Please quit wasting my time: Interview Advice from Hiring Manager - page 4

by Teacher Sue

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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    I, as well as the other nurse managers at the hospital where I am employed, try to be sensitive to people who have less privileged backgrounds, who may be impecunious (broke), who may be very nervous, etc. but I have had to interview nurse and CNA candidates at job fairs who come wearing flip flops. I remember one applicant who said she was fired from one job, terminated at her second job, and that she quit before being fired from the last job. I have had an applicant include a job description on her resume about how she replaced G-tubes and J-tubes (I hope not) at her SNF job.

    I can't speak for other hospitals, but I would hire an ADN with recent relevant experience before I hire "a Phoenix" with an advanced degree but no strong work record. If an applicant is too poor to wear professional business attire, I can look past that, but I can't understand why an applicant could not wear a clean, ironed scrub uniform instead of jeans and a tank top.

    An important skill a nurse needs to master is prioritization. If an applicant spends a week's pay (prioritizes) on neck tattoos, facial (and God knows where else) piercings, manicure, and a pop culture T-shirt, but cannot demonstrate that she could show up to work in clean scrubs with appropriate footwear, then I do not need any HR-composed interview questions to decide that the applicant's priorities are misplaced. Yes, we do have staff with neck tattoos and facial piercings, but they are expected to wear scrubs and footwear that covers their feet.

    Yes, I do look up staff and applicants on Facebook; some will post about their prescriptions for controlled substances, unseen piercings, etc. When you post about how you need beer and benzos to sleep at night, I hesitate to gamble thousands of dollars to answer this question: will you successfully complete weeks of orientation, ACLS, and then stay at our facility long enough for us to recoup the cost of training you?
    jtmarcy12, 16pawz, Aurora77, and 18 others like this.
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    Moved to our Nursing Interview Help forum for our new grads need the best carreer guidance for it does not appear to be part of today's nursing curriculum from numerous posts on this bb and my own personnel hiring woes.
    JB2007 likes this.
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    Couldn't agree more. I'm a relatively new nurse, with 20 years experience in retail and hotel management. Often, I'm wondering the same as the OP when people say they've been job searching for a year with no luck. Absolutely, the economy is tough. However, some people (even new grads) are finding work. Why? When I used to screen resumes, any with major typos/ poor grammar went into the garbage. And if candidates were late, or interviewed poorly...forget it. There are many resources available to assist job seekers. There is no excuse for not using some of them.
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    Quote from Teacher Sue

    I hire for attitude and not neccesarily for experience. I will hire a newly graduated ADN over a BSN with 20 years of experience if he or she demonstrates the qualities I am seeking. Our hospital's policy is to hire the best candidate for the job. If two candidates have the same experience and do equally well in the interview, then the BSN is the preferred choice. But with the right preceptor and support from management, most people can be taught policies and procedures. You cannot teach a positive attitude and compassion. Those are the qualities I will always look for when I am hiring staff.

    With respect, honestly, how in the world does that come close to anything objective? What I mean is that as striving for objectivity should be there--while looking for or against a particular attitude can cloud balance in thinking and understanding. Attitudes can appear "good" or "bad." What in the world do you mean by "attitude?" I am asking this b/c I truly believe people should be evaluated in a fair and objective ways--at least as much as it is possible.

    I say this b/c it almost smacks, IMHO, of a huge part of the problem in nursing in general. "Let's hire for 'LIKEABILITY' over all else."

    People that are strong, independent critical thinkers can frequently be misunderstood by others as having a "less than likeable attitude."

    I am sure that you strive to incorporate many things into your analysis and evaluation of potential candidates, and I am also certain that the process can be far from objective. But balance and objectivity, at least by my ethics, has to be what leads one's thinking in these situations. The very person that you or the unit's "influential others" may consider as having a certain "attitude" may end up being one of the strongest nurses for your patients as well as the whole team. "Different and independent thinker" does NOT mean trouble. Unfortunately there are those that can be threatened by free thinkers. Those that feel threatened can try to undermine people with great potential.

    No doubt, yours is a tough job. I just want to clarify and at least believe for now that the tone/meaning of "attitude" involves something much more than what it often can tranlate to in today's world of "likeability above all else."
    SE_BSN_RN, anie10, tnmarie, and 3 others like this.
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    Quote from wish_me_luck
    amen, biggy! Once you are offered a job, the interview no longer matters. However, some people tend to master interviews (job hoppers, perhaps???) and aren't that interested in the job and others have a hard time with interview but could really want the job.

    No, especially in the areas of nursing I have worked, you are always being "interviewed," even after you get the position. Never get comfortable in your position. What I mean by this is continue to put your best foot forward and be on your toes, and IMHO, try to be a caring, supportive member of all the team. We need much more of this is nursing.

    I have often wondered over the years why there is so much conflict in this field. But in the areas I have worked, I have often thought, "Wow, if people just concerned themselves with doing their work to the best of their ability, they would not possibly have time for stiring up all the drama." The other half of the time, it's about some kind of miscommunication. That is to say, I have seen needless conflicts due to miscommunication and stress. The latter is very natural, even under good circumstances and while striving for optimal communication. The former is completely intolerable nonsense that should not exist, and would not exist, if people really are doing all that they could and should do.
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    Just a thought. . . What in the world would possess someone to attend an interview in pajamas? I find this hard to believe. . .on the other hand. . .
    SE_BSN_RN likes this.
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    Everyone hires based on likeability....it doesn't matter where the candidate is interviewing. That's always been the way. Interviews are not completely objective, and they never were. A candidate may have the required skills and experience, but if, for whatever reason the interviewer doesn't take a liking to them, that person is usually not hired.
    Aurora77, cienurse, RunnerRN2b2014, and 5 others like this.
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    Likeability is understandable tho; part of the job includes customer service, so a person that can do the job in a robotic way, but has a hard time making that personal connection with patients or fellow staff is justified in having extra scrutiny. Plus, having to work with someone for 12hrs a day that has a negative attitude can be frustrating.
    libby11, HouTx, and JB2007 like this.
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    sam, I know you always put forth effort; I am referring to like "giving the right answers to get the job" type thing. It seems like some people master interviews because they have been through several (like I said, usually job hoppers) while others are nervous and don't have interview experience

    I have a question for all you managers. If you request x number of years experience but a new grad knows that they want a certain area and keep applying and ask what they have to do to get a job at a certain place, would you hire them even though they don't have experience?
    anie10 and JB2007 like this.
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    Of course not. But there is an ethos in striving for balance and objectivity that has been usurped by the capricious state called "likeability." Likeability is a factor. The point is, it should NOT be before certain other things in the eval process. People are changeable. Life is changeable. There are all kinds of emotional dynamics, and even physiological ebbs and flows. You will not really know what someone is like until you work with them regularly for a least a good six months. Now of course if someone comes off as surly or disrespectful or completely inflexible, that will weigh the interviewer down a lot, and the candidate will be dumbed for sure.


    But likeability for likeability sake shouldn't be the top or strongest issue, and too often, it is. Some of the best surgeons I have worked with were not always the most likeable. The most likeable surgeons were not always the best in terms of practice. And then there are those that are both likeable and the "best" or pretty close to it. People are not one dimensional.


    What strikes me as funny is that all of medicine, business, and now nursing is embarking upon the use of "best practices" and evidence-based practice. Yet, nursing doesn't seem too interested in applying such approaches to hiring, orienting, precepting, and growing nurses within their own clinical areas.


    And I for one would choose character over likeability any day of the week and twice on Sundays.


    Integrity doesn't depend upon likeability but character.
    16pawz, NutmeggeRN, anie10, and 4 others like this.


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