How to Prepare for a Nursing Job Interview

Many candidates write perfect CVs and covering letters and spend hours preparing for the interview stage just to learn afterwards that another candidate got the job. Regardless of your practical ability and previous accomplishments, if you do not prepare properly for your interview, your chances of landing your job will take a drastic downturn.

Of course sometimes there is a better candidate out there even if you nail the perfect interview and sometimes you do not fit with the corporate culture. But more often than not, there is normally a problem with one aspect of your interview that will hold you back.

We are aware how important this process is for candidates and so we aim to provide quality advice and guidance to all nurses who use Search. Here are some great tips on interview preparation that you should follow before your next meeting.


Research the institution

Very often people focus their attention on preparing their own answers and leave the research of the workplace to the last minute. This generally results in awkward silences, mumbling or vague answers that could apply to any institution when asked specific questions during an interview.

Do some online homework on the institution’s recent history, policy changes and important staff members. Their social media channels such as Twitter and LinkedIn will probably feature some of this information and will help you form a better idea of the organisation as a whole. Don’t be afraid to ask your Search recruitment consultant for more information too.

You can then drop snippets of information during your answers to unrelated questions as well as the formal question itself.

Employers use these types of questions to check if you have done any prior research and to determine your true desire to work for them. By answering this question in detail, they should be in no doubt that you are a hard worker and a desirable employee.

Know your industry 

Quoting any current research or studies that affect the nursing industry and how it will influence your particular role or department will almost certainly impress your employer. It shows you are intuitive and can apply academia and current affairs to a practical situation displaying a high degree of understanding.

Reading about wider issues surrounding nursing also shows that you have a high interest in the industry and depending on the passion that you display in your answers, your employer will appreciate that you can be relied upon to walk straight into a role and know what is to be expected.

Practise your answers

Once you have done your research on the institution and industry, you can start practising your answers. No matter what industry you are interviewing for, there always will be a certain number of common interview questions which are asked in almost every instance. So even though there is never a set format to work with, you can still practise answering the most common interview questions.

These will focus on your strengths and weaknesses, your working and education background, your motivations for applying and why you think you are the best candidate for the job. You can also try to anticipate some of the more specific questions they may ask you such as “what would you do in this emergency scenario?”

Prepare some well-structured answers for questions similar to the above and practice them in front of the mirror or with a close friend or family member for feedback. These sessions will help you get more comfortable with the answers and improve your body language.

Always try to keep in mind the ‘STAR’ answer technique of describing a situation or task you were given followed by the actions you made and result of your decisions. This provides the employer with practical examples of the positive contributions you have made in a previous role. 


Make sure your relevant documents are up to date

For nurses, making sure your licences, certificates and registrations are current and factually correct is vital as any lapses in your deadlines could result in you being unable to practice nursing in the UK.

So turning up to an interview not knowing this information shows you are not organised and have a poor attention to detail which is not a good sign in this industry.

When you are invited to an interview, you may also be asked to bring other items with you too including forms of identification, a personal portfolio and physical confirmations of your qualifications or right to practice.

Turning up without these requested documents would again show poor organisation and an inability to follow instructions.

The Essential Extras

  • If you want the job you need to look the part. Dress smart with well-fitting clothes and polished shoes to ensure that you make a good first impression.
  • Plan your route and give yourself some extra time to avoid running late.
  • Remember to speak clearly, smile and be friendly. Answer with confidence and focus on promoting yourself.
  • Do not spend all night cramming as much research as you can. Get a good night sleep so you are refreshed for your appointment and plan in advance when to prepare for your interview beforehand.

Prepare a list of questions

Once you have answered all of your interviewer’s questions, you have a prime opportunity to learn as much as you can about the role and the institution as a whole. Prepare at least five questions in advance during your online research focusing on the job itself and a few about the goals and culture of the organisation itself. These will demonstrate your interest in the position and your desire to learn.


Search Medical is a specialist in not only sourcing and placing nursing jobs but also guiding our workers through some of the most important issues surrounding the profession. If you have any questions regarding job interview preparation please contact a member of the Search Medical team in your nearest England office.


By Claudette Drews



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