Despite the fact that healthcare is the fastest-growing sector in the United States with the best employment opportunities for graduating nurses, it still takes hard work, modesty, and careful planning to secure your first job. 

Highly selective are the best healthcare organizations, selecting only nurses who nail the interview and show high value in pre-employment screening and discussions.

These tips and advice will help you wow the interview team before you even graduate, and nab a competitive job offer.

How to get the interview nailed

It's not rocket science to nail up an interview, but it's science. For the best result, follow this formula:

Prepare for the Advance Interview

Do an online search and practice answering each one in front of the mirror for "RN interview questions." If you have a friend who hires elsewhere, ask them to criticize the interview with your practice and offer enhancement tips.

Know as much about the business as you can

Before you show up, understanding their mission, vision, and core values will help you tailor your responses to certain main components of the organization.

Show Humility 

Although trust is crucial in all phases of your career, it is critically important for new nurses to be humble and to know what you don't know. Seasoned nurses realize that they have learned more from a book on the floor than they have ever learned, and they recruit people who understand that early on. Be assured of what you are willing to learn and modest about your experience level coming in.

Think ahead of time about the Physician-Nurse partnership

Consider reading The Art of Influence). Each organization wants to know in advance how you will communicate with a doctor whose orders do not look right to you, so know your strategy for positive relationships with the doctor and practice answering the question in advance. Bring great questions (that are not related to comp)

Thoughtful questions give the impression that, without creating the illusion of superiority, you interview the organization as often as they interview you. "How will you describe the nurses and administration relationship here?" or "What support systems do you have in place for new nurses?" are two examples.

Company Professional Goal

"Dress for the role you want" does not apply here; on the "do not" list is to wear scrubs to your interview.

What's not to be done

The list of things that you can not do is brief: do not confuse faith and entitlement.

In recent years, some organizations have been motivated by a (perceived or real-the data provides contradictory images) nursing shortage to provide significant incentives for signing nurses: sign-on bonuses, retention bonuses, and redemption of student loans, to name a few. Although these incentives are fantastic, new graduates have often been pushed in the opposite direction by the same nursing shortage, causing them to alienate organizations during the interview process and forfeiting their chance of getting a work offer.

In actual interviews, here are only a few of the things nurses who have fallen victim to the message of the nursing shortage have said:

  • Am I required to compete for the position? Right now there is an RN shortage; if I agreed to work here after I graduate, I would be doing you a favor.
  • "My question, I guess, is,' What can you do for me?'"
  • "For the years I have worked as an LPN, I expect to be given credit on the pay scale because the experience makes me a better RN."
  • "How far are you able to go for your company to get me to sign?"

While bargaining is acceptable if you have valid reasons for doing so (such as specialized experience or other offers on the table), entitlement leaves a bad taste in the hiring manager's mouth 90% of the time. There's also an argument to be made that you're entitled to more than your experience as an RN and the pay scale suggest.

You'll find that candidates fight for positions if you want to get your foot in the door with an employer of choice, and entitled candidates are simply filtered out.


March 1, 2021

Natasha Osei

Passionate Nurse Practitioner | People person

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