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Top Tips to Ace Your Nursing Job Interview

Earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) through a reputable program such as Northern Kentucky University's online RN to BSN program can prepare you to be more effective on the job. But you still have to apply for and get that new job. And, while having a BSN can set you ahead of much of the competition, the job interview can be the make-or-break moment.

You would not take a test without study and practice. Likewise, you should put substantial effort into preparing for a job interview. Here are a few tips to help prepare yourself for this vital step in employment and career advancement.

Know Yourself

Reflect at length on your knowledge and experience. Look back at what you have studied. Review your clinical experiences. Know your strengths and weaknesses, both how you have utilized your strengths on the job and how you work to overcome your weaknesses.

Simply put, you cannot demonstrate your qualifications for the job without understanding and being able to articulate those qualifications through credentials and experience. This is essential to constructing a comprehensive, accurately representative resume and performing well at the interview.

Research the Job

Employers look for differing credentials, skills, experience and personality traits, depending on the job. So research what your potential employer is looking for specifically. Delve deep into the job description. Make sure you have the necessary education level, as some employers require or prefer that you have a BSN for certain positions. Similarly, make sure you have the required amount of specialization experience for the position you are applying for.

Research the hospital and its various systems. Ask a nurse at the hospital about their job experience and what their interview was like. You need to convince the interviewer that you are the right person for the job. Hence, you need to know exactly what the job is.

Prepare and Rehearse Answers to Possible Questions

With a moment's research online you can find lists of common questions you may face in a nursing job interview. Consider these questions thoroughly along with questions focused on your specialization. Compose thoughtful, personalized answers. Rehearse those answers until you can articulate them effortlessly no matter the situation. Have a friend — better yet, an experienced nurse friend — act as interviewer and give you feedback on your responses.

Each answer you create is a vehicle to tell the interviewer about your achievements, training, job performance and career goals. This involves taking every answer as an opportunity to relate personal experience with your application of the knowledge and skills to specific situations. You can tailor your answers to highlight traits such as your work ethic, compassion and empathy for patients, ability to communicate, and experience working as part of a team.

Take Care of Yourself

This may seem like common sense, but being overstressed and nervous during the interview will likely come across negatively. To help reduce stress and anxiety, avoid cramming in study the night before the interview. Sleep well. Eat well. Take a walk with a friend. Appropriate self-care will help you feel comfortable, prepared and able to perform at your best.

Treat the Interview as a Professional Conversation

Dress professionally yet comfortably for the interview. Be conscious of your body language, attempting to seem confident and competent yet humble and personable. Whether an interview question is one you predicted or an unexpected curveball, take your time to consider it and answer it fully and thoughtfully. Interviewers are not looking for rote, regurgitated answers. They are looking for depth of critical thought and problem-solving.

As the interview should be a two-way conversation, prepare your own questions for the interviewer. Show your interest in the position and desire to understand it more deeply. What is the hospital staffing ratio? Is there a regular employee feedback process? What sorts of professional development or tuition assistance programs are available?

Acing the job interview is a necessary part of landing a good nursing job. The prospect of getting grilled by a potential employer can be daunting. But with a solid background of education and experience, you've got the right stuff for the job. With thorough preparation and confidence in your qualifications, the interview can simply be a stepping stone toward a more rewarding career in nursing.

Learn more about NKU's online RN to BSN program.


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