5 Ways to Prepare for Your RN Interview

No matter which industry you’re applying to, the interview process can be nerve-wracking. You want to show that all your hard work to this point is worthy of the recruiter’s attention, but you certainly don’t want to say or do the “wrong” thing.

Even individuals who feel quite comfortable in an interview setting can benefit from tips and techniques to improve the chances of landing their dream job. Here are some key points registered nurses (RNs) should consider before sitting down in the interviewee’s chair.

1)Acknowledge Nervousness Before You Get in the Room

One way to stave off nervousness in the room is to understand what might be making you anxious leading up to the interview. A big one is second-guessing your qualifications to do the job, sometimes known as “imposter syndrome.”

Harvard Business Review provides a good description, describing imposter syndrome as “doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud. It disproportionately affects high-achieving people, who find it difficult to accept their accomplishments. Many question whether they’re deserving of accolades.”

Many people struggle with a lack of confidence in their lives, but it is often unfounded. Remind yourself that you were talented and qualified enough to successfully master your schooling — especially if you’ve progressed your skill set with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.

Consider any questions that might make you sweat. A good exercise is to write down your answers ahead of time and practice your responses.

For some jobs, you may have gotten wind from friends or colleagues that the interviewer is “tough.” Try to keep in mind they are looking to hire someone just as much as you’re looking to be hired. You’re filling a need they have. Be wary of an interviewer’s reputation passed onto you and focus on your experience with the person and company.

2) Research the Hiring Organization

It might seem obvious that you’d know the job you’re interviewing for and type of employer. Still, many individuals mistakenly go into a job interview without researching those two essential aspects.

You should do as much advance research as possible to fully understand the company and/or facility — including its mission statement, values or any special recognition the group has earned. Having that background information allows you to speak more confidently about why you want to be a part of that organization.

Also, know where you’re going and how long it will take to get there. Plan out potential traffic delays, where to park and exactly which building the interview will take place. The last impression you want to make is being late or flustered because you got lost.

3) Practice Your Answers

No one can know for sure exactly what questions will be asked during the interview, but you can prepare for “the basics” of a nursing interview like:

  • Why did you decide to become a nurse?
  • What are some examples of stressful situations you’ve been placed in and how did you handle them?
  • What are your greatest strengths? How about weaknesses?
  • Do you work better alone or within a team (and why)?
  • What do you think the biggest challenges are for nurses today, and how would you mitigate them?
  • What are your healthcare career goals (e.g., where do you see yourself in two years, five years, more)?
  • Why do you want to work here?

Of course, there will likely be more specific “clinical” questions such as, “What would you do if a patient presented with XYZ symptoms?” Those should be the easiest ones, as your training has prepared you to think on your feet in such situations.

Remember: Don’t be afraid to take your time with any of your answers. It’s not meant to be a race to the end of the interview.

4) Be Prepared to Ask Questions

An interview should never be one-sided. Rather, treat it like a conversation between two professionals. Typically, the interviewer will ask, “Do you have any questions for me?”

It’s best to have a handful of questions prepared, in case any of the ones you’d planned to ask have already been discussed throughout the interview. You may want to inquire about something intangible like work culture or anything logistical such as hours, overtime and paid time off (PTO).

5) Don’t Forget to Be Yourself

Despite any nervousness or anxiety you feel when you get in the room, the best approach you can take is to just be yourself. Interviewers are in their position because they’re (hopefully) good at their job — and they can pick up on authenticity versus someone who is attempting to be someone they are not. Remember, personality can be an equally valuable nursing skill.

The hard truth is that not every interview is rewarded with a job offer. You may have made a rock-star impression and possess all the skills the employer is looking for and still not be a good fit for the employer, or they for you.

However, by doing everything you can to prepare, you are that much more likely to knock it out of the park time after time. Eventually, you will find the job that deserves the blood, sweat and tears you’ve weathered to get this far in your career.

Learn more about UL Lafayette’s online RN to BSN program.


Harvard Business Review: Stop Telling Women They Have Imposter Syndrome

HealthCare Support: 6 Questions Often Asked in Interviews for Healthcare Jobs

Indeed: Nurse Interview Questions

Nurse.org: Twelve Job Interview Tips for Nervous Nurses

Onward Healthcare: 6 Interview Tips for Nurses Who Hate Interviewing

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