Preparing for an agency nursing interview:
Whatever your level of experience, interviewing for a nursing job can be daunting. Alongside your technical skills, how can you show the interviewer that you’re a suitable candidate for their healthcare organisation? At Mayday Healthcare, our team are on hand 24/7 to support you, and to share knowledge of the interview process with you. We've collated our advice on how to best prepare for your agency nursing interview:
Do your research:
To first step in preparing for your upcoming agency nursing interview is to do your research. And then do some more. Showing that you’ve put the time in to find out about the job demonstrates that you’re thorough and invested in the position. Go through the job description and research the healthcare organisation - sometimes all the information you’ll need is readily available on the internet. It’s also useful to find out a little bit of information about key faculty members.
Dress to impress:
Your appearance is a strong non-verbal indicator of your commitment to an agency nursing position. As mentioned above you might well be introduced to other team members such as doctors, other nurses and admin staff, or given a tour around the department.
Always check with your recruiter at Mayday Healthcare to understand the expectations of your interviewer - but typically nurses wear professional attire to interview, instead of scrubs. Be sure to clean and iron your clothes for the meeting so you look neat and tidy. This goes for hair and nails too - they should be clean and kept under control.
The opening act:
Your interview begins as soon as you step foot on the premises. Interviewers pick up on face-to-face cues, such as eye contact and body language - a good example of this is keeping an open stance instead of crossing your arms.
This is your first opportunity to promote yourself and your experience. Common opening questions include:
• Why do you want this agency nurse position?
• What is it about this organisation that makes you want to work here?
• What motivated you to become a nurse?
• Do you have hobbies outside of work?
Soft skills and Technical time:
After you've explored your motivations and had the chance to introduce yourself to the interviewer, it's likely that you'll then be asked to give some examples of a time when you've been in a certain situation. This type of competency-based questioning is used to demonstrate how you deal with real-life scenarios. These will span your soft skills, and may also delve into the technical side as well.
When answering questions, think about which skill or characteristic you're trying to highlight, and remember to tie your answer back in with that key point. The main topics you'll cover are teamwork, patient care, self-motivation and crisis management. It's useful to find an example of a time in your experience that proves you can deliver these. Many people find the STAR method an easy way to answer competency-based questions:
Situation: Describe the context
Task: What was the challenge you were facing
Action: How and why did you take this action
Result: What did you achieve?
It's not uncommon for the interviewer to also ask some tough questions, like "how do you feel during the times when you are not able to comfort patients that are in pain" or "tell me about a situation in which you've failed". The key to answering this is to flip it on its head - acknowledge the challenge and then go on to say how you've achieved a positive outcome.
Here's an example:
"What's the biggest challenge you've faced as a nurse"
"It's difficult communicating with patients and their families when there is a lack of trust and understanding. It's my job to show them that I'm there to make things better, and we're doing everything we can (and more) to ease their discomfort. I work hard to build a rapport with patients to make them feel at ease and build trust"
Once the interview draws to close, you may get the opportunity to ask some questions of your own. Always be prepared with a couple of questions - this shows a keen interest in the agency nursing role. Some good examples include:
"What does your onboarding process look like?"
"What are your expectations within the first 3 months of the role?"
"What are the main challenges your healthcare department is currently facing?"
Remember that the interview isn't over until you've left the site, so stay professional at all time. But you've done it! You've made it through the hardest part - now you can go and relax after all your hard work and await the feedback from the interview.