Are you graduating from nursing school and beginning to think about an interview for a nursing job? If so, you probably imagine hiring managers asking the applicant questions. In reality, though, it’s not enough to just answer questions during the nursing interview. Although practicing the interview process is a good idea.
It’s just as important that new grads know what questions to ask during a nursing interview. Not only will this show the applicant’s professional interest in the position, but it will also help him or her to determine whether the nursing role is the right fit. Being able to work with other nurses, doctors, and patients in a new environment is so important. And it’s one of the characteristics of most successful nurses. In this article, CVO experts have developed some sample questions to ask in a nursing interview. This is not to be confused with how to answer nursing interview questions. That’s a different topic for a different post. Instead, we’ll discuss some of the common nursing interview questions to ask when it comes time for that next job interview.
Questions to Ask Nurse Manager During Interview
As you consider some common nursing interview questions to ask your hiring manager in your job interview, keep in mind that these sample questions and nursing interview tips are not an exhaustive list. There are many other perfectly acceptable questions for job seekers in this profession. Thus, you can adapt the ones highlighted here to your particular situation. When developing this article, our editors attempted to provide a good starting point for new nursing graduates. We also tried to give examples for recent grads who may be drawing a blank when it comes to common nursing job interview questions to ask during their upcoming interviews.
#1. What kinds of training and support do you provide for new team members?
Usually, nursing interviews for new hires focus on what the applicant can contribute to the healthcare facility. This is especially critical for entry-level nurses with little or no experience on a nursing staff in a clinical setting. In considering interview questions, it’s also important for a prospective nurse to get a good idea of the training process at their new place of employment. This includes the possibility of a mentorship program or special help from charge nurses, for instance.
The amount of help you get when you’re hired will depend on the culture of the hospital or clinic you’re applying to. You could get continued support from your co-worker healthcare professionals during your first few weeks or months of your new career path, or the level of assistance could be minimal. Ongoing professional development and continuing education might be offered. Alternatively, nurses may be responsible for their own training. Of course, many healthcare facilities fall somewhere in between. Still, it’s good to have a realistic idea of what to expect before deciding if the job is right for you.
For instance, some clinicals in a nurse preparation program leave something to be desired. If this was your experience, you may need a good deal of training and support from an experienced nurse when you start your first real job as a rookie nurse. On the other hand, many students completed an internship or were adequately mentored by a nurse educator during their nurse education program. If this rings true for you, then you may be able to survive without too much extra help.
Keep in mind that some hospitals and clinics host mentorship programs for new employees as they integrate into the healthcare team. These programs match an experienced charge nurse with an inexperienced new hire. The intent is to make the transition to the nursing profession a bit smoother and to help with some of the most challenging aspects of the job. If this is something you’re interested in, be sure to ask specifically whether mentorship is available.
#2. What common problems do you experience with newly hired nurses?
When preparing common grad nursing interview questions to ask, you’ll want to be sure to choose wisely. That’s because you may only have a short amount of time at the end of the interview to pose your questions. By asking about the most critical challenges and problems the employer has with new hires, you effectively kill two birds with one stone. Depending on how well the hiring manager answers your question, you’ll find out what they value in professional nurses. You may also discover some of the pitfalls to avoid should you be hired. If the interviewer complains about nurses who lack knowledge of current medical record systems, for instance, you’ll know to brush up on these skills before your first day. To put a spin on this question, you might also ask what the ideal candidate for the job would look like.
#3. How will I be evaluated?
One of the best nursing behavioral interview questions to ask employers has to do with performance evaluations. The answer to this question could potentially give you great insight about how to be successful in your new role as a nurse. At the very least, you’ll find out how frequently performance reviews are conducted and by whom. If your hiring manager provides enough detail, you may also get an idea of what the performance indicators outside of routine patient care include. From taking phone calls and dealing with needy patients to monitoring inventory and interacting with patient families in challenging situations, your performance matters greatly. Knowing this information in advance can set you up for success on your evaluations. How? By letting you know precisely what skills you need to hone as you begin your new job.
This is one of the most crucial new grad nursing interview questions. Performance evaluations from a charge nurse or nurse manager can make or break your career as a healthcare professional. Excellent scores on these evaluations can provide you with job security, promotions, and even raises. Poor scores, though, can put your professional status as a quality care nurse in serious jeopardy.
Asking about future evaluations will help you gain important information about how your performance as a nurse will be assessed. It also shows your hiring manager that you’re goal-oriented and eager to meet and exceed expectations. This is sure to be a mark in your favor when considering applicants for the current position.
#4. Is my input welcome?
There’s one of two ways a potential employer might view you as a prospective nurse. You may be viewed as inexperienced and in need of instruction or ambitious and full of potential. If you want your future boss to see you as the latter, you’ll want to ask the right new grad nurse interview questions. An inquiry about how your feedback and input regarding management style, patient care (even with difficult patients), or any other aspect of your job’s requirements as part of a healthcare team will be accepted in the work environment is a great place to start. This question shows that you’re a critical thinker and that you have insights to offer. It also shows that you are interested in the success of the healthcare facility you work for. This is precisely the kind of new hire most hospitals and clinics are looking for.
Conversely, some healthcare environments aren’t as welcoming of opinions from nurses, especially rookie ones. If this is the case, you’ll want to know about it before you accept a position. This information could impact your final decision about your future place of employment. At the very least, it can help you set expectations should you decide to accept a job offer.
#5. Is there potential for growth in this role?
This is another dual-purpose nursing interview question to ask employers. First, asking about advancement opportunities demonstrates your interest in growing professionally. That’s almost always a good thing. It also communicates to your hiring manager that you’ll be the kind of nurse they can count on to take on bigger responsibilities. It will appear that you’re willing to go the extra mile to succeed in your nursing role. Essentially, this is one of the interview questions that makes a good impression.
Impressing your potential employer isn’t the only good reason to ask about growth opportunities, though. It’s also in your best professional interest to know whether your new role has the capacity to expand as you gain skills and experience in the field of healthcare. This is a great question to ask if your career goals beyond your initial training period include promotions and raises. Your hiring manager’s answer will let you know whether the job you’re currently applying for aligns with these objectives.
#6. What will my schedule be like?
This is one interview question to ask in a nursing interview that shows your seriousness about the position. It lets the hiring manager know that you’re thinking hard about how the position will align with your schedule. It shows that you’re beginning to envision yourself as a part of the healthcare team. Questions about scheduling are also just as practical as getting a thorough job description. Each nursing unit will have different policies about paid time off, length of shifts, and on-call responsibilities. Before accepting any nursing position, you’ll need to know whether you can realistically make it work with your other priorities and obligations. While the vast majority of new nursing jobs will require a full-time commitment, some could require much more.
#7. What’s a typical day like?
This is among the most important nursing interview questions to ask. It’s vital to know what your duties and responsibilities will be in your new role as a professional nurse. Learning in advance about things like the scheduling process, patient care, and electronic medical records can be helpful as you enter a new healthcare position. Posing this question will again show the interviewer that you’re serious about the job. He or she will see that you are mentally preparing yourself for what will be expected of you. Moreover, this sort of questioning demonstrates that you’re a responsible professional who wants to meet expectations.
This interview question will also help you gain practical insight. It will help you to know your precise duties and responsibilities if you’re hired for the job. With any luck, you’ll learn exactly how to deal with a patient’s concerns, for example. You may also learn about some of the most challenging aspects of the job you’re applying to. You will want to know how to handle a difficult coworker, for instance. Moreover, you’ll build confidence as you approach your new career as a professional nurse. That’s because it’s very likely that the tasks the hiring manager mentions will be those that your nursing preparation program has well-prepared you for. On the off chance that you hear something completely unfamiliar, you’ll have the opportunity to ask clarifying questions. At the very least, you won’t be caught entirely off guard on your first day if you know exactly what awaits you.
#8. What are your concerns with my application or cover letter?
Certain nurse interview questions can give you insight into your chances of scoring the job. This is one of them. That is, if your interviewer is transparent in their response to this question. In this case, the answer could give you a decent idea about the likelihood that you’ll be hired. This can be useful information to have in your back pocket as you plan future nursing interviews.
Like most good nursing interview questions to ask, though, this question has more than just one purpose. Aside from helping you gain insight into the hiring manager’s selection process, it can help you reveal an important characteristic for rookie nurses—the ability to accept criticism. Prepare your reaction to the hiring manager’s answer in advance. Be sure it expresses your willingness to listen and positively respond to criticism and feedback. If your answer reiterates your commitment to excellent patient care, that won’t hurt either!
#9. What do you like about your job?
This is one of the more surprising nursing interview questions to ask employers. An inquiry about the interviewer’s own job satisfaction can help you gain valuable insight into the healthcare organization you’re applying to. You may learn important details about its unique culture, challenges, and strengths.
This question also gives the impression that you’re looking at the pros and cons of accepting the job. It shows that you’re not than desperately trying to please any nursing manager who will hire you on. The effect this impression will have may vary depending on the interviewer. For many hiring managers, though, you’ll likely come off as confident and sought-after.
Moreover, asking a somewhat personal question may help you build rapport with the hiring manager. It could also help you stand out in cases where the manager has interviewed numerous applicants for the position. Just be careful to remain professional. Coming off as too friendly or overstepping professional boundaries may have the opposite effect than you intend. And don’t plan on getting an entirely honest answer. There’s a good chance the interviewer won’t want to talk badly about the organization he or she works for.
#10. What are the next steps in the hiring process?
The final inquiry on your list of nursing interview questions to ask should be a question about the next phase of the hiring process. This reiterates your genuine interest in working for the healthcare facility and shows that you’re a forward thinker. It also implies that you’re a planner and someone who is well-organized and task-oriented. These all happen to be qualities that nursing managers are looking for in new recruits.
Asking about what’s next in the hiring process also serves the practical purpose of letting you know what to expect once the interview is done. If you listen carefully and observe tone and body language here, you may even garner some clues about your chances of being hired on to the nursing unit in question. Remember that the hiring manager has probably already decided whether you’re a good candidate for the job well before the interview has concluded.
General Tips About Questions to Ask in a Nursing Interview
While the above questions to ask in a nursing interview are certainly advisable, they’re not the only acceptable ones. In fact, one could argue that the questions themselves aren’t as important as how they’re asked. Here are some tips for coming off as poised and professional as you ask your new nurse interview questions:
- Wait your turn.
It’s generally expected that nurse applicants will have some questions for the interviewer. But, it’s important to remember the primary purpose of the interview. From the hiring manager’s perspective, the main goal is to find a suitable candidate for an open nursing position. With this in the forefront of their mind, the interviewer will likely want to dive in by asking a list of prepared questions. In this case, you’ll want to focus on how to answer interview questions to the best of your ability. Don’t interrupt or turn a question around on the interviewer. This could be seen as unprofessional or distract the hiring manager from asking the necessary questions to qualify you for the job.
- Speak up.
We’ve established that it’s necessary to wait your turn. But it’s also important that you ask the new nurse interview questions you planned before the interview has ended. Many times, the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions before dismissing you. If this doesn’t happen, though, you’ll need to bring it up yourself. Do so politely, and as a courtesy, ask the interviewer if their schedule allows for a few questions.
- Avoid off-putting questions.
While there are many appropriate questions to ask in a nursing interview, some are just off-limits. No matter how curious you are, don’t ask any questions that could paint you in a negative light or make the interviewer question whether you’re a good fit. This includes asking about time off during the interview, inquiring about whether or not you got the job, or asking if there will be a drug test. Think carefully about the new nurse interview questions you plan to ask. Consider whether they could make a poor impression before they fly out of your mouth on interview day!
- Send a follow-up “thank-you” letter.
No matter how you feel the interview went, you’ll want to follow up afterward with a brief note thanking the hiring manager for their time. Not only is it just the right thing to do, but it also makes one final impression and demonstrates your professionalism. You can even use this opportunity to thank the interviewer. Specifically express gratitude for answering your new nurse interview questions. Who knows? This final touch may be the one that snags you the job!
Nurses are very much in demand right now. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), over 220,000 nurse jobs will be available by 2029. This faster-than-average job growth means you may have a good deal of choice about where you work and who you work for. Take advantage of this current trend in the job market to practice some selectivity during your job hunt. Don’t focus solely on answering interview questions, but learn how to ask them too. The takeaway here is to craft questions to ask in a nursing interview that make you attractive to employers and give you the information you need to make the best decisions possible about your future nursing career.