Interview Day: 7 Important Nursing Interview Tips for Experienced Nurses (2021)

In part 2 of this 3 part series, Nursing Interview Tips will outline what you should be doing and what you should be expecting on the day of your nursing interview for experienced nurses.  Nursing Interview Tips will provide an overview of how an experienced nurse can make a great first impression, what they should be wearing, and other nurse interview tips they should keeping in mind on their big day.

Nursing Interview Tips for Experienced Nurses Series

1. Dress to Impress

We mentioned a couple items in Part 1 of this series that experienced nurses should wear to a nurse interview.  Here we will expand on that a bit more.  We mentioned:

Men: You should be wearing a suit for any interview you go on.  Women: A nice jacket/blazer with dress pants and heels or a business casual dress is fine.  Even though you will be probably be working in scrubs 99% of the time, you want to impress your interviewer because you don’t get a second chance at making a first impression.

nursing interview tips for experienced nurses follow upAnd this could not be more true.  You may talk to different folks who say you can dress casual for your interview, but we urge you not to listen.  Even though you may be potentially meeting with someone you already know (maybe because you had your clinicals at the hospital you’re interviewing with), you should still be dressed in business attire.  Think about this scenario: You are meeting with your nurse mentor from your clinicals for an interview and you have a good relationship with them. You may think since you already know this person, you can tone down your attire.  Wrong.  What happens if your mentor surprises you and tells you that you’re going to meet with the Vice President of the hospital? Surely you do not want to be in casual clothes.  So make sure the outfit you choose for your nursing interview is professional, clean, ironed, and rid of cat hair!

2. Don’t Be Hungry

Make sure you allow yourself enough time in the morning to have some brain food before your nursing interview.  Eggs, blueberries, tomatoes, broccoli, nuts, etc.  These are all types of food that have been proven to help your brain with memory and keep you at the top of your game.  Remember, you are going to be meeting with multiple people who will be throwing a barrage of questions at you. Make sure you’re brain is well-prepared.

You also don’t want to be hungry during your nursing interview.  When your tummy grumbles between sentences and your interviewer hears it, that will make for some pretty awkward silence.  Make sure you are allowing yourself enough time to eat and be prepared.  Which leads us to…

3. Be Early!

The last thing you want to do is be rushing to your nursing interview and barely making it there on time.  Or worse, being late.  There is nothing that will turn an interviewer off more than when a potential nurse candidate is late for his or her first meeting.  It shows a lack of responsibility.  It is generally a good idea to make sure you arrive at the facility you’ll be interviewing at at least 30 minutes before you are scheduled to go in.  This does not mean walk in 30 minutes prior to your nursing interview.  This means be on the premises 30 minutes before your nursing interview.  You want to be sure you take traffic conditions into consideration, potential accidents along the way, etc.

For the first 15 minutes, sit in your car or find a place in the lobby of the facility to relax and collect yourself.  Go over your interview questions & answers in your head, or check out our nursing interview questions and answers section on your phone.  Review your resume again because the odds of the interviewer asking you to “walk them through your nursing resume” are quite high.

After 15 minutes passes, start walking into the facility and speak with the receptionist to direct you to where you need to go.

4. Be Happy!

In the first nursing interview tip for experienced nurses above, we mentioned that you never get a second chance at making a first impression.  We didn’t say it because we didn’t mean it.  Studies have shown that some interviewers already have their mind up within the first 30 seconds of meeting someone.  If you walk in gloomy and down, you might as well not have even went to the interview at all.  You want to be able to show the interviewer that you are a positive, optimistic person because they will be judging you the moment you walk in the door.  They will instantly evaluate whether or not they think your personality will fit in with the other nurses.

You will also want to be personable.  When meeting your interviewer, make eye contact, shake their hand, and smile.  Take notice of your surroundings and comment on it.  “Is this your office? It’s so nice!”  Or maybe you notice a piece of jewelry or accessory your interviewer is wearing.  Comment on it.  Remember, make a lasting impression on them.

5. Interview Time

The time is finally here. You’ve dressed yourself properly, had a nice meal of brain food, you showed up on early and reviewed your nursing interview questions in answers, and you’re in a great mood. Now it’s time to start answering those questions.

Most of the time, the interviewer is going to ask the typical “So tell me about yourself” question.  We won’t go into too much detail about this answer since it’s been answered previously. But be prepared to answer it.  Next is “Walk me through your resume.”  You will want to use this time to discuss your objective, education, and past work experience.  This is a gateway question into all the other nursing interview questions you’ll get.

If you prepared the right way, you should be calm, cool, and collected while answering.  Remember, provide detailed answers, not short sentences.  The interviewer wants to know you are putting thought behind your answers and not just winging it (which we seriously hope you aren’t at this point!).

6. Your Turn!

During your interview, it is perfectly okay to ask questions.  You don’t need to wait until the end of the nursing interview to ask any questions you may have.  If the interviewer responds to your answer in a way that leaves you wondering if they could go into more detail, there is no problem asking.  This is actually encouraged because it shows you are engaged in the conversation and truly care about what the nurse interviewer is saying.

After the main portion of the interview is over though, your interviewer will ask if you have any questions.  If you don’t ask anything, that could be a bad thing.  So make sure you come prepared with some questions you want to ask them.  Some examples are:

  • What type of person would be successful in this role?
  • What skills are most important to have in this role?
  • What is the scheduling like for the floor this position is for?
  • How many other nurses are on each shift?
  • What is orientation like? And how long? Is orientation different hours than what the offered position calls for?

7. The End!

After you are finished asking your questions, the nurse interviewer will thank you and let you know that they will be reaching out to you.  It is at this time you should ask permission if it is okay to send a follow up email/letter.  We will go into more detail about this in Part 3 of the Nursing Interview Tips for Experienced Nurses series.


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