Happy Nurses Week!
As yall know, I recently had a hospital nursing job panel interview, which I was super nervous for and did almost everything possible to prepare for. I was nervous they’d ask me knowledge and scenario questions like “What would you do for a patient with chest pain?” and so I spent a lot of time reviewing content. Many online sites said most interviewers won’t bother with these knowledge questions since going through nursing school and passing the NCLEX is supposed to have determined your knowledge base already. Instead, many emphasized behavior based questions and scenarios about stress and conflict in the work place. This statement, I found to be true. I was not asked one knowledge question at all, rather all were about me and how I handle yada yada yada. When you apply online, they will have you take a behavioral exam which basically shows you statements and you pick: Strongly Agree, Agree, Neither, Disagree, Strongly Disagree. The HR Representative told me that based on your answers, the system gives them a list of questions to ask you as well. My personality tends to come off as shy and quiet, so I got a lot of questions about confrontation scenarios.
Some questions I was asked were:
1. Tell me about yourself.
2. When and how did you realize you wanted to go into nursing?
3. Tell me a time when you had a problem with a coworker and how did you handle it?
4. Tell me a time you had an issue with a supervisor and how did you handle it?
5. Tell me a time a co-worker or supervisor was bending the rules and puts the patient at risk, how did you handle it?
6. Tell me a time when things didn’t go your way and you were stressed and frustrated how did you deal with it?
7. Tell me a time you had a difficult and unhappy patient and how did you deal with it?
8. Tell me a time that you were short-staffed at your previous job. How do you manage multiple tasks at the same time?
9. You are required to work three days a week, every other weekend, and two holidays in a year. How are you going to deal with that schedule and do you have any issues with it?
10. Do you prefer to work days or nights? are you open to nights?
11. If your replacement does not arrive, what would you do?
12. Can you explain to me how the responsibilities of this job will differ from your current or old job and how do you intend to tackle it?
13. Why do you want to work for this facility?
14. What are your hobbies?
15. Do you have any questions for us?
A pointer I got from a friend was to make a statement about myself (such as a strength I had or highlight a value I hold) that pertains to the question prior to giving an answer in the form of a real life anecdote. For example, if asked about a time I didn’t get along with a co-worker, I can start by making a statement that I value and respect all people’s opinions and beliefs…and then give my example. I knew I was going to be nervous so I actually thought of 2-3 examples for each questions. It gave me several options to draw from if I get nervous and forget the exact answer I wanted to say. For the typical strengths and weaknesses questions, I did 5 different strengths (each with an example to go along with it since these can double for the “Tell me something about yourself” questions) and 3 weaknesses (each with an example as well as how I am working on it or learned from it or even a positive side to the weakness as well).
In addition to preparing mentally for the interview, I wanted to look physically as good as possible too. I recall my brother saying how one of his friends landed a job simply because the interviewer liked his suit. Therefore, I tried on my clothes in front of a mirror, made sure they weren’t too tight or I wasn’t drowning in them. Suits should usually be dark (I went with black) and I assumed most of those on the panel would be women (which I was correct) so I chose a pink floral undershirt to add a feminine soft touch. I tried different shoes (almost chose a different color but went with black just to be safe) and purses and even made sure the things I was gonna put in my purse weren’t going to make its shape funny or their color scheme too contrasting with my outfit. Of course, I did my hair and my make-up too. Hair color should be natural shades; Doesn’t have to be natural for your race, but can’t be looking like you just made it out of The Color Run. Tried to make my make-up slightly more visible so they knew I tried, but subtle enough not to overwhelm (neutral shades and a good nude lipstick are big WINS). I didn’t do my nails since hospital nurses aren’t suppose to have nail polish or long nails so I just made sure they were well-trimmed and clean, that my hands and feet were not ashy or dry. And most importantly, look alert, happy, and full of energy.
Top: Ann Taylor Hibiscus Flounce Shell Top
Blazer: Banana Republic black lightweight wool two-button blazer
Pants: Banana Republic Sloan-fit slim ankle pants
Shoes: Nine West Elena Pointy-toe wedge
Bag: Ann Taylor Signature Large Tote
Belt: Banana Republic leather belt (similar, similar)
Earrings: Macy’s double pearl studs (similar)
Watch: Fossil Women’s Perfect Boyfriend Watch
I brought with me:
–Clipboard (incase I didn’t have a table but wanted to look professional while writing stuff)
-Copies of my resume and cover letter on resume paper
-Copies of references on regular multi-purpose paper (in case they ask)
If you have some anxiety like me, the waiting room can be a killer. Remember to deep breathe, specifically “belly breathing.” Make small talk with those in the waiting room to distract yourself from the wait (plus this makes you appear more outgoing and friendly). Use the bathroom, drink some cold water. Pray or say a mantra to remind you to relax (Mine was: “Where He guides, He will provide”).
Then just…DO IT.
I was super nervous when I was talking. I jumbled and fumbled some words, stuttered a bit, and at one point my voice cracked (I was horrified but kept going). I forgot to shake everybody’s hands and instead waved bye at the end (but I did say goodbye and smiled and thanked them). As I was walking out, I just kept replaying what I did wrong and then into the phase of “I should’ve said this and that” and then I was finally at “Oh well, it’s over and I hope I got the quality of my answers across to them no matter how messy I may have said something.” And then I rewarded myself; I went shopping. LOL. And 2 hours after I left the interview, I got a call and got the job! Can you imagine?! I was ecstatic!
Good luck prepping! ^-^