Whether you’re an experienced nurse or just out of nursing school, interviewing for a job can be stressful. The best plan of attack, as with most anything, is to be prepared. The following are a few simple tips to prepare.
• Take a copy of you resume with you. Even if you have previously submitted a copy, whether in person, mail, email, or by fax, make sure you take a hard copy of your resume to the interview. Things can get lost in the shuffle, and just because the human resources department has a copy, does not necessarily mean the person interviewing you will have received a copy.
• Dress appropriately. This should go without saying, but I have been shocked, many times, by what I’ve seen nurses showing up in for a job interview. The best rule for most interviews is to show up in clothes similar to what you would be wearing on the job. With nursing, this is a little different. Unless you are coming to the interview right before or after a shift at your current job, and the interviewer already knows this, it is best not to wear scrubs. As a nurse, you want to present a professional appearance, so clothing appropriate for a professional office job would be best. No jeans, sweats, or sneakers please. And conservative is best. Nothing low cut, or too short.
• Never bring up salary at your initial interview unless is first brought up to you by the interviewer. In most nursing facilities, salary is not discussed until a job offer is made. But, be prepared ahead of time for questions regarding salary. It is fine to put negotiable on the application, but know ahead of time what you would actually expect, what the norm is for someone with your experience at this facility and the minimum you are willing to take.
• Practice your answers for the most frequently asked interview questions, such as: what is your biggest strength, your biggest weakness, (you want a weakness that can actually be a positive, such as caring too much, or working too hard, etc.), what would you do if you saw that a co-worker had a bad attitude, or wasn’t carrying their weight.
• It should go without saying, but be on time for the interview. Allow yourself extra time for the little emergencies that might crop up such as traffic, detours, getting gas and having to stop at more than one station because one of them is out of fuel, (yes, it happens).
Being prepared for the interview is the biggest step towards getting your dream job, don’t blow these simple measures.
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