We’ve talked a lot about nursing interviews.
We’ve talked about what to wear for your nursing interview. We’ve given you some helpful tips to succeed in your next nursing interview.
We’ve even talked about how to answer nursing interview questions.
Today we’re continuing our discussion for nurse interviews by talking about nurse interview questions to ask the interviewer or your future employer.
You’re going to be asked a lot of questions during the interview because the interviewer is trying to learn about you and see if you’re a good fit.
The thing is you also need to be prepared with some good questions to ask the interviewer to make sure they are going to be a good fit for you.
Even if it's a job you know for sure you want, the manager interviewing you could say something that makes you realize this is not a good position for you.
Also well thought out questions also shows the interviewer that you’re a nurse that came prepared and that you’re actually interested in the job.
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Nursing Interview Questions to Ask
Some things to keep in mind is that these questions are in no particular order.
Also, avoid asking questions the interviewer has already answered, or you should have already known during the course of the application process.
1. What are the usual job duties of this position?
For some nursing positions, this question is going to be more important than others. If you’re an ICU nurse and you’re trying to apply for another ICU nursing position than likely your job duties are going to be very similar.
But you should probably still clarify this as some facilities do add different tasks for certain nursing positions that another facility might not.
If you’re interviewing for a nurse manager or a nursing leadership position, this question is essential because your actual roles and duties can vary significantly from facility to facility.
2. What is the new hire onboarding like?
This question clarifies if you’re hired how long you will be in the classroom or facility training and how long you’re going to be in orientation.
For example, some facilities might have you spend some days in a classroom for new hire orientation, and then afterward you than go to your unit for on the job orientation.
3. What are the shifts for the position I’m applying for?
Whether it’s a night shift or day shift position is something you probably already knew before you applied for the job. What you might not know is whether the job is 8-hour shifts, 10-hour shifts, or 12-hour shifts.
Is there an option to select what shifts you want to work? Maybe you would rather work 16-hour shifts. Is there an option to work 4 10-hour shifts and be off one day during the week? Do you have to work on the weekends?
What about taking call? Is this a position that requires you to have to be on a rotating call schedule?
These are all good questions to know because that could ultimately make a job desirable or not. On the same note…
4. Is there “mandatory” over-time?
Even if it’s not “mandatory” is there a culture in place where every nurse is expected to work overtime or pick up shifts when needed. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
I work consistently over 40 hours a week without a problem, but I know plenty of nurses who are only interested in working their 40 hours a week, and that’s it.
If there’s an expectation of overtime that could make things awkward or uncomfortable for you if you’re not doing that.
On the flip side if you’re a nurse that consistently likes getting overtime and overtime is rarely available that might mean you would either not take that job or plan on getting a side-hustle.
The last point I’ll add about over-time is if you have a discussion with the manager and they say that most of the workers are working overtime that could be an indication of being short-staffed.
5. What is the typical patient-staff ratio?
This will give you a pretty good idea of how short-staffed the facility is and/or how unrealistic their expectations are.
Also, don’t be fooled if they say something to the effect of the facility policy states a 4:1 ratio. Try to ask them what their usual staff ratios are.
This is honestly one of those questions where if you know someone that works there, you can get a better sense of their patient-nurse ratio from them.
6. What electronic medical record (EMR) does the facility use?
There’s a lot of EMRs out there, and I am of the mindset that most of them are just not very good. Many of them are slow, cumbersome, and not very user-friendly.
There are some EMRs that I’ve used that if I hear a facility has that one, I would probably not even bother applying to that facility.
7. What is the probationary period for new hires?
The person interviewing you may or may not know the answer to this question. This might be something you’ll have to double-check with human resource.
This is an important question to know because this determines when you will be considered “permanent staff.”
Otherwise, while in the probationary period, you could be terminated pretty easily for not being able to do your job or if you’re deemed not suitable for the position (source).
8. Who is the ideal nurse for this position?
This question will allow the nurse interviewer to list the qualities or attributes of the nurse they’re looking for.
This question can also help you know if you’re going to be able to live up to the expectations of what the manager is looking like.
For example, if you’re going for a nurse manager position and the interviewer says they’re looking for a nurse who’s available 24/7 holiday or weekends that quickly lets you know this is a position that requires somebody who has a flexible life schedule.
9. What is the dress attire requirements?
If you’re going for a staff nursing positions in all likelihood, it’s probably going to be scrubs. But…
- Is there a scrub color you must wear?
- Do you have to buy your scrubs from a specific shop because you need the hospital logo on it?
- Are they going to provide the scrubs to you?
- Are they going to give you a stipend for buying scrubs?
These are all very good questions to have an answer to.
10. What is the leadership hierarchy for this position?
With this question, you’re trying to figure out who you report to. One of the reasons this is a good question is it first of all gives you clarity on you who your boss/bosses are going to be.
Also, if my direct supervisor is one of the people interviewing me, I like to pay attention to their body language how they’re attitude is and so forth.
11. What is the salary for this position?
I hesitantly put this on here because many times this is not a discussion for the first interview but is usually for when you’ve already have had a formal offer letter.
But there are instances where this conversation might be had during an early interview process, especially if you get accepted immediately at the job interview.
A nursing interview can be stressful. Just remember to take deep breaths and take it one question at a time.
Remember that if you’ve done everything you need to the job interview is not just for the facility to decide if they want you, but it’s also for you to decide if you even want to work there.
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