5 Questions to Ask at Your Job Interview

When you are interviewing for a position, traditionally, you will be the one answering the questions, not asking them—but you should definitely ask some.

When you are interviewing for a position, traditionally, you will be the one answering the questions, not asking them. However, your interview should be just as much about whether the company a good fit for you, as it is about whether or not you are a good fit for the company.

At the end of the interview, you will likely be asked, “Are there any questions you have for me?” or some variation of that. Saying that you have no questions could make you look too passive and uninterested, and asking the wrong questions, such as only inquiring about compensation or benefits, could indicate to the interviewer that you are interested in the position for the “wrong” reasons. Instead, ask the following to ensure the job you’re interviewing for is the one, while positioning you to come across as a truly interested candidate looking to add value to the organization.

  • What can you tell me about the company’s culture?
  • What would your current employees say are the best and worst things about working here?
  • What challenges could I expect to encounter in this role?
  • How would you expect someone as myself to do better in this role than its previous occupant?
  • How do you see this company advancing or evolving over the next three to five years?

These questions allow you to get a feel for not only how the company aligns with your day to day life, by asking about culture, challenges, and expectations, but also how it fits into your larger career goals, by inquiring about the future of the company—and you’ll seem interested in more than just the salary.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Tricky Nursing Interview Questions (And How to Answer Them)

The pay may be great, but that isn’t the answer to give when asked, “Why do you want to work here?” Here’s how to answer that and other hard interview questions.

Interviewing, in general, isn’t easy, but some questions prove tougher than others. Here are three questions that notoriously trip up even the most seasoned nurse and how best to answer them.

“Tell me about yourself.”

While not technically a question, this can be one of the hardest parts of any interview. While some people love talking about themselves (research suggests this is simply because it feels good), others do not, and even if you do like talking about yourself, landing in the sweet spot between giving the interviewer too little and sharing too much can be tricky, especially if you’re an anxious or nervous interviewee.

Instead of sharing your life story, and giving away too many personal details which may reflect poorly upon you, keep in mind that the interviewer is asking this because they want to know your background, more than anything, and a bit about your personality. Cover the basics about your education, professional experience, career goals, and strengths, while tying in some clues about your personality, such as, “I’ve always loved children and I’m upbeat by nature, so pediatric nursing was a seamless fit for me.”

“Why do you want to work here?”

The truthful answer to that may be, “Look, lady, it’s because I need a job,” or, “The pay is GREAT,” but those answers are not what the interviewer is looking for—and should definitely not come out of your mouth at any point during the interview process. They don’t want to hire any ol’ nurse, just as you don’t want to work at any ol’ hospital, so do your research, not only so you can impress them by knowing they were ranked #1 for neurosurgery by so-and-so publication, but so you can see if they are the right fit for you, as well.

Before you interview, Google them and read up on the organization, including their corporate values and culture, and be prepared to tell them why you’d be a good fit to work there. For example, perhaps the facility caters to a population you prefer to work with, they use progressive methods you are eager to learn, or have a reputation for professional advancement that aligns with your career goals. Or maybe it’s something as simple as they are a small practice with a family feel, and you are tired of working in hospitals where you hardly see the same person twice. Whatever it is that truly interests you in working there, from a professional standpoint, find a way to convey that in a way that shows you’re excited to be a part of what they’re doing.

“What are your weaknesses?”

No one likes to own up to their faults, particularly not in a setting where you’re trying to impress. However, we are all human. We all mess up. We all have less than desirable traits. And pretending like you don’t just comes across and being inauthentic and dishonest, and those are not desirable traits in an employee, let alone a nurse.

Whatever your weaknesses may be, find a way to tell the interviewer what you have learned from them, showing you are committed to self-improvement and professional growth. It is a best practice to sandwich your weakness between two positive attributes. For example, if you sometimes feel overwhelmed, try saying something along the lines of, “I’m committed to providing a high level of patient care, but sometimes I find myself getting a little overwhelmed when a patient or their family asks a lot of questions. I know that’s just the patient and their family wanting to be well-informed about their care, though, so I’ve learned to be more understanding, as a result.”

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

10 Interview Tips for Nurses

Interviewing for a new nursing job? Here are 10 tips to help you make sure you are well-prepared and set up for success on the big day.

by Deborah Swanson

Interviewing for a job can be nerve-wracking, especially if it’s your first job out of nursing school. However, there are several steps you can take to make sure you are well-prepared and set up for success on the big day. Here are 10 tips that can help make any nursing interview go smoothly:

1. Plan Ahead for the Interview

Research parking options and plan out your route beforehand. Google Maps desktop version has a feature that lets you forecast how long it will take to get your destination at particular times of day, such as rush hour. Check the weather and try on clothing the night before to decide on an outfit. You should wear professional clothing — suits for men and a dress or a blouse and skirt or pants for women — rather than scrubs to the interview.

If the clothing needs to be washed, ironed, steamed or starched, starting the night before will give a chance to take care of that. If you wear jewelry or makeup, choose what you’re going to wear so you’re not scrambling to figure it out the morning of.

2. Get Plenty of Sleep

Interview jitters can keep you up at night, but try to sleep as much as possible the nights leading up to the interview so you can look fresh and think more clearly. If you have trouble falling asleep, a hot bath, caffeine-free tea, eye mask and melatonin can help you relax and fall or stay asleep. Try to avoid drinking alcohol, watching TV right before bedtime and other activities that can decrease or disturb your sleep.

3. Eat and Drink the Smart Way

You don’t want your stomach to growl loudly during the entire interview, so even if you’re nervous, try to eat a few hours before the appointment. Stick to nourishing foods that you know won’t upset your stomach or otherwise cause discomfort. Try not to overly caffeinate yourself, as this will only make you jittery, and drinking too much soda can cause belching and other stomach upset. Bring a bottle of water with you in case your mouth gets dry during the interview, and get there early enough that you have time to use the bathroom if necessary.

4. Research the Company and/or Position

Knowing as much as you can about the facility and the nursing position will give you concrete information to ask questions about during the interview. It will also demonstrate to the interviewer that you are truly interested in the job and did your research beforehand — they won’t hire someone who didn’t care enough to learn about the company before the interview.

5. Ask Your Network for Advice

If you have nursing contacts who have worked at this particular company or facility, reach out to them to ask about their experience and what you should know about the company going into the interview. Even if you don’t know anyone who works at the place you’re interviewing, you should still reach out to your more experienced nursing friends for advice, especially if you’re interviewing for your first nursing job after school. They’ll be able to advise you on what questions to prepare for.

6. Practice Your Interview Answers

No matter what kind of job you’re interviewing for, you can expect some questions to pop up over and over again: Why do you want this job? What makes you qualified for this position? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Why did you choose to become an RN? Where do you see yourself in five years? Make a list of expected questions and outline some bullet points that you can use to answer them. Then practice your answers, either by yourself or with a willing helper. The point is not to memorize the answers, but rather to feel comfortable discussing the content so you won’t suddenly go blank during the interview.

7. But Remember There Will Be Some Curveball Questions

There’s no way to anticipate every single question an interviewer might ask you, so no matter how much prep work you do in advance, there will probably be one or two surprises. When this happens, take a sip of water or write down a note to give yourself a moment to think. If that’s not a possibility, you can even tell the interviewer, “That’s a really good question; give me a minute to think about it,” to buy yourself a few seconds to gather your thoughts.

8. Be Prepared to Ask Questions of Your Own

In most job interviews, the hiring manager will leave time at the end to answer any questions you may have. If you don’t have any questions ready to ask, it can seem like you haven’t done your homework on the company or that you weren’t paying attention during the interview — neither of which makes a good impression. Using your research, make up a list of questions you can ask beforehand about relevant topics, such as training programs for new nurses or scheduling requirements and patient ratios.

9. Don’t Forget That You’re Interviewing Them, Too

During interviews, it can feel like you’re on trial for a new job. But don’t forget that you’re also interviewing the company or facility to figure out if the job would be a good fit for your professional goals and interests. Asking questions will not only show that you’re active and engaged in the interview; it will also help you determine if the culture and job duties are in line with what you’re looking for.

10. Send a Thank You Note

If you have a phone interview, a quick email thank-you within 24 hours will show that you’re still interested in the position and grateful for the interviewer’s time. If you were called in for an in-person interview — especially if it’s the final round — you should send an email thank you within 24 hours as well, followed by a written thank-you within the week if you haven’t heard back.

Some people advocate for only handwritten thank-yous, but if the hiring manager is trying to make a decision within a few days, snail mail might not reach him or her in time. In all thank-you notes, be sure to reference something specific that you talked about to jog the interviewer’s memory.

Planning ahead can make the day of a big interview much less stressful. Follow these 10 steps to make sure you’re prepared to ace your nursing job interview.


 

Deborah Swanson is a Coordinator for the Real Caregivers Program at allheart.com. A site dedicated to celebrating medical professionals and their journeys. She keeps busy interviewing caregivers and writing about them and loves gardening.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.