How to Prepare for a Nursing Job Interview: 9 Tips

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Nurse placing mask on patient

The University of St. Thomas Houston Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program guides you to earn your nursing degree in as few as 12 months. In the program, you’ll sharpen your practical nursing skills, learn key theories and complete clinical placements. After you pass the NCLEX and obtain your licensure, there’s just one step left before you embark on your nursing career — a job interview.

Any job interview can be daunting, but we are here to help you step into that interview with confidence. Read on for tips on how to prepare for a nursing job interview.

1. Start Prepping the Night Before

The night before the interview, gather all the needed information and materials. Ward off nerves and jitters by preparing for the interview a day in advance. This way, everything will be in order and you won’t have the worry and anxiety that comes with last-minute preparation.

2. Know Who You’re Meeting

The day before the interview, be sure to note the name of your interviewer so you can find or ask for them easily when you arrive. Greeting them by name is also a great way to show you’re prepared and that you care about the position you’re interviewing for.

3. Familiarize Yourself with the Location

Make sure you know the time, date and location of your interview. Put the address into your GPS to get an accurate estimate of how long it will take you to get there. You can even drive to the location a day or two in advance to review the parking situation and scout out the correct building if it’s a multi-building hospital or large healthcare facility.

If the interview is virtual, test your webcam, microphone and internet connection prior to the meeting. Create a quiet space with good lighting and a neutral background to conduct the interview in. Keep pets and any other interruptions out of the space during the interview.

4. Dress for Success

Check the predicted weather on the day of your interview and dress accordingly. Most organizations expect business or business casual attire for interviews. Wear shoes that are interview-appropriate but that are also comfortable. Your interview may include a tour, and hobbling around in uncomfortable shoes won’t help your confidence or comfort level.

woman in work dress clothes entering building

It can be helpful to try on a few different outfits the night before the interview to make sure you feel confident in your outfit and that you don’t have any surprise rips, stains or other issues. Be sure to bring two forms of identification and a copy of your resume. If you’re meeting with a panel, print out a copy of your resume for each attendee. Setting these items out by your outfit is a great way to ensure you don’t forget them!

5. Be Mindful of Your Social Media

Social media is a great tool — if you know how to optimize it. To make your social media help you reach your goals, do a quick update a week or two before your interview. Think of it as a mini-audit. If your potential employer’s only way to know who you are and what you stand for was via your social profiles, are you satisfied with the impression they will get of you?

Employers commonly look at LinkedIn to scout prospective employees, but you never know what other accounts they will consider. You don’t necessarily have to tailor all of your social platforms to be professional — after all, we realize you do have a life outside of becoming a nurse. However, we recommend setting the accounts you do not wish to change to private so that your prospective employer can only see what you want them to see.

Review your profile photos, and make sure they’re recent and professional. Ensure that any bio fields are filled in with a short description of who you are and what your goals are. Include fun facts or things that make you unique, and link any career-related side projects you want to showcase.

6. Review Qualifications

Revisit the job listing to review the responsibilities and qualifications of the position. We recommend creating a list of the qualifications you meet and examples of how you’ve already had experience taking on the responsibilities of this job in your past experience. This will allow your interview to highlight this information, putting it at the front of interviewers’ minds and helping you prove that you are the best person for the position.

If you are missing one or two minor qualifications, don’t count yourself out. Depending on the situation, you may have experience that sets you apart, or perhaps volunteer work or other special skills that make you an asset. You never know when an employer is willing to give on-the-job training to the right candidate, so remember you have nothing to lose by applying and putting your best foot forward in the interview.

7. Do Your Research

One of the most common interview questions is “why are you interested in working for our organization?” Unfortunately, the obvious answer that you need a job isn’t going to cut it.

You’ll need to research the organization and find out what sets them apart from other healthcare facilities. A great start is to check out their website, where you can usually find an “about” or “mission” page. The website will usually tell you what’s important to the company and what their core values are. If their values match yours, bring that up in the interview and have examples at the ready to show how you’re aligned with the company’s standards.

man sitting in interview

It’s also important to research the organization’s patient population and be prepared to share your experience and success working with that population. Additionally, if the organization has won any awards or special honors, it can be worthwhile to express your goal of working somewhere with distinction.

8. Know Your Worth

It can be uncomfortable to talk about salary during a job interview where you’re trying to put your best foot forward. It’s important to understand industry trends, demand for BSN prepared nurses and the cost of living in the area so that you can set and communicate an informed and realistic salary expectation.

Find the information you need through the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which provides the average wage of registered nurses by state.

9. Keep It Conversational

Remember that interviewers are looking for someone who is passionate about nursing, not just someone who is trying to give the “right” answer. Be sure to showcase who you are, what matters to you and why you want to become a nurse. You’ve got this!

It's Time to Make a Bold Move For Your Future as a Nurse.

university of st thomas nursing student

ABSN@UST has three start dates each year in January, May and August. If you want to see if you meet the requirements for admission, give us a call today. Our admissions team can answer any questions you have to help you decide if ABSN@UST is the right fit to help you start your journey toward a rewarding nursing career.

If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and are interested in accelerating your nursing career, contact our admissions team to get started.