Nursing Interview Questions and Answers

Posted March 10, 2015 | By csponline

Nursing Interview Questions and Answers

A job interview can be one of the most intimidating hurdles involved with securing a new position as a nursing professional. However, being prepared can help calm your nerves and make you stand out as a strong candidate. Here are some frequently asked nursing interview questions and answers to help you feel relaxed and ready to make a great first impression.

Tell me about yourself.

Stick to professional details with this question. The interviewer is looking for a description of your educational background, professional experience and career goals here.  Personal information isn’t what your potential employer is interested in; however, make sure to let your personality shine through. This ensures that the interviewer can get a sense of whether you’ll fit in with the culture and dynamics of the workplace.

Why do you want to work here?

This is your chance to show a potential employer that you’ve done your research. Stay positive, and provide specific details on what appeals to you about the company. It’s also a good idea to make connections between your career goals and how you can achieve them within this organization. This question gives you the chance to talk about your nursing specialty as well.

Hospital Illustration

How did you learn about us?

Make it clear that this wasn’t a random choice for you, and that you sincerely think the position is a good fit for you. Talk about how you found out about the opportunity and mention any referrers specifically. Explain how you went about your job search and how it led you to this company.

What do you feel you contribute to your patients’ care?

Discuss your strategies for patient care and advocacy here. Because interaction with patients is a major part of any nursing career, employers are looking for individuals who have excellent bedside manner. As is the case with most interview questions, specific examples are always beneficial. Talk about how you listen to patients and provide comfort as part of their medical care.

What would your current supervisor say about you?

Interviewers ask this question when they want to learn more about your work ethic and interpersonal skills. Think about times when you were evaluated or had one-on-one meetings with your supervisor, and highlight some of the positive feedback you’ve received in the past. Make sure to be honest, as it’s possible that the company will contact your previous employer as a reference.

Discuss your biggest strengths and weaknesses.

This is another time when it’s important to be honest. Stay positive while providing an accurate picture of what you’re good at and what you need to work on. Focus on strengths that would be an asset in the workplace and discuss a weakness that can be viewed in a positive light or that you’re taking steps to address.

What are your salary requirements?

Do research so that you are asking for a realistic amount and aren’t pricing yourself out of the market. It’s also a good idea to keep your experience level in mind. Try to find out beforehand what the pay grade is at the company and stress that it’s negotiable. If they want specifics, provide a ballpark figure.

What motivates you to be a nurse?

This question gives you the chance to prove that you’re passionate about what you do. Show that you’re motivated by ideals and a desire to help others, rather than things like money. Be specific and talk about past experiences that have motivated and inspired you.

Nurse Illustration

Why are you leaving your current nursing job?

It’s important to be truthful but diplomatic when this question comes up. Don’t throw your previous employer under the bus because it makes you seem ungrateful. Some examples include wanting to move to another region, learn new skills or focus on a different clinical area. Talk about the new opportunities that this position will give you, rather than dwelling on negative aspects of your current job.

What do you find most challenging and rewarding about your work as a nurse?

It’s important to stay positive, even when you’re discussing the more challenging aspects of nursing. Talk about real experiences you’ve had in the past that have challenged you, but be sure to explain how you overcame or dealt a difficult situation. This question also gives you a chance to talk about your passion for nursing. Whether patient interaction, helping with the recovery process or some other aspect of nursing is what you find most rewarding, discuss your feelings and provide specific details of a rewarding situation you’ve encountered with a patient or family in the past.

Give an example of a major nursing care problem and how you addressed it.

Try to keep any anecdotes relevant to the workplace, rather than discussing personal details. Define the problem in a straightforward way, identify options and explain the solution you went with. Highlight any personal or professional skills that helped you handle the situation effectively.

Where do you see yourself as a nurse in five years?

You want your future employer to know that you are motivated and career-focused, so now is the time to explain why you are committed to nursing. Discuss new skills you want to acquire and any specific workplace goals you may have.

How has your nursing training and experience prepared you for this position?

When the interviewer asks this question, they’re looking to see whether you are qualified for the open position. Talk about any relevant experience you have, both during clinicals and in previous jobs. You can also discuss any relevant research projects you’ve worked on. If you don’t have much on-the-job experience that relates, it’s a good idea to mention coursework you’ve completed that prepares you for the role— just be sure to express your interest in expanding your experience to a new nursing area.

Why should we hire you?

This is when you have the opportunity to sell yourself and explain to your potential employer why you’re the best person for the position. Emphasize your skills and positive attributes while providing specific details about what you bring to the table. Keep the job description in mind here and reference responsibilities that you are ready and excited to take on.

Do you have any questions for us?

Have a couple of questions in mind for this situation. Though this question usually comes at the end of an interview, a meaningful response shows your potential employer that you are both interested and engaged.  For example, you could ask about company culture, work environment or professional development opportunities.


Nursing at CSP

No matter what kind of nursing jobs you’re interested in, earning a bachelor’s degree is a great way to stand out among other applicants. Concordia University, St. Paul offers an online degree designed for working RNs like you who are ready to advance their career and increase their earning potential. Build on your previous experience and become a leader in the field with our RN to BS in Nursing program.