Interviewing in the healthcare industry can be intimidating, to say the least. How you respond to some of the toughest nursing interview questions will determine if you are the right fit for the position.
Before your next interview for a nursing role, mull over these hard-hitting questions that might be thrown your way.
8 Of The Toughest Nursing Interview Questions
How would you handle a patient who complains constantly, and how do you work under pressure? Time is of the essence in nursing. How do you handle that constant activity and moment-to-moment changes? Rather than saying, “I would get someone else to handle it,” talk about how you would take the initiative to make the patient more comfortable and how you would approach the situation patiently and calmly.
What do you think of your previous supervisor? Never trash-talk your former boss in an interview. This is one of the toughest nursing interview questions, particularly if you’ve had a less than desirable past work experience. This question is best answered with the positives—what did you learn from your former supervisor?
How are you a team player? With this question, you’ll want to demonstrate your drive for working with a team—and your past experiences in doing so. Highlight an example of how you successfully combined your personal expertise with input from other team members to accomplish a common goal.
What has been your biggest shortcoming or mistake in the healthcare field? This is a tricky one because you don’t want to reveal too much and you should find a way to spin it in a positive direction. Perhaps you made a minor mistake on a patient’s charts, but quickly recognized the error and never again repeated the mistake. Perhaps a frustration you have is when patients who deny vaccinations come into the office, and you’re an advocate for parents vaccinating their children—but you do your best to accommodate every patient, no matter the circumstances. There’s always a way to shift the perspective on your “biggest weakness” when questioned about it in a healthcare interview.
How have your clinical rotations prepared you for a nursing career? – This is one of the most difficult nursing interview questions, since you have to sum up your experiences in a short amount of time. Highlight a few major lessons and useful skills you took from clinical rotations.
Why are you leaving your current role? – Don’t frame it in a negative way; rather, discuss the drive to broaden your horizons and learn new skills. Perhaps the position had delivered many lessons for you, and you were ready to move on to something new.
What salary range are you looking for? – Before immediately sharing a specific figure, be sure you’ve done your salary research for the position you are interviewing for. If you can steer the conversation toward the general numbers for other nurses in that role, you can keep it nonspecific and not too glued to one salary in mind.
When have you been most pleased with your work? – This is one of the toughest nursing interview questions, because you don’t want to make it sound solely about you. Rather than discussing how you feel most satisfied when a doctor praises your hard work, talk about how it feels to help patients in need.
If you have taken a break between your last role and the position you are interviewing for, how do you explain your employment gap? If you express how you needed a break from working, or you had trouble snagging a job, it won’t work well in your favor. Mention how work is important to you, and thus you are taking the appropriate measures to make sure the next role is the right fit for you.
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