Expert Tips: How to Ace Your Nurse Job Interview

You’ve graduated from Antigua College International, passed your certifications, and may already have work experience. You’re qualified. Now, you need to convince someone else not only of your qualifications but that you’re the best candidate for the nursing position.

Nursing jobs are competitive, but if you’ve already put your best foot forward with your nursing resume and cover letter, eventually you’ll start getting some calls.

In this post, we’ll talk about interview preparation, the five types of interviews to consider, and common nurse job interview questions with strategies on how to answer them. We’ll also talk about what not to do in your nurse job interview, as well as follow-up etiquette.

Let’s start with preparation:

Nurse Job Interview Prep

In the days leading up to your interview, the best thing you can do is get prepared. This means doing your research, compiling your materials, and practicing for the conversation.

Plan Ahead

Getting ahead isn’t just a smart way to stay organized—it also helps minimize stress on the day of the interview. Be almost ready to walk out the door at least a day in advance. Here’s what you can do ahead of time:

  • Look up the location (unless you’re interviewing by phone or video). If you’ll be visiting a large facility, make sure you locate the building and office number, and plan for traffic and parking.
  • Pick out the clothing you plan to wear and make sure it fits well and is clean and free of stains or wrinkles.
  • Print out a few extra copies of your interview portfolio to have on hand.
  • Revisit the original job posting and the person or people with whom you’ll be meeting.
  • Schedule yourself for a good night’s sleep the night before.

Do Your Research

Showing up with knowledge about the job, the organization, and the department will demonstrate that you take the opportunity seriously. You might even want to dig a little deeper into the history or current endeavors at the company or facility. This will give you something to ask questions about when it’s your turn. Here are some common research questions to prepare in advance:

  • What is the potential employer known for?
  • Is the nursing program highly respected and competitive?
  • Who are the faculty members and what are their credentials?
  • What can you find out about the department you’re interviewing for?
  • Use every avenue available to you: the college’s website, social media presence, alumni testimonials, and even healthcare industry publications. Once you’ve done your research, think about which of your findings are of particular interest to you. That way, you can speak to why you find this job appealing and a good fit for your goals.

Think About Presentation

This might seem obvious, but it’s important. Dressing and conducting yourself professionally is a baseline expectation for any prospective employee. Don’t wear scrubs or a lab jacket to your interview; do show up put together and polished, and make sure you tick all the boxes:

  • Choose business-professional attire (i.e., black, navy, or gray suit; closed-toed shoes, etc.).
  • Wear something well-fitting, washed, and in good condition.
  • Make sure your nails and hair are clean and groomed.
  • Practice straight posture and approachable body language from the moment you enter the building.
  • Make eye contact and offer a firm (but not crushing) handshake.
  • When in doubt, err on the side of a more traditional appearance. Remember that an interview is about showcasing your experience, poise, and preparation, so leave your more splashy personal flair at home.

Practice the STAR Method

The STAR Method is a structural manner of responding to a behavioral-based question (such as “How would you handle a situation where [XYZ]?”). The acronym stands for:

  • Specific situation
  • Task
  • Action
  • Result

If you follow this formula in answering some of the more in-depth questions that may come up in your interview, you’ll be able to avoid rambling or getting caught with a partial or vague answer. Speak through your response to each question in the STAR order. It will help you give a complete, organized response.

Prepare Your Interview Portfolio

Always have a few extra copies of your interview portfolio printed out and on hand, in case your interviewer requests them. Your interview portfolio should include the following:

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Certifications
  • Licensure
  • Transcripts
  • References

Some of the above may not apply to you. Bring what is relevant and make sure it’s typed up and printed in matching fonts and styles on the same type of paper. Carry a pen and notepad in your portfolio in case you need it. If you don’t already have an interview portfolio, consider reaching out to your career services office for assistance in compiling one.

Subscribe to our Blog

Be the first one to know when we publish a new article.

Become a leader in healthcare

Students can apply for financial aid before applying for admission to Antigua College International. Based on eligibility, students may qualify for funding from a combination of aid programs including grants, scholarships, work-study, and loans.