Please quit wasting my time: Interview Advice from Hiring Manager - page 20

by Teacher Sue

40,100 Visits | 227 Comments

I have spent the last two days interviewing candidates for an open RN position on my floor. Last week I went through the 14 resumes HR sent over to pick out the ones I wanted to interview. Eliminated eight of these for various... Read More


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    After bitter experience I am a believer in practicing and scripting some answers for interviews. I have found that when I go off-message, I have a tendency to shoot myself in the foot, put my foot in my mouth, and generally mess up the interview. And you only get one chance to make your best case. There are no do-overs! Since recently having been terminated, it's all the more important to try to present my best in the interview. My goal now is to become a calm, confident, yet dynamic interviewee in my next interview. I plan to practice by doing a mock-interview with a friend asking me the standard questions. It goes without saying that to be dynamic requires some degree of spontaneity. I think I can add that with some little flourishes of personality without saying the wrong thing. (I tend to be too honest and disclose way more than is helpful.)
    SE_BSN_RN and wooh like this.
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    Quote from samadams8
    Maybe it's b/c long before I became a RN, I was a NA, and as a teen, I was a candy stripper. (LOL. Remember them?) My mother was charge over the MS floor I was assigned, and also worked in ED. She never allowed me to sit with other candy strippers and chit chat. She made sure I understood that it's all about meeting needs. And I remember, at 14 and 15 years of age, going home with aching legs and feet. So, in many ways, my beginning nurse's education started very early.
    A candy stripper, huh? I don't think I'd have put this on my resume. And I know for SURE my mother never would have let me be a stripper of any sort at 14 or 15. That said, I was a candy striper for awhile.
    SE_BSN_RN, Teacher Sue, chevyv, and 1 other like this.
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    Quote from Flatlander
    (I tend to be too honest and disclose way more than is helpful.)
    That's my problem in not just interviews, but life in general.
    I've found that as long as I can keep that under a bit of control, I can come off as refreshingly honest. When I don't keep that under control, I come off like a crazed lunatic.
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    Quote from Ruby Vee
    A candy stripper, huh? I don't think I'd have put this on my resume. And I know for SURE my mother never would have let me be a stripper of any sort at 14 or 15. That said, I was a candy striper for awhile.
    You're mom was such a killjoy!
    Of course at the rate schools are churning out new grads in the still crappy economy, candy stripping might be the go-to job for new grads.
    Teacher Sue and chevyv like this.
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    WARNING! IF YOU WANT SYMPATHY, STOP READING NOW! If, on the other hand, you want a job, continue (but brace yourself, the truth will hurt). YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

    The wise will sit at Teacher Sue’s feet and humbly learn from her. She is giving you some of the best advice of your professional life. Here is some more, if you are tough enough to continue.


    1. Q: What is the first and most challenging obstacle that a job applicant must overcome?
    A: Keeping her CV out of the manager’s trash can.

    Did you read Teacher Sue’s post? Remember that she wrote that she recently received 14 CVs, and promptly trashed all but eight of them? The hiring manager first goes through all of the CVs on her desk, taking about 60 seconds with each, and looks for the worst ones. Bad grammar, stupid e-mail names, numerous pages of minutia, and frequent past job changes go right into the dumpster. Sorry; but that is just how it is. Whine about fairness if you want, but that will not change anything. Life is unfair. Suck it up and make sure that your CV is not one of the losers.


    2. Next, the manager reads the few surviving CVs. She is not interested in fairness or being nice. She is not hiring a friend, she is hiring a nurse, and that is what she will look for. Most managers will not read past the second page of any CV; they just do not have time for that. Your job is to knock her socks off on page one. Avoid having a page two, but if you must, stop at two.

    3. No one but your mother cares about your hobbies, your aspirations to “provide excellent nursing care and advance [your] professional life,” or any other cotton candy fluff. This is combat, not a baby shower. Stick to what you can do for the institution and back it up with accurate descriptions of a history of hard work, dedication to your past employers, and what you can do for the manager, not what you want her to do for you.

    4. In the rare event of an interview, remember that you are entering a combat zone. You are not trying to become the manager’s friend; you are competing fiercely with several impressive candidates, and you have to be more impressive than all of them. Dress smart. Be serious but relaxed. Yeah, I know. Fake it.

    5. Have a few intelligent questions of your own to ask the interviewer (that shows that you are serious and motivated). Do not interrupt. Do not roll your eyes. Do not complain about or blame anyone for anything.

    6. Have a carefully prepared explanation for why you are looking for a job, especially if you are trying to switch from a current job. Do not explain how unfair and mean and hostile your previous employers or coworkers were. Managers know that, if you walk in blaming others for your problems, you are trouble, and you will not get the job. Speak well of former employers and coworkers. Emphasize how much you learned and grew professionally as a result of past challenges, and how eager you are to take on new challenges.

    7. To quote Winston Churchill, “never give up! Never give up! Never, never, never give up!

    Best wishes.
    Last edit by CountyRat on Sep 5, '12
    brandy1017, DebanamRN, Flatlander, and 4 others like this.
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    Quote from RNsRWe
    You're telling me that you KNOW that two people have each handed someone (the hiring manager?) $200 and that secured the job placements? I'd have to ask how you know this--as the person who PAID the money would have to be insane to admit it, and the person who TOOK the money, equally so. That's a HELLUVA lot of risk for any manager to take, for chickenfeed funds.

    I have never seen, nor heard, of such a thing, and I am by no means naive. Not for a job like a staff nurse position, never.

    Is this happening elsewhere? Is someone else on this forum saying they, too, have proof of such a thing?

    With all due respect, I just cannot believe this assertion.
    I know people who have purchased their positions, only not in nursing.
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    Quote from Teacher Sue
    ...I know there are plenty of resources online that give job search tips, so please, put a little effort into writing an appropriate resume, and learning how to interview. I don't care if you are old, young, fat, thin, new GN or crusty old bat, gorgeous or if you wear a paper bag over your head. Please present yourself in a professional manner when interviewing. You don't need to wear a business suit, but don't come in jeans or shorts. Don't come with overdone hair and make up and tons of bling. Learn to communicate in a professional manner as well. You are a college graduate, you should at least have an understanding of basic grammar and know how to express yourself. Express a sincere desire to work on my unit. ...
    Thanks for the chuckle, Sue, although I also empathize with your heartache (headache)! I am reminded of one snafu in which I showed up an hour late for an interview. We never did find out whether it was my mistake or HR's, but I got a second shot at the interview, and was incredibly lucky enough to be gifted with the job despite the embarassing bungle. I can't guarantee that it was my carefully crafted resume and my suit that turned the tide, but I imagine they did not hurt my chances! I am 54 and I know cultures change over the generations. I wonder if the formal job interview is becoming an anachronism? Is grammatical correctness on its way out as younger people move into hiring positions? This story would have had me shaking my head thirty years ago, but it seems just a sign of the times to me now–is that just a misperception on my part?
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    That's a great idea. Someone should start a thread

    Quote from samadams8
    ^Sadly I believe this to be totally true.

    How to fix such a thing? That's a whole separate thread on how to promote tolerance, support, teamwork, and coalition-building.



    I have asked about unit turnover on interviews. It can give you insight if people are forthright.
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    OK, now I have this mental image of a scantily clad nurse stripping and using a giant candy cane as a pole. Sometimes I think there is something seriously wrong with me.

    Quote from Ruby Vee
    A candy stripper, huh? I don't think I'd have put this on my resume. And I know for SURE my mother never would have let me be a stripper of any sort at 14 or 15. That said, I was a candy striper for awhile.
    SE_BSN_RN, Ruby Vee, and wooh like this.
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    Quote from Ruby Vee
    A candy stripper, huh? I don't think I'd have put this on my resume. And I know for SURE my mother never would have let me be a stripper of any sort at 14 or 15. That said, I was a candy striper for awhile.


    ROTFLOL.... Yea, well, I never put stripPER on my resume. LOL Thanks for catching that Ruby!


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