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Key Questions Nurses Should Ask in Interviews

Key Questions Nurses Should Ask in Interviews

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No matter how badly you might want the job or how perfect you think the job might be, you need to interview the interviewer. What exactly does interviewing the interviewer mean? It is basically a way of seeing if the job is right for you. You shouldn’t solely focus on proving that you are the best candidate for the job. Rather, is this job the best candidate for you? You need to realize that beyond getting a new job, there are many implications that need to be worked out. Even if you need the job or desperately want it, acting as though you do is not wise. Employers generally shy away from hiring desperate people, so don’t let on how badly you want it. Instead, interview the interviewer.

How do you interview the interviewer?

Whether you are being interviewed by one person or by a panel, you must be prepared with relevant questions to ask about the role you are applying for. The main reason is that you want to see if this job, the employer, your direct reports, to whom you report, and level of responsibility and power are within your expectations and abilities. Let’s face it, job descriptions these days are often vague and misleading. I once applied and interviewed for a job in public health but found out at the interview that it was for a women’s health position. As a guy, I was personally not interested in this position. I felt as though my time (and their time) had been wasted because of their poor and deceptive job posting. Employers sometimes post vague job descriptions in order to attract more potential candidates.

Will your needs be met?

In reality, you bring a list of expectations and needs that should be addressed during an interview. How well can the organization support you in your role? How will your performance be judged? What is the FTE (full time equivalent) for this position? How long will you have for orientation? What resources will be available to help you succeed? If you are learning a new specialty or at a new organization, these are important questions to ask. You can’t be expected to learn everything you need to know in one week. That isn’t realistic or feasible. When you start asking these questions, you begin to get a good feel for how ready and prepared the organization is for filling this position and supporting you within the role.

Great fit or too good to be true?

One important question to ask is why this position is open and why the previous person who filled the position vacated it. How long did that person hold the position? Oftentimes many difficult positions have high turnover rates, sometimes owing to burnout. This could be due to the fact that the previous person wasn’t able to fulfill the role well. But it could indicate an organizational problem such as unrealistic expectations, poor support within the role, a difficult supervisor, difficult reports, or a foundering work environment. Should the last situation be true, well, that changes the picture. It doesn’t look good or feel good to get a job and be forced to vacate it quickly. That is why you want to get the best idea you can of what you are stepping into.

Requesting a job shadow or spending time in the area you are applying for is one way to get a realistic idea of what to expect from a position. Talking to people who currently work in that area can give you insight about the health of the environment you are stepping into. Protect yourself and be wise. Interview the interviewer.

Tyler Faust is a full-time registered nurse and part-time freelance healthcare writer. This story was originally published by The Nurse Professional, a trusted source for nursing news and information and a portal for the latest jobs, scholarships, and books from award-winning publisher, Springer Publishing Company.


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