Top Nursing Interview Tips

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Reviewed by Jeanne Kal Senior Manager, B2C Content, IntelyCare
Young male nurse being interviewed by female nurse with a clipboard.

Whether you are a seasoned nurse or you have just completed your nurse assistant training, preparing for a job interview can be nerve-wracking and intimidating for anyone. Here are five nursing interview tips to help you boost your confidence and deliver like a professional.

7 Nursing Interview Tips

  1. Be on Time
  2. Do Your Research
  3. Practice Your Answers to Common Questions
  4. Be Honest
  5. Tell Your Story
  6. Ask Questions
  7. Breathe

Tip 1: Be on Time

Punctuality is at the top of our nursing interview tips. Whether your first interview is a phone screen or an on-site interview, make sure you are on time. If you’re in person, be professionally dressed and organized. For phone interviews, be waiting by the phone so you can answer promptly; for on-site interviews, plan to arrive at the facility early to leave breathing room for traffic and other unknown variables. Reliability is essential in the healthcare industry, so it is critical that you set the right impression.

Tip 2: Do Your Research

Many nurse interview tips center around preparation. Whether or not you applied through a job board or you were referred by a friend, you want to ensure that you have done some research about the employer’s background and be able to identify why you have chosen to interview at the organization. Understanding the mission and being aware of recent awards and recognitions can provide you with some easy talking points throughout the interview.

Let’s say you have an interview at an assisted living facility (ALF). Start by Googling the ALF and seeing if any news items show up in search results. Then visit the ALF’s website and look at the “History” and “About Us” sections to get a feel for the culture and values. And don’t forget to check out the ALFs social media pages to see what kinds of messaging the organization shares with followers.

Tip 3. Practice Your Answers to Common Questions

While every healthcare role is different, most interviews for nursing professionals have some questions in common. Regardless of how confident you are in your caregiving and administrative skills, interviewing is a different matter. Don’t wing it. Nursing interview questions and answers — strengths and weaknesses, anyone? — can be deceptive.

Among the more practical nursing interview tips: Practice. Take a look at these common interview questions for a CNA to get an idea of what to expect. Preparing answers is a great way to boost your odds of success. By knowing in advance what you’d like to say to a potential employer, you’ll be able to deliver your answers with thoughtfulness and a sense of purpose. This also helps take some of the stress off your shoulders.

Tip 4: Be Honest

Your interviewer will likely ask you some challenging questions during your nursing interview that you should be prepared to answer honestly. Not knowing an answer to a question is completely acceptable and your potential employer will value your honesty.

But you can’t just say, “I don’t know,” and leave it at that. You want to say, “That’s a great question. I don’t know my answer at the moment. I’d like the time to think about it. May I email you my answer by the end of the day?” And then do it. The hiring manager will be expecting to hear from you.

You should also be ready to answer questions about your education, employment background, clinical nursing experience, and future goals. Again, practicing you answers in advance among the best nursing interview tips we can give you.

Tip 5: Tell Your Story

You’ve likely been asked why you got into nursing. Be prepared to answer this question during every interview to which you’re invited. Make sure to highlight your strengths and pull from any previous personal experiences that have molded you into the nursing professional that you are today. Everyone loves stories, so if you can tell a story about your journey to become a nursing professional, even better.

Tip 6: Ask Questions

Without fail, interviewers will ask you if you have questions at the end of the interview. Don’t brush them off or feel like you’ve already taken up enough of their time. They ask you this question to gauge your level of interest in the role and your preparedness for the interview, so make sure to have a few questions ready. This is potentially your new job, so show your interviewer that you want to know as much about the role as possible.

Tip 7: Breathe

A final bit of nurse interview advice: Try to relax. We know — you really want to land this job, and interviews are nerve-wracking. At the end of the day, your experience and credentials matter, but so does your preparation, poise, and personality. Putting in the work to research and prepare for your nursing job interview will boost your confidence and showcase to your interviewer that you are invested in this role. So, take a deep breath, follow these nurse interview tips, and knock that interview out of the park.

Find Better Opportunities on IntelyCare

Now that you’ve got some nursing interview tips in your back pocket, you’re primed for the spotlight. Ready to start looking for the next step in your career? Check out all the great nursing jobs available right now and apply today.