Nursing Interview Tips for Millennials, Gen Xers, and Everyone Else

I’ve seen my share of job candidates that seemed perfect on paper, but failed to distinguish themselves from other candidates. But how do you set yourself apart from all the others? Here are my nursing interview tips, which can help you get the job you want.

Be a “Jen,” not a “Nancy,” During Interview

Before a word was spoken or attire evaluated, the two (fictional) new graduate nurses seemed to be identical job candidates. Both Jen and Nancy graduated with BSNs and 4.0 GPAs. They both had extensive experience as volunteers, nursing assistants and interns. There wasn’t an obvious difference between them as far as education milestones and grades were concerned. But during the nursing job interview, Jen was a career-seeking missile, while Nancy conveyed that she was simply ready to be employed. Hence, one of my favorite nursing interview tips is to be a Jen, not a Nancy.

Jen was ready to convince the recruiter how the organization couldn’t live without her — with a display of confidence, not arrogance, of course. During her interview, Jen presented herself as a bright, compassionate new nurse with goals and vision. The recruiter thoroughly enjoyed her conversation with Jen and discovered that she liked her a lot. The recruiter resolved to find a job for this nurse somewhere in the organization because she was convinced that Jen would be a valuable team member.

On the other hand, Nancy had little to say during her interview — outside of responding to the usual questions — and the recruiter was happy when the session was over.

Nurses looking for the right jobs need to become the same expert communicators at job interviews that they are at the bedside.

They need to rehearse for interviews like they would for the performance of their lives. Those who have practiced for meetings with prospective employers present themselves as polished professionals, rather than another Nancy nurse.

Remember, no one ever gets a second chance to make a first impression. Don’t be afraid to use or take notes during the interview; but on the other hand, maintain eye contact, and speak conversationally.

Besides getting every interviewing basic right, you need to stand out from all of the other equally qualified, credentialed candidate to get the job you’re seeking.

A Few Interviewing Essentials to Keep in Mind

This one key piece of advice I always share is to figure out how to get the interviewer to like you. In “Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing,” Henry Beckworth relates an interview with Meryl Streep in which she said, “I really did believe that life would be like college, but it isn’t. Life is like high school.” And what she meant was the sheer technical competence you learn in college or nursing school will not ensure your success.

People hire people they like. Your success in an interview will have a lot to do with your personality. Professionalism is important, but being personable is as significant a factor in getting hiring.

Given equally smart, experienced, and credentialed professionals, managers will …read more

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