Interview Guide - Mental Health Nurses.


Be your best at interview

Interviewing can be a tricky process, especially if you work in mental health where the work is complex. To help you land your perfect job, we’ve pulled together some frequently asked questions asked of mental health nurses at interview.

1. What do you know about our organisation?

This is an extremely common question in any interview, not just those in the health sector. It’s important that you show you’ve taken the time to research the organisation – you can do this by looking through their website or checking for any recent media coverage. If you know that the employer has piloted a new approach to mental health nursing or is a specialist in a field of work, don’t be afraid to bring it up in conversation. It demonstrates your interest in them as an organisation and as a prospective employer.

2. Why do you want to work for us?

This follows on from the question above. If there is a specific department you will be working in, look at any organisational achievements, and state how your skills will fit in. This is also your opportunity to learn more about the employer – don’t be afraid to ask any questions that you may have about the organisation.

3. Give an example of something you are proud of as a mental health nurse?

This is your chance to really sell yourself and your skills. We recommend showing how innovative and resourceful you can be; after all, mental health nursing can be challenging. Perhaps you managed to help somebody make positive changes to their mental health, or you have been involved in an innovative project or service.

The key here is to really sound enthusiastic about what you are talking about. Make sure you smile and maintain eye contact with all members of the interview panel. I would also recommend being aware of your body language – remember to have a confident posture.

4. What are the skills in patient care that you view as essential?

Prospective employers will be keen to find out as much as possible about your patient-care skills and specific experience in supporting patients with mental health issues. They will be looking for an employee with empathy and patience, who can work safely and effectively. For those working in mental health, it could be beneficial to talk about how you are able to deal with potential confrontation or conflicting views from relatives – think about how you would handle a hypothetical situation as well as maintaining your legal responsibilities.

5. Can you tell me about your professional values?

NHS Employers are now using Value Based Recruitment (VBR) methods. This means that they are looking for prospective employees, whose personal values align with the NHS values described in the NHS constitution. Think about how your behaviours can fit in with your potential employer.

Make sure you have some concrete examples of how you have previously put your core values into practice – for example, if you work well in a team and are easily adaptable to alternative ways of working, this is your chance to sell yourself.

6. What do you understand by the term ‘diversity at work?’

This isn’t just about treating everybody the same. Employers want to know how you ensure that you treat colleagues with support and respect. It is also about understanding how your work can be affected by your own background and personal beliefs; something mental health nurses must be acutely aware of.

7. How do you keep on top of your Continuing Professional Development (CPD)?

It is important that you keep on top of your CPD; it demonstrates how you have regularly broadened your skill set. Any prospective employer will want to know how they will benefit from your training, and they may ask how you document your learning. I would recommend having a few examples of how a specific activity has helped with your CPD. With research into mental health being released all the time, you might also want to detail how you include such learnings into your CPD.

Also use this as an opportunity to show how you can interact with colleagues and learn from others. Sharing best practice is a highly-valued skill, and employers would be impressed by peer-based networking or mentoring.

8. Name a national initiative in healthcare that you feel passionate about

By this, we do not mean a discussion about the latest cuts or other political discussions, rather knowledge of any developments that are most relevant to mental health nursing. Interviewers are impressed by those aware of the most recent research, so you may wish to focus on any training which could be beneficial for any future changes.”

Our interview guide will tell you everything you need to know...

If you’re looking for your next position, take a look at our wide range of mental health jobs.