How to Ace Your Nursing Interview

Are you a new grad who just landed a job interview?

Get ready to learn everything you need to know about nursing interviews, like:

  • Questions you may be asked and how to answer them
  • General interview tips for new grad nurses
  • The benefits of working with a recruiter when job searching
  • Travel nursing and how it helps future interviews

Let’s dive in!


Common New Grad Nurse Interview Questions and Answers

Consider the following individualized questions carefully, and prepare answers for each one before your next interview.

  • What can you bring to our team?
  • Who are your biggest influences?
  • Do you have any hobbies?
  • Describe a challenge you faced and how you overcame it.
  • What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Why do you think you would fit at our company?
  • Do you have any questions for us?



Now we’re ready to dig into nursing-specific questions.

1. What sparked your passion for nursing?

Sample Answer:

“Caring for others and making a difference has always been important to me. Nursing gives me the opportunity to do both!”

2. Describe some specific ways that clinical rotations prepared you for a nursing career?

Sample Answer:  

“My time spent learning at [ location ] was invaluable. Rotations allowed me to learn intangibles like bedside manner and actual hands-on experience.”

3. What are the best and worst things about being a nurse?

Sample Answer:  

“The best thing is seeing a patient in good health head home after they received quality care. The worst is when I have a patient who I know is in pain even though we have done all we can.”

4. What are your certifications and specialties, if any?

List your certifications and specialties.

5. Working with doctors and other medical professionals can be difficult; how you deal with workplace stress?

Sample Answer:

“I find it’s important to keep the lines of communication open between myself and colleagues. It helps me do my best work and de-escalates stressful situations. I also have a good balance between work and personal time to ensure I don’t get stressed.”

6. How would you handle a difficult patient?

Sample Answer:

“I know that every situation is unique and as their caregiver, it will be my job to provide them every comfort possible. Patients are often in pain, scared or anxious. It is understandable that in a difficult situation, people may act difficult. Staying calm and providing compassionate care is my goal.”

7. Have you interacted with any patient families who are unhappy with your care?

Sample Answer:

“I have not had this situation happen to me yet, although I know it is inevitable due to the high stress of having a loved one in the hospital. I plan to do my best to listen to them. Rather than let a family member upset me, I will simply listen to all of their concerns and strive to ensure their needs are being met.”

Once you feel comfortable with the questions above, it’s time to practice the potential curveballs.


Possible New Grad Nursing Interview Questions

The hardest thing about preparing for new grad nurse interview questions is the unpredictability of any given interview, but you can actually prepare for the unpredictable!

The hardest thing about preparing for new grad nurse interview questions is the unpredictability of any given interview, but you can actually prepare for the unpredictable!

We’ve gathered a few possible questions that might throw you for a loop.

  • How do you handle your emotions when a patient dies?
  • In your opinion, do nurses get sick days?
  • Describe what cultural competency means to you.
  • What happens if your shift replacement did not arrive on time or at all?
  • Have you ever been told to sacrifice quality care for efficient care by a supervisor? How did you handle this?

You may be able to think of 50 questions just like this based on what you experienced during your schooling and rotations. Take time to consider all the “wacky” or “difficult” questions that may be thrown at you.

You’ll be glad you did!


General Interview Tips for New Grad Nurses

According to livecareer.com, there are ten things to remember when preparing for an interview:

  1. Research the company thoroughly.
  2. Review common interview questions (check!).
  3. Dress for success.
  4. Arrive on time.
  5. Be polite and courteous.
  6. Be authentic.
  7. Remember your body language.
  8. Ask questions.
  9. Let your confidence sell you.
  10. Follow up with a thank you.

Let’s look closer at a few of the more important ones.

Research the Company

Ensure that you have a solid foundation of company knowledge to build upon when preparing for each individual interview.

Take time to visit their website. Look for keywords and phrases in their mission statement, “About Us” section, and especially in the job description.

Be Authentic

Interviews only need to be stressful if you aren’t prepared – but doing so will allow you to show up to your interview feeling authentic, insightful and confident.

Interviews only need to be stressful if you aren’t prepared - but doing so will allow you to show up to your interview feeling authentic, insightful and confident.

Remember Your Body Language

Body language can be powerful, so you want to send the right signals during an interview. Remember that things like smiling, good posture and active listening translates as positive.

Slouching, looking off into the distance and mumbling have a negative effect.


The Benefits of Working With a Recruiter

Did you know that the most effective way to secure the perfect job is by working with a skilled recruiter?

Not only can a recruiter help you hone your interviewee skills, they also take a lot of the stress off your shoulders by finding potential positions for you.



How Travel Nursing as a Young Nurse Helps in Future Interviews

Gaining experience early in your career is crucial. After you’ve graduated and built one year of nursing experience, you might consider travel nursing as a way to build your resume.

Working in a variety of locations ensures that you check off many boxes that hiring managers are looking to fill like:

  • Adaptability
  • Works well with others
  • Flexibility
  • Cultural competency
  • Independently motivated

Preparation Is Key

When it comes to acing the interview, preparation is key! Taking the time to familiarize yourself with the process can make all the difference.

Want the support of a recruiter with your career? Talk to us today.



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