Common New Graduate RN Interview Questions

March 19, 2020

We're in the thick of interview season and I figured I'd compile all the questions I've been asked (that I remember) on the interview trail. I still have a few more interviews scheduled before I finalize my decision so I'll be sure to add any additional questions I'm asked in the coming weeks. Subscribe and be on the lookout for a separate blog post pertaining to my experience on the "interview trail".

Let's dive in: Below you will find a list of common questions I was asked. Some overlapped and others were unique just to one program. Going into interviews I had practiced some generic questions but once you're actually in that environment you have no idea what they're going to throw at you. I hope that this list will help you prepare and ace any upcoming interviews you may have + receive multiple job offers in your desired specialty. 

  • Do you have any prior healthcare experience?
  • Do you have any prior non-healthcare-related experience?
  • What is your plan/timeline for taking NCLEX?
  • When do you graduate?
  • Will you be graduating with a BSN or ADN? 
  • What is your desired pay rate?
  • How many Practicum hours do you have to complete? How many hours have you completed thus far?
  • Where was your practicum? What specialty?
  • Why did you pick nursing?
  • Why do you want to work at this hospital?
  • What brings you to the adult world? (Context: I work as a Patient Care Technician at a Children's Hospital)
  • Do you ever get frustrated trying to explain a care diagnosis in "lay-people" terms?
  • Why do you want to work in your desired unit?
  • What frustrates you? How do you handle this frustration?
  • Discuss a time when you were praised at work?
  • how would you handle a difficult unhappy patient?
  • Discuss a time when you made a mistake.
  • Discuss a time when you had difficulty with a coworker or a manager.
  • Discuss a time that made you think "this is the right profession for me" or a time that made it all worth it.
  • Discuss a time when you had a difficult patient.
  • Discuss a time when you dealt with a patient who had differing views/life practices.
  • What are your long term nursing goals?
  • Do you have a shift preference/restrictions?
  • Name a time when you had to think on your feet.
  • What are your top specialty interests? rank them in order.
  • Finish this sentence: If you hire me, you won't regret it because ____?
  • Name a time when you went the extra mile.
  • Name a time when you felt conflicted in the workplace.
  • List 3 strengths.
  • List 3 weaknesses.
  • Pick a patient from the following diagnoses: ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke. Once you've picked tell me the treatment, assessment and follow-up care you plan to provide for this patient.  
  • Name a time when you set a goal and did not meet it. How did you improve so that you did not make that mistake again?
  • Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Personally, the worst feeling was hearing a question that was so "off the wall" and thinking to myself, how do I even answer that without lying or sounding like I'm telling them some "cookie-cutter" answer? Although you never want to sound rehearsed, it's good to have a general idea of how you might answer these questions when they come up in conversation. 

Let me know down below any questions that made you take a step back and think in an interview!
Wishing you all the best and I'll talk to you soon!

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