Among the hundreds of typical interview questions out there, it would be time-consuming and at the same time energy-draining to prepare and practice each. A more realistic way is to start with a few and the top ones that can be most likely guaranteed to be asked during the big day. Here are the top 3 questions to prepare for your nurse job interview.
- Tell Me About Yourself
This is always asked first but this seemingly simple question can sometimes be such a thorn in your side. Because for some reasons, giving a good answer can be one of the toughest and most stressful things to do. Here are some tips I used during my recent interview in which the sample below is actually my real answer. I divided it into 3 parts.
a. Start by focusing on what interests interviewer because honestly, this is not about you, it’s about them. You don’t want to focus on what is best about you, you want to focus on what you are going to do to fulfill what they need. You need to tailor your response according to their needs.
Well. For the past few months, I’ve been working up with my skills and knowledge by enrolling myself in trainings and attending seminars. Last year, I finished my ACLS-BLS-ECG training. I’m almost done updating my IVT license and just this January, I finished my hemodialysis training.
With the kind of answer above, it’s a direct answer and nursing-focused (your latest happenings or job experience) telling them that you’ve been preparing yourself for the nurse job.
b. This time, you shift to your personal side but still within the nursing scope. We’re now talking about your qualities as nurse (as you are done with your experiences). The highlight below is “go an extra mile” and “better nurse service provider”.
I’m this type of person who’d go an extra mile that instead of staying at home and crying over our country’s neverending nurse unemployment crisis, I’d rather go out and do everything to be a better nurse service provider.
c. Wrap up your answer with a good ending by what you hope to accomplish with this job.
Now, I’m looking for an institution or hospital where I can take my career to the next level and be finally part in a real hemodialysis team. Hopefully, here in [name of hospital] I can build a long term career that lets me focus on professional growth.
- a. Start by focusing on what interests interviewer because honestly, this is not about you, it’s about them. You don’t want to focus on what is best about you, you want to focus on what you are going to do to fulfill what they need. You need to tailor your response according to their needs.
- What is your strength and weakness?
When you’ve perfectly tailored your answer to the question “Tell me about yourself”, tendency is, less questions will be asked. This was actually true during my experience in which two interviewees before me were asked about their strength and weakness but me. Still, below is my prepared answer. Always start with your weaknesses and end with your strengths to make sure the last thing you say is something that leaves you in a positive light.
a. Start with your weakness/es
There are times when I’m too blunt and honest and might seem aloof. I tend to say the first thing that comes to my mind without really thinking.
b. Follow it up as how it has affected you / your job / other people
When I’m dealing with other people, this can come across as cold and even a little mean which isn’t my intention at all.
c. Let them know that you acknowledge your weakness and how you went about it
Once I realized I was doing this, it was a matter of slowing down and thinking before I say something to someone, especially to my patients when I’m trying to joke around and have a conversation. I’m actively working on making sure that my tone and body language would correspond to the things I say to avoid misunderstandings.
a. Start with the strength
I’m a problem solver. I enjoy work that challenges me and pushes me to think outside the box. I enjoy situations where I am allowed to work with other people to come up with creative solutions.
b. Follow it up with a sample experience using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method, however since this is not a situational question let’s consider “T” as my strength being a “problem solver”
S: There was one time during my on the job hemodialysis training, my co-trainees and I were having a hard time monitoring a handful of patients ending up with a few minutes delay of heparin doses.
T: It was definitely a challenge that had got me thinking outside the box on what I can do.
A: So, what I did, I made a monitoring sheet where we can track all of our assigned patients and our tasks with its corresponding due time.
R: It became a tool that helped us master the skill and in the end, we have managed to accomplish everything without anymore delays and even without the use of the monitoring sheet.
What are the top 3 skills a nurse should have?
The surprise question I had with my most unprepared answer.lol The first thing that popped in my mind was of course, good communication skills followed by my most recycled prepared answer “strength: problem-solver” that should have been “critical thinking” but I was experiencing a blackout and I couldn’t anymore think straight. The last one was even worse (haha) and I used the word “focused” as a skill? Really? But what I really meant was “present-minded”. Anyway, below should have been my answer.
First and foremost, a nurse should be competent. We are not just dealing with people nor patients but lives and without the basic knowledge of the diseases and the necessary skills of the procedures, it would be impossibile for us to accomplish our duties and responsibilities. Second would be good communication skills in order to establish rapport with our patients. This is very critical so to gain their trust for creating positive case management outcomes. Lastly, critical thinking skills to help nurses make better decisions on behalf of their patients or simply how to “think like a nurse.
Such are the so called top 3 questions for your nurse job interview because they can equip and prepare you for other questions. Just like how I applied my strength answer in the following questions: “What is your edge among other nurses?” and “What are the top 3 skills a nurse should have?”. These are the type of questions that won’t be a waste of time so if ever one is not asked, you can freely recycle and use it in answering a different question. The “Tell me about yourself,” is another example in which, can also be used in “Why should we hire you?” question.
So, God bless in your interview, nurses!