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Mastering Behavioral Interviews in Nursing

Mastering Behavioral Interviews in Nursing

Laura Wisniewski | Nursing Voice

Does your heart race, palms sweat, or your stomach feel queasy just thinking about going on an interview? Interviews can be extremely intimidating to the unprepared. It may seem as if you are in court and about to be cross examined by the prosecuting attorney. Competition is fierce for many positions. Your preparation prior to the interview is vital to your success during the interview.

An interview is a screening process used to determine a “right fit”. The interviewer represents the interests of the organization and is charged with securing potentially successful candidates. Your role is to present yourself effectively, while simultaneously considering your career objectives.

Whether you are interviewing for nursing school, your first job as a nurse or a new position within your organization; understanding behavioral interviewing techniques will assist you toward achieving your goals.

About behavioral interviews

Behavioral interviews are the most common form of interview utilized in healthcare. Candidates are presented scenarios or hypothetical situations and evaluated based on their responses. Research has shown this to be eight times more accurate in predicting future performance than simply asking; “Tell me about yourself”.

The situation may be presented as a question or begin with one of the following statements: tell me about a time, describe how you handled, or give an example.

Some specific examples are: Why did you choose nursing as a profession? Describe what you think a typical workday for a nurse is like? Tell me about a time that you had gotten in over your head during a project. How did you handle a problem with a difficult coworker? Give an example of when you went above and beyond what was required. If you witnessed an employee stealing from the organization, what would you do?

Key skills and traits being evaluated are communication, teamwork, initiative, critical thinking, conflict resolution, flexibility, stability and ethics. How you conduct yourself during the interview process is equally important as what you say. Short answers, being unable to think of an example, blaming others, grandstanding, or canned responses are red flags for interviewers.

Do interviewers expect a “perfect” track record? No, they are looking for high levels of self awareness, acceptance of responsibility, and the ability to learn from past experience.

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