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How do new grad programs narrow down applicants?

I'm curious to how new grad RN programs narrow down hundreds of applicants for their open positions.

I understand that time is a factor, like if they hit the maximum number, they won't take anymore applicants.

For those who do make it on time for application, what criteria do they look for? GPA, school, background, skills, volunteer experience, etc? (cause obviously they don't look for actual nursing experience right)?

Thanks, everyone!

TheCommuter specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

In the area where I live, presence or lack of a baccalaureate (a.k.a. BSN) degree is rapidly evolving into the go-to weed-out tool to narrow the list of applicants for admission into new grad training programs.

They might look if you had a senior preceptorship/externship or work/volunteer experience on the unit you apply to (like oncology, NICU, peds)

KelRN215 specializes in Pedi.

They look at a lot of things

School/Program- in my area, many hospitals will toss any non-BSN new grads as most of the new grad programs are for BSN prepared nurses only

Clinical/Preceptorship experience- if you are applying for a job on the unit that you have done a clinical or your practicum on, you have a bit of an edge. Especially if the floor liked you. When I applied for my new grad job, I got an interview after my preceptor introduced me to the director of the unit and she called HR saying she wanted to interview me.

CNA experience (if you have it) and how relevant it is to the unit you're applying to.

Extracurricular/Volunteer activities- I have no doubt that the fact that I'd been working/volunteering with children since I was 14 years old helped me immensely when I applied to pedi positions as a new grad.

Letters of Recommendation

Dear KelRN215,

Thank you for your reply. When you said clinical experience on a specific floor that you are applying for, then the experience must be very specific to the hiring unit for it to be important right?

Since obviously, experience from another dept (though in a hospital or clinical setting) won't be as valuable if you're applying to a different unit.

Also, I know you said that you applied to the same unit you worked for (and therefore knew everyone there including the nursing director). But in this case, letters of rec won't be too important since you're applying to the same place. But if you did apply to a different hospital, for example, do you happen to know how much consideration they would put into letters of rec?

Thank you for your time! :)

For my unit, we interview 10-20 applicants with plans to hire 2-4 people once or twice a year. I was informed that our HR usually gets several hundred applications for those few openings. I'm not sure how many applications make it onto my manager's desk though. My manager will ALWAYS interview internal candidates. She also will also interview you if one of her current employee recommends you such as after an internship so it would behoove you to impress your preceptor when you intern/extern. Also, she will consider you if you volunteer in her department. We don't require BSN but 95% who get interviewed have BSN degree. My manager sits in during the interviews but actually lets her employees on the panel decide who we hire. They job market is insane now compared to when I got my first RN job so good luck!

dah doh, thank you very much for your detailed reply!

I understand that your nursing director gives much more consideration to internal applicants so does this mean practically no one external can get into your department?

Do you know if this is the same for the other departments?

Thanks! :)

RunBabyRN specializes in L&D, infusion, urology.

For my unit, we interview 10-20 applicants with plans to hire 2-4 people once or twice a year. I was informed that our HR usually gets several hundred applications for those few openings. I'm not sure how many applications make it onto my manager's desk though. My manager will ALWAYS interview internal candidates. She also will also interview you if one of her current employee recommends you such as after an internship so it would behoove you to impress your preceptor when you intern/extern. Also, she will consider you if you volunteer in her department. We don't require BSN but 95% who get interviewed have BSN degree. My manager sits in during the interviews but actually lets her employees on the panel decide who we hire. They job market is insane now compared to when I got my first RN job so good luck!

I just interviewed with a manager like this. I interviewed for both units she manages, actually. I was the second choice for one of them, and I am waiting to hear back about the second. I like that she really listens to her team. There were 3 nurses from the unit for each interview. For the first unit, the candidate who got the job and I both were brought in for a second interview (not at the same time) with a different nurse.

Another time, I was the candidate edged out by a last minute internal candidate (different hospital).

It really depends! Sometimes all we get are external candidates that are new graduates and other times it's a lot of internal candidates that are med/surg nurses or CNAs that just graduated nursing school. Being an internal candidate only gets you an interview but you still need to interview well to get the job.

I'm not sure what other factors HR or my manager look for when selecting candidates to interview except for those mentioned in my previous post.

I just sit on the interview panel with a pre-selected group to interview. We don't always hire the internal candidate for various reasons. I know this next group will include several internal candidates from a med/surg nurse & ER CNA who just got their nursing license. There are also several external candidates that are med/surg nurses elsewhere. I'm not sure who else is invited but I'm sure it'll be a larger group this time.

classicdame specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

we look for: current employee who is finishing nursing program; BSN vs. ADN (transition time is faster and therefore cheaper and safer for us); flexibility in where and when they can work; whether or not we have a slot for a new nurse (neeed good preceptors and not all shifts have one or may be tooo many new people on that unit already). After those items it comes down to how they interviewed. Oh - ite nevers hurts to know somebody.

Ah, so most likely internal applicants are already favored over external, so hard. :/

Thank you very much for your time to share your experience. I appreciate it! :)

Edited by Summers3
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