When you're interviewing for a nursing position, you'll be asked about your skills and experience, your training, and your interests. Your interviewer will also want to know why you’ve applied for the new position, and more specifically, what makes you want to work at that particular facility. Your answer to questions about why you are interested in working there will be an important part of the interview.
Prepare for the Interview
Getting a job as a nurse takes more than just having the right education and experience. You need to be prepared at every step of the process to show the hiring manager that you are the best candidate for the job.
Your resume and cover letter must be up-to-date, and both need to highlight the nursing skills and experiences that are most relevant to the position you’re applying for. Give these materials a quick review before submitting them.
Take some time before the interview to gather your thoughts and think about how to answer questions about why you want to work at that particular hospital, nursing facility, or doctor's office.
Keep the job posting in mind and try to think of specific examples when you’ve utilized the skills the interviewer will be looking for—the skills that will make you a good fit for their facility. The closer you can match the job description, the better your chances of landing the job.
Review Examples of the Best Answers
If you’re applying at a rehabilitation facility, don’t just say that you want to help patients regain their best possible health or mobility, because this is too general and vague. You need to say why you want to work at that particular rehabilitation facility.
Maybe the facility is known for its use of progressive techniques, or maybe you’re interested in the patient base which the facility caters to. Be specific so your response clearly shows your interest in the job you're applying for.
Answers About the Facility
Some of the ways you might respond include:
- Your facility has one of the top-rated cardiac units in the country, and I am interested in utilizing my experience with cardiac patients in a hospital engaging in the latest research and techniques.
- I really enjoy working in geriatrics, and your facility has a vibrant and innovative reputation for its programs and population.
- The mechanics of sports injuries have fascinated me since my days as a student athlete. Your facility utilizes some of the most interesting treatments and is known to be developing new techniques in many common chronic issues. I believe that my surgical background would make me an asset to your nursing staff, and I would love to have the opportunity to gain experience in such a renowned facility.
Answers Related to Your Career Goals
Your long-term goals are an important part of why you’re applying for the job, and it’s appropriate to share them, as long as this involves committing to a length of employment time that makes it worth their while to hire you.
When taking this angle to explain your interest in the facility, be sure to emphasize the knowledge and growth you can gain in the position you’re interviewing for, as well as the potential for advancement with the organization. For example:
- I plan to continue my education and upgrade my credentialing, so I want to work in a facility where I can progress to higher levels of nursing care and responsibility.
- I want to work in a large hospital environment because it provides opportunities for me to expand my knowledge through training and by working alongside experts.
- I am looking for a stable, long-term position, and this facility is known for its strong, collaborative teams and career satisfaction among its nurses.
Answers Related to Job Satisfaction
If you are seeking this job because you will find it more personally fulfilling, give the interviewers specifics as to why. For example:
- I have worked in very large hospitals where I gained valuable experience, but I prefer working in a small hospital, where you can get to know your patients, the doctors, and your colleagues on a more personal level.
Why Are You Interested in Health Care?
A related question, especially if you are new to nursing, is about why you want to work in the healthcare industry.
Great answers include wanting to make a difference in people’s wellness, wanting to make people feel better, and the desire to help certain populations, such as the indigent, diabetics, or the elderly.
Don't Be Negative
Don't tell the interviewer that you want to leave the horrid place where you’re currently working. That’s a huge red flag to interviewers. A negative attitude doesn’t magically change just because you change jobs.
Keep your answer positive and upbeat and focus on the reasons why you want to be at the facility you’re applying to.
Possible Follow-Up Questions
- How do you handle patient complaints? - Best Answers
- How well do you cope with the stress of nursing? - Best Answers
- Tell me more about your nursing training and certifications. - Best Answers
What to Do After The Interview
Make sure you follow up with a thank-you letter as soon as possible after your interview. In it, reiterate your interest in the position, and take the opportunity to mention a few key assets that make you a strong candidate.
Thank the interviewer for their time and consideration and include your contact information, so it’s easily accessible when they want to get in touch with you.
Review these examples to get ideas and templates for writing your own interview thank-you letters.
DO YOUR RESEARCH Learn as much as you can about the facility where you are interviewing so that you can be prepared to offer reasons as to why you want to work there and would be a great fit for their team.
SHOW YOUR ENTHUSIASM Nursing can be a challenging, stressful career even at the best of times. Let your passion and dedication show when you are asked why you’ve chosen nursing as your profession.
STAY COOL AND CALM Keep your tone positive and professional when you are asked questions about previous employers or how you handle the stress attendant upon nursing.