You sit, your portfolio in hand, in your carefully selected black suit, looking at the row of other fresh-from-nursing-school candidates filling the waiting room. They, like you, have dressed for the occasion. Also like you, they cling to their credentials, probably hoping that these hard-earned academic qualifications and accounts of experience tending to patients’ needs will be enough to secure them a job. In truth, they won’t. To beat out this mass of other applicants, you need to sell yourself, setting yourself apart from them and proving to the hiring committee that you are the candidate they seek.
Show Your Personality
Every candidate who secures an interview has likely met the minimum qualifications for the position, states Sean Dent for Scrubs Magazine. Often, the interview is the committee’s attempt to judge your personality and demeanor. The hiring committee wants to see whether you will fit well within the organization. Don’t allow your desire to be professional leave you coming off as personality-free. Be bubbly and enthusiastic to show yourself as the positive force the hospital needs.
Define Your Contribution
What will you provide that other candidates will not? If you can’t answer this question, you won’t be successful in selling yourself to the hiring committee, states Mary M. Somers of the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. Before the interview, catalog your distinctive skills. During the interview, outline these skills instead of providing the blanket responses of “I am reliable” and “I love nursing” that so many of the candidates rely on. For instance, if you organized a wellness program in your dorm in college, relay this accomplishment and share plans to promote wellness among the nursing staff, citing research that indicates that healthy nurses outperform their unhealthy counterparts.
Study your Techniques
Prior to your interview, review your basic skills, suggests the University of San Francisco Priscilla A. Scotlan Career Services Center. Prepare specifically to answer questions pertaining to vital signs and head-to-toe assessment. Also, study the job description for any specific techniques mentioned and review these procedures. The ability to provide quick, correct answers to questions about procedure can set you apart, making you a more obvious choice.
Leave Them with Something
When the interview committee thinks back on the interview process, you want them to immediately think of you. Prepare something to give the committee as you exit, suggests Sue Heacock for Nurse Together website. Heacock recommends that candidates create a “love me,” book, including a resume, references, recommendations and licensure information. Presenting this clean and polished document to them as you depart will show your attention to detail and dedication, both of which are vital to success in nursing.
- Nurse Together: 11 Tips and Techniques for Nursing Interview
- Scrubs Magazine: 5 Interviewing Tips for New Graduate Nurses
- University of San Francisco Priscilla A. Scotlan Career Services Center: Sample Nursing Interview Questions & Tips
- Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing: The Complete Guide to Successful Interviewing for Nursing Students and Alumni
Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.