4 Tips to Ace Your First Nursing Interview


Shortly after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Chamberlain College of Nursing, Rafael Ilagan faced a happy dilemma—he had to choose between two attractive job offers. His good fortune didn’t happen by accident, but through a deliberate and focused job search. Rafael, now a medical ICU nurse at Resurrection Medical Center, recently shared how he landed his first nursing position during a discussion with the Brotherhood of Nursing Students at Chamberlain’s Addison, Ill., campus. His tips for the nursing interview below:

1. Research

Before applying, research each place of employment and tailor your cover letter accordingly, Rafael says.“Look at the hospital’s goals and philosophies. Find what it is that you connect with and go with it,” he said. “This is how you’re going to get callbacks.”

2. Prepare

Once you land the nursing interview, prepare for common interview questions, and know about the department and hospital and why you want to work there. (View U.S. News’ list of the 10 Most Common Job Interview Questions.) Consider bringing your portfolio or academic projects relevant to the position you’re applying for to the interview.

3. Be Confident

Hiring managers want nurses who seem unflappable, even when an unexpected question comes their way. Don’t fidget, and take a moment — and a sip of water if needed— to gather your thoughts before responding.“In nursing interviews, don’t let them see you sweat,” he said. “Keep your energy and confidence up and you will get the job—because they want to see that type of person in a nursing role.”

4. Follow Up

A thank you note to your interviewers after the fact is key, Rafael says. Draw in something you discussed at the interview as you express gratitude for their time.“Make sure that your name stays in their mind,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to go for it, and don’t be discouraged if they don’t call you right away.”

Another great resource for nursing jobseekers is the American Hospital Association Career Center says Michelle Mercurio, national manager of career services at Chamberlain.

“Be sure to connect with your network and stay in touch with people you know as you are looking for your next opportunity,” she added. “You never know who may lead you to a great contact and a potential interview!”

What’s one tip that you think set you apart in the nursing interview process?

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