Interview skills

By Ida Davis,2014-05-16 03:01
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An interview is essentially a performance and like all performances, success depends on careful preparation and practice. Following the guidance below may

    Interview skills


An interview is essentially a performance and like all performances, success depends

    on careful preparation and practice. Following the guidance below may help.


? Go through the person specification, or job description, if there is one. Underline

    all the statements that indicate the skills, experience and personal attributes

    required for the role. Look back on your career to date and list examples that

    illustrate that you meet the requirements for the post. Be prepared to expand on

    information given on your application form or CV

    ? Look at the list of common interview questions below. Practise responding to

    these questions, by arranging a mock interview with a friend, relative, senior

    colleague or careers adviser. Ask for constructive feedback and arrange to

    practise again if necessary. It is even helpful to rehearse the actual interview

    process, following the guidelines, given below (See ‘During the interview’).

    ? Prepare some questions to which you would like answers

    ? Try to arrange an informal visit, where you can talk to staff and assess whether the

    post and environment will meet your needs and get some answers to your

    questions. (See Assessing an Employer) ? Make sure you are up to date with national initiatives in health care by searching

    relevant health web sites or reading current nursing journals

    ? Plan your route to the interview. How long will it take you? Allow time for

    delays beyond your control, such as traffic jams. Practise the route, if necessary.

    ? Plan what you are going to wear for the interview. You need to look smart, clean

    and comfortable, but won’t be expected to spend a fortune on a designer suit!

    ? Get a good night’s sleep before the interview. Make sure you have time to

    prepare on the day, allowing time for breakfast, getting ready and having a final

    mental rehearsal. What relaxation techniques will help you to focus?

During the interview:

? Smile when you walk in

    ? Shake hands with members of panel

    ? Take your time to get comfortable

    ? Ask if you don’t understand a question ? Keep good eye contact

    ? Don’t rush your answers

    ? Ask questions at the end

After the interview

If unsuccessful:

    ? Reflect on your performance, write down what worked and what didn’t. List the

    questions with which you had most difficulty. How would you respond next time? ? Contact a member of the interview panel and ask for constructive feedback on

    your performance

    ? If you believe that discrimination - on the grounds of sex, race or disability - has

    occurred contact your RCN representative

If successful:

    ? Wait for confirmation in writing before resigning from your current post ? Make sure you are sent a contract and details of the terms and conditions. Clarify

    and concerns before accepting the job in writing

Sample interview questions

Why do you want the job?

    What skills and experience would you bring to the role?

    Tell us about a recent situation where you were required to use your own initiative.

    How do you cope with pressure/stress?

    What makes a good team player?

    What role do you play in a team environment?

    What motivates you as a nurse?

    Where do you see yourself in two/five years’ time?

    Please give us an example of a situation where you have had to manage change.

    How would you deal with a relative who was aggressive and verbally abusive?

    What would you do if a patient told you he wanted to make a complaint about the

    nursing care on the ward/unit?

    Please give example of situation where you have collaborated with the

    multidisciplinary team.

    How would you apply research findings to your practice?

    Please describe your involvement in teaching/how would you help to create a learning


    What are your strengths?

    What are your weaknesses/development needs?

    How do you keep up to date?

    Tell us about a national initiative in nursing.

    What do you understand by the term ‘equal opportunities?

Useful resources

To make sure you are up to date with current issues in nursing, visit the health

    department web sites in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The web site

    addresses are:

    Department of Health (England) The National Assembly for Wales (Look under Health)

    Scotland’s Health on the Web –

Produced by:

    The RCN Career and Welfare Service

    20 Cavendish Square, London, W1G ORN

    Telephone: 0845 408 4391,


    Web site:

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