What Happens During A Nursing Interview?

Have you landed a nursing interview? Congratulations! We’ve put together a guide on some of the most common questions you might be asked, and how best to prepare your answers. To use this guide, go through and write down the questions below, then make a few bullet points underneath with notes about the potential answers you might give. Don’t try to memorise paragraphs – just keep your key points in mind so if a similar question comes up you can quickly pull out a well-prepared answer. Good luck!

Nursing interviews: What are the most common questions?

“Why did you choose nursing as a career?”

This question is an opportunity to tell the interviewer your motivations as well as the qualities that make you a great nurse.

  • Start off with a few points on what originally attracted you to nursing, for example- making a difference in people’s lives, the variety and flexibility of a nursing career, or the challenge of learning new skills and procedures. The interviewer will be looking for passion and a commitment to the field.
  • Then you can go on to explain how your motivations developed as you gained nursing experience- did you find you had talent at a particular aspect of nursing and begin to enjoy the work more? If you can fit in a story about using these skills or talents, more the better!

“Why do you want to work here?”

To prepare for this question, ensure you’ve done some background research on the organisation online or in person. Think about why you’d be a good fit at this organisation, and why this particular job is the one you want.

  • You could frame your answer in terms of career development, emphasising the opportunities for learning and development at the organisation- is it a bigger, busier organisation than the one you’ve been working in? Does it have a reputation for excellence in a particular area you want to learn more about?
  • If you plan to use the job as a stepping stone to a different position, it’s okay to share this goal, as long as you’ll be staying at the job long enough to be a worthwhile hire.
  • Stay on the positive side – focus your answer on why you want to work at their organisation, not why you don’t want to work at your previous job any more. Even if it was the worst possible job, lingering on the negatives won’t do you any favours.

“What do you find difficult or stressful at work?”

This question is designed to test how you cope with stress and difficulty on the job. The interviewer wants to know whether you recognise how stress affects you personally, and whether you have good coping strategies in place. The best way to frame your answer is to focus on your coping skills and other positive attributes.

  • Give an example of a specific difficult situation you were faced with at work, and why you found it difficult. For example, a demanding patient, tiring shift work, or having to multitask with limited time.
  • Then tell the interviewer how you coped with the stress and found ways to move through it. You could mention your ability to work in teams, solve problems, manage your time, or remain calm under pressure to get everything done.

“Do you have any questions?”

The interviewer will most likely close with this question, giving you the chance to ask anything about the organisation or role that hasn’t already been made clear. Make sure you have a couple of pre-prepared questions in case you can’t think of any on the spot. Here are some examples of things you might like to know:

  • What are the opportunities for advancement in this role?
  • How are new nurses trained?
  • Why did the previous nurse leave this role?
  • When can candidates for the role expect to hear back about next steps?

Do your research and plan your key points in advance and you’ll be well on your way to landing that new job! To find the latest nursing jobs, visit our careers page now.