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20 Important Questions to Ask in A Nursing Interview (as an Applicant)

March 9, 2021

When interviewing to be a nurse, it can be beneficial to prepare a shortlist of questions to ask the employer. Asking questions about the company and requirements of the position will show your genuine interest in the position. Here we offer a list of 20 good questions to ask in a nursing interview and why they are beneficial to your career path.

Read more: 10 Nursing Interview Questions and Answers

Good questions to ask in a nursing interview

While you may not be able to ask every question, you can have these questions ready for when they are relevant to the discussion. Researching the facility beforehand allows you to answer basic questions so you can keep your interview specific to questions that may provide more insightful answers.

  1. What is your culture like here?
  2. What is the management style?
  3. How do you like working here?
  4. What kinds of qualities are you seeking?
  5. What medical record systems will I be using?
  6. What type of orientation or training do you provide?
  7. Who will I be reporting to?
  8. Are there mentorship opportunities or continued support?
  9. What are some major challenges your nurses currently face?
  10. What are the best things I can do to succeed in this unit?
  11. How is my success measured at performance reviews?
  12. What advice would you give to a nurse who is new to your unit?
  13. What kinds of shifts are offered for nurses?
  14. What is your overtime policy?
  15. How many nurses currently work overtime?
  16. Are there on-call requirements?
  17. Are there weekend rotation requirements?
  18. What are your current staffing ratios?
  19. Do you offer tuition reimbursement?
  20. What are the next steps in the interview process?

Read more: Interview Question: “Do You Have Any Questions?”

1. What is your culture like here?

One of the first questions to ask in an interview should be about the company’s culture. This makes a great first impression because it shows your interest in their values and working environment. A better understanding of the working environment will make you think about how your personality fits within their culture.

2. What is the management style?

Different managers have unique styles and understanding the institution’s methods of management allows you to know what to expect. Some managers are more direct, while others are more open to giving their employees freedom. 

Read more: Management Styles: Overview and Examples

3. How do you like working here?

Asking the recruiter or manager how they like working at the institution is a good question to ask in a nursing interview. It will give you lots of insight into the current dynamics. The answer you receive can reveal additional information that could be a contributing factor to your decision.

4. What kinds of qualities are you seeking?

While many companies and institutions seek similar qualities and traits–like communication and teamwork–the answer you receive will tell you the most important ones. You can use this answer to your advantage when your employment begins.

5. What medical record systems will I be using?

With the variety of electronic medical record systems used by hospitals, you probably haven’t used them all. Knowing the EMR system that you will be using will allow you to research and learn how to use it before you start your nursing position. Your supervisor might be pleased that you spent the time to learn the system they use.

6. What type of orientation or training do you provide?

Knowing what orientation or training process is provided can tell you how much support you might receive in the early stages of your career. Hearing information about extensive training and a detailed orientation process could give you an insight into the amount of care given to new nurses.

7. Who will I be reporting to?

The answer you receive from this question will give you insight into the chain of command at the institution. Use this question to find out more about the head nurse of your unit, the Director Of Nursing and the Chief Nursing Officer. Asking about who you report to in the chain of command shows your diligence in following procedures and allows you to understand those procedures before you begin your work.

8. Are there mentorship opportunities or continued support?

Asking about mentoring is essential if you want to develop your nursing career at this institution. Nursing units and institutions that offer mentorship opportunities and continued training are beneficial because you have the chance to develop your nursing career.

9. What are some major challenges your nurses currently face?

Understanding the most critical challenges that are currently faced by nurses in your potential unit gives you time to prepare for these challenges. You might find out that the unit you are applying for is understaffed or undertrained. Asking follow-up questions will provide you with an understanding of why these challenges exist and what you can do to help. 

10. What are the best things I can do to succeed in this unit?

The answer you receive to this question can reveal what is already being done successfully in the unit. You might find out precisely what a nurse did to become a head nurse or director of nursing. The answer could also give you insight into what others have done that caused them to succeed at a slower rate than others. Above all, this answer tells you precisely what they want from their nurses.

11. How is my success measured at performance reviews?

If you need more information about what you need to be successful, asking a direct question like this will help tremendously. At performance or peer reviews, your success will be measured on a variety of criteria. Knowing the criteria that they measure can provide insight into what you can do from the first day to receive and maintain excellent reviews.

12. What advice would you give to a nurse who is new to your unit?

If the director of nursing or chief nursing officer is interviewing you, receiving advice before you start is essential. Because the DON and CNO understand the current dynamics of their unit, they might give you helpful advice that could tell you what to focus on in the early stages of your employment.

13. What kinds of shifts are offered for nurses?

Each hospital is unique, and some institutions offer full-shifts while others offer half-shifts. Knowing what shifts are available before you accept the job can allow you to prepare. You might be expected to work eight-hour shifts while picking up occasional half-shifts. Some hospitals might have a strict 12-hour shift schedule that all their nurses abide by. Although nursing might be a significant part of your life, you should understand how each type of shift may affect the rest of your daily and weekly life.

14. What is your overtime policy?

This question will provide you with two important answers. First, you will find out their policy for when they begin counting overtime hours. Second, you will find out their feelings toward overtime. Some hospitals appreciate and value nurses who can work overtime, while others focus more on having enough nursing staff to be able to maintain a regular work schedule.

15. How many nurses currently work overtime?

If you find out that your potential nursing unit allows or requires overtime, asking about the number of nurses that work overtime each day or week can tell you about their current staffing situation. You might be looking for a nursing job that frequently provides extra hours.

16. Are there on-call requirements?

Some hospitals require nurses to be on-call for specific times or days of the week. Knowing about this ahead of time will allow you to use this information to make your employment decision. If you are required to be on-call, ask about their on-call policies and compensation structure. Hospitals pay an hourly on-call rate, but when you do get called in, some pay the usual hourly wage while others pay time-and-a-half.

17. Are there weekend rotation requirements?

If weekends are important to you, ask about possible weekend rotation requirements. You might need to work a weekend every two or three weeks, depending on the structure of the institution. Understanding the hours that you work throughout the month will allow you to make an educated employment decision.

18. What are your current staffing ratios?

This direct question gives you insight into their current staffing situation. Some hospitals have a higher ratio of nurses to patients, which could be easier for the nursing staff. While a higher ratio of patients to nurses could mean more patients to handle, you might also see this as an excellent way to gain valuable experience.

19. Do you offer tuition reimbursement?

Tuition reimbursement is a highly-valued career incentive that some institutions offer their nurses. If they do offer tuition reimbursement, you can use this information to plan student loan repayment on current or future coursework.

20. What are the next steps in the interview process?

Asking about the next steps in the interview process shows the interviewer that you are still interested in the job. The answer you receive will also tell you what to expect. You might be told to expect an email or a call in a determined amount of time, as well as details regarding how many more interviews you might have to attend before being considered for the job.

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