What questions SHOULD be asked at interview?

Nurses General Nursing


  • Home Health Columnist / Guide
    Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

As a new Manager of a nursing department, I have an open position due to retirement. I've started getting resumes and making call backs, even interviewed 3 persons but have felt really inept and want to make efficient use of my time and interviewee's time. Aware of what questions you legally can't ask

First person was financially WAY out of the ballpark ( boy SNF and rehab facilities paying well)...so I now do a telephone interview to see if salary inline with what I can offer.

I'm asking:

Reason for job change

Experience as related to position

Knowledge of home care

Computer experience

I inform them of job requirements, hours WE/holidays, bene's then ask

Strength/weakness question

Describe a difficult situation and how you handled it

What else can I or should I be doing?

I check state website to make sure license active too.

Any good websites/articles---need management books for advice too.

Looking for manager mentor too....Thanks in advance!


859 Posts

I don't need to do this, because we contract with a credentialling company that does it for us--but I presume you ask them at some point (in writing or verbally) whether they've ever had any action taken against any licensure they've held and if so, why.


820 Posts

not sure if you have it in your state, but in Missouri, when we renew our licenses we have to fill out stuff like,

have you every been convicted of a crime (excluding traffic offenses), Have you ever taken legal, or illegal drugs or alcohol to the point you have been unable to practice and perform your work duties, have you misrepresented yourself as having a degree, certification, compentency that you have not actually been granted. Have you practiced outside of your legal scope. Stuff like that. Not sure if that helps, but I would also check with the Division of Aging, and make sure that these people dont have any type of abuse history. but then again, I really dont know what is legal to ask, or not.

good luck!



1,024 Posts

My new boss was really laid back about the job interview. I was sweating, waiting for the dreaded weakness/strength questions and none of that happened. We talked casually...she asked what I wanted to get out of this position, etc. I think you can formulate an accurate impression without drilling them with questions. We (in WI) have to have a background check done before they can hire you. That includes all of the questions that Brandy posed.

BTW, everyone (OK, not EVERYONE) hates the weakness/strength questions and usually fills it in with lies/half truths to make themselves look better/more employable....


38,333 Posts

It sounds like you are the only one doing the questioning. I would really, really, look into the legalities. Everything mentioned sounds fine to me. But I would like to remind you of a bad experience I had: group interview where many questions which were as specific as specific can be about the previous situation which was very bad. As a for instance: should an interviewee be asked about their involvement if law enforcement was involved? Golly gee, how many people would be proud enough of such a thing (or brave enough) to go around bragging about it? Questions similar to this, of any questionable nature, have no business in a job interview. If those managers wanted to gossip, and verify their gossip, there were other venues. From your posts, you sound like you would never go anywhere like this. But it does happen. So be careful when you do have to have a person talk about negatives. Many people get smeared by the negative gossip/truth about a place/incident who never were involved; but why should that keep an indiv from getting an equal chance at a position? Sorry, so long, but couldn't think of a way to condense it. Want to reiterate that your examples sound like you are on the right track.


629 Posts

Don't forget the ever popular: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? question. I hate that.

On my last interview I had a really difficult question: Describe a failure you experienced in your last position and how it affected you.

Uh, what? Let me think of the time that I flubbed up the most and we'll discuss it ad nauseum. Whatever.


469 Posts

When l help with interviews for prospective students one of the questions deals with team membership - ie how do they work as a team memebr - ie itroducing themsleves etc - is a student or work mate is difficult what steps would they take

Another deals with their preparation for ongoing study - what measure have they put in place to a possible change of life style (here you are looking for family support, babt sitting arrangements etc)

Another with the committment to life style shanges - this may not be appropriate

Another deals with awareness of legal issues and commuication skills - thier knowledge and their understanding of the importance of these issue particularly in relation to the aged (for me)

Amother thing we look at is their preparedness to go our and look for ways to improve themselvs ie - study, volunteering research - etc

These are just a few thoughts that spring to mind - hope they are helpful (remebering that they may be at a totally different level of expertise)


2,719 Posts

A difficult senerio question; something that actually has happened.

I think, how would your co-workers describe you can be revealing.

Describe a typical emergency senerio that you see on your unit that requires a nurse to be very knowlegable an able to make quick aacrate decisions.

This is a very fair question expecially since they are also interviewing you. What do you expect of your employer? AND What do you expect of me as your boss?

Asking the above can insure you both are on the same sheet of music from the start. Often employees do not reveal this and you are as entitled to know thier expectations as they are to know yours. Get it out in the open in the beginning makes for a better relationship. Giving the candidate an oportunity like this to tell you these things can be very empowereing and reasuring to both of you. JMO as I am not in a hiring position.


37 Posts

This website has a link to interview questions from the homepage.


(There are questions to ask for general nursing positions and management positions). I saw some new ones there.

I had an interview with Veteran's Admin. recently. She asked me to describe a situation where I displayed "thinking outside the box". I had kind of a block there I guess. My whole career has been "outside the box". So I came up with a vague, probably lame answer and was willing to write that question off. But she wouldn't give it up, kept pushing me. I am not sure what she got out of that, seeing me squirm. I also had an interview where they used a preprinted questionairre. The interviewer just read off the questions and I felt like I had to answer in "sound bites" that would fit within the assigned "response" section. No personal involvement for the interviewer. I think we should start a thread about "worst interview experiences."

hoolahan, ASN, RN

1 Article; 1,721 Posts

Specializes in Home Health.

Oh yeah,PLEASE don't keep the paper in front of you writing asking the questions in rote form from it. I agree, feels like you have to answer in sound bytes.

I don't know why anyone asks the weakness question. Like anyone will actually say, "I'm really lazy and like to call out sick a lot." LOL! Ditch that one Karen, just ask their strentghs.

How do you deal w conflict?

Love the describe a diff situation and how you got out of it.

I would stay away from the lifestyle questions. You tell them the hours/days they are expected, and that should be enough for them to make their own determination of whther they can fulfill those requirements. Not allowed to ask about if they have a car, if they have children, possiby discriminatory.

I also thik the what do you expect from a manager? or what qualities do youn like your supervisor to have? Just asking the question, IMHO, puts the interviewer on a diff level to me. Shows they are interested in what you have to say.

I have done interviewing only a few times, I hated it.

Home Health Columnist / Guide


11 Articles; 18,056 Posts

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.
Originally posted by Agnus

This is a very fair question expecially since they are also interviewing you. What do you expect of your employer? AND What do you expect of me as your boss?

Thank's Agnus, that's a good and fair question.


Well, the first nurse when I asked her weakness said: multi tasking.

Intake requires mutitasking continously with shifting priorities by the minute! Knew she was not right then.

Thanks, chrn for the link! I checked it out : good questions to ask and it also lead me to a managers website!!


223 Posts

These are very sound questions but when I interview I also ask a question that can demonstrate a persons personality and whether they are able to fit into the team.

You could end up with a team like mine, where all my qualified staff have, in the past, been very senior managers. Whilst they are extremely committed to excellent care and dedicated to the point of "saints" they can also be very critical of managment.

A favorite question of mine is what code of professional conduct means most to you and why

Good luck as it is not an easy task

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