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Questions Nurses Can Answer in Interviews to Ease Employers’ Fears

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You may look like a fantastic job candidate on a piece of paper. Maybe your resume is full of fantastic qualifications, and maybe you performed extremely well at one of the best nursing schools. But the nursing industry is still competitive, and employers want to know more about their potential employees. Meeting the knowledge and experience requirements is just one part of the job screening process. They want to know who you are, what you love, and how hard you work.

That’s what the interview is for. In an interview, the employer can get a closer look into who you are as a person outside of what university you attended and where you did your clinicals. They’re looking for certain characteristics, and this is when they’ll discover if you’re the right fit for the position. So how do you prove yourself? There are some interview questions you can answer that will ease their minds and also convey what you’re all about, and three of the major ones are highlighted below.

Question: Why do you want to work here?

What they want to know: What motivates you, and what are you seeking?

Why they’re asking: To make sure you’re not just in it for the money.

As one of the most classic interview questions, this inquiry is extremely important. Not only will you be describing what it is about that specific hospital, clinic, school, or office that appeals to you, but you’ll also be demonstrating what your general goals are when it comes to nursing. For example, if you say that you were attracted by the higher pay, that might turn off the employer. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a higher salary, but if that’s what you state as your main reason for applying, you may as well walk out the door.

Employers want to know that money isn’t your main priority; they want to see that you have passion for nursing. They want to know what you can contribute to their medical institution, but they also want to see that you’re eager to learn new things and grow within your profession. Emphasize what you hope to accomplish. If they see that you have many skills but that you’re also willing to learn new things, they’ll be more comfortable with the idea of hiring you.

Question: What are your strengths?

What they want to know: Are you a hardworking, intelligent team-player?

Why they’re asking: To check that you have the qualities necessary for the job.

When asked this question, make sure you answer thoroughly — don’t just describe the characteristics you possess in general. Make sure you connect all of your traits to nursing-related tasks and challenges. Employers want to see that you have a great work ethic, that you’re able to work in a team, and that you have very good critical thinking skills, and this question will help them assess this.

Instead of just saying you possess valuable qualities, cite specific examples from past experiences. Think about this before you go into your interview so you’re prepared and don’t have to think of something on the spot (the pressure can really hinder your memory). For example, say that you’re a good time manager and multi-tasker, but then talk about that one time you had an extremely hectic day and still managed to complete all of your tasks in a timely, quality manner. Employers will be relieved that you’re a hard worker and a great nurse, but they’ll be especially relieved to hear evidence of it.

Question: Why did you become a nurse?

What they want to know: Are you compassionate and is your heart truly in this?

Why they’re asking: To see if you don’t really care about the job, which means you won’t perform well.

Employers ask this because they want to know if you’re truly doing what you love. Do you really have a passion for nursing, or is it just something you fell into? Make sure you’re enthusiastic when answering this question. Employers worry that you’ll be dissatisfied while you work, which generally hurts job performance. Talk about what made you decide to study nursing and how it has been rewarding for you.

Don’t worry too much if you don’t have an intense, inspirational story as to why you studied nursing. Just remember to be sincere in your answer and describe what it is you love about the profession. The employer wants to know that you’re in it to help people. If you are, stress this point. After all, that’s what the job is all about.


If the employer is confident that you’re passionate, hard-working, dedicated, and willing to learn, you’ll increase your chances of getting hired. The employer is concerned not only that you’re technically qualified for the job but that you also have the right motivation, drive, and personality necessary to excel as a nurse. Answering the above questions well and thoroughly well help ease the employer’s mind and help your chances of securing the job.


Contributor Tera Rowland

Tera Rowland is the vice president of Soliant and has worked in the healthcare staffing industry for almost 20 years in public relations, social media, marketing and operations. In addition to Soliant, Tera worked at the Mayo Clinic as an internal communication manager and for the Children’s Miracle Network. She is a member of the American Marketing Association and the American Staffing Association. Also, Tera has served on the board of directors for the Jacksonville Women’s Leadership Forum as part of the communication committee. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations as well as a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of North Florida and has been published in the Huffington Post, Healthcare Finance News, Healthcare Traveler Magazine, and Scrubs Magazine. Make sure to read the rest of Tera's blogs!