Time to Interview - Interview Tips | New Grad Nurse Consultants

After all the hard work you have put into your resume, cover letter, and applications, you have now been selected for an interview. The key to success is preparation, which is why we have created this guide for you. As Louis Pasteur said, “Chance favors the prepared mind”.

Interviews can be formatted in a variety of ways. It can be you being interviewed by a panel of 4-5 leaders, or maybe it will be you and the hiring manager, or it might be you and several other New Grads being interviewed by a panel of healthcare professionalsDress to impress! Dress professionally and make sure that whatever you are wearing is clean. I’m sorry to say it but appearances do matter. I also recommend you bring a notebook that can fit your resumes insideBring 8-10 copies of your resume. You never know how many people will be there or if they want a copy for a colleague.
  • At the beginning of the interview, ask if anyone would like a copy of your resume
Some people like to create a “portfolio” which includes a cover letter, resume, letter of recommendation, photo copies of certifications, and any written projects they have completed
  • The more professional your portfolio looks, the more professional you look
  • Only bring in a couple (1 or 2) copies of your portfolio
Take time to research the hospital. Are they Magnet certified? Have they won any awards? What are they known for? What are they proud of?
  • Hospitals want to know that you have taken time to learn about who they are what they are about
If you are applying to a specific unit, learn about that specific unit. Many times, hospitals will have information about their units on their webpageRead healthcare and nursing articles. I can’t tell you how many nurses get asked the question, “Tell me about the last healthcare article you read and what you learned?”Take time to learn about the biggest issues in hospitals these days
  • Sepsis
  • Throughput
  • Nursing shortages
  • Treatment of super bugs
If applying for a specific unit, learn about some of the biggest issues in those unitsCome in with confidence
  • Don’t be cocky, but have a strong presence in the room
  • Sit up straight and look the interviewers in the eyes when answering and listening
Be authentic and be passionate. Being able to convey your passion for healthcare will go a long wayPrepare questions ahead of time. It’s ok if you bring your questions with you, but make sure they are printed out ahead of time.
  • You should have at least 6-8 questions prepared
  • DO NOT ask about salary or schedule
At the beginning of the interview, ask if it is ok to take notes. This will help you remember any details you were given during the interview. It also helps to write things down when a clinical scenario is presentedEven though you just graduated nursing school and are about to start a New Grad program, the hiring team wants to hear that you have no intention of stopping your education
  • Doesn’t mean that you have to pursue an advanced degree
  • Illustrate the idea/notion that you want to continue to better yourself professionally so that you can be a better healthcare provider and in turn, be a better team player
The interview should be a conversation and dialogue amongst healthcare professionals
  • This is where preparation comes into play
  • You don’t want it to turn into question-answer time
  • This will lose the attention of the individuals conducting the interview
  • It is important that you can carry on a conversation amongst your peers
  • This is why we encourage you to ask questions throughout the interview
Chance favors the prepared mind
  • Sit at a table across from your friend/family member and practice as if it were an actual interview
  • Try video recording yourself
    • This will help you pick up on elements such as posture, tone, voice volume, dialect, and grammar (you don’t want to say “like” every few words)
If a difficult question is asked, answer it to the best of your ability. At the end ask them, “How would you deal with that situation?”If you don’t fully understand the question, don’t be afraid to ask to have them repeat it

We recommend that when preparing for your interview that you have several of your own clinical experiences to share. You should be able to pull multiple examples from these situations and use them throughout your interview to highlight your answers. Think about a time you advocated for a patient, used effective communication, critical thinking, collaboration, and time management. When discussing your scenarios, don’t forget to use SBAR to communicate. You are a Nurse and this is how Nurse’s communicate a situation.

If you are in nursing school, keep a journal of your clinical situations. If you encounter a unique situation while at the hospital, come home and write it in your journal. When it comes time to interview, you now have examples to pull from.

One of the most basic questions often asked is, “tell us about yourself”. Your inclination might be to start listing off your academic career, journey through nursing school , and how you ended up in front of the panel, but that’s not really what they are asking. The question is designed to get the interviewee to open up about who they are, so that the interviewer can get a glimmer as to who they are.

I personally like it when candidate’s share their reason as to why they chose nursing in the first place. From there, share some insight as to how nursing school has shaped you into a successful healthcare professional. Provide some examples that showcase your teamwork capabilities, critical thinking, effective communication, and/or leadership. From there, it’s important to give the interviewer a little taste as to what your life is like outside of nursing. Do you enjoy traveling the world with your friends? Are you an avid mountain biker? Do you enjoy reading science fiction novels? Are you a yoga instructor? Who are you? This combined with your nursing introduction is a perfect blend of personal information that will create the perfect answer to, “tell me about yourself?”.