Date Published: February 5, 2018
We recently teamed up with the Children’s Mercy Hospital talent acquisition team during our Facebook Live Event Series – The Job Hunt spotlighting the interview.
As recruiters, our panel has heard their fair share of questions from nursing students ready for their first job. What are the answers to the frequently asked questions? We’re sharing their responses below.
When should I apply for positions?
The majority of hospitals open their application for spring grads in January and February, but it varies by location. At this point (end of January), you should be applying for positions, or at least check with the facilities that you are interested in to see when their application is available.
Do I need a resume and cover letter?
You should definitely be prepared with a resume. Cover letters are recommended and give you an opportunity to explain why you are interested in that hospital or specific unit. If you choose to add a cover letter, be sure to update it if you apply to multiple hospitals.
How should I prepare for an interview?
Research the company you will be interviewing with. You can get a lot of information off the website and if you know who you will be meeting with, look them up on LinkedIn to see what you can learn about them. Practice interviewing with a trusted friend or relative. This can help ease the stress of a live interview.
Sample questions that you can prepare for include:
- Tell me about a time that you made a mistake and what did you learn from it. (I would recommend a clinical example if possible)
- Tell me about a time you had to work on a project with someone that you didn’t see eye to eye with. What did you do? What was the result?
- Tell me about a time that you had competing priorities and how you handled that.
Should I have letters of reference prepared?
Yes, I would recommend at least two letters of recommendation be prepared to give the hiring manager. Clinical instructors are good references along with employers or coaches. You should not use family or friends for professional references.
What should I wear to the interview?
Dressing professionally shows that you are prepared and taking the interview process seriously. We recommend ladies wear a suit, dress, or skirt with comfortable shoes. Avoid tight fitting or revealing clothing. Men should wear a suit if they have one or slacks with a button up shirt and tie.
What should I do the day of the interview?
Be rested, you want to feel your best on this important day. Arrive a little early in case there is a traffic or parking issue. Review any notes you have made and mentally walk through some interview question responses in your head. Also, have extra copies of your resume available as you will likely meet with a few people during the interview.
What should I do after the interview?
As soon as possible after the interview, write down your thoughts. What did you like? What did you not like? Are there questions you still have? Do this for each interview you have so you can compare notes. Also, send a hand written note or email to the hiring manager.
What do I do when I get a call from the recruiter?
Give the recruiter your full attention when they call. If you are offered a position, write down the information and ask any questions you may have. If you are not offered a position, try to stay positive and thank them for the opportunity. Many hospitals will consider you for future opportunities.
What if I get multiple offers?
Congratulations, this is a good problem to have! Really consider all offers and benefits of each. If the recruiter hasn’t provided the benefits information, be sure to ask for that. Consider what specialty you are most passionate about and which position will help set you up for success for future goals.
If I accept a position, what are my next steps?
Take the NCLEX as soon as you can after graduation and allow yourself time to get licensed. You can also use this time to continue to research information about the hospital and unit you were hired for.