Give yourself a pat on the back! You landed a nursing interview! Whether it’s your first or tenth time, the interview can be an intimidating process. Every interview is going to be slightly different and sometimes it’s overwhelming trying to figure out how you should get ready for your interview. But don’t let this shake you. Take a big breath and refocus. It’s important for you to remember the 3 P’s of getting ready for the nursing interview: Prepare, Practice, and Plan. Let’s talk about what each of these P’s mean and how you can successfully put yourself together for a nursing interview.
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Print the Material and Bring an Extra Copy.
It’s important to have your resume, cover letter, and autobiography readily available to hand out to the interviewer. Also, bring an extra copy so that you can follow along when they have questions about things you list in your resume. (Check out our post on how to write a killer nursing resume and our free nursing resource library for examples on resumes, cover letters, and autobiographies)!
Print the Material on Nice Paper.
Don’t use standard printer paper. Getting quality resume paper shows the interviewer that you are serious about the position and took the extra step to have the best presentation.
Bring a Pen and Notepad.
It’s nice to have a place to take notes at the interview. Plus, it shows that you are prepared and actively engaged.
Put on Your Outfit!
Plan your outfit before the day of your interview. Put your outfit on before the interview and make sure it still looks good and fits! When people say to “dress the part,” that doesn’t mean showing up to your nursing interview in scrubs. You want to “dress for success,” which usually means professional business attire. Plan to err on the side of professional business attire versus business casual (i.e. avoid wearing jeans and opt for nice dress pants).
Bring Questions to Ask during the Interview.
At the end of the interview, they will open up the floor to you and ask you if you have any questions for them! Always have a list of questions prepared. It shows them that you take interest in the position and helps clarify any questions that you might have about the job. Take a look at our list of example questions you should ask at the end of your interview!
Research Your Future Employer.
Before the interview, research the facility and future employer. Have a general idea of what the department or employer is about. Familiarize yourself with their mission statement, vision, values, goals, and accomplishments. Research what that job entails (i.e. what is the patient population, number of beds on the floor, etc). Having an understanding of who your future employer would be helps you make a better decision about if the job is right for you and also tells the future employer that you are interested in them.
Ask Others about Their Interview Experience.
Talk with others about their interview experience. Do they have an tips or advice to share? Is there something they wish they could have done differently? Learn from others to help improve your own experience.
Rehearse Common Interview Questions.
Find a list of common nursing interview questions and formulate quality answers for each of them. Think of many different real life scenarios that you could use as examples for the interview questions. This helps you better prepare so they do not catch you off guard! Check out our list of real nursing interview questions!
Find Someone to Help You Practice.
If at all possible, practice with someone you’re not 100% comfortable or familiar with. How about your nursing instructor, preceptor, or a classmate you don’t talk to often? Practicing with someone you don’t know well creates a more realistic interview scenario because it is an unfamiliar situation and puts more pressure on you to perform your best.
Try a Practice Run.
With the practice run, get everything ready as if it is the real deal. Bring your printed resume and cover letter. Dress the part. Wear what you will be wearing during the real interview. Print a list of common nursing interview questions and find someone who is willing to grill you on these questions. (You can find our list of nursing interview questions here)! To mix it up, have them ask you questions that they have been asked before!
Find Someone to Give you Honest Feedback.
Ask the person you practed with to give you honest feedback on how you did. Ask them what you did well? What are some areas that you could improve? Don’t take anything they say personally. Use their suggestions so you can continue to grow in your interviewing skills.
Map out Your Trip.
If possible, map out and practice the route you will take for your interview. Take traffic and unplanned road blocks into account. How long will it take for you to get there? Do you know where you will park? Make sure you overestimate your travel time.
Know a General Layout of the Facility.
Do you know where in the facility you will be interviewing? If possible, walk from where you will park your car to where the interview will take place. One of the last things you want to happen is getting lost while trying to find your way around the day of your interview.
If you’re not early to the interview, you’re late. Plan on being there at least 30 minutes early. Give yourself some time to mentally prepare. Stop by the bathroom before your interview and make sure you look your best. If you run into the interview late, you’ll definitely make an impression, but it might not be a good one.
The interview process isn’t nearly as daunting when implementing the 3 P’s: Prepare, Practice, and Plan. We want to hear from you! What are some ways that you get ready for an interview? Share in the comments below!
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