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Preparing for your first nursing interview

By Dan Allard

​We share some things to consider when preparing for your first nursing interview.

Where will my nursing interview be?

Traditionally, most nursing interviews are held within the hospital, however many NHS Trusts are moving towards video conferencing in a bid to speed up the recruitment process.

If it is a physical interview, you should be provided with a detailed location – work out your arrival time. If you’re using public transport, can you mitigate any unexpected delays? If you’re travelling by car, are there any roadworks, do you know how much the car park costs and which entrance do you need to use?

If you have a virtual interview you may benefit from a practice session with a friend. You should test out the capability of the technology to check that your audio and camera are functioning correctly. You may also want to find the best location for you to conduct your interview. Ideally, you should choose a neutral background with good lighting and a quiet atmosphere so you can concentrate.

Read our top 10 tips for perfecting a video interview.

What should I wear to a nursing interview?

Some nurses may feel that it is suitable to wear a uniform or scrubs, others may prefer to dress in business attire – it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. If you choose to wear business-attire, we recommend neutral colours. This may be a pair of plain trousers/skirt with a white shirt/blouse.

Who is on a nursing interview panel?

You may be interviewed by clinical and non-clinical staff. Each person may be looking for something different. A nursing team manager or clinical lead may be looking to find out about your evidence-based practice or your understanding of legislation. Whereas an HR representative may be looking at how well you work as part of a team or what you know about that particular NHS Trust.

As part of your interview confirmation, you should be told who the hiring panel will be. If you’re applying for a nursing job via Sanctuary, your consultant will always be able to work with you to understand what qualities the panel is looking for.

Do you need to take anything to a nursing interview?

Check your confirmation documents to see if the interviewing panel needs you to bring anything. Common documentation includes a form of identification or a copy of your personal portfolio.

If you are applying for a nursing preceptorship, it’s beneficial to take a copy of your student nurse portfolio to showcase your placements and what you have learned.

What are the panel looking for in a nursing interview?

Pay attention to the job description. The hiring panel will be looking to see if you have the qualities that they need. Take the time to think about how your strengths match their needs.

You should also consider the questions that they may ask, this will allow you to prepare your answers and link them back to the job description. Think about backing up your answers with evidence – if you’re asked how you work well in a team, try to give an example of this.

It’s also worthwhile making sure that you can explain how the 6Cs relate to your practice and that you’re up-to-date on the latest legislation relating to the nursing profession.

Our careers hub is packed full of free, downloadable resources which will help you prepare for your first nursing job interview .