Are you ready for your New Grad Interview? Whether you’re interviewing for the public system or a private health provider, here is Nurse Uncut’s top tips.
- Arrive with plenty of time before your interview
Punctuality is key for any job interview – including nursing and midwifery. Being on time shows your future employer that you’re reliable and know how to manage your time.
Make a plan for how you will get there, and allow extra time in case of traffic, transport delays or other disasters. Familiarise yourself with the venue – ideally with an extra visit to the site in the days preceding your interview. Know where to park, how to get to the interview room, and who to ask for at reception.
Even the most prepared can’t predict the worst from happening though! If you do need to call, make sure you call ahead of time.
- Be polite to everyone – including the receptionist
You are being judged potentially from the moment you leave the car or enter the hospital building. In environments like health facilities, word can travel quickly if you’re rude or snarky. Make sure you remain polite to all members of staff and other candidates – it could affect the way the panel see you.
- Shake hands and make eye contact with every member of the panel
Treat every member of the interview panel with the respect and courtesy they deserve – remember, your upcoming career is literally in their hands. Make sure to introduce yourself to each one of them, and to make eye contact. First impressions count, particularly during interviews.
- It’s OK to be nervous – but don’t over-apologise for it
Everyone gets nervous during job interviews. It’s a natural reaction for dealing with stressful situations – and the interviewers know this. Practice deep breathing, slow down, and drink some water to help calm your nerves. If you must, feel free to apologise once for your nerves, but never overdo it.
- Listen carefully
In interviews, listening can be as important as speaking. Practice active listening, and ensure you get all parts of the interviewer’s questions. Bring a pen and some paper, so that you can write down the components of multi-faceted questions. If you feel that you didn’t fully understand a question, don’t be afraid to ask for the question to be repeated or clarified.
- Be professional in how you talk
New Grad interviews are formal and professional interviews, and you should treat them as such. Use language that a Midwife or Registered Nurse would use. Avoid slang or swearing, and don’t make derogatory comments about previous workplaces. Be careful with your use of humour, and aim it towards yourself, rather than members of the panel.
- Be aware of your mannerisms
People can have some very strange mannerisms during interviews. From speeding up your speech, to tapping and scratching, and even forgetting your points, your reaction to nerves can affect the way you perform in an interview. Be aware of these mannerisms, and be prepared to address them. Some tips may be to practice deep breathing, being aware of the speed of your speech, and drinking some water or asking for clarification to slow down the pace of conversation.
- Don’t talk to much – communicate clearly and succinctly
Key to being a health professional is our ability to communicate to patients and colleagues in a clear and succinct way. When addressing the panel’s questions, pause to think about what the question entails, and address each point one by one. Don’t ramble or delve too deeply into unrelated anecdotes – these show an inability to manage time effectively and to communicate in an appropriate way.
- Know your corporate values
There will almost certainly be a question regarding your potential employers’ corporate values in your interview. For those interviewing for the NSW Health GradStart Program, this would be the CORE values – Collaboration, Openness, Respect and Empowerment.
Know these values off by heart, and be prepared to answer questions about them and how you would employ them in your practice.
- Practice your responses
Practice makes perfect – and that’s especially true for interviewing. Collate a list of potential questions (here’s a bunch we prepared earlier), and practice your answers to them. Ask family members or friends to role play an interview scenario and to assist you with formulating your responses.
- Leave a good impression
Make sure you leave the panel with a good impression of you, both personally and professionally. Say goodbye to each member of the panel, thank the panel and shake their hands if it seems appropriate. Have some questions prepared to ask the panel. Offer to take away a used cup of water, and make sure you take away any rubbish with you. These small steps can leave a positive taste in their mouths.