A Nurse’s Guide to Giving a Great Interview – guest blog from CRG

Back again with another guest post. This time out, healthcare recruitment agency CRG have a host of tips for Nursing hopefuls on prepping for interview and making the best possible impression on the day. Read on…

A job interview can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if you are a nurse, because your line of work stipulates that you will have a huge amount of responsibility in every job you take.

However, by following our advice below, you will have every chance of successfully securing the position you want.

Top Tips

1. Think about your journey to the interview. If you are using public transport, it is possible that your train, tram or bus could be delayed; if you are driving, rush-hour traffic could be a problem. Leave plenty of time to get to the interview so that you arrive early. It may also take a little while for you to find the interview room in the building, so allow yourself some extra time for finding the right room and composing yourself before you meet the interviewer.

2. Look the part. Interviewers usually want to see that you’ve made an effort to look smart. It shows that you are taking the interview seriously and that you are keen to take on the job. First impressions count, so dressing the part is a great way to show that you’re right for the job.

3. Pack everything you may need. Check that you have everything you need for your interview the evening before. If you have been asked to prepare a presentation or a task, bring your USB stick and your notes. It is also handy to have directions to the building ready in case you need them.

4. Practise key questions. By considering the main questions that your interviewer is likely to ask, and then making sure that you have an answer for each one, you will be fully prepared for the interview. Here are a few key questions that you could be asked:

“What would you do if…?”
It is very common for nurses to be asked what they would do in certain circumstances. Questions like this can be tricky, because the scenarios put to you may be stressful situations in which it would be difficult to ensure a positive outcome. Therefore, it is important to think of such scenarios beforehand and consider how you would handle them. The following are some typical scenarios that you may be asked about:

  • “What would you do if a relative of a patient was unhappy with the treatment their family member has received?”
  • “What would you do if you thought a colleague had committed gross misconduct?”
  • “What would you do if a patient attempted to discharge themselves from the ward against your advice?”
  • “What would you do if a diabetic patient was given an incorrect dosage of insulin?”

“Why should we choose you?”
Despite being a very straightforward question, it can still throw interview candidates who may be feeling under pressure during the interview, so have your answer ready beforehand. To make sure that your answer stands out, try to think of examples where you have shown key qualities that are important for the job – for example, when you have worked well in a team, remained calm under pressure, communicated well with patients, etc.

“Have you got any questions?”
This can be a tricky question to answer, but if you prepare some questions for the interviewer, you will appear keen and enthusiastic about taking on the role. Here are some good questions you can ask at the end of the interview:

  • “Could I answer any more questions for you about my qualifications or my experience as a nurse?”
  • “Are there any mentoring programmes for new members of staff?”
  • “How can I keep up to date with news about the organisation?”

5. Be aware of your body language. If you are able to communicate well in interviews, you are far more likely to make a good impression and get the job. Here are a few pointers regarding what you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to body language:

  • Remember to smile. By smiling when you speak, the interviewer will think of you as a positive and confident person – qualities that all workplaces need, but especially ones in which lives are saved.
  • Try not to fidget. Although you may feel nervous, if you shift about in your chair a little the interviewer may think that you’re bored – so try to listen carefully to what the interviewer is saying, and focus on them rather than succumbing to nervousness.
  • Use your hands to create gestures. If you gesticulate slightly with your hands as you speak, you will appear more enthusiastic and articulate than you would if you kept your hands on your lap or by your side. Keenness and expressiveness are two key qualities that the interviewer will be looking for, so make an effort to gesticulate appropriately during the interview.

6. Do your research. By researching the practice or hospital and keeping up to date with news from the medical sector, you will come across as knowledgeable, smart and dedicated. Be on top of the latest news by reading great medical blogs, such as Nursing In Practice. It is also a good idea to read the online literature and reviews about the practice or hospital you will be working in; this way, you can bring up positive points about the organisation in your interview.

7. Advice for nurses. Being a nurse is one of the most exciting and rewarding routes you can take in your career, and by conveying your enthusiasm for the job your interviewer will see you as an excellent candidate. For more advice about working as a nurse – including time management, caring for cancer patients and building good relationships at work – read our Nurse’s Guide to Life on the Ward.


Many thanks to Amy at the E Word for hooking us up with CRG. You’ll also find lots of information on our website about preparing for interviews, and we also set up mock interviews to help you hone your performance before the big day – call us on 01273 642855 to book an appointment.


Paul Rothwell • 27/02/2017

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