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Nursing Home Administrator Interview Tips

by Linda Ray

Nursing home administrators are the top executive officers in long-term care facilities. They oversee all the operations in the nursing home to ensure residents receive the best care possible. The job requires a license in many states and educational requirements vary, though most institutions seek candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree in health care or business management. Nursing home administrators do need to bring a significant amount of experience to the table, however, and job candidates need to effectively relay their experience and enthusiasm in the interview.

Highlight Career Achievements

Recruiters consider experience from a wide range of career tracts from administrator candidates. Whether you are a registered nurse, a physician or a seasoned business office administrator, prepare to illustrate your achievements with stories about your career path. For example, talk about how you started in the caregiving field as a CNA, entered nursing school and continued practicing in a long-term care facility. Share stories about your experience as director of nursing at a facility and how you came to learn the ins and outs of administration by assisting the chief administrator in day-to-day operations.

Stress Commitment

Highlight your commitment to your career by talking about the extensive training program you entered through the National Health Career Association or the American Healthcare Association and your continuing involvement with the organization. Bring up your participation in the state chapter of a professional group and the roles you’ve played on various association committees. Explain that you underwent an intensive internship, shadowing a successful administrator through your school. Refer to mentors you’ve worked with and how they have shaped your continued interest in the field.

Share Hiring Strategies

Nursing homes operate on a 24-hour schedule, seven days a week, with no time off for holidays, much like a hospital. As such, it’s vital that the nursing home administrator hires and trains a qualified staff to oversee operations in her absence. Prepare stories that highlight your human resource abilities and the techniques you used in the past to hire exemplary staff members. For example, explain about the shadow program you initiated at your last post to watch potential employees work beside a seasoned staff member. Talk about the process you use for interviewing candidates and what retention rate you achieved at your last job.

Present Continuing Education Certifications

Medical professionals must earn continuing education credentials to maintain their licenses, just as you’ll have to do if you work in a state that licenses nursing home administrators. Whether it’s a necessity to maintain your current license or not, explain how you value continuing education for yourself and your staff and talk about the courses you’ve taken to improve your leadership skills. Prepare a portfolio of certifications you’ve received and conferences you’ve attended. Deliver a diverse selection of training ranging from legal issues in the industry to medical breakthroughs and new ways of dealing with conditions such as dementia. Leave a copy of your portfolio with the recruiters so they can refer to your credentials after the interview.

About the Author

Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."

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