Job interviews are never easy, in fact, it can be a challenge even when you’re interviewing with a nursing agency you really want to get hired for. With any job interview, it’s natural to feel nervous, but it’s important to project a sense of confidence when presenting yourself and selling your nursing skills.
I’ve taken part in many interviews. It’s most disappointing when the candidates who seem ideal from a resumé, but just don’t impress when the opportunity presents itself. Why? This is because the candidate has not spent enough time preparing. If there is one thing to remember about interviews, it’s that the recruitment consultant believes from reading your resumé that you have the minimum qualifications. Remember, you landed the job interview and you were selected for this interview based on your skills and accomplishments. Now, it’s time to go to the interview feeling confident, prepared and well presented.
Here are some tips on how to ace the job interview and making a good impression with the recruitment consultant, including what to expect from an interview, how to prepare for it and how to make the most of the relationship to secure a nursing position
The recruitment consultancy has been hired to put forward their best candidates for nursing jobs. If you fail to impress at initial interview this could very well affect your chances of securing a position with the agency, especially where the recruitment consultant works with a number of health care facilities.
Interviewing for a job can be stressful, no matter the circumstances. Interviewing for a job in a different country, with a different language and culture from what you are used to, can be downright overwhelming. However, remaining calm, confident, and friendly during your interview can improve your performance tremendously. It’s hard to feel confident when you feel nervous and want to impress. But it’s possible. The better prepared you are, the more relaxed and comfortable you will be during the interview. Remember, the interview is a two-way discussion!
“Whether we like it or not, first impressions count. The first impression you make to a recruitment consultant is the most important one. To make a strong first impression, take control of the interaction with this person, be enthusiastic and smile ”
How you present yourself, is how the recruiter will view you. That’s why it’s always important to dress appropriately for a job interview. Even if the company you’re interviewing for has an informal dress code, you’ll still need to look presentable, professional and well groomed. Better to dress smart than under-dress.
If you have an scheduled appointment lined up with a recruitment consultant, be punctual and arrive at least 10-15 minutes beforehand. If you are running late call ahead to explain. If you are early, find a coffee shop and take some time to relax before showing up for the interview. It may sound harsh, but if you fail to turn up to your interview the recruitment agency will probably blacklist you going forward. You see, your actions reflect badly on the recruiter and it will make you look unprofessional and untrustworthy. These are two traits recruitment agencies will tend to avoid.
A firm handshake or even a big smile will do wonders when you first meet your recruitment consultant. Some small chit chat, like “Hello, It’s a pleasure to meet you” These are the vital seconds in making your first impression. The recruitment consultant will often enquire how a potential candidate is presenting themselves. They will want to know how you carry yourself in public and how strong your people skills are when representing their company to the health care facilities.
How to prepare for your interview
Whether you’re meeting with a recruiter to discuss possible employment opportunities or a job opportunity with the recruitment agency itself, you must prepare for a line of questioning that tests your job knowledge. If you want to work for the recruitment agency, be prepared to discuss your professional skills, nursing capabilities, qualifications and background. Your interview with the recruitment consultant is your opportunity to sell yourself and your experience. Know your resume inside out so that you can highlight your key skills by drawing on your relevant experience.
You will be expected to talk about yourself in an interview, share your nursing accomplishments with the recruiter. Your recruiter wants to know about your career, and this is an opportunity to talk about your nursing job responsibilities. Make sure you have an answer ready for things like “Tell me about yourself”. You can explain why you chose the nursing field, what you hope to accomplish and what keeps you motivated to continue in this line of work. You should feel that you have articulated your knowledge and skills, while demonstrating your personality. Stay positive and enthusiastic, as they want to see your personality shine.
There are a few common themes in almost every interview, be prepared to answer some competency style questions. Think about how your nursing skills can be used and always give examples when answering the questions. The recruiter is looking for real-life examples of how you handle yourself in any situation. An example, “How do you cope under pressure?” Give an example and explain how you handled the high-pressure situation and how you ensured a positive outcome. Nursing recruiters ask questions about your expertise, so they can provide you work based on your qualifications and capabilities they believe will be most satisfied with your skill-set.
You can apply the STAR interview technique to answer behavioural interview questions. This method prompts you to provide a real-life example of how you handled a certain kind of situation at work in the past. An example “Tell me a time when you had to deal with a client who wasn’t satisfied with your patient care?“. The STAR interview method helps a candidate tell a meaningful story about a previous work experience.
- Situation: Set the scene and give the necessary details of your example.
- Task: Describe what your responsibility was in that situation.
- Action: Explain exactly what steps you took to address it.
- Result: Share what outcomes your actions achieved.
When answering questions, be sure to smile, and feel free to take a moment to think before answering the question. Maintaining eye contact also shows the recruiter that you are interested in what they are saying, and also a sign of respect. While you are seated, sit up straight and avoid crossing your arms, these actions can make you look uninterested. Be sure not to check your phone before the interview, and keep your phone on silent and out of sight. Open body language tells the interviewer that you are actively engaged and interested in the conversation, that you value their time, and that you are respectful.
Apply the S.O.L.E.R method – an active listening model, or a way to physically demonstrate your interest and engagement. As demonstrated in the diagram, put your S.O.L.E.R. skills into practice and show that you care.
Remember, if you’re struggling during your interview to come up with an example, don’t be afraid to ask to take a minute. Most interviewers are always impressed when a candidate asks for a moment to think. When you give yourself a few moments to come up with your best answer, you’ll feel great about how you performed.
Whether you’ve been asked to or not, always bring an extra copy of your resume. It can also act as a handy memory aid if you have to fill out any additional forms while you’re there. The recruitment agency will specifically request for essential paperwork, therefore you need to provide all original documentation such as police check, nursing certificates, visa status etc. You will be asked to provide proof of identification or residence, so make sure you have your driving licence, passport or visa ready.
You are welcomed and encouraged to ask the recruitment consultant questions. Remember, you are also interviewing the agency, as you want to make sure that it is a good fit for you. Come prepared with a list of questions, but be flexible because some of them may have already been answered during the interview process. At the end of your interview, smile and thank the recruiter.
Always stay positive. It’s important to remember that you’ve already accomplished something by landing the interview. So, relax and let your personality shine through in order to impress.