Landing that perfect first job right after graduation can be most people’s worst nightmare. Will you find a job locally or will you have to consider relocating to find work? Will you get hired at all? Are you qualified enough, even if you do get hired? Fortunately for nurses, the job market is open with a wide range of nursing opportunities waiting to be filled by eager young graduates.
So, if you’re getting ready to begin applying for your first nursing job, here are seven preparation tips for your first interviews to help get you started.
- First Impressions Matter: Although we’re told not to judge a book by its cover, the reality is, your future employers are looking at you and drawing initial conclusions about your viability from the moment you walk into the room. Dress appropriately. This means professional, clean, simple clothing and minimal jewelry. Many medical care facilities has strict dress codes when it comes to jewelry, so start off your interview by showing them you recognize and respect the rules. Your appearance at your interview will show your employer that you take yourself, the job, and the institution seriously.
- Stay Enthusiastic: Don’t fall into a routine of going to interview after interview and giving the same generic answers to every employer you meet. Interviewers can tell from your body language and responses if you your meeting is “just another interview.” Stay enthusiastic. Avoid scheduling multiple job interviews in the same day if possible. Show each employer that that particular job is the one you want and that you’re excited to learn more about the position.
- Ask Questions That Matter: Not only is the interview a time for a potential employer to ask you questions about yourself, but it’s also an opportunity for you to ask them questions as well. You need to determine if that medical care facility truly is the right place for you to work. Ask what the nurse-to-patient ratio is, as well as the aide-to-nurse ratio. What is that company’s nurse turnover rate? If it’s high, what might some of the reasons be that contribute to the turnover? Would you receive a scrub allowance? What is their parking situation and would you be required to budget for a parking pass? These are the types of questions that are most relevant in an initial job interview.
- Avoid Questions That Don’t Matter: Just like there are specific questions to ask at your job interview, there are a few questions NOT to ask right away. Asking them upfront could be a turn-off to your employer. Don’t ask how much money you’ll make, when you’ll qualify for your first promotion, when your vacation time kicks in, or if you’ll be required to take a drug test. Your interviewer might offer answers to those questions automatically, but initially, it’s considered more professional to leave that ball in their court. Show them that you care about more than money and time off when it comes to the job.
- Prepare Your Story: This is your opportunity to show your interviewer exactly what sets you apart from the other job candidates. It’s okay to brag about yourself a little bit; just be sure to do it in a gracious way. Don’t just talk about your clinical skills as a nurse, but also your soft skills. These include your compassion, empathy, willingness to serve and assist those in vulnerable situations, and other interpersonal skills. Your knowledge of medicine is important, but your ability to relate and care for your patients is equally important as well. Share why you want to be a nurse and why you would be a good fit for that particular facility.
- Do Your Research: Learn as much as you can about the place you’re applying at. What are their medical specialties, if they have them? What demographic of people do their primarily serve? What can you learn about the medical facility’s history? Are there any employees, past or present, that you can talk to in order to learn more about the company? Invest a little time and research into the company to help encourage them that you’re worth their time as well.
- Prepare for Those FAQs: Every interview has them: those frequently asked questions. A nursing job interview is no different. Take time in advance to think about and prepare answers for common questions like “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”, “Why do you want to work here?”, “How do you handle stress in a crisis situation?” or “What is your inspiration for working as a nurse?” These answers don’t need to be overly rehearsed, but being prepared to answer these common questions shows your interviewer that you invested your personal time in advance to prepare for the interview and use the meeting time productively.
Athena Career Academy proudly serves the Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan region by providing comprehensive nursing education for students in a wide range of specialties. Whether you’re looking to become a Practical Nurse, Clinical Medical Assistant, State Tested Nursing Assistant, or a Phlebotomy Technician, Athena Career Academy has the experience and expertise needed to put you on the path to success. Call 419-329-4075 now to begin your future started today.
Athena Career Academy is located at:
5203 Airport Highway
Toledo, Ohio 43615
Hours: Monday - Friday 7:30AM to 4:30PM
Phone: (419) 329-4075