Congrats on landing your interview, RN! Because of your amazing resume and cover letter, you've piqued the interests of the nurse manager or nurse recruiter and you don't want to disappoint. You definitely need to be prepared to make a stellar impression during your interview! Not quite sure how to leave a lasting impression that leads to a job offer? No worries! Read on to learn our top 10 tips for an epic interview to seal the deal.
Before the Interview
Scope out the Location
A few days before your interview, make sure you take a test drive! The last thing you want to do on the day of your interview is show up late because you were unfamiliar with how to get there. While you're on your test drive, scope out your parking options! An even better idea is to actually find the HR office or wherever your interview will take place if you have the time so that you know exactly where to go the day of your interview.
Practice, practice, practice!
An interview is all about execution! Google some of the most commonly asked interview questions and jot down your ideal answers. You will also want to devote time specifically to researching and answering behavioral interview questions, which require much more thoughtful responses than traditional interview questions. (Hopefully you took our advice and avoided making the big mistake that most nursing students make each semester) Take the time to analyze what your strengths and weaknesses are and practice talking about yourself in a positive way. Practice answering questions aloud with a friend or family member a couple days before your interview. When you are asked similar questions during the actual interview, your mind will be at ease because you'll already know how you want to answer the question. Don't forget to practice "behavioral" interview questions!
Review your Resume and Cover Letter
Give your resume and cover letter a brief glance over to be sure that it is up to date, and that it accurately reflects the position you are being interviewed for (addressed to the correct person, objective statement is for the right position). Once your materials are ready to go, make sure you print at least 3 copies to take with you. Don't assume that you'll only be interviewed by 1 person! If there are 2 interviewers, you'll want to be prepared with enough materials.
The Day Of the Interview!
This one seems pretty common sense, but people still show up to interviews wearing the most casual of clothing options. Do yourself a favor and dress nicely for the interview. Don't be afraid of wearing a suit! Put some effort into your appearance by ironing your clothes and styling your hair neatly. Keep jewelry to a minimum. A nice watch is more than enough. If you look amazing, then how can you not be confident? :)
Walk into the interview with a simple black portfolio with copies of your resume inside. I also carried a small legal pad with me to jot down notes during the interview (mainly the answers to questions I asked at the end) You also want to take some notes of how you think the interview went so that you can use that information to guide your follow up email.
Use that test drive you did the day or two before to arrive early. You'll want to show up at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled time to show that you are punctual and professional. You don't want to keep your interviewer waiting!
Collect Your Thoughts
Even if you've rehearsed for days on end, you will be asked a question that you haven't practiced. Don't panic! If you cannot immediately think of the answer to a question, give yourself a moment to think with a pause. It is better to respond after a brief moment of silence than to stammer over your words.
Don't let the interview conclude without asking your own questions. Have a few questions memorized and ask about 4-5 at the end of the interview. This will show the interviewer that you are truly interested in the position and that you care enough to seek more information about the opportunity. Not sure what to ask? Here are a few sample questions to get you thinking!
What is the typical nurse/patient ratio on this unit?
What are some quality improvement projects the unit is working on?
What is an example of a recent patient complaint?
How long is the orientation phase and how is it structured?
After the Interview
Send a Thank You
We cannot emphasize this enough! This is probably the key to how we both earned our jobs! You should absolutely draft a thank-you note when you are back home from your interview! Not only is this a great opportunity to talk about the highlights of the interview and reinforce why you would be a good fit for the position, but you will stand out even more. People do not tend to follow up after interviews, which is a terrible mistake. Send your note a couple hours after the time of the interview, and be sure to express your gratitude for the interviewer taking the time to meet with you. It is also a good idea to mention something that you discussed during the interview in your thank you note to refresh that person's memory. Lastly, you will want to state your excitement about working in the role you interviewed for.
If you haven't heard back within two weeks, be sure to contact the interviewer directly either by email or telephone! Let them know how excited you are about the position and that you are looking forward to learning of their decision. You definitely want to reach out to keep yourself in the running for the position, especially if the recruiter or nurse manager has several candidates to consider.
Well, you're all set for an amazing interview! Above all, the most important thing you can do during any interview is to be honest and portray your true self! The nurse manager knows the characteristics of the employees on the unit, and can tell if you would be a good fit based on your answers to the interview questions and an assessment of your personality. It is in your best interest to represent your true self instead of trying so hard to be an ideal candidate that you falsify or exaggerate information about yourself. Trust us, being yourself will serve you well in a job interview!! Good luck! :)
How are you getting prepared for your interview? Did you find these tips helpful? Be sure to let us know by commenting below! We would love to hear from you!