or hours so talk about what you love about the new role and how your current experience would help you to exceed in it instead.
Nursing is a unique job because you must be both autonomous and a team player, you must be compassionate, but also assertive, and you also must be able to communicate well with patients, family, doctors, and other coworkers. A nursing role is rarely cut and dry so you must be flexible and always willing to learn; this is especially important if you’re interviewing with a healthcare staffing agency, as you will face new challenges and company cultures with every new role. Use examples from your experience to convince the interviewer that you have all of those traits and more.
Interviews will always feel intimidating since you are putting yourself on the line to be evaluated by another person. With the right experience and a little practice, you will be breezing through the interview process and land your dream job in no time.
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