The Ultimate Guide to New Grad Nurse Interview Questions

The Ultimate Guide to New Grad Nurse Interview Questions

It’s official, you just found the most comprehensive guide to new grad nurse interview questions! By the time you finish this article, you’ll be fully prepared to rock the interview process.

With years of experience interviewing healthcare professionals, we know exactly what hiring managers are looking for when it comes to new grad nurse interview questions and answers.

Now, we’re going to share it all with you!

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

  • The most common questions and how to answer them
  • A few less-expected questions and how to handle curveballs
  • 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!

Interview Questions and Answers | The Ultimate Guide to New Grad Nurse Interview Questions

Common New Grad Nurse Interview Questions and Answers

Regardless of your profession, there are certain questions you always want to prepare for when it comes to interviewing.

Consider the following individualized questions carefully, and prepare answers for each one before your next interview. Remember that the answers to these questions could make you stand out over others as a culture fit.

  • 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.

We recommend reading each question and answer pairing, then taking a few minutes to write down an answer that fits your personality.

This kind of exercise will not only help you prepare for upcoming interviews, it will also help you hone in on your most marketable skills and passions.

Here we go!

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.”

Keep in mind that each of the questions listed above can be asked in a number of ways.

For example, “Have you interacted with any patient families who are unhappy with your care?” is the same as:

  • How do you handle people who are upset with you?
  • Have you ever dealt with conflict with patients or their families?
  • Describe how you handle unpleasant interactions while at work.

It’s important to spend some time considering the different ways each of the questions above may be “asked” to you.

Take a few moments now to write down variations of questions that fit with the answers you’ve created. This exercise will help you quickly identify the foundation of any interview question and easily recall your answers without stumbling.

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

Possible Questions | The Ultimate Guide to New Grad Nurse Interview Questions

Possible New Grad Nursing Interview Questions

The hardest thing about preparing for new grad nurse interview questions is the unpredictability of any given interview.

The fact is, each interview will be unique because of the person conducting it. We’ll cover this in more detail later.

For now, note that while every interview will have an element of the unknown, you can actually prepare for the unpredictable.

The trick is practicing a few interview questions that seem a bit outrageous, so that even if you do find yourself a bit stumped, you’re calm under pressure.

We’ve gathered a few possible questions that might throw you for a loop. We recommend reading each one, then taking a few minutes to write down your answer.

  • 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 Tips | The Ultimate Guide to New Grad Nurse Interview Questions

General Interview Tips for New Grad Nurses

According to, 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.

Many of these tips make sense without further detail, but 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

This tip is straight forward but can be hard to achieve when nerves set in. The key is to prepare as much as possible for each individual interview to ensure the nerves don’t have a chance to set in!

Interviews only need to be stressful if you aren’t prepared. But you’re taking steps to prepare yourself in ways that will allow you to be authentic, insightful and confident.

When you leave the nerves at the door, your true personality can shine through.

It’s okay to be excited, but prepare enough for each interview that your confidence outweighs any anxiousness.

Remember Your Body Language

You may not initially realize how powerful body language can be.

You want to send the right signals during an interview. This means paying attention to what your body language is saying.

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.

Learn more about mirroring and how it can help you in interviews here.

Working with a Recruiter | The Ultimate Guide to New Grad Nurse Interview Questions

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.

The relationship you build with your recruiter is invaluable! It’s their job to have your best interest at heart.

Additionally, they’re number one focus is finding you the perfect job and supporting you during the interview process.

What could be better?

SEE ALSO: How Do Staffing Agencies Work for Your Ultimate Benefit?

Travel Nursing | The Ultimate Guide to New Grad Nurse Interview Questions

How Travel Nursing as a Young Nurse Helps in Future Interviews

Gaining experience early in your career is crucial. After you’ve graduated and gotten your “feet wet”, you might consider travel nursing as a way to build your resume.

Many agencies only require one year of nursing experience before you can begin traveling.

Travel nursing is an incredible way to fulfill your passion for nursing while also traveling to new places and gaining great experience along the way.

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

SEE ALSO: How to Get Nursing Experience with an Awesome Travel Job

Conclusion | The Ultimate Guide to New Grad Nurse Interview Questions


When it comes to acing the interview, preparation is key! Our guide to new grad nurse interview questions and tips should have you feeling ready to take on the world.

Get inspired to showcase your best self by:

  • Practicing interview questions.
  • Going over general tips like researching the company and dressing for success.
  • Working with a recruiter to streamline the process.
  • Considering travel nursing for an exciting way to build your resume.


How did our new grad nurse interview questions help you feel more prepared?

Share with us in the comments below!



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