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I feel like I failed my interview

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I recently interviewed for an OR New Grad Fellowship position at my "dream" hospital. After a lot of thought and OR shadowing experiences, I am 100% confident that surgery is my calling and I absolutely want to be a scrub/circ nurse/periop RN. Prior, I literally had to jump through hoops to get in contact with the HR recruiter (attending career fairs and bugging the HR representatives to forward my resume to the HR recruiter for the OR, etc.) and felt confident after my phone interview. The recruiter stated that he was very impressed with my resume and cover letter and was eager to direct it towards the hiring manager.

Two weeks later, I had my in-person interview with the hiring manager. It started to go downhill...

1) Interview was scheduled at 11AM, I come to the hospital at 10:00 (I'm always early), I wait until 10:45AM, I call the manager's phone number to let her know I was here (I was instructed to do so in the email) and she tells me if I can wait for 15-20 minutes because they were in a meeting. Oops, I quickly apologize and said yes I can wait..while feeling guilty.

2) One of the nurse leaders eventually comes to get me, it was 11:05 and the prolonged wait had made me anxious.

3) I go in and realized that I would be having a group interview with all four nursing leaders for each OR team...I thought it was just one and that threw me off guard.

4) The hiring manager that I called ended up not being able to make it and ended up coming for the next interviewee...

However, during the interview, one of the question and first one was: "Why do you want to go into surgery?"

I had that question asked during my phone interview and I was able to answer it exactly the way I wanted since I was in my PJs, with a cup of tea, reading off my notes on the computer...I didn't anticipate that I would get choked up in the middle of answering the question. I have a very personal experience related to surgery as well as the hospital and really wanted to share it. However, I felt myself choking up near the middle and didn't want to cry in the middle of the interview and ended up awkwardly saying "and, yeah...". There was an awkward silence from everyone and they were very gracious to continue with the interview. Throughout the rest of the interview, all of the nursing leaders were kind but I felt that I had let the opportunity slip.

I really don't want to let this opportunity go but I am unsure with how to redeem myself...I plan on applying to a different hospital within a week if I don't hear back but I'm just so disappointed in myself. I felt that I should have just continued with the reason even if I ended up bawling my eyes out, at least I would have been able to explain why I want to be a Periop nurse.

I apologize for the long 'rant', and really appreciate any advice or insight. Has anyone ever had this experience, what happened and did you get the job? I really want to email the HR recruiter for the OR and ask for a redo, or even the hiring manager directly but I don't want to come off as rude or creepy...What should I do?

Devon Rex, ADN, BSN

Specializes in Rehab, Ortho-Spine, Med-Surg, & Psych. Has 5 years experience.

Hello!

It is very common for interviewees to get nervous during interviews... they know that. I would just write a short letter or a card thanking them for the opportunity and reiterating the reason why you want to be an OR nurse (a short version). This way you get two things done at once. Make yourself available if they have further questions for you, but I wouldn't flat out ask for another interview.

That's my 2 cents. Hope it helps!

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 43 years experience.

I agree about the "thank you" note ... but stay away from the personal experience that makes you cry. Far away. They don't want to hire somebody who is going to get all choked up every time they are reminded of a previous personal experience. Keep the thank you note ... warm & personable -- but professional.

Good luck.

hey Yive, before I even read your post I wanted to write this: if that's your own photo you are using as an avatar you really should consider changing it. Especially if you're going to be posting information about how you did in interviews and such. The people who interview you have a decent chance of being members of this forum!

Don't freak out yet. I think we all tend to remember things as worse than they actually were and beat ourselves up about stupid things that others may not have even picked up on.

Don't send an email asking for a redo. In your thank you letter, maybe include some things they had mentioned to you during the interview. "Thank you for your time. I was so excited to learn more about the OR atmosphere at this hospital and especially liked blah blah blah about the OR/hospital. I look forward to hearing from you." Or something like that. Basically, be specific. Don't write a generic thank you. But do it in a way that you aren't writing a gut-wrenching personal novella. Professional with just enough flare to show that you were paying attention and really thought everything through.

Go buy and send out those thank you notes now, too. Managers sometimes make decisions very quickly!

Good advise given to you thus far. As the others have stated: Don't ask for a redo interview. I believe we know in gut when we have fallen short in our efforts. And so I trust your instincts regarding the interview. Chalk it up to a learning experience. Or maybe this just wasn't the right opportunity for you.

When I graduated from nursing school last year, I had my heart set on a NICU position. I came into the interview armed with statistics and good reasons why I wanted to be in the NICU. However, the NM and assistant NM had the most low-key personalities I have ever encountered. I wondered at times, if I should check their pulses.

I knew when I left the interview that I wouldn't be offered the job. I was crushed. But in retrospect, I wouldn't have been a good fit with the unit. If the NM and assistant NM were any indication of the tone of the unit, I was way too an intense personality.

Stay away from personal stories and getting choked up. Keep it friendly, yet professional.

Don't worry. You will find your spot. And remember, it is okay to take notes into the interview. I always do. Just note cards with key points, not long written-out paragraphs.

Good luck!

Thank you for the advice and I apologize for the late response! Graduation and family events have kept me busy and unable to view and respond until now.

I forgot to mention that I did send the nurse managers a thank you email, for future reference, is it better to send a physical card instead?

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 43 years experience.

You might get differing opinions on this ...

But I prefer e-mail -- because it is faster. A paper card can take several days to reach someone within a large hospital system. By then, it might be too late. The decision may have been made already. An e-mail will get there fast.

hey Yive, before I even read your post I wanted to write this: if that's your own photo you are using as an avatar you really should consider changing it. Especially if you're going to be posting information about how you did in interviews and such. The people who interview you have a decent chance of being members of this forum!

Hi, thanks for the advise!

This isn't an actual photo of me but an actor that I am a fan of - I wanted to use that instead of the default entertainment pictures that the site provided. However, I can see how it could be questioned - thanks for the input!

Don't know how helpful this would be, but I found out over time that using personal experiences backfired for me. Couldn't say why, but that is how it turned out. So now I stay far away from talking about any personal experience during a job interview, especially if it concerns my "intent". Apparently it is not a viable strategy for some.