Interview Preparation for Qualified Nurses

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    One of the questions I am most frequently asked is how do I prepare for an interview, and over the years of both being interviewed and interviewing I have built up a stock pile of questions and interview tips. There are many websites out there that can help you prepare, and I have included some of them as links here.

    One of the questions I am most frequently asked is how do I prepare for an interview, and over the years of both being interviewed and interviewing I have built up a stock pile of questions and interview tips. There are many websites out there that can help you prepare, and I have included some of them as links here.

    One of the easiest questions to prepare for is "tell us about yourself" it's a way of breaking the ice at interviews and you will usually get some sort of variation of this question. What are they looking for with this question? I like to see a good mix of professional information with outside interests. One suggestion would be to start with your professional career, with your hopes and goals for the future and then add a little of your other interests as well. One of the most interesting interviews I held was with a young lady who had traveled to Africa volunteering with a health organization. It was a great talking point of the interview and put her at ease before we started asking the more challenging questions.

    Other fairly routine questions would be about your good points and bad points, why you want the job, what differences you think you could make.

    Basic Interview Good Practice

    First impressions are vital, especially if the interview panel are spending a day interviewing applicants. You want to be able to stick in their minds as a professional and capable nurse. Make sure you are well dressed, if you wear a suit it gives a good impression, you've made the effort and want to impress. If you don't have a suit then smart clothes are vital.

    Unless you have absolutely no other option don't go to the interview wearing your uniform, if you have to work then take smart clothes with you to work and change although I do appreciate this isn't always possible.

    Preparation for the interview is very important, make sure you read the job description and know what the job is all about, if you can arrange an informal visit so you can meet the manager and staff, this shows that you are keen and gives you the chance to see where you may potentially be working. It also gives the manager / interviewer a chance to meet you and that way when they come to interview you, they will already know who you are and therefore you will be a little more memorable.

    Try to prepare information that is relevent to the job you are going for. If it is a specialist role then research the current trends, and government targets / guidelines for that role.

    The NHS jobsite has some excellent advice about interview prep

    Some interview ‘do's’ for nurses and healthcare job seekers:

    • Research the healthcare organization/hospital before you go, and think about why you would like to work there. A prospective employer will take into account the amount of effort that candidates have taken to prepare and research the company prior to attending the interview.
    • Take any documentation with you that your prospective employer may want to see e.g. NMC Registration, Identification, Certificates, Hep B immune status.
    • First impressions count! You should wear smart, clean and appropriate clothing.
    • Make sure your mobile phone is switched off as soon as you enter the building.
    • Prepare answers to common nursing/healthcare interview questions
    • Plan your route in advance, allow plenty of time to deal with delays or traffic jams and take down contact details of your interviewer in case of emergencies.
    • Review your CV or application form. Know it inside out and take a spare copy to brief yourself before the interview. This can be used as a replacement should your interviewer not have one.
    • Make sure you have a good understanding of topical subjects e.g. The Patient’s Charter.
    • Maintain good eye contact with the interviewer, speak clearly during conversations
    • Always let the interviewer finish speaking before giving your response.
    • Be enthusiastic and smile. Use positive body language.
    • Think about some questions you can ask at the end of the interview. Relevant ones will demonstrate that you are a serious contender for the role.
    • At the end of the interview, shake the interviewers hand firmly and thank them for giving you the opportunity to attend the interview. Always ask for feedback.

    There is also a link within that advice that is useful for preparing a CV, although more and more NHS jobs are now online applications and CV's are not requested.
    Last edit by Joe V on Apr 17, '12

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    About XB9S

    XB9S has '22' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Advanced Practice, surgery'. From 'United Kingdom'; Joined Sep '06; Posts: 8,537; Likes: 3,893.

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    104 Comments so far...

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    For a band 6 I would ask clinical governance issues such as dealing with complaints, untowards incidents and staff competency issues such as actions in the case of concerns with ability.

    I would also ask clinical scenarios "what if" that sort of thing.

    Think about infection control issues,

    Developmental plans - what would you like to see if you are successful, what changes would you make. Have a bit of knowledge about change management theory as well just in case.

    Local and national government initiatives are there any specific targets that affect your area, how will you help to achieve them

    How could you deal with staff morale issues, motivate, encourage your staff

    What type of leader are you, look up clinical leadership and have a read
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    Sharrie, Do you have any examples of questions that are being asked in nursing interviews? I am scheduled for an interview in 2 weeks and haven't been to an interview in many years. Also, your post states to ask questions at the end of the interview. Do you have any examples or ideas of questions? Thanks!
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    It depends on what level of nursing interview you would be attending. For junior staff I would want to know why they have chosen this area to work in and what they feel they can offer. I often ask what you particularly like about the job description and what excites you about the area you have applied to.

    More general questions would be what have you done to professionally develop, and how have you kept your knowledge and skills updated.

    I would may also ask what you think you will gain from the mover from your current area.

    I may also use a clinical scenario so what would you do if.....................

    For a more senior position I would want to know about leadership and management skills, so I would ask how you motivate staff, how you would deal with poor performance, and how do you deal with conflict / patient complaints.

    As far as what questions to ask at an interview, personally I tend to contact the area I have applied for to make sure it is what I want, so I try to get most of my questions answered before the interview. Good example of things to ask are how is professional development supported within the unit, what is the orientation, over how long and expectations of a new nurse to the area, hours of work and pay scales may also be worth asking, especially if you want to negotiate for a higher pay rate.
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    I had an interview yesterday. It was one of the most frustrating interviews I had ever been in I have conducted my fair share of interviews so I am no stranger to the process.
    The director looked at the clock over my head at least every 3 mins. She asked all situation questions. As a seasoned nurse/interviwer I knew to have a prepared "positive outcome" to bad experiences.
    When we finally finished I don't think she had any idea of my clinical expertise, just my personality.
    There is an art to interviewing and being interviewed. With this kind of interview you never really know where you stand.
    tom7044 and XB9S like this.
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    Links to information about Clinical Leadership

    Clinical Leadership in the new world

    RCN Clinical Leadership
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    sharrie, I am a nurse from the Philippines and have 2+ years experience in a dialysis area. I will be having an interview for a NHS hospital this early next month. When I was researching about the hospital Im applying for, I found out that they currently do not have a dialysis unit of their own.When I e-mailed my agency if the employer would consider my application considering the experience that I have, I received a reply from the employer saying that as long as I know that the job being offered is a ward job and that I am willing to do more than dialysis, then they would consider me. I am afraid for the interview coz I might not be able to answer their questions. Can you help me regarding the general job description of a ward nurse in UK?Im quite hesitant trying to do ward job because I only had 6 months experience in a general ward and that was years ago. Im thinking on quitting the interview but I am also curious on how the interview for UK goes..

    Thanks in advance for the reply..
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    What does a Trust mean? I have read a lot of NHS hospital names with a Trust in the end..just curious : )

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