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Tips for a Great Nurse Practitioner Interview Experience

By Edited Dec 19, 2013 0 0

Being as prepared as possible when you reach the interview stage of applying for a position as a nurse practitioner is vital for giving you the best chance to be chosen over equally qualified competition.  While being invited for an interview to the job you applied for is a positive sign, usually it is not as promising as one would think because many companies will want several interviews before they make their selection on who to hire.  Some may require up to 3 different interviews in order to make that decision so being sufficiently prepared for the interview stages is extremely important.

 

No matter what stage of the hiring process might be next, you need to be as prepared as possible in order to make sure all your “selling points” are clearly evident.  Some important areas for you to focus on when you are getting ready to interview for a job in the nurse practitioner arena include professional appearance, well-documented resume accompanied with a portfolio, and preparation for interview questions.  Within each of those categories it is important to pay close attention to the little details involved as those little details affect the credibility of your qualifications.

 

In terms of the interview itself, the most important part of the interview will be the questions you are asked in regards to personal experiences involving the field of nursing and how you feel about nursing in general.  You need to be ready to explain different experiences you have had in nursing and how those experiences have shaped your attitude about it.

 

Nurse Practitioner Experiences That Were Challenging

 

While preparing for your interview for a nurse practitioner position, spend some time researching the business that is looking to hire.  It is important to understand what the company is about in order to explain exactly why you are just the person they are looking for.  More than likely you will either be directly asked, or there will be an appropriate moment to explain some of your more challenging experiences as a nurse practitioner and how you met and overcame whatever challenges were presented in those experiences. 

 

You need to have considered some specific scenarios you have encountered and be ready to explain what you were able to learn from those personal experiences.  But not only do you need to be ready with real-life experiences, you also need to be prepared to answer questions about hypothetical situations the interviewer might describe and ask how you would handle such a situation.  When presented with a make believe scenario, do not answer right away.  Take a moment to for a deep breath and think about the situation presented before you begin to answer.  Your composure and pausing before you answer leave a much better impression than if you were to start speaking immediately but wind up stuttering through your answer because you didn’t allow yourself a moment to collect your thoughts.

 

The physical body language you express is almost as important as your answers to the interview questions.  Practicing body language that expresses a relaxed confidence should definitely be a part of your preparation process.  Get comfortable with eye-to-eye contact if that doesn’t come easy for you.  Practice speaking clearly without talking too fast and work on avoiding word fillers such as “uh” and “so” and “um” when such words aren’t a necessary part of the conversation.  Be mindful of how you are sitting or standing and take care not to take defensive or lazy positions such as crossing your arms in front you or slouching in your chair.  Communication with patients and colleagues is a huge part of any nurse practitioner position and an interviewer will be paying close attention to whatever your body language is communicating during the stressful process of an interview.

 

No matter what job you are applying for, most interviews will include questions regarding what you believe are your own perceived strengths as well as your weaknesses.  You will be asked about your history in terms of professional education and experience, and most likely you will be questioned about what you have managed to accomplish during your career so far, and what you would like to accomplish in the future.

 

Nurse Practitioner Portfolio

Presenting a professional portfolio is an important part of the interview and your preparations should include creating or tweaking your portfolio documents and carrying them with you in the most organized manner possible.  It is best if your portfolio is contained in a small folder or file that is clean or new and organized neatly while also containing a pencil or pen and a small notepad in case you are given any information you need to quickly jot down.

 

The portfolio should contain several documents.  First, of course, is your professional resume but you also need to have documents that can offer proof for the information given within the resume.  You should include copies of any degrees, nursing diplomas, transcripts, certificates of appreciation or accomplishment, letters of recommendation both personal and professional, and copies of your personal identification such as your driver’s license, passport, or social security card.

 

It is vital to prepare both your portfolio as well as your personal appearance with great attention to detail for the interview.  Make sure your overall look is one that expresses professionalism without looking sloppy or unprepared.  Avoid looking rushed or flustered about being late or getting there on time by preparing for the trip to the interview location beforehand such as finding out exactly where you are going location-wise as well as making sure you know where exactly you need to go once inside the building.  Figure out how long it will take you to get there keeping in mind the time of day and known traffic problems you might encounter depending on the time of your interview.  Plan on leaving early when headed to your interview and give yourself at least a 15-20 minute “cushion” of time that can accommodate any wrong turns, unexpected railroad crossing delays, or search for a parking spot, etc.  It would be very helpful if you can make a practice run prior to the day of your interview – especially if you are unfamiliar with the location.

 

The professional appearance you present will be at its best if you plan on getting a good night’s sleep the night before, and make a conscious effort at healthy eating both the day before as well as the day of the interview.  Your mental awareness and intelligence will be less than optimal unless you are able to sleep and eat well prior to the interview.  Make sure you dress appropriately with professional clothing that is modest and neat with low-key accessories in terms of jewelry, make-up, hairstyle, and perfume or cologne.

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