Just Interviewed for an ER job and have a question


The interview was a group interview and the first part was us filling out a packet with timed activities on it. We had 10 seconds to complete the first activity, then 3 minutes to do the second, which was a longer version of the first activity, basically. We also had to randomly select 5 questions and were given 25 minutes to answer the questions we picked. We had to pick 5 numbers between 1 and 17 and the numbers we picked corresponded with questions on the sheet and those were the questions we had to answer. We were told that this was because the ER is fast paced and you have to think fast, etc.

Many didn't finish, myself among them :( I am nervous that this will be viewed as a negative. Has anyone else had an interview like this? Does running out of time disqualify you, even if you were close to the end? I know that speed is a factor, accuracy is too... I know that I was accurate, but just not fast enough to complete it. Also I didn't get all 5 of my questions answered. They were pretty involved questions and some took me more than 5 minutes to answer.

Plus we were interviewed and grilled as a group, questions randomly selected, I don't feel like I had a chance to dazzle anyone. There were 11 of us, and we weren't the only group they interviewed, 2 slots available. I guess I better get back to searching. :-/

Specializes in Emergency.

5 minutes, geez please tell me they were short answer or essay? The CEN only averages 1 min/question, but that's multiple choice. Best of luck to you!


413 Posts

Specializes in Emergency Nursing. Has 5 years experience.

Were they nursing judgement questions? I wonder if the test was actually to see how you react under pressure, not to see if you would actually finish the assignment. Like, the people who panicked or got teary-eyed might not be cut out for ED.

In my previous college degree I was a Residential Assistant in the dorms, and our interview had a group decision-making activity. We had to decide who got a college scholarship, ranking candidates, and a panel watched us talk. The panel was looking for candidates who didn't push their ideas on other people and facilitated group conversation, because those were qualities they wanted for their RA's. They didn't care at all how we ranked the people for the scholarship.

Regardless, how stressful! Like an interview isn't bad enough! Good luck and I hope you get a call back!


165 Posts

They were mostly behavioral, but not the ones I'm used to getting. I had to think a bit harder about what I was going to say and how to phrase it, and then try to write it out. There were 5 questions, we were given 25 minutes to answer them, so that broke down to about 5 minutes a question. Blah. I applied for another ED residency today, so fingers crossed if I don't get this one (and I don't expect to) maybe that will be the one.

Specializes in Emergency. Has 21 years experience.


Am i correct in assuming this was interviewing new grads only?


165 Posts

There was a mix of new grads and experienced RNs

Has 8 years experience.

Wow, I haven't heard of interview techniques you have described. I assume it would be nerve wracking. I have worked in ICU and the ED and have never been grilled like that. Make sure the ED is where you want to be. There are times I still wish I was in the ICU. The ED has its fair share of challenges. Namely, seeing patients that don't need to be in the ED. Nothing frustrates me more----sorry for my little rant.

Specializes in Emergency/Cath Lab. Has 6 years experience.

Interesting. Provide enough squeeze and see how people crack. I have never heard of that interview technique.


188 Posts

Specializes in ED.

Wow I don't really see how rapidly "reading" a question and responding rapidly "in writing" at all corresponds with a capacity for the kind of quick-thinking you need in the ER. Nursing, especially in the ER, is both a physical and mental game. I ran track in high school. I got faster by training to get faster. I am 2 years into working in a super busy NYC ER and I am at least four times as fast as when I started. But I couldn't have started at this pace - you have to learn ER prioritization, and exercise that rapid assessment to rapid action muscle. Sitting in a chair reading and writing quickly is testing a whole other thing I think!

Don't be discouraged - good luck with the residency - and just trust the process - I seriously felt slow as molasses at the beginning - speed will come but it should develop along with competency and understanding!