Most Common Healthcare Interview Questions (Nursing)

by Amber Vanderburg

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    00:01 You have made it past the application stage and into the interview portion of your hiring journey.

    00:09 This is your opportunity to have a conversation with the hiring manager and truly show the value you can add to the unit.

    00:19 Here are a few ways you can prepare for your interview.

    00:24 First, you should prepare stories you can share in the interview.

    00:30 You may not know specifically what types of questions the interviewer will ask.

    00:36 However, there is a strong likelihood that the interviewer will ask questions that will warrant a response in the form of a story.

    00:47 There are nine different types of stories that you should keep on hand to use during your interview.

    00:56 I want you to format your stories in the form of a STAR method.

    01:02 The S and T in the STAR method, mark the beginning of your story in which you describe the situation, or task you encountered.

    01:17 Next, I want you to clarify the action that you took in that situation or task completion.

    01:25 Clarify the Action.

    01:28 Lastly, I want you to share the Result of that action that you took.

    01:33 This is a very clear way to format your stories with the right amount of relevant details to help the interviewer see the value you can add to the team.

    01:44 If you can add a specific healthcare element to your stories, such as volunteering at the Community Clinic, working as a medical aide, a healthcare related externship, or internship that can add even more value to your answers.

    02:03 The first storytime you should prepare is a response to the typical interview beginning.

    02:11 Tell me about yourself.

    02:12 Now, this is a broad question that could be taken in a variety of directions.

    02:19 Do not take this time to share about your kids, your cats, your love of Taylor Swift.

    02:26 Focus on your passion for healthcare specific reasons why you are interested in health care.

    02:34 If you have specific examples of how you have learned, grown and developed your healthcare related skills include that in this answer.

    02:45 An effective story for this question might sound like this.

    02:50 I've always had a calling to serve others, which is why I began volunteering at the local retirement home when I was in high school, where I served more than 75 patients in two years and organized a holiday party and summer party for the residents, which resulted in higher satisfaction and engagement.

    03:10 Since then, my commitment to health care, and specifically geriatric health care has only increased as I have worked in a variety of health care related positions shown on my resume.

    03:23 I am thrilled for my next opportunity to serve this community.

    03:28 And I am excited for the opportunity to explore how my skills and experience would be a good fit for this organization.

    03:40 Prepare a story to respond to the prompt, tell me about yourself.

    03:47 Another story that you should have prepared is a response to the question, why here? This might be asked in the form of a question, why did you apply for this role? Or what attracted you to this healthcare system? Or maybe a more generic why health care? The gist of the question is the same. Why here? The gist of the question is the same. Why here? Try to go beyond a surface level response.

    04:16 Do some research into the organization and department to give specific reasons why you are interested in this role.

    04:26 It could be mentorship, continuous education, organizational values, or your path to discovering your passion and healthcare.

    04:36 Again, seek to take the opportunity of this question to tell a memorable story in a STAR format that ties your experience and passion to the values of the organization.

    04:50 If you are asked a broader question about the field of healthcare in general, please have a story prepared about why you are interested in this organization and why you are passionate about the field.

    05:07 You can include this in a STAR format, like in the example of a nurse who was passionate about Geriatric Patient Care.

    05:19 Next, be prepared to answer the infamous strengths and weaknesses questions.

    05:27 While some organizations are starting to veer away from these questions.

    05:33 They are common enough that you should be prepared with a story.

    05:39 For the, tell me about your strengths prompt, I want you to try to lean in to your professional strengths rather than personal non-healthcare related strengths.

    05:54 Think of a strength that could be directly related to your role for which you are applying and a story that demonstrates your strength in that competency.

    06:07 You might be asked a question about how you have solved a problem or overcome a challenge.

    06:15 This might be a good opportunity to share how you use your strength to achieve desired outcomes.

    06:25 Think of some situations where you had an innovative solution to a lack of resources, a tight deadline, or challenging team dynamic.

    06:38 This story is where you solve the problem and use your strengths to achieve success.

    06:46 This could be a powerful time for you to outline a transferable skill that you've attained through a non-healthcare related story as well.

    06:57 So be prepared with a strengths story as a response.

    07:03 When you are tasked to answer the tell me a weakness prompt, I want you to answer genuinely.

    07:11 You might also hear this prompt in the form of a question.

    07:14 Like tell me a story about when you made a mistake.

    07:19 We are all humans and make mistakes and have weaknesses.

    07:24 There are probably a lot of stories to choose from in this story type.

    07:29 The purpose of this question is not to make you feel bad.

    07:34 It is to genuinely understand possible weaknesses to see how you can fit into the team.

    07:41 By stating that you do not have weaknesses, or pointing out a minute weakness like I can't whistle does not show strength.

    07:51 It can actually show a lack of self-awareness and a fixed mindset.

    07:57 I encourage you to choose a story in which you learn from the mistake or are actively working on a weakness.

    08:06 The star format in this story, we'll have an additional A-R.

    08:12 So describe the situation or task.

    08:16 What action you took that was ineffective, and the result of that action.

    08:24 Then, I want you to reflectively give a description of an alternative action that you have taken since or how you are actively working towards alternative action in the future.

    08:39 Then describe the alternative result of that action.

    08:44 This STAR, A-R story could sound like this.

    08:50 I was volunteering at a community clinic and became overwhelmed by the patient load.

    08:56 I did not ask for help and did not make any adjustments in my schedule.

    09:00 I just began to try and work faster.

    09:04 The result of this was a lot of mistakes, and a lack of quality and patient care.

    09:10 Since then, I've learned to better recognize when I am feeling overwhelmed. And I actively asked for help, reassess the priorities of my schedule to make adjustments and seek to be a better steward of my energy, which results in better patient care and a better patient care experience.

    09:34 The next story type you should prepare is a story about when you worked as a leader.

    09:41 Interviewers love to hear a story about when you took initiative, and were a leader.

    09:48 Now, you might be thinking, Amber, I've never led a team.

    09:54 Preferably, you will have a story about when you lead a team of people.

    09:59 And if you are listening to this with notable time before the interview stage, this might be an opportunity for you to seek a leadership role within your team.

    10:12 If you absolutely cannot think of an example, you can also share a story about when you lead yourself.

    10:20 I want you to focus on your mindset and approach as a leader.

    10:26 What actions and attitudes did you take that were effective and can apply to your new role.

    10:34 Interviewers are looking for team members who are self driven and motivated.

    10:40 This is a powerful opportunity to share a story of your leadership abilities.

    10:47 The next type of story you should have prepared is a story of how you are a team player.

    10:53 This might be assets in the form of, "Tell me about a time when you worked on a team." Or tell me about a time when you worked with others to accomplish your goal.

    11:04 Your interviewer might be more specific, and discuss the challenges and fast pace of the unit that require effective teamwork, clear communication, and organization.

    11:16 These questions might get deeper into the number of beds, you'll be expected to serve, or level of acuity that may require help.

    11:26 Again, use the STAR format to give a specific, memorable example of teamwork you've exemplified in the team.

    11:36 While this is a team story, focus on the action that you played in the team success.

    11:45 A team winning a state championship is a nice story.

    11:50 What role did you play? How did you encourage the team? How did you help to champion team success? What actions did you take? Prepare a story about your role as a team player.

    12:07 You will likely get some questions on how you stay informed and up to date in your healthcare practice.

    12:16 Healthcare is an ever evolving field.

    12:19 And it is critical that the incoming medical professionals are intentional to continuously learn.

    12:27 Have a specific example of where you find information, how you are continuously learning, and how you stay informed in your profession.

    12:38 A specific story of what you have recently learned or your observations for the future of healthcare can add additional weight to the conversation.

    12:51 The next story you should be prepared for is a question about handling difficult patients or patient visitors.

    12:59 A variation of this might be how you explain bad news to patients handle disgruntled patients, or manage emotional and highly emotional situations.

    13:13 Poor health and loved ones in poor health can bring out some unpleasant sides of people.

    13:20 And as healthcare providers, you must seek to provide excellent care regardless of the personnel challenges.

    13:29 Prepare a story of when you have handled difficult personnel challenges.

    13:34 If you have not yet had experience in patient care, then give an example of working in another service area with challenging customers or people and point out the transferable skills that are related to the position for which you are applying.

    13:53 You should also prepare a story to respond to the prompt.

    13:58 Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond for a patient.

    14:03 This is your opportunity to truly brag about a time when you have done something remarkable.

    14:11 If you have not yet gained experience in patient care, tell a story of another time when you went above and beyond.

    14:21 Use the STAR method and focus on the results of your actions in this story.

    14:29 There are a lot of opportunities to share meaningful and powerful stories within an interview.

    14:37 While you may not know the questions that will be asked ahead of time, you can prepare by crafting stories that respond to these nine basic prompts.

    14:50 Tell me about yourself. Why here? Strengths, weaknesses, leadership, being a team player, continuous growth, difficult challenges, and going above and beyond.

    15:06 So, here's what I want you to do. Be prepared to tell a story.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Most Common Healthcare Interview Questions (Nursing) by Amber Vanderburg is from the course Transition to Nursing Practice.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Prepare stories using the STAR format that can be used to answer interview questions.
    2. Research the top 100 most asked interview questions and prepare responses for each.
    3. Prepare a slide show with resume highlights and statements from references.
    4. Memorize the mission statement and most recent publications of the organization the interview is with.
    1. The situation
    2. The task
    3. The action
    4. The result
    5. The rationale
    1. “Tell me about yourself.”
    2. “Why did you apply for this role?”
    3. “What are your strengths?”
    4. “Tell me about a time when you made a mistake?”
    5. “What are your salary expectations?”
    1. “I always knew I wanted to work somewhere that I could help as many people as possible. So as soon as I could, I started volunteering at the oncology ward of my local hospital.”
    2. “I am married with three children. My partner is also a nurse, and we met during nursing school. We have two dogs and just moved to the city a few months ago.”
    3. “I have always wanted to be a nurse, as my mother and grandmother were both nurses.”
    4. “I am a nurse who just graduated last year. My favorite courses were mental health and pediatrics.”
    1. Sharing a story about a mistake that resulted in a learning experience.
    2. Sharing a story about a minor mistake that had a negligible effect.
    3. Sharing a story about correcting a mistake a co-worker made.
    4. Sharing a story about a strength but describing it as a weakness.
    1. “Tell me about a time when you made a mistake.”
    2. “Tell me about yourself.”
    3. “Tell me about your strengths.”
    4. “Tell me about a time when you acted as a leader.”
    1. Telling a story about a time they worked in a team, focusing on their role in the team’s success.
    2. Telling a story about a time they worked in a team, focusing on the team's final result.
    3. Telling a story about a time they worked in a team, focusing on each member’s contribution.
    4. Telling a story about a time they worked in a team, focusing on the obstacles experienced and how the team addressed them together.
    1. Describe a situation when they handled a difficult situation at a previous job or during a clinical rotation.
    2. Share a hypothetical situation and describe how they would react.
    3. Explain to the hiring team that they do not have a relevant example to share.
    4. Describe a time when a peer handled a difficult situation, and share how they would have reacted differently.

    Author of lecture Most Common Healthcare Interview Questions (Nursing)

     Amber Vanderburg

    Amber Vanderburg

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