You’re interviewing for a dream nursing role, and the hiring manager asks, “Do you have any questions for us?” While it can be easy to say you don’t and get on your merry way, interviewing is a two-way process. It’s as much about asking questions and figuring out if the role is a good fit for you as it is about the employer deciding if you’re the nurse for the job. With the right questions to ask in a nursing interview, you can determine if you’d like a role before the interview is over.
But what thoughtful questions can help you make a well-informed decision about if a job is for you? The right questions indicate interest in the role and help you understand what you’re getting yourself into. Set yourself up for success by asking the right questions from this ultimate list of interview questions for RNs.
What you should ask yourself
The first question is one to ask yourself. What do I want my next job to look like?
Before going into any interview, take the time to understand your own career goals. Jot down a checklist of what you’d like your next RN role to offer. Here are some questions to get you started on your dream nursing role brainstorm:
What boundaries won’t you cross?
Are there any roles or tasks you want to have (or definitely don’t want)?
Do you have personal responsibilities that you need your new employer to be considerate of? Examples include kids, aging parents, or volunteer commitments.
After you have a good idea of what you’re looking for, it’s time to see what companies are a match made in heaven. Research each company before attending an interview and jot down any questions. You can also reflect on how closely aligned an open role is to your dream nursing job based on the company’s online presence and/or talking with current employees.
Questions to ask in a nursing interview that will make you stand out as a job candidate
A commonly missed opportunity to shine is when an interviewer asks if you have any questions for them. The right questions will demonstrate that you’re a thoughtful, smart candidate who’s interested in being part of their team.
The most important question to ask in a job interview is: “What do your top RNs do to stand out on the job?” The question serves various purposes. First, this question is an indicator that you’re thinking about how to thrive, not just survive, in your new role. If you frame the question with a statement like, “I want to be a part of the reason patients receive the best possible care,” your intention in asking this question is even clearer.
Second, their response will give you insight into standards and maybe even expectations. Listen closely to their response. Did they have to think long and hard, or were they able to draw a few quick examples?
Along with this question, consider others you could ask to show your devotion to patient care and any practice or hospital you work for. To stand out, consider asking:
How does this organization support learning and growth opportunities for its nurse team?
Does your organization provide resources? For example, covering the cost of and time to study for CEUs? As a follow-up, ask for specific examples of what they have actually done for team members in the past.
How does the leadership on this team support my goal of providing the best patient care?
Is it possible to spend a day shadowing a current nurse during their shift? Before asking, read more about how shadowing can improve your job search.
Questions about company culture
Your work life is more than the tasks you complete. It’s also the environment you complete them in and the people you work with. While a company’s online presence can share a bit about the culture, an interview is a great time to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to actually work there.
If you’re curious about the culture, here are five questions to ask during the interview:
What’s your favorite part about working here?
What do you love most about your job?
What makes people stay with this org?
What are the biggest challenges and opportunities RNs face?
How would you describe the work environment here?
Questions about the role
Along with cultural questions, you can also ask about the tasks associated with the role. Role-specific questions clarify expectations before your first day. To learn more about the specific role you’re interviewing for, consider asking:
What does a typical day or week look like?
What do you want an RN in your practice to accomplish in the first 30, 60, and 90 days?
What challenges do you foresee the person in this role taking on in the next 6 months?
How will my performance be measured in this position?
What are the next steps in the interview process?
Questions about concerns
To boost your chances of getting a dream nursing role, you should unofficially set up questions about the employer’s concerns section of an interview. By asking for any hesitations they may have about your ability to perform in the role, you can address any concerns and demonstrate that you’re open to feedback.
To learn (and be able to address) any concerns a hiring manager has, consider asking:
Based on what we’ve talked about today, is there anything that gives you hesitation about my ability to fill this position?
How do I compare to other candidates for this role?
Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications?
Have I answered all of the questions you have for me?
Questions for recent nursing grads
You deserve a job that protects your values and needs from the moment you graduate. Yet, as a first-time RN, it can be tricky to determine which workplaces will and won’t give you burnout.
During interviews as a new nursing graduate, consider asking these questions:
What sort of educational background has set other nurses up for success at your practice?
Do you have any resources to help new college grads transition to the workplace?
Can I shadow a current RN to see what the day-to-day tasks would be?
Interviewing doesn’t have to be a stressful process. If you approach it with intention and curiosity, you’re more likely to find a role that you’ll love. Part of that approach should include thoughtful questions which allow you to see if your values align with an employer’s from the start.
If you want to customize these questions even more or learn more about optimizing your job application, book a free 1:1 call with our Director of Nurse Relations, Denise Jones.
You can also download our free app, HireMe Healthcare, which allows you to connect with employers looking for qualified nurses across North Carolina. If you use any of these questions in interviews from our app, let us know how it goes!