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Follow these simple tips to ace your interview and get your US RN adventure off the ground

25 Insightful Job Interview Tips for Nurses (UPDATED)

Nurse job interviews are nerve-wracking, whether they take place in the US or in your home country. In the past, you’ve probably wanted a full checklist of the Do’s and Don’ts for an interview heading into that meeting.

The experts at Conexus Medstaff are here to help. We’ve developed the below tips to help you communicate your confidence, enthusiasm and intelligence during your telephone interview.

This is your time to shine, so make the most of it! Follow our 25 simple tips for the entire nursing job interview process. You'll be able to ace your initial phone interview, come across professionally in your face-to-face interview, and get your US RN adventure off the ground.

PRE-CALL: Failing to prepare = preparing to fail!

This old line by a famed basketball coach holds true in everyday life. If you fail to prepare for your job interview, you have - effectively - fully prepared...to fail the interview.

To avoid that fate, you need to know what to practice. Here are some things to go over as you prepare for your interview:

1. Know who you are and how you got where you are.

  • Know your resúme inside out.
  • Be able to recount your big accomplishments.
  • Understand your strengths and weaknesses.

2. Know what you want to do next.

  • Think about your goals and ambitions.

3. Understand the role you are being interviewed for.

  • Be familiar with the job description.
  • Then, accurately (but without embellishing) align your skills and experience to the role.

4. Research and learn as much as you can about the organisation.

  • Read their own website and perform general internet searches.
  • Does it have a mission statement? What are the company values?

5. Prepare some answers to common interview questions.

6. Write down all of your ideas to the above points.

  • Use what works best for you – paragraphs in full sentences, lists of keywords, diagrams, etc.

7. Practice answering questions verbally.

  • Here’s a good exercise to do this: Role play with another person playing the interviewer.
  • Practice speaking your answers out loud while alone.

8. Think about the speed of your speech and your breathing.

9. Try to limit unnecessary words or sounds such as “like” and “erm.”

10. Practice smiling in a mirror while you answer your questions verbally.

  • Remember: If you smile, it comes through in your voice.
  • Your interviewer will see it, feel it and hear it!

CALL DAY: How to Conduct Yourself

11. Eliminate distractions

  • Sit in a quiet room without distractions or interruptions.
  • Where necessary, keep others (pets, children) occupied.
  • If possible, use a landline with a good connection.

12. Have a glass of water nearby

  • Sometimes your throat gets dry. Having a glass at the ready helps you communicate clearly as possible.

13. Don’t forget your mirror!

  • If you've practiced in front of a mirror already, you can watch yourself during a phone interview to make sure you’re hitting all of the key points, like smiling.

14. Have a copy of your resume near you during the interview.

  • If your mind goes blank on dates, it's alright. 
  • Above all, don't dwell on this: you can offer to check on the dates.

FACE-TO-FACE INTERVIEW: Your Conduct

So you’ve passed the phone interview! Wonderful. Now the interviewer (and some other people affected by your role) want to meet you in person. Here are some things to keep in mind to make sure you come across well throughout the entirety of the interview.

15. Speak clearly and breathe calmly.

16. If you do not understand a question, kindly ask the interviewer to repeat the question.

17. Just in case you forgot: Smile!

18. Project confidence in your voice.

  • Speak with enthusiasm and energy to engage the interviewer.
  • Be positive and avoid negativity.
  • Answer questions succinctly and do not ramble.

FACE-TO-FACE INTERVIEW: Have a Discussion

Manners count for a lot with any conversation, and it’s especially true with a nursing job interview. It’s first impression time, and there will As for what you talk about, here are some thoughts about the things that might come up in the course of the interview.

19. Focus fully on the question or conversation.

  • Do not begin your response until the other person has finished or you may respond inappropriately.

20. Sell yourself to the organisation.

  • Tell them why you would fit well with their values.
  • Tell them what skills and experience you have to fulfil the job description.
  • Tell them about your ambitions.

21. Choose your words clearly and professionally.

  • Do not use slang words.
  • Try not to use filler words or sounds such as “like” or “um.”
  • Short silences are not always bad – it can show you are thinking about your answer.
  • Be conscious to speak the language of your profession, which often transcends any global vs US English barriers. 
    • This will help you come across as a professional who understands the field of nursing and the vocabulary that is often associated with the profession.

22. Give specific examples when asked about your experiences.

  • This helps the interviewer gain a deeper understanding of your skills and abilities.
  • When recounting experiences or accomplishments, never identify patients or family members by name or any other identifiable information.

23. Never speak badly of a former employer or former colleagues.

24. Ask the interviewer questions.

  • This is an often forgotten aspect of the job interview: you need to interview them as well.
    • You are also seeing if you want the job on offer.
    • You want to know that it will be a good fit for you.
    • Some well-researched questions for the interview is another chance to show your research, industry and competency in nursing.

25. Do not ask about the job package at this stage

  • That means questions about, salary, benefits or paid time off is off limits.
  • This is something that should be discussed ONLY if you receive an offer of employment.

BONUS TIP: Conclude the interview in a positive manner.

  • If you are interested in the role, reiterate your interest and tell them why you think you would fit well within the organisation.
  • Thank the interviewers for their time and interest in your application.

Good luck and we'll see you in America!

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