Some No-Brainer Interview Tips


Posted to Nursing, Nursing Jobs, Travel Nursing, Travel Nursing

Some No-Brainer Interview Tips

Whether you are interviewing by phone for a travel nursing assignment, or in person at a local health care facility for a nursing job, there are a few do’s and don’ts for your interview. These may seem like no-brainers to many, but there are a frightening number who must be told and/or reminded of basic social skills.

First of all, turn off your cell phone! If there is the possibility of an emergency during your interview, either postpone the interview or notify anyone who might need you that you will be unavailable for about an hour. Otherwise shut it off. Any calls can be returned when your interview has concluded.

In any social setting it’s just plain rude to interrupt your conversation to take a phone call or respond to a message. Yet, sit and people-watch in any public place for just a few minutes and you will see a multitude of people suddenly ignoring their present company and answering their phones. Sometimes they even wander away and talk for a really rude amount of time. This is simply not acceptable in the workplace. Turn it off and give your interview your undivided attention.

Second dress appropriately. If you’re on the phone this may not matter, but in person it says a lot about you and your professionalism. Even on the phone, however, if you’re uncomfortable, this may come through in your voice or intonations.

In person, the way you dress will tell a lot about who you are, your habits and values. If you look like a slob, this reflects that your work style may be very casual and sloppy as well. If you are well groomed and well dressed you tell the interviewer you take pride in yourself and in your work.

If you will be going to an interview straight from work, make sure that your scrubs or uniform is neat and clean. If you work on a unit where this is not possible, take a change of clothes with you. At the very least warn the interviewer that you will be coming straight from work and won’t have time to change first.

Third check your teeth in the mirror. Take a last look at yourself before you go in to any interview. Do you have food stuck in your teeth from lunch? Were you literally pulling your hair out all day? Do you need a little makeup? Don’t overdo any perfume or scents! Are your hands and fingernails clean? And what about your shoes?

Body language is another important issue to be aware of. Even when speaking on the phone, sit up straight and pay close attention to the conversation. Offer a firm handshake, make eye contact often and smile.

Be prepared for the questions. If you don’t understand any question or don’t know how to answer it, be honest. Ask for some clarification. If you don’t have an answer, make a note and tell them you’ll find out and get back to them. Don’t try to bluff your way through. Take a deep breath and think about your answers before blurting them out.

Have at least a couple of questions prepared to ask the interviewer. Do your homework and know something about the facility. If all of your questions were already answered in the interview, it’s Ok to say something like, “I was going to ask you about your staffing ratios and how you determine acuity, but you’ve already covered that.” It still shows you are interested in this position and this facility. You might also just go back to an issue you want to be very clear on such as whether travel nurses are expected to float.

Never bad mouth any previous or present employer. If you are leaving because you can’t stand the place, that’s your issue. As far as anyone else is concerned you’re looking for new challenges, different opportunities, a change, r other positive note.

Always say thank you for the interview, offer a firm hand shake and again make eye contact. Ask when they will make a decision. Tell them to please let you know either way.

By Kathy Quan RN BSN Kathy is the author of The Everything New Nurse Book and is the owner/author of

©2008 by Ultimate All Rights Reserved