How to Answer the 10 Most Common RN Interview Questions

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Whether you are looking for your first RN position after earning your license, or you’re seeking a new position after many years in the field, the job interviews you’re called for will shine a bright light on you and your qualifications. In other words, prepare to be prepared!

Getting ready for your RN interview begins with solid research on the healthcare facility and the position it is trying to fill. Competition will probably be stiff for the position, depending on your location, so it is important to do your homework.

Do you need help landing those coveted job interviews? A smart option is to get resume writing and rewriting from the professionals. Meantime, here are some common RN interview questions to consider as you prepare for your interview.

1. Why did you choose to work in the healthcare field?

Your reply should express a high level of compassion and caring for people of various ages and with different health issues. Your chosen area of health care could provide a story that demonstrates how truly passionate you are about the people you care for.

2. Can you tell me a little more about yourself?

The interview often begins with this common question. Treat it as an opportunity to present your particular abilities and what sets you apart from others in the profession. Avoid cliché expressions like “highly motivated” or “driven.” That may be true, but speak from the heart about what gets you up in the morning.

3. Why do you want to leave your current position?

This question isn’t intended to trap you, but it is a little tricky. Above all, don’t criticize your present employer in any way. Talk about your goals and any specialized area you’re aiming for: “Working with the XYZ Clinic has been a great experience for me. My supervisor and co-workers are great, but the job doesn’t offer me the chance to work in pediatric care, which is what I focused on while studying for my RN degree.”

4. Will you be looking for a change again in the next five years?

Obviously, the interviewer wants to know you’re going to stay for at least a few years. You might have greater goals, so it’s best to be honest about that. You might respond with: “This position will put me where I want to be at this point in my career. Yes, I have higher aspirations, but I’m hopeful there will be further opportunities right here. But just working in my chosen field of care will be a wonderful change for me.”

5. Can you tell me about a time when you made an error in judgment and how you handled it?

Some form of this common RN interview question is bound to be asked. You made a mistake. You dealt with it. You moved on. The interviewers will want to know specifics. Be ready with an instance where you owned up to the mistake, made sure everyone in the chain of command was aware of it, and you were able to take away a valuable lesson that prevented any further such errors.

6. How well do you deal with difficult patients?

Interviewers ask this common RN question to learn more about how you handle difficult situations. Perhaps talk about a time when a patient was making unreasonable demands and taking time away from other patients. A good response might be, “I had a patient who was constantly buzzing the nurses’ station for even the most minor thing. I eventually went to his room and explained that we have just so much time for each patient, some of whom need more intensive care. I felt I was very patient and professional. He was still very difficult to care for, but he didn’t buzz our station as much after that.”

7. What do you consider the most rewarding part of your profession?

Put a fair amount of thought into this question before you go into the interview. Helping people cope with health issues and being part of a healing profession has many rewards. But your response should also convey your personality and professional beliefs. Talk about something exclusive to your specialty, be it pediatric or geriatric medicine, and how it fulfills your life and gives you a great sense of satisfaction.

8. What are your greatest strengths?

Before your interview, consider the entire job description while taking an inventory of your strongest assets. Select two or three that will match the type of person and experience they are looking for. If the position involves a supervisory role, talk about your ability to delegate tasks and stay on top of needs and demands.

9. What are your greatest weaknesses?

This common RN interview question is meant to dig a little deeper into the kind of person you are and how you will match up to the position. Be honest and sincere when answering, but also make sure your reply reflects something you’ve been working hard to overcome. Perhaps say something like, “I grew up lacking self-confidence. When I started college, I began working hard to overcome that. I took a couple of seminar classes just to challenge myself and start building confidence. A lot of my friends and professors started noticing the difference. I’m still working on it, but I feel I’ve come a long way in a short time.”

10. Do you have any questions for us?

This is often the last question you’ll be asked in your RN interview. Make the most of it by engaging your interview panel with some insightful questions you formulated from your research. Ask about things like goals for the unit you’ll be in, in-house training opportunities, doctor-patient ratios, or opportunities for advancement.

By using these common RN questions as a general guideline, you should do well in your interview. If you want some extra objective assistance, we offer a suite of services, from career coaching to mock interviews, so order our job success package today.

One more pointer: Sending thank-you notes to the interviewers is still a good practice. Good luck!

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