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4 things NOT to do in a nurse job interview

Hemera | ThinkStock

Hemera | ThinkStock

We know that just landing a job interview can be a challenge for nurses these days, so you certainly don’t want to blow it once you’re sitting in front of your (hopefully) future boss! After you’ve studied up on what kind of questions you’re likely to hear in a nurse interview, you’ll also want to make sure you know what NOT to do during an interview.

The Philadelphia Inquirer recently put together a list of things you should never say in an interview. We’ve highlighted some of the main points as they can apply to your next nurse interview, and you can check out the entire article over at philly.com.

Additionally, if you want to do a bit of extra research on the workplaces you’re interviewing with, be sure to visit our Nurse’s Guide to Hospitals.

Don’t bring up money too early

While your job will certainly be what brings in the money for you, asking about the potential salary range too early in the conversation can lead recruiters to believe that you care more about dollar signs than you do about the field of nursing.

Ray Cohen, a career coach quoted in the article, recommends avoiding the topic as long as possible, ideally until after you receive an initial job offer. That said, be sure you’ve done your homework and know what a competitive salary is for the position you’re applying for in your particular region.

Don’t decline to ask questions…

This has become pretty common advice now, but since most interviews these days end by opening the floor up to interviewee questions, don’t give up this last opportunity to show that you are the right nurse for the job. Declining to ask any questions makes it seem like you are uninterested, and also forgoes a final chance to engage the interviewer and expand on your experience.

…But don’t ask why the job is vacant

This may seem like a great way to open up the interviewer about the specific nursing position and allow you to talk more about why you would be a great fit. However, since you don’t know the circumstances of why the position is empty, this can quickly backfire on you if:

  • The previous employee was promoted over the interviewer.
  • The previous employee was fired (this can lead the interviewer to making an unfair comparison between the two of you).
  • The previous employee was an outstanding nurse who will be missed (this can also lead to an unfair comparison before you have a chance to show your skills).

Don’t come to the interview uninformed

Circling back around to not bringing up the issue of money too early: Avoid this by showing the interviewer that you are familiar with the company. This allows you to respond to questions on why you want this position with answers that tie specifically to that hospital (and helps you avoid costly mistakes, like answering with the always unacceptable, “For the money”).

Unfortunately, interviews can occasionally take a turn for the worse even if you are well-prepared. If you do realize you’ve made a mistake, here are some tips on how to save the interview and still land the job. Be sure to let us know your own tips for what NOT to do in interviews in the comments below.

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4 Responses to 4 things NOT to do in a nurse job interview

  1. Vanessa RN

    DR’S order….
    SCD’S to BLE
    He did not do an assessment on the pt,
    Pt has Bilateral AKA

  2. joan@westgate

    Don not text or answer a cell call during an interview; never, ever bad-mouth a former employer; and, never, NOT smile :). I received my last job 5 years ago as a nurse manager, yes- Mon through Friday job, no weekends, no nights, no evenings and every single Holiday off with the entire Christmas week off as a bonus (also, July 4th week) by my smile during the interview. My present manager who interviewed me said the one thing she remembered about me during that initial meeting/interview is that “I smiled!” Good luck out there with all your job -hunting, and keep going back to school to further your education. Lastly, never stop working in nursing even if it is only 2-4 days per month. Sign me, Advice from a 42 years as a R.N., with a diploma in nursing, a B.S.N. and a M.S. in Information Systems Science.

    • MelissaM4

      Joan,
      It is nice of you to use this forum to boast about your job, which you perceive as the pinnacle everyone is reaching for. However, I had a job much like yours with all of the perks included and it was awful. So please do not assume or imply that “smiling” will land everyone their own dream job. The problem with interviews today is not the candidates, it is the nurse recruiters and the hiring managers. The types of questions they ask, and the ridiculous things they focus on is hurting the nursing profession, and keeping good nurses away from their facilities.

  3. squirmals

    I was just asked how I deal with coworker conflicts. I am not one to start anything so my answer was Tequila. Got the job!

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