I recently talked with Lauren Miller, our Westchester Office Manager, about how to successfully interview for a nursing position.
1. What are you looking for when interviewing a candidate for an open nursing position?
The first thing I look at is how they present themselves. This means being properly dressed for the interview and looking well presented. If they come to the interview looking unkempt, this is a red flag for me. Next, I will check their résumé for grammar errors. In this line of work, there is a lot of documentation, and if their CV is hard to read it is going to make it harder for them to get approved. If their CV looks good, I will then ask them where they want to work.For example, if they want a hospital job, they need to have the experience behind it. If they’re a new nurse, they can’t get into the hospital setting yet.
2. What do you look for when looking at nursing experience?
I look at the experience they have. What particularly stands out is how long they’ve stayed with a company. If they’ve had 15 jobs for only a few months at a time, this makes me nervous. In the last year alone, have they worked for 5 different companies? How long did they work for each company, was it for only a short period of time? It will make me wonder why they moved jobs so frequently. Sometimes there’s a reason for it and I’ll ask about it. They can list it on their CV if they’ve had temporary positions, however they need to make sure it’s easily visible.
3. Take me through the entire interview process. What are some examples of the kind of questions you ask during an interview?
One of the questions I ask is what made them chose to become a nurse. I want to see the passion behind it. Nursing isn’t something you just decide to do one day. While rewarding, it’s a tough job and there’s usually an underlying reason behind their decision to pursue it. Another question I ask is what are their strengths and weaknesses. This question will show your personality. Don’t say you don’t have any weaknesses! I’d rather you say that you don’t like handling cold water then to say you don’t have any weaknesses. I’ll then ask them why they left their last job and ask questions regarding their past job experience. If you’re a younger nurse, I may ask you where you see yourself in 5 years. Once I get through those questions, depending on where they want to work – Homecare, Private Duty (PD), shifts, in a hospital setting – I’ll go through what they want to do and tell them what the process will be like moving forward.
4. How do you conduct the interviews? How long does the interview process take?
It depends on what exactly they are looking for and where they are looking to work. If we are presenting them to another organization, such as a hospital, I would need to meet them in person. Time wise, if I’ve interviewed them already over the phone, we will usually need only half an hour to do the paper work and complete a competency exam. If we are meeting in person, then it will take 45 minutes to an hour to conduct the interview and do the paperwork if they get the job. If they have extensive nursing experience, the process is usually very smooth. However, if the candidate gives off a ‘bad vibe’ – they do not present themselves well, they don’t answer the interview questions thoroughly, etc. – then the interview process gets shortened.
5. What kind of experience are you looking for in a potential hire?
If they’re applying to hospitals, they need that experience. If they’re working for me, I’ll be looking for shift work. It’s a lot easier to work with someone who has both the experience and the references behind it to say they were good at what they do. Normally you’ll be asked to provide 2-3 references. If I have to decide between two candidates, I’m going to choose the one with the most experience.
6. How can you find out about ACCESS and open job positions?
You can find out about us through friends, job websites such as Career Builder and Indeed, social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and sending in your CV to one of our office locations – including our White Plains, Manhattan, New Jersey, and Maryland offices.
7. What are some of the open positions that you are looking to fill right now?
We always have a need for nurses. My particular area of focus is shift work, where people come and go all the time. I need assessment nurses, especially in Queens. I also need Chinese speaking nurses in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
To get in contact with Lauren regarding these positions, contact her at the Westchester office by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 914-752-2117 x2112
Consider reaching out to a nurse staffing agency to learn more about opportunities that are closest to you. Recruitment staff offer a variety of jobs:
- Long-Term Contracts
- Permanent Placement