How to Ace Your Nursing Job Interview

First impressions are everything in the healthcare industry. A successful job interview can mean the difference between a secured gig and a few extra months of job hunting. Interviews allow hospitals to get a feel of what motivates you, what your skills are, and whether or not you are a perfect fit for their culture and mission statement. There is no silver bullet approach to interviews that will work all the time, of course. Different facilities look for different traits and qualities from their healthcare workers. But with the right attitude, mindset, and general approach, you can drastically improve your chances of succeeding in the interview process.

Do your research

What are the facility’s core values? What will your role entail, and what are they looking for from their interviewees? To find out, you want to do your share of thorough research. Look at the job listing, their website, and even a few articles about the facility. This will give you a grasp of what they are looking for, their reputation around your area, and you can tailor your interview approach to that. When you are asked a question or tested on the knowledge of the facility, you can show them that you did not just apply indiscriminately. You are invested in this opportunity and you want to see it through.

Prepare yourself for questions asked

Different facilities will ask different questions, this much is guaranteed. However, there are a number of recurring questions you can expect to find, in a variety of forms. These include, but are not limited to:

What motivates you as an HCP?

Facilities want to know what drives their staff. They want to make sure they are enlisting driven, top quality professionals who are determined to provide the best healthcare possible. They do not want mercenaries who are simply in the industry because of the paycheck. When you answer this question, be as honest as you can possibly be. Draw from your past experiences, and share why HCP work means so much to you on a personal level.


For most of my life, I have looked up to nurses. My mom was a doctor, and my dad was a physician, so I grew up in that environment. Their passion for saving others, and their commitment to their jobs never ceased to amaze me. I want to help others in the same way and to the best of my capacity, as a nurse. I want to contribute to my community and save the lives of patients in need.

Why did you apply with us?

For this question and many others, you want to do your research. Facilities do not want stock answers that are generally applicable in most contexts. They want HCPs who are invested in contributing to their facility. Qualified professionals who align with a hospital’s workplace culture or attitude may be prioritized, over professionals who are marginally more experienced or credentialled. Read on a hospital’s core value, mission and vision and approach. Share why you would be a perfect fit for them, and how your qualities align with their goals.


I feel like I have a lot to contribute to this facility’s team oriented culture. I like collaborating with fellow HCPs and building chemistry as a team, to provide even better healthcare services. I practice accountability and responsibility wherever I go. I know my actions will reflect on my facility, and I carry myself accordingly. Eventually, I want to grow into the kind of worker that can lead by example and lift up everyone around them. I personally think that the values and approach of this facility perfectly align with my own.

Can you work well with others? 

Healthcare is an incredibly team-oriented industry. You  will be asked to collaborate with a diverse group of healthcare professionals with different backgrounds and areas of expertise. The success of a team is the success of the facility. You can have as many technical skills and certifications as humanly possible, but without the capacity to work with others you are essentially unmarketable. Talk about why you work well in a team setting. Highlight your interpersonal skills and pass successes. This includes communication, active listening and more.


As a HCP, communication is extremely important to me. I like making sure that everyone in my unit is on the same page, at all times. I was once working with a patient, and he had telltale signs of anxiety. He was looking down, not maintaining eye contact, and biting his nails. With this in mind, I did my best to ensure a safe and welcoming environment. It took time, but eventually I was able to reach a breakthrough. Whether it was with patients or fellow HCPS, I strongly believe in taking time to build that rapport.

Dress nicely

Your outfit will leave the first impression with your potential employers. You want to dress in a professional and clean manner, to show any prospective facilities that you value their time and are serious about applying for their opening. An understated, but sleek business casual look or totally professional business attire will do. When in doubt, a matching dark suit with a light dress shirt will always work.

Avoid overly gaudy or intricately patterned outfits, accessories, or anything that will show off tattoos. Whether fair or not, facilities will interpret this as a “rowdy, unprofessional” look. Make sure your entire outfit, from your shirt to your shoes, is not creased or overly wrinkled. Finally, a clean shaven look with a neat hairstyle is a must. In any industry this will work, but especially in the case of HCP work. Facilities want HCPs who buy into a culture of professionalism, in every aspect.

Approach with the right attitude

Half the battle is mental, with interviews. You can prepare perfectly and say all the right things ,but your body language will betray your inner thoughts. You want to project the right attitude, and enter each interview relaxed yet quietly confident. Show your prospective facilities a willingness to learn, and a collected demeanor. Avoid stumbling over your words, and be sure to maintain eye contact and good posture. These may seem like little touches, but the small things eventually add up.

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