Selling myself; Interview help please!


So I have an interview at a large hospital with the nurse manager of a busy Med/Surg unit. This is for my first job as an RN, having passed the NCLEX in the beginning of July.

I met with the Nurse Recruiter on Friday and everything went well. She told me what positions were available and I expressed interest in a Cardiac unit and a med/surg unit. She told me that I met the qualifications of the job, and that the rest was up to me being able to "sell myself" to the nurse manager.

I met with the Cardiac/Thoracic unit's nurse manager. She was very pleasant, but she only asked me 2 or 3 questions! :confused: Not even a basic, "why did you choose nursing?" In order to fill the moments of silence, I asked her questions about the job and the unit, non-stop. I also asked if she had any more questions for me or if I could clarify anything for her in my resume.

Needless to say, I didn't get the job. Now I meet with the nurse manager of the med/surg unit and am worried about making a good impression and "selling myself." I have prepared by having answers to common interview questions and having a couple of questions to ask the nurse manager.

My question is, how should I approach "selling myself" if something like this happens again? How do I get to talking about myself and my experience if the nurse manager doesn't express interest in hiring me right off the bat?

Also, what questions could I ask that can in turn be used to talk about my own qualifications?

I really want this job! It's at an excellent teaching facility with a wonderful new grad residency program!


441 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg.

Well you seem to be doing fine with the guess is for that 1st lady she probably already had someone in mind if you were doing everything else right. So she was just going through the motions so she could officially hire them. Were you dressed professional and all of that?


10 Posts

I had on my suit and a lovely cream silk blouse.

If someone has someone in mind, how do I get her to at least consider me?

allnurses Guide

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 46 years experience.

Your "performance" may have had little to do with the hiring manager's decision. Don't assume that you did something wrong and need to make a significant change just because you did not get the result you wanted. The person who got the job may simply have been more qualified than you are ... and in this economy, that means a lot.

If you made it through the initial screening of the Nurse Recruiter, you probably know how to give a decent interview.

One suggestion that I give to everyone: Go into each interview displaying a keen interest in the job and in doing the kind of work that the job requires. Ask questions that focus on the patients and their needs. Show that you care about them and want to work with that type of patient. A lot of people forget to do that. Their questions all focus on "What's in it for me?" and sometimes give the impression that this particular job is only a stepping stone to what they really want. Managers prefer to hire people who WANT the type of job they have to offer: they aren't looking for people who are just settling for this job temporarily until a better one comes along.

Good luck.

Diaper, RN

87 Posts

"My question is, how should I approach "selling myself" if something like this happens again? How do I get to talking about myself and my experience if the nurse manager doesn't express interest in hiring me right off the bat? "

First of all, when you walked into the room, don't assume that the manager doesn't like you. If they don't like you, they wouldnt have called you for an interview in the first place. When I had my interview, my manager asked me many challenging questions and I thought that the manager didn't like me and there's no way I could get the position. Suprisingly, my manager told my friend (who worked in the same hospital) that I was an excellent candidate and I was hired at the end. The moral of my story is that: don't get put off by the manager's attitude. Regardless of what the manager looks like, just try your best and answer the questions.

1) When you walked into the room, take a deep breath, shake the manager's hand firmly and it shows that you're confident.

2) In response to your question of "How to sell yourself". The manager wants to get a full picture of who you are and why are you here. You should start from the beginning and tell her something interesting, eg, Did you grow up from another country? Were you an athlete? Or did you do something totally irrelevant then one day something inspires you to choose the field in nursing?

3) The manager will probably ask you: Why do you want to work in our unit? You can tell her truthfully. Did you do something meaningful while you did your clinical rotation as a student? Do you like terminally ill patients? Do you like the adrenaline rush, that's why you like to work in the critical care field? Do you like to talk to psych patients?

4) Think of some case scenarios: Your managers might ask you some case scenario questions such as: Did you discover a change of condition? Tell me a case scenario when you used your critical thinking skills. Hint: The easiest case scenario is stroke patient. eg. A patient was alert, oriented. After lunch, the patient becomes confused, has facial droop, cannot raise both arms, have difficulty speaking...etc.

5) Your manager will probably ask: Do you have any questions. 1) As a new grad, you can ask him/her about the preceptorship arrangement. How long is the preceptorship and how many preceptors you will get. 2) Are there any classes to take so you can be more prepared to work in the unit.

6) Send a thank you letter. Just say that thanks for your time and it's a pleasure meeting you. It'll show the manager that you're polite and makes you more outstanding.

Good luck with everything ! Please let us know the updates :)


10 Posts

Thanks everyone for the well wishes and advice! I had the interview today for the medsurg unit. I felt that it went pretty well. The manager asked me really good questions (ones that I had prepared for) but then I got a bit flustered when she asked me some clinical scenario questions!

As far as what she asked me, she started off with "tell me about yourself" and then several interview standards such as why I am interested in Medsurg, about my clinicals, and my work experience.

She asked me what I would do if a physician ordered a bolus of NS for a pt. admitted with CHF, CRF, and DM. She also asked me what I would do if I found the same patient diaphoretic and non responsive. I tried answering her the best I could (it felt like my clinical professor interrogating me), but of course I thought of better things to say on the way back home.

We talked for an hour and I guess I will find out in a couple of days whether or not I am offered a position.

Even if I don't get this job, this was a really good interview experience. I have pored over interview advice threads and have gleaned so much valuable information.

teeniebert, LPN

563 Posts

Good for you!!! I had 2 interviews yesterday and I'm hoping to get a 2nd interview at one place or the other. They both said they'd be calling on Monday or Tuesday to let me I'll be here either celebrating or whining about sending out MORE resumes. 2 interviews out of 24 resumes/applications isn't bad, is it?


78 Posts

Congratulations!!! Great news (:


12 Posts

I just wanted to ask you how you repsonded to the interview case scenario question about the pt w/ CHF, CRF, and DM who later became diaphoretic?


10 Posts

A year later, I still remember what I said!

I told her I suspected the patient was hypoglycemic (in my head: cold and clammy needs some candy, hot and dry sugar high) and because the patient was unresponsive to do the ABCs and get help right away

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