How can I answer interview questions when I have no experience?

Dear Nurse Beth Advice Column - The following letter submitted anonymously in search for answers. Feel free to join the conversation.

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How to answer interview questions with no job experience?

Hello Nurse Beth,

I recently received my nursing license, and I am a bit concerned about how my limited experience in the nursing field beyond clinicals will hinder my ability to get a nursing job. Will this be held against me when I apply and get an interview for a nursing job? If not, how do I approach interview questions when they ask questions where I have limited experience. Thank you.

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Career Columnist / Author

Nurse Beth, MSN

167 Articles; 2,972 Posts

Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development. Has 30 years experience.

Dear Concerned,

Congratulations on receiving your nursing license! 

Many employers understand that new graduates have limited experience and are willing to provide on-the-job training to help them develop their skills. Apply to residency programs designed for new grads.

Nurse managers know you do not have experience. They are looking for a safe practitioner and a good fit.


Let me tell you what hiring nurse managers look for-a good fit

Here are some tips for approaching interview questions when you have limited experience:

  • Be honest about your experience. Be yourself. Don't try to oversell yourself or pretend that you have more experience than you do.
  • Focus on the skills and knowledge you gained during your clinicals and education.
  • Be humble. Emphasize your willingness to take on new challenges and to learn from experienced nurses on the job. This shows you will be a safe practitioner- another key thing nurse managers look for.
  • Let the interviewer know you are excited to start your career. Prepare and share a short about why you decided to become a nurse and what motivates you to provide excellent patient care. Stories resonate.
  • Research the organization and weave the information into your interview. "I noticed you received a Leapfrog rating of excellence, and I want to work for an organization that values excellence." 

Be sure to read How to Prepare for Your Interview for essential tips. 

Practice your responses with a friend or family member to help you feel more confident during the interview.

Dress well and be confident   Appearances and presentation matter.

Remember, your limited experience is just one factor that employers will consider when evaluating your application. Focus on highlighting your strengths and enthusiasm for nursing, and be willing to learn and grow on the job. Good luck!


Nurse Beth

Read my best-selling book How to Land Your First Nursing Job written from a nurse manager's view for the inside intel, plus how to answer every interview question with winning answers.

Examples include how to answer, tell us about yourself, your weaknesses, when you handled a conflict, and more.