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7 Things Nurses Must Know Before an Interview

After all of your hard work, you have passed the NCLEX and you are officially a registered nurse (RN). As an RN, you are ready to move ahead in your career. Your next step is to gear up for the job interview.

What Is the Purpose of a Job Interview?

The purpose of a job interview is for the employer to get to know you. You are invited to an interview once employers decide that you meet the qualifications for the job. The interview allows the employer to determine if you have the following attributes:

  • You are a good match for the healthcare organization.
  • You are likeable.
  • Your experience and preparation match the employer's goals for the available position.

Why Is a Good First Impression Significant?

A good first impression in an interview is key to a successful outcome. Psychological Science published the article "First Impressions" written by Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov. Their research concludes that it takes a tenth of a second for someone to make a judgement about a stranger.

What Are Seven Interview Tips for RNs?

RNs should be mentally and physically prepared for their job interview. To help alleviate your anxiety about the interview, think of it as a conversation and not an interrogation. Here are seven tips to help RNs ace a job interview.

  1. Research: Before the interview, research the healthcare organization. You should learn about the organization's mission, awards and recognition. Your knowledge about your potential employer will give you a greater understanding of what the organization values and may help you connect with your interviewer.
  2. Practice Interviewing: Practice the answers to questions you think the interviewer may ask. For example, how would you answer the following questions?
  • Tell me about yourself?
  • How do you work as part of a team?
  • What are your strengths or weaknesses?
  • Did you ever make a mistake and how did you fix it?
  1. Dress Appropriately: Men and women should select neural colors for their wardrobe. Appropriate attire for women includes low heels, dresses and skirts at knee level, tops that adequately cover the chest area, simple jewelry, and little to no perfume. Women can also choose dress pants as long as they are not too tight. Men can opt for a suit with a button-down collared shirt, tie and dress shoes. They can either apply a light cologne or skip it.
  2. Be on Time: Employers take note of everything and that includes your promptness. You should arrive about 10 minutes early for the interview to show you respect the interviewer's time.
  3. Exhibit Energy and Focus: To ensure that you can maintain your energy and stay focused during the interview, you need to be well-rested, hydrated and nourished. You can accomplish these actions by adhering to a regular sleep schedule a couple of days before the interview. In addition, drink water to avoid a dry mouth and chapped lips. And, stay away from foods that will upset your stomach; instead, eat a healthy meal prior to the interview.
  4. Show Attentiveness and Confidence: You can show the interviewer that you are confident by making eye contact, smiling, and sitting forward in your chair. Most importantly, listen carefully so your answers correspond with the questions.
  5. Ask Questions: The majority of interviewers allow candidates to ask them questions. This is your opportunity to indicate that you are the right RN for the position. Your questions should be about the unit, procedures, policies and the method of orientation.

Completing an RN to BSN program also shows you have gone the extra mile in your education and have the necessary skills employers are looking for.

Your interview preparation and attention to your appearance are crucial to being hired. When you leave the interview, the employer should have your resume, proof of your nursing credentials and a list of references. Most importantly, you can express your appreciation and continued interest in the job by sending the interviewer a "thank you" email.

Learn more about ULM's online RN to BSN program.

Sources: Twelve Job Interview Tips for Nervous Nurses The Complete Guide to Job Interviews

American Mobile: New-Grad Interviewing Tips: How to Make the Right Impression RN Interview Tips and Advice

Psychological Science: First Impressions: Making Up Your Mind After a 100-Ms Exposure to a Face

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