• 11 February 2020
  • 12 min read

General interview tips and answers to typical nursing interview questions

  • Claire Carmichael
    Adult Nurse - General Practice Nurse

Fresh from her own nursing interview, Claire gives advice on how to prepare for a nursing interview and answer the nursing interview questions you're bound to be asked.

Play video: prepare for your next nursing interview with these insights from Claire

Topics covered in this video

0.00 Introduction

0.51 Ease those nerves by taking a look at the work space

2.26 Dress to impress

3.05 Answers to nursing interview questions #1 - be positive and honest

4.32 Answers to nursing interview questions #2 - sell yourself!

5.27 Answers to nursing interview questions #3 - know the job spec

6.05 Answers to nursing interview questions #4 - be a team member!

6.35 Answers to nursing interview questions #5 - always give examples

6.52 - Answers to nursing interview questions #6 - scenario based questions

7.47 - Answers to nursing interview questions #7 - working autonomously

8.43 - Answers to nursing interview questions #8 - safeguarding

9.26 Be yourself

9.40 Take a folder, your portfolio

10.13 Learn about the area

11.20 Conclusion

0.00 Introduction

Hi, everyone, and welcome back to another vlog.

Today's blog is all about interviewing for your job as a qualified nurse.

Well, any job really as a nurse. Hopefully you're going to find it useful and I can give you some tips and advice to help you on your way and hope you're going to smash.

I also just need to add that I have already done a community nursing interview vlog, so have a look at that if you want more district nurse and specifically go and check that one out.

(If you would like to read our complete guide to answering nursing interview questions go here.)

0.51 Ease those nerves by taking a look at the work space

My first tip on interviews, this one is probably the biggest tip I think, is how to ease those nerves because I'm the sort of person probably like you where I get really, really nervous.

My mind goes blank.

They'll ask me questions that I know the answer to in everyday life, but at the interview and the pressure, your mind goes blank.

It's like I have no idea what color the grass is outside. It's one of those, and it's terrible.

Why do we do it ourselves?

This tip is exactly for you, and hopefully it's going to help you calm those nerves a bit

Go in and look around, contact the place or area that you're applying to.

Ask, can you go in and meet the team, see what they do, have a look around at the clinic rooms, things like that.

This is what I did.

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I was very, very fortunate that the practice said to me, you're new to the area.

Do you want to come in and have a look around, meet the team?

If you are still interested, you like the look of the place, come and apply.

It was amazing.

I'm so glad I did this because it honestly put my nerves at ease. I spent an hour in that place that day and it wasn't even the interview. It's just looking around, chatting to all the staff.

Oh, it was lovely. Honestly, on the day of my interview, I was so relaxed. I was still a bit nervous because I really wanted it. It really benefited me, and hopefully that's going to help you out.

However, there are obviously other techniques that you can use, breathing techniques, a bit of meditation, calm yourself down, listening to music on the way, little things like that that you can do.

Whatever you know and works best for you, use that.

2.26 Dress to impress

My second point is as well, dress to impress.

Everyone is saying comments about asking, what shall I wear to an interview? First impressions are everything to me.

I went in a full blown suit.

Let me show you. [You need to watch the video for this bit!]

My full blown suit was this jacket, not the blue shirt underneath. Ignore that. This was my suit jacket, beautiful color.

Green is fashionable at the minute apparently. These were my suit trousers.

I wore a white shirt underneath, and it looks professional, and I wanted them to look at me and think, wow, we could employ this girl.

That's the way you should think as well. OTT is the way I always see it.

3.05 Answers to nursing interview questions #1

Let's move on to the specific questions of interviews because that's what you really, really want to know.

You want to know questions, answers, all of that jazz so I'm going to move along into that.

I have to apologize. I've got a little dog in the background who might jump on the bed, jump off the bed. I'm really sorry if that's a distraction for this video, but it is what it is. He's cute.

The first question that they always ask, I've been asked this in every single interview I've ever had, whether it's for an HCA role, both my nursing roles, even when I worked in sales and hospitality. It's something that everyone has always asked.

You're guaranteed you're more than likely 99% going to be asked this question.

Why do you want this job?

Why do you want to work in this particular area?

Mine was GP.

Why do you want to be a GP nurse?

You have to share your passion.

If it's just a job to you and you're just applying for the sake of applying because you really need the money, think of something to say.

Don't say that.

Just say come from the heart.

Think about all the positives of the role.

Think about the area you're going to be working in.

What do you love about the area?

What has made that stand out compared to all of the other nursing jobs that you could apply for?

Why does that one in particular stood out to you and why can you see yourself working in that area?

Just answer it honestly and openly, but please don't say, "I just need the money," because I don't think that'll go down too well.

4.32 Answers to nursing interview questions #2 - sell yourself!

The next question that you usually get asked but not always is your experience and quality, so what can you bring to the team?

What qualities do you have?

This is where you have to sell yourself.

I know people really struggle.

I really struggle with selling myself, but the way I see it is me or somebody else.

If you're not selling yourself enough, that can literally just be a tiny little point that they pick upon to not give you the job.

I failed a couple of times previously at interviews purely on selling myself.

I rang up and I got the feedback because I was getting to the point where I was like, why am I not getting this job?

I wrangled feedback on two occasions.

Both times they said, "You need to sell yourself more and you need more competence."

It just goes to show that is a big thing because if everyone has got the same experience, if everyone has got the same qualifications, which we all have, we're all nurses.

You really, really need to sell yourself. Make you stand out from everybody else.

5.27 Answers to nursing interview questions #3 - know the job spec

Another question you might get asked on is the person's spec on the job, so I would, massive tip, look around the person's spec and the job requirements/description for the particular area that you're working at, whether it's GP or another area.

Make sure you know those.

Look through the essential criteria because they might say to you, "Okay, what experience do you have in this?

You've said that you meet the criteria.

Talk to me about it."

Just do that.

Go through the list and think in your head, okay, what am I going to say to answer these questions if they ask me about it and my experiences?

You already know that anyway because you obviously meet the criteria or you wouldn't have an interview, so that's just going to come naturally off the top of your head.

6.05 Answers to nursing interview questions #4 - be a team member!

They usually ask things like team working, like what makes a good team?

How would you be a good team player?

Those sort of questions as well.

Just think about good teams that you've worked in.

If you've had a placement somewhere or if you've worked in an area as an HCA or a qualified nurse, if you're a qualified nurse already, think about the good teams that you've worked in.

What was good about that team? What worked? What didn't work?

Just to say that in the interview, just go through the list and show examples as well.

6.35 Answers to nursing interview questions #5 - always give examples

Another tip, sorry, Always, if you're going to give an answer, always give examples.

They love if you give loads of examples of how you do it.

It just shows that you're understanding the question and you understand what's expected of you in the role as well, if that makes sense. Always give examples.

6.52 - Answers to nursing interview questions #6 - scenario based questions

You will also, more than likely, not everywhere does this, but nine times out of 10, I think most places always ask a scenario based question.

They want to see what your response is in this sort of question.

They might give you the angry patient scenario, what you're going to do with an angry patient.

If they come into your room, you're the only one there, how are you going to handle that situation?

Are you a calm person?

Are you patient?

Can you distract the patient and settle them?

They just want to see your reaction and how you handled the stress basically. That's all about your communication skills.

It's all about listening to the patient, not overpowering the patient, telling them that you understand their concerns and all of that and just making them comfortable and seeking help and advice if you need it.

If a patient is getting really aggressive to the point where they're punching you or something, you want to call security. It's about being safe but sensible at the same time.

7.47 - Answers to nursing interview questions #7 - working autonomously

If you are applying for GP, it's a lot of lone working questions as well so how are you at being autonomous?

You need to show that you're autonomous because if you want to work in primary care, community, district nursing, GP, that area, you need to be confident in your own skills.

You need to be confident as a nurse.

Obviously, you'll have the support and you'll have the training and all of that, but it is a lone working type of role.

You're not going to have a ward to fall back on or these people.

As much as I love that, this is why GP is perfect for me, I love being on my own and being in control of my own clinic, my own patients.

I love it.

I thrive in that environment.

You need to show that.

You need to show that you can do that.

Give an example again of when you've been autonomous and when you've handled that situation, how you work in that situation.

Do you cope well into the pressure?

All those little things is exactly what they're looking for.

8.43 - Answers to nursing interview questions #8 - safeguarding

A few other things that I've heard, I don't know.

I wasn't asked these questions, but I have seen on the Facebook pages and things like that, is people have been asked about safeguarding mental health in GP in particular because that's quite big as well about recognizing those signs and symptoms and who you would refer to the appropriate services.

If you are applying to GP, look around the area, what it's about?

Have they got mind ...

Have they got healthy minds?

Have they got mental health teams, community mental health teams?

What are the local safeguarding?

Is there a multi-agency safeguarding involved?

Have a look at all those things just to be prepared just in case they do ask you that question.

Always better to be over prepared for an interview I think.

9.26 Be yourself

Lastly, just be yourself. If you can't be yourself, who can you be?

Be yourself. Try and relax.

Show that passion in the area that you want to work in and they will absolutely love you, I'm sure.

9.40 Take a folder, your portfolio

One last note, sorry guys. Take a folder. Take a portfolio if you've got a portfolio.

This is mine with all of my certificates, all of my achievements in.

At the back, I've got some previous mentor feedback slips that I've put in there that they can get out and they can read if they want, and just ID and things like that in the back just in case they need to photocopy that sort of thing.

Take a portfolio with you.

If you're a student nurse, newly qualified nurse, take all of your mentor's feedback, any patient feedback, anything you've got that's going to make you shine.

Take, and just, yeah, sell yourself, like I said.

10.13 Learn about the area

Just one last little summary of applying for any nurse job out there.

Just one, look up the area you're working at.

Know it inside out.

Know what they do, services they provide, everything because they might ask you that.

Two, if you are applying to GP, make sure you know the local prevalence of the area, what conditions are out there, age ranges, things like that.

Have a look on the government and council websites.

The GP practice website itself might give you that information, and the values and visions, look them up as well.

The job description and the person spec, you want to know inside out just in case they ask you anything and they ask you to give you examples.

Make sure you know those because they're more than likely going to ask you the essential stuff in the interview.

11.20 Conclusion

The rest will just follow. The rest will just come naturally.

The scenario questions, teamwork, and you know it, guys. You do it out there already. You've done it on placements. You've done it as a nurse, whatever.

You know it.

Just relax, calm your mind and just answer as you would.

Lastly, give examples. I've said it already, give examples.

Make sure you example everything to show you understand what they're saying.

Thank you as always for tuning in.

Don't forget to subscribe if you haven't subscribed yet.

Thank you so, so much, and I shall see you next time.

About the author

  • Claire Carmichael
    Adult Nurse - General Practice Nurse

I am a qualified Adult Nurse, working as a General Practice Nurse. I believe that nursing gets a lot of bad press, so I create blogs and vlogs to help anyone considering their nursing career and to create positivity surrounding our profession as I'm so passionate about nursing.

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  • Claire Carmichael
    Adult Nurse - General Practice Nurse

About the author

  • Claire Carmichael
    Adult Nurse - General Practice Nurse

I am a qualified Adult Nurse, working as a General Practice Nurse. I believe that nursing gets a lot of bad press, so I create blogs and vlogs to help anyone considering their nursing career and to create positivity surrounding our profession as I'm so passionate about nursing.