Here are my tips for rocking an RN interview.
1. Make a good impression with the person at the front desk. Many times they’ll ask that person what their impression was. They know you’ll be on your best behavior for them, but they want to see what kind of impression you left on everyone. Don’t be obnoxious, but be nice and don’t make phone calls and talk or complain loudly on the phone for all to hear while you wait. Rachel at the front desk said they were polite and patient and held open the door for Edna, my adorable elderly coworker.. humm.. thoughtful..
2. Look GOOD. Professional, put together, organized. Have one of those leather portfolio things with a resume printed on resume paper. They’ll already have one, but give them a “fresh one” when you sit down. And make sure your resume is perfect. Man, I’m impressed with you already.. someone listened in class.
3. Know the hospital’s mission statement and vision + values and work it into the conversation. Wow, they already know the mission statement that was drilled into my brain during my orientation? This person is on top of things and does their research..
4. Practice answering a few questions beforehand. They’ll ask you about patient experiences, so make sure you have some fresh in your brain before the interview begins. They can be hard to remember during interviews because it all just blurs together, so try to remember a few. For example, remember a time you went above and beyond, a time your handled a tough situation well, and when you could have handled things differently. Always be ready for the “why did you go into nursing” question and have a real answer. And it’s okay to have things written down in your professional leather portfolio, you look prepared. Geez, this person is honest and doesn’t have the same answers as everyone else. Interesting..
5. Be prepared for the “3 weaknesses and 3 strengths” thing and have real answers for the weaknesses. They know the whole “too detailed, caring too much, working too hard” thing is crap. Again, have real answers. They’re standing out to me because their answers are memorable..
6. Be prepared with questions for them. You should always have questions, and if you have good questions that looks even better. Below are some examples.
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- What kind of a clinical ladder, if any, do you have?
- What percent of your nurses are nationally certified?
- What are your nurse:patient ratios? Have those changed recently?
- What’s your average length of orientation for new grads?
- Is there a transition program for graduate nurses becoming bedside nurses?
- If/when I decide to work on my master’s, do you offer any assistance and do you work closely with any nearby nursing schools?
- Is nursing incivility a problem on your unit?
- What’s the average length of stay for a new grad on your unit?
- How involved in your unit in Shared Governance?
They really know what they’re talking about.. I wonder where else they’ve applied?
7. Follow up with a handwritten thank you note. If you didn’t interview with the actual nurse manager you’d be working under, make sure you get a business card from the person the person that interviewed you. If you didn’t do that, ask the person at the front desk or call and ask later. And if you get past that interview and get to interview with the nurse manager, also send them a handwritten thank you note.
Man, they’re thoughtful, honest, and detail-oriented and I really need someone like that on our unit…
8. In this day and age of social media.. know that they’ll Google you, look at your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Google yourself before you even begin applying. Anything you don’t want a potential employer seeing, take it down. For real, they will Google you and will use that as a reason not to hire you. Drunk college pics, controversial posts, sexual stuff.. it all tells the world, including employers, what kind of a person you are. The whole MTV Scrubbing In show is a prime example.. we don’t work in any old field. People’s lives will be in your hand and you don’t want to give potential employers a reason not to trust you. Now if you sell T-shirts like the Jersey Shore cast, I doubt they’d care about what you say online.. but not hospitals, doctor’s offices, or clinics. Be smart when it comes to social media and research yourself.
If you’re thinking, “I don’t need to do all of that crap, I’ll just go in and be myself and if they don’t like me then I’ll just work somewhere that will.” UM NO. Contrary to what they tell you in nursing school, it is not easy to get a job right now. It’s even difficult for experienced RN’s to land a job, so new grads need to be on the top of their game in interviews. Do all the little stuff so you actually get an offer and start working and getting paid ASAP.
Anyone work in HR and have anything to add? Does anyone have good questions to ask or tips/advice?