Getting ready for interview
Interview skills are an essential part of your professional development. Whilst you might be the most capable nurse or midwife, you have a short period to get this across. Interviews can be a little scary, but it’s also your opportunity to shine. Working through this resource will help you develop some of the tools to give your best performance.
So, how do you prepare for this interview? We suggest that there are a number of different steps and we will look at each one with you in turn. These are
Research is the first step in getting ready for your interview. The organisation you are applying to work for will be looking for candidates who understand the challenges affecting their organisation, trust, hospital, ward or practice-area.
Recruiters expect that you understand the practice area and the role that you are applying for and have given consideration to how you meet their requirements by reflecting back on your time at university, on placement and extracurricular activities.
You should also be prepared to talk about recent issues and trends in your profession of nursing or midwifery, showing your enthusiasm for the profession.
Now, it’s time to think about reflection. Once you know what your potential employer is looking for, you need to reflect on the ways that you meet these criteria. These will be found in the person specification and job description.
Recruiters in nursing or midwifery also expect that you will have built self-awareness over the course of your academic work experience so that you know what you enjoy, what you are good at as well as the things you find more difficult.
When you are reflecting on your previous experience, such as your time at university, make sure you also articulate what you’ve learnt from your experience, good or bad. We’ve had feedback from employers that this is an area candidates miss.
We’ve talked about reflecting on your experiences, now we need to consider how to present your reflections and your achievements in the best way, by preparing your answers to interview questions.
In the ‘preparation’ section we are going to consider how to present your experiences in response to two types of interview questions commonly used in nursing and midwifery interviews:
- Competency questions
A competency question requires you to give a specific example of a time where you demonstrated that particular competency.
For example, the question:
What was the most challenging thing you had to deal with on your clinical placements (or work experience) so far?
…is a competency question which links to the competency drive and resilience. You are expected to give one example of how you overcame a particular a challenge you faced on placement or in your work experience.
In order to do this in a concise way we recommend you use the STAR technique to structure your example:
|Situation:||where were you and what was the context?|
|Task:||what was the problem or the ‘task’ you faced?|
|Action:||what specific actions did YOU take?|
|Result:||were you successful?|
- Scenario questions
Another type of question used very commonly in nursing and midwifery interview is the scenario question. Here you are presented with a scenario and asked to talk about how you would act or respond to the given situation
How would you deal with a relative who was aggressive and verbally abusive?
The panel will want to know that you can use initiative and that patient care, safety and well-being is your priority. It might help you to follow a series of prompts for what to include. Such as: assessment of the situation; taking appropriate action; following procedures and guidelines; thinking about appropriate communication; record keeping; evaluating; as well as learning from the situation.
It sounds like a lot to cover. Let’s have a look at our candidates having a go at a Scenario question …
- Assessment of Situation
- Taking Appropriate Action
- Following Procedures/Guidelines
- Appropriate Communication
- Record Keeping
How you communicate your responses within an interview is as important as what you say. Remember that it is natural to feel nervous; the best way to minimise your nerves and maximise your communication skills is to practise saying your answers out loud.
Try this activity. Each light will reveal suggestions for methods you might use to practise your answers. Move the light to shine on each one to reveal what it says.
|Resource Title||Resource description|
|Nursing and midwifery interviews, Careers and Employability website||https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/careers/students/applications/interviews/nursing-and-midwifery-interviews.aspx|
|My Career – book an appointment||https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/careers/login/index.html|
|Royal College of Nursing – Interviews webpage:||https://www.rcn.org.uk/professional-development/your-career/interviews|
|NHS England webpage – the 6 C’s||https://www.england.nhs.uk/leadingchange/about/the-6cs/|
|Careers for nursing students – University of Nottingham Moodle Page: for links to information on various Trusts; working abroad; reports; nursing specialisms and postgraduate study.||https://moodle.nottingham.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=8539|
|NHS Health Careers||https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/|