11 Interview Tips for Nervous Nurses

1. Know where to go.

There’s nothing like driving to a job interview and realizing you don’t know the exact building where the meeting is being held, or you don’t have enough money for the parking meter. If at all possible, map out the fastest route to the interview site and drive there a day or two before your big day; make notes about where to park, whether you’ll need change for a parking meter, and be sure to ascertain the exact building where you need to be. If possible, check out the inside of the building and learn the very exact location of the office or room you’ll need to report to.

2. Get some sleep.

Losing hours of sleep due to pre-interview anxiety is no fun, and it’ll set you back for the day. Maximize your sleep  for several days leading up to your interview. Avoid alcohol and anything else that may decrease the quality or quantity of your sleep.

3. Learn about the company/facility/employer.

Do as much research as possible about the company or organization to which you are interviewing with; if you understand their mission, values, recent awards or special recognition, and other aspects of the organization, you will be able to speak with more confidence when asked questions probing your understanding of your potential new employer.

4. Practice the hard questions.

Prepare! Ask a friend, another nurse, colleague, or family member to play the role of the interviewer, and practice looking them in the eye and responding to the questions that are hardest for you. Practice really does help nervous interviewees feel less anxious about the tough questions.

5. Consider it a conversation.

If you go into an interview feeling like you’re on trial, you’re going to be nervous; it’s a two-way conversation and you should treat it that way. Remember that you are also interviewing them; and be prepared to ask questions during your interview.

6. Understand your weaknesses and strengths.

Most interviewers will ask you to talk about both your strengths and your weaknesses. Be sure to review how you’ll respond to such questions until your answers come as naturally as your name, address, and phone number. In all likelihood, they’re going to come up, so be ready.

7. Take your time.

When asked a question, think for a moment, and gather your thoughts before responding. If you need more time before answering, taking a sip of water can give you a few seconds to ponder your response. If you’re taking notes during the interview (which, by the way, is recommended), you can be doing so as the question is asked, and use your note-taking as a way to buy a few seconds. Just be sure not to bury your face in your notebook and avoid eye contact.

8. Take notes.

As mentioned above, taking notes can help when trying to stall for time when considering your response to a difficult question. Having a pen and notebook in your lap also serves other purposes, such as giving you something to do with your hands.

9. Dress comfortably.

You certainly want to look good for your interview, so choose clothes that fit well, feel good against your skin, and help you to feel confident, professional, and attractive.

10. Eat and hydrate well before your interview.

If your interview is in the morning, a healthy breakfast will certainly set you up for a great day. Avoid foods and drinks that are known to cause you an upset stomach or gas. As an example, carbonated drinks may cause belching at inopportune times, and you certainly want to avoid foods or drinks that usually don’t agree with you.

11. Breathe.

Science has shown that breathing calms the sympathetic nervous system and reduces anxiety.

Remember, there’s always tomorrow.

If for some reason, your job interview doesn’t go as well as you had hoped, make it an opportunity to learn from the experience.  Search for another Nursing Job, apply and plan to improve your next interview experience based on what you learned from the last.