Co-Founder, Niche Jobs
Nursing vacancies in all areas, particularly specialist nursing vacancies, are in quite high demand and jobs are often filled quickly. Whether you are a newly qualified nurse or experienced nursing professional, you need to make sure your application is of a sufficiently high quality that it immediately identifies you as a serious candidate ready to accept this job if it’s offered to you.
Aside from the essential attention that your CV
, covering letter
and personal statement
require for every application you make, there are other things you can do to make yourself more appealing as a candidate. Here are 5 things you can do (and not do!) to maximise your chances of getting the job.
When you apply for a nursing job
, assuming you’re a suitable candidate for the role, the employer or agency will definitely want to contact you. It’s most common for job applications to be entirely based online whether that’s through a jobs board or an email directly to the recruiter, so it’s very likely they will respond by email in the first instance and follow up with a phone call.
It’s essential that you respond however you are contacted within 24 hours. If you’re on a shift when the phone rings, make the commitment to call the employer back as soon as you’ve finished or during your break. Don’t think you can leave it until the day after, because you could have missed the opportunity to book an interview slot or talk directly with the recruiter.
If you’ve been contacted about a job, it’s a pretty good sign the employer is genuinely interested in you so make sure you give accurate details when they contact you. For example, make sure you answer the phone with your diary in hand so you can give a clear idea of the dates and times you could attend an interview. At the same time you can write down the requirements they have for your interview. Clear communication is an essential skill of every nurse, and you should endeavour to show this quality in all communication with the employer.
Above all things, be punctual. Whether that means allowing enough time to travel for an interview, or to return a phone call at the time you said you would. Punctuality is a such a big indicator of who you are as a nurse, an employee and a person. It shows you can plan ahead, schedule effectively, be organised and manage your workload. All of these are key accolades of a great nurse.
If you’re lucky enough to be invited for interview then you will be given details in advance of the interview format, especially if you are required to do a presentation or discussion on a particular subject. This is your opportunity to really stand out from the other candidates by thoroughly researching the issue and working on your presentation skills.
Look through the person specification and job description again to understand how the subject you will be questioned on fits into the nursing job you’re going for. As a newly qualified nurse it’s unlikely they will ask for detail that is beyond you’re current level of qualification so keep your research relevant to the standard you’re working at.
Some of the subjects you could be quizzed on in a typical newly qualified nursing interview:
- Current mission statement of the hospital / trust and how you can relate that to your every day work
- Recent NHS policy / best practice that directly relates to the nursing job will be doing
- Time and staff management, as a registered staff nurse you will be be managing the work of the care assistants and domestic staff
- Safeguarding vulnerable individuals, and how you can ensure the trust’s policy is implemented throughout your job
You could also be asked to react to certain scenarios in your interview, here’s a few examples:
- What action would you take if you noticed a patient’s notes were incomplete?
- What would you do if a patient suffering with dementia was becoming increasingly agitated and started refusing treatment?
- How would you prioritise your work on a shift that is particularly busy to ensure priority task are completed?
Don’t be nervous!
I’ve haven't met a person who can honestly say they weren’t at least a little bit nervous going into a nursing interview. But try to calm yourself in the knowledge that you have done all the preparation you could possibly have done, and that if they like you on paper enough to interview you, you’ve got a good chance they will like you in person as well.
Any experienced interviewer expects a certain degree of nerves, it’s how you manage it that makes the difference. If you need to take a break for a couple of minutes before you make your presentation, then ask. It’s only natural to need a few minutes to settle yourself and get your head around everything you want to say.
If you are the kind of person who doesn’t do themselves justice in an interview because of the impact of nerves, then you need to work out how best to overcome that. Maybe you could rehearse with family or friends by getting them to listen to you speak. Just by articulating the thoughts in your head to an audience can help to calm you and it will also help you remember what you want to say when you actually get into your interview.
To get more info about CV writing or any aspect of applying for a nursing job, pick from any of these links:
How to write a nursing personal statement for your first nurse job application
How to write your nursing CV as a third year student nurse applying for your first nursing job
Spend time on your Nursing Career Profile and CV, it will be worth it
How to write a cover letter for a nursing job application