How to Sell Yourself in a Nursing Job Interview

by Jill Leviticus

Selling yourself can help you get your next nursing job. You may be an outstanding dialysis nurse or a whiz at navigating hospital red tape, but if you don’t highlight your special skills, no one but you will ever know. Make a list of your special skills and qualities before your next interview and emphasize the attributes that make you worth hiring.

Make Your Experience Relatable

Take a careful look at the advertisement for the position before you begin your interview preparation. Think about how you can relate your past experience to the job requirements. The ad might mention that the new hire will assess patients and develop, implement and evaluate patient care plans. You’ll certainly want to discuss your general experience with care plans, but it will be even more impressive if you discuss a specific example that showcases your abilities and skills. For example, if you noticed a problem with the way care plans were implemented and found a solution to improve implementation, mention it during the interview. Recruiters look for a compelling reason to hire you. Be sure to give them one.

Highlight Your Education

Your education can help make you more attractive to nursing recruiters, whether you are a registered nurse or if you have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Talk about continuing education courses you’ve taken and how you applied the skills and concepts you learned to your job. Some hospitals prefer to hire nurses with bachelor’s degrees, so if you already have a BSN, be sure to mention that you won’t require any additional schooling to meet hospital requirements for nurses. If you are pursuing a master’s degree or even considering obtaining a master’s, let the recruiter know that you’re furthering your education.

Emphasize Interpersonal Relationships

The recruiter will be interested in hearing about how you handled difficult situations with patients and their families. Prepare several examples that demonstrate your ability to pacify emotional or argumentative patients, or tactfully handle family members. The ability to get along with your co-workers is also an important consideration. Expect that the interviewer will ask you to describe a problem or disagreement with a co-worker. Prepare an example that highlights your ability to be flexible, practical and empathetic. Take the time to think about your answer instead of just blurting out an answer. You’ll be evaluated not only by what you say, but how you say it.

Stay Positive and Confident

No matter how difficult the questions, it’s important to remain positive and confident. If you fall apart during the interview, the recruiter may question your ability to handle stress on the job. Hold a practice interview before the actual interview. Ask a friend or family member to ask you the type of questions you expect to answer during the interview. Tape the mock interview and evaluate not only your answers, but your facial expressions. If the interviewer seems confrontational or asks you unusual questions, you’ll want to be sure your expression doesn’t give away your opinion of the questions.

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