By Eduardo Alonso, Career and Industry Specialist, Career and Professional Development Services
If you are getting close to graduation you may also be studying for your NCLEX exam. This is a very exciting, yet often stressful milestone in your academic and professional career. As you prepare to enter the workforce, it is important that you give yourself credit for all of your hard work. Here are a few tips to make sure you ace your nursing interview:
Remember where you are and why you are there –
The first thing to do in preparation for an interview is knowing who you are interviewing with, and what their mission and values are. It is very important that you research the organization you are interviewing with in advance in order to highlight your most relevant strengths and values as a professional. The second is, always remember that you are in the interview room with the goal of securing a position. Some questions may be very vague, such as “Tell us about yourself”. If you encounter any question like this, remember that your response must answer who you are as a professional and how it is relevant to the position you are applying to.
What is the core of the question –
Instead of trying to remember the question you were asked word for word, focus on identifying the core of the question first. For example, if they ask you “How did clinical rotation prepare you for a nursing career?” They are asking more than what you did during your rotations. They want to know how are you different from every other new graduate who also participated in those rotations. The key to the question is how did the rotations prepare YOU. In a question like this, stay away from saying things like “WE got the chance to …..”. This interview is about YOU.
How do you take care of yourself -
One of the most common answers or comments made during a nursing interview is “I want to be a nurse because I want to help people”. Although that is a good thing, it could be a popular response that the committee has heard from other candidates. If you decide to use that response, be sure to expand on your response; for instance, why do you like helping people and what about helping people motivates you? Most importantly, how are you preparing for the challenges that come along with the position?
One thing many people do not realize is the intense pressure and burn out that often exists within a nursing career. For this reason, I recommend that during your interview you take a few seconds to talk a little bit about you as a person. You can mention some of your hobbies, or a few interests you would like to explore in your free time. These interests are something that are part of your own self-care routine, and although you are there to help others; it is equally important that you know how to take care of yourself and understand how to have a healthy work-life balance.