Preparing for your New Grad interview?

Nursing student studying with friends for NCLEX

Congratulations! You did it! You passed the NCLEX!

..Now what?!

When you were growing up and people asked you why you wanted to become a nurse, flexibility was probably not the first reason on your list. But this is one of the major perks of your chosen career.

A career in nursing presents you with multiple career choices. If you need to be with your children during the day, a night shift could be right for you. If you enjoy working under pressure and always being busy, then a job in the ER might be your preference.

No matter which nursing career path you choose, getting there starts with a successful job interview.

Here are effective interview tips and strategies to help you secure your dream job:

Before the interview


The objective of an onsite interview is to provide you with an opportunity to evaluate a facility. However, you too are being evaluated. This is a two-way process. There is competition on both sides.

Directions & Parking

When called for your interview, ask the interviewer’s name, the building name, suite number, visitor parking locations and a contact number. Give yourself enough time to arrive early and to familiarize yourself with the company’s area.

Confirm the date, time and address of the interview with your recruiter at least the day before the interview.


Thoroughly review the company bio you received from your recruiter. This will help you learn everything you can about the company who has invited you for an interview. Remember mission statements and service information. Any opportunity to talk to people who are in the know will benefit you more than any website possibly can. Networking is still the favored source for job research. Take this opportunity to demonstrate that you took the initiative to conduct some research and are interested in who has an interest in you.

Dress for Success

Plan to make a great first impression. Studies of decision-making behaviors by human resource professionals and hiring managers reveal that most make a decision to hire or not within the first 30 seconds after meeting the candidate. Dress conservatively (cover tattoos & limit jewelry) unless your recruiter tells you otherwise.

Prepare to dress professionally, as if you were interviewing for a business position in a conservative organization. What does “conservative” mean? Ask your most “image conscious” nursing instructor for advice about what to wear.

Limit nail color, makeup and jewelry. Do not wear perfume, after shave or any scent. Cover any tattoos. Before you walk out the door for your interview, put yourself in the position of the hiring manager, look at yourself in the mirror, and ask, “Would I hire me for this position?”

Additional Tips
  • Be relaxed, be comfortable, be yourself.
  • Turn OFF your cell phone before you walk into the building.
  • Prepare a list of questions about the facility to show interest in the opportunity.
  • Print extra resumes to take with you on the day of the interview.

During the Interview

Show enthusiasm about the job during your interview
  • A hiring manager is far more likely to hire someone who is passionate about what they do rather than someone who is matter-of-fact about it.
Be modest while you’re talking to the interviewer
  • Don’t make any demands right away like what kind of salary, sign-on bonus and relocation bonus you’re expecting. That can be discussed later on in the interview. The beginning of the interview should just be a time when both of you are trying to feel a little more comfortable with each other.
Don’t Disparage Past Employers
  • If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all. It’s disrespectful to take shots at former employees and companies (in part because they’re not around to defend themselves), and doing so can seem cheap and offensive to others.
It Doesn’t End When You Walk Out The Door
  • Even if the interview isn’t going your way, try to still seem upbeat and polite. No matter how the interview went, when you return home you should prepare a short thank-you note to send to the interviewer thanking them for their time and consideration. It can help you score points with them and it’s the right thing to do.
  • Sell your accomplishments, experience, and desire for growth
  • Support your answers with specific, recent examples
  • Make eye-contact with the interviewer(s) throughout your time there
  • Remember to say the interviewer’s name once or twice during the interview
  • Focus on your strengths

After the Interview

  • Make sure to show enthusiasm and thank the interviewer for their time before leaving
  • Ask for business cards from anyone who you spoke with
  • Find out what the next step of the process is and follow through
  • Call your recruiter shortly after each interview and give feedback as to how the interview went
  • Write a Thank You letter and mail it to the people you spoke with

Interview Do’s

  • Practice or role play an interview with a trusted friend or family member before the interview
  • Dress appropriately, adhering to the interviewing company’s dress code
  • Have your mobile phone switched to silent or even better, turned off
  • Be a good listener
  • Address the interviewer by his/her name
  • Observe the interviewer’s reactions
  • Take brief notes
  • Answer questions directly and specifically and avoid long pauses
  • Describe your accomplishments in qualitative terms
  • Display confidence in your past achievements
  • Ask questions that reflect preparation and logical thinking
  • Express interest in the employer’s needs
  • End a negative response with a positive response, such as, “No, but I can learn it quicky”

Interview Dont’s

  • Don’t fail to show up, cancel same day, or arrive late for an interview for any reason. If an emergency arises, call the interviewer and your recruiter immediately
  • Don’t bring up salary unless the interviewer broaches the subject
  • Don’t chew gum
  • Don’t smoke at the interview even if you are invited to do so
  • Don’t use slang words
  • Don’t conduct a telephone interview while driving a car or multi-tasking
  • Don’t put your purse or personal items on the interview table
  • Don’t expect the interviewer to hire you on the spot
  • Don’t undersell yourself. This is your time to brag. You DO have skills and talents to offer!
  • Don’t sound uncertain, unfocused, or scattered about your career preferences by saying “I will take anything”
  • Don’t answer only “yes” or “no” to questions. Try to elaborate on your answers. Vague answers will end the interview quickly
  • Don’t extensively explain to try to defend what you believe are your weak points