Over the years I have held many different jobs, both in and out of the nursing field. I have been blessed to be offered every nursing job I ever interviewed for. I do not credit my charm or good looks, as they would likely not get me any job! I have interviewed candidates for positions as well, and although the actual interview is important, I credit success in the nursing interview process to preparation and follow-up.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Prepare a nursing resume that includes your work history, brief training and education summary, and a section entitled "Personal Attributes". Brag about yourself a little. Include positive statements like, "good sense of humor", "team player", or "proven leader". You have just personalized yourself to the interviewer.
- Ensure your resume contains no typographical errors or misspelled words. When I hire, I immediately remove any resume from consideration containing errors, cross-outs, etc. If a candidate lacks enough pride to send a clean resume, how can I trust that person to show the necessary attention to detail on the job?
- Send your resume via the format requested. Do not call the employer for a fax number if the advertisement requests resumes via email. This gives the impression that you are too pushy or too desperate.
- Prepare a cover letter addressing the requirements outlined for the particular position. Cover letters should not be generic. Tie your education and experience to the nursing job criteria defined in the advertisement.
- When you get the call for the nursing job interview - and you will get the call - research the hiring hospital/facility. Learn vital statistics such as when established, mission statement, and vision. This serves two purposes. First, you will become familiar with the facility and have a better idea if it will be a good fit. Secondly, you can share your new found knowledge during the interview. Interviewers are impressed with a well-informed candidate.
- Find the interview location a day or two in advance. Make the drive at approximately the same time you will go on the interview day. This will familiarize you with the route and interview site. This will equal piece of mind and reduced stress on the day of the interview!
- Prepare a portfolio which includes a clean copy of your resume and cover letter, letters of recommendation, and training documents. Hand it to the interviewer at the end of the interview, right after you thank him/her and shake his/her hand. This leaves a piece of you with the interviewer and makes a good lasting impression.
- Dress for success. Dress for the interview in either a dress or a nice suit (women) or coat and tie (men). Make sure your hair and makeup are done before you arrive at the building.
- Arrive 15 minutes early. This gives time to find the physical location of the interviewer, use the bathroom if you need to, and gives you a breather prior to the start of the interview.
- After the interview, send a thank you note to the interviewer. You are thanking the person for taking time to consider you, as well as reconfirming your interest in the position. If you don't get that nursing job, I guarantee the interviewer will remember you when a similar position arises.