Certain job roles, such as nursing, come with a specific set of skills that help recruiters find the perfect candidates. Obtaining these skills is crucial if you want to come off well in an interview and either make it to the next stage or better yet, land the job.

However, if you’re a newly qualified nurse what can you do to convince the interviewer that you are right for the job? We look at the most common questions you can prepare for to help you get the job.

1 – Why is this the job you want?

OK, so this question can be asked in absolutely any interview but for a nursing interview you will need to structure your answer in a way that shows you understand the job well. It’s a broad question so there is no right answer but you should look at what made you want to become a nurse in the first place. What specifically about nursing drew you to the profession? Being able to speak about why you are passionate about this role is a great start.

2 – What makes you a good nurse?

This is quite similar to the first question, but here you can expand on your skills and discuss which qualities you have will make you a good fit. You need to show that these qualities work alongside the Six Cs – care, communication, compassion, competence, courage and commitment. A lot of questions might involve scenarios so it’s good to use examples to support your point. Even if you’re going for your first ever nurses job, you will have experience from your placement so use this as your example. You might be asked if you’ve ever witnessed another nurse administering an incorrect drug and what you did in that situation. Your answer will show the interviewer that you can follow correct procedures and that you value what it means to work in a team.

3 – How do you show compassion in this field?

Skills can be both taught and learnt but having a caring and compassionate nature is inherent. It’s crucial with his question that you talk about how you empathise with patients and listen to what they have to say. Answers will usually include showing empathy and kindness towards a patient, treating them with respect and how you would like to be treated in return. It’s not uncommon to be asked about the challenges that come with nursing. For example, you might be asked in your interview about a time when you’ve felt unable to show compassion to a patient and this could be due to a number of reasons: poor teamwork, low morale, exhaustion, abusive patients etc. Although we do not wish these reasons to be the case, it’s important to be honest and to recognise the barriers that certain job roles may face.

4 – Describe a time when you experienced conflict

As a nurse you need to be able to approach situations calmly and rationally. That’s why you may be asked to speak of a time when you experienced conflict and how you dealt with it. Even knowing basic solution strategies such as taking people to a quiet, safe area, sitting down and trying to get to the root of an issue shows you are being professional and compassionate.

5 – What do you think makes a good shift?

Since you’ve been on placement or you’ve worked as a nurse before, you will have a good idea of what constitutes a good shift. The interviewer will want to know that you can deliver care in a safe and effective way. There may be times when you were short staffed but that doesn’t necessarily mean it was a bad shift. It’s good to know the importance of regular breaks and communication in the workplace so everyone can work in harmony.

6 – Name a highlight in your nursing career so far

This could be any part of your nursing role so think about this one carefully. It would be when you went above and beyond for a patient, it could be when you worked well in a team with your colleagues. Whatever you choose to say, make sure you highlight what it meant to you and why it’s such a prominent moment in  your career. Interviewers want to hear a personal story and they want to know that you have an outstanding attitude and work ethic.

7 – Talk about a mistake you made or you were involved in

Everyone makes mistakes in all types of industries and roles so don’t panic when asked this question. Here you can explain what the mistake was, how you handled it and what you would do differently. This mistake might even have shaped the kind of worker you are today so it’s always important to say what you have learnt from it and how you have moved forward. Remember to always use evidence and draw from personal experiences to support your answer.

8 – Which three words would other people use to describe you?

Often this kind of question is used at the end of an interview as a way for the interviewer to check whether the three words you use reflect what you have said in the interview. Many keywords for a nurses role include caring, passionate, loyal, honest and reliable. The idea is to show that you are able to actively seek feedback and opinions from others in a mature and professional way.