Behavioral lnterview?

Nurses General Nursing


HI....I'm beginning the process of interviewing for jobs since I graduate in Dec....I just talked to an administrator and she said that they don't ask technical questions but they do more of a behavioral interview...

Has anyone had one like this...she says they ask questions like ..."what was your most difficult pt. and how did you handle it?"...I have never had a really had a difficult patient...I've had pt. with high acuity but not difficult per say.

I feel like I can sell myself pretty well but this kind of interview feels more like I'm trying to win Miss America instead of an RN job...what do you guys think?? any pointers?:eek:


465 Posts

Early Congrats! Behavioral interviewing is very common and very popular. It's used to assess your skills in various job situations - gets the employer a feel for your personality to see if you're a good fit. Here are some sample questions:

1. Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.

2. Describe an instance when you had to think on your feet to extricate yourself from a difficult situation.

3. Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.

4. Describe a time when you were faced with problems or stresses that tested your coping skills.

5. Give an example of a time in which you had to be relatively quick in coming to a decision.

6. Describe a time when you had to use your written communication skills to get an important point across.

7. Give me a specific occasion in which you conformed to a policy with which you did not agree.

8. Give me an example of an important goal which you had set in the past and tell me about your success in reaching it.

9. Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.

10. Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully communicate with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa).

11. Sometimes it's easy to get in "over your head." Describe a situation where you had to request help or assistance on a project or assignment.

12. Tell of a time when you worked with a colleague who was not completing his or her share of the work. Who, if anyone, did you tell or talk to about it? Did the manager take any steps to correct your colleague? Did you agree or disagree with the manager's actions?

13. Describe a situation in which you had to arrive at a compromise or guide others to a compromise.

14. What steps do you follow to study a problem before making a decision.

15. We can sometimes identify a small problem and fix it before it becomes a major problem. Give an example(s) of how you have done this.

16. In a supervisory or group leader role, have you ever had to discipline or counsel an employee or group member? What was the nature of the discipline? What steps did you take? How did that make you feel? How did you prepare yourself?

17. Recall a time from your work experience when your manager or supervisor was unavailable and a problem arose. What was the nature of the problem? How did you handle that situation? How did that make you feel?

18. Recall a time when you were assigned what you considered to be a complex project. Specifically, what steps did you take to prepare for and finish the project? Were you happy with the outcome? What one step would you have done differently if given the chance?

19. Tell of some situations in which you have had to adjust quickly to changes over which you had no control. What was the impact of the change on you?

20. Describe some times when you were not very satisfied or pleased with your performance. What did you do about it?


1,326 Posts

Hi there,

I used to work as a recruiter and practiced Behavioral Based Interviewing.

The questions that Kristin posted are good examples of some of the questions you might encounter.

I know the term "Behavioral" sounds weird, like they are Jane Goodall and studying you like you're an ape, but all it really is, is asking the interviewee to recall and explain HOW they handle various situations as opposed to just asking them plain 'yes' and 'no' questions and asking about what experience they have.

Behavioral interviewing centers more with the "how" you did this or that, compared to just asking you if you have ever had a particular experience.

There are certain ways to answer these types of questions, how to put a positive spin on the answers. You may want to do an internet search or, has a really good interview section where they ask you a question and have a few different responses and you select which is the best one. It also gives rationales of why each response is poor, good or best.

Good Luck with your interviews!



1,326 Posts

I feel like I can sell myself pretty well but this kind of interview feels more like I'm trying to win Miss America instead of an RN job

Ha Ha!!!

I just had to say after seeing this remark that I once interviewed for a teaching position and they actually did group interviews. It was me and another young lady both interviewing for the same position. We all sat together and the interviewer would ask a question and we would each have to answer it. There was another person in the room sitting behind us marking down our responses.

I quickly realized that neither of us was going to get the job. They just had to interview "so many" people to make the hiring of someone allready selected legit and this was the easiest way to get through the rest of us. So I told them. I said this feels like a Miss America contest and I'm waiting for you to pull out the "Sound Proof Booth" at any minute. They didn't seem to have a sense of humor, they didn't get it.

But, in all honesty, and I am not saying I am for or against such contests like Miss America, USA and Universe, but they are good to watch if you want to pick up good habits on how to interview and answer questions.

True, no interviewer is probably going to ask you if there was one thing in the world you could change, (your response - World Peace) but the contestants do use incredible poise, speech and diction and they rarely fumble over "hmmm's", "huh's" "likes", etc. All things that could hurt you in an interview. And you can tell, the one's that do fumble during answering don't win.

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

Don't be afraid to pause and think for a moment ... or to ask for clarification. Most of the time, there is not a single "correct" answer for the question. The interviewers are looking to see how you handle situations that might arise in your new job.

They want to see if your answers demonstrate that you do things such as....

1. Assess before you act

2. Identify and use appropriate resources

3. Make assumptions rather than jump to conclusions

4. Have an awareness of yourself and how you appear to others


Many times, it is the process of how you solve the problem within the questions or how honest you are about your abilities that matter most in your answer to such questions.


Nrs. LaLa-Land

116 Posts

Thanks for all the great feedback...I had no idea what I was getting into! Thank you so least I can somewhat prepare to answer these questions....I just have do some self evaluation...Thanks again!

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