ArticlesRegistered Nurse

Interviewing for Your Dream Job? Ask Yourself 7 These Questions!

Most interviewees are so nervous about the prospective employee liking them, that they forget they are interviewing the employers to see if they want to work for them.  When offered an incredible opportunity, it sometimes pays off to be contrarian and ask yourself why this employer wants you?

Always, always remember that you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.  

You are entering into a business transaction in which you are trading hours of your life, your energy, your knowledge, and enthusiasm to better not only the patient’s lives but to enrich your life and add value to the facility.

Set your ego aside and ask yourself why this fantastic job opportunity is available, mainly if it seems to good to be true.

1. What does the stress level seem to be? How are the hours and shift schedule setup?

2. What is the reason for the recent turnover?

3. What type of nursing leadership is present?

4. What are my potential co-workers like? Happy, satisfied or cranky?

5. How easy or difficult are the surgeons to work with?

6. What is the parking situation?

7. Is the turnover is higher than usual, what are the contributing factors?

Never forget that you started this journey to add value to not only your patient’s lives, but your own as well.  If you get stressed out or overwhelmed or lose your license, you help no-one.

A Great Road Map Starts with Values Clarification

Most student nurses experienced a sampling of the type of nursing that energized them while in nursing school.  Every student nurse remembers the classmates who thrived in the chaos and confusion of the emergency room or always talked about being a flight nurse.  Nursing offers diversity like no other profession, but without planning, it is easy for a nurse to become mired in the wrong nursing track for them. Truthfully, few student nurses gush about spending their career at the bedside or working in a county home, but in reality, this type of nursing aligns fabulously with some people’s life values and career goals.  These jobs do not sound as exotic and intriguing but provide other types of intangibles that are priceless to some nurses. An excellent start to a great career choice that aligns your work and life values is to take the time to do a values clarification exercise.

Find the Job that Fits Your Personality

Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl said that “man is pushedby drives and pulled by values.”  When individual values are clearly defined, a better life follows.  People make better decisions when they take the time to clarify their values.  The person knows what to say yes to and when to say no quickly. For example, the same job that tantalizes a single, adventurous graduate would not hold the same appeal to the young mother who wishes to be a homeroom parent and attend her kid’s school concerts.  Values are lamposts to light life’s journey, and being clear about what yours are may be the factor that makes, or breaks, your nursing career. There are many career personality tests to choose from, and being that you’re holding your degree, it’s too late to pick a new profession but still select your path wisely. Emergency room nurses thrive on adrenaline and fast-paced environment. Some nurses love it, and others do not. Know yourself and what you can and cannot tolerate, and you will make a better decision on job choice.

Location.  Location. Location!

A well-known real estate adage comes in handy when looking for nursing jobs.  Location, location, location. Real-estate investors know the market’s secret of securing value is to buy the worst house for the money in the best area and that advice transfers well to achieving stable nursing employment with potential and possibility for growth.  

After all, you are going to spend much of your life working, and the people you meet, the opportunities you receive, and your growth as a nurse depend significantly on your work environment.

Building a great roadmap may mean taking a less desirable position in a more desirable hospital setting.  Circling back to Benner’s theory of novice to expert nurse, it makes sense to start your nursing environment in an environment that provides mentorship, leadership, and growth opportunities such as those presented in a Magnet-designated hospital. Think about the perks and benefits such as tuition reimbursement, employee assistance, room for growth, nursing advocacy, and leadership.  As a graduate nurse, you need to surround yourself with excellent mentors and support such in Magnet-designated hospitals. Factor in shifts, parking, commute time, cost of living, and so forth. In this Google-driven world, it is easier than ever to research employee and patient reviews.  Do it. Research your options like you are doing your very first care plan in nursing school!

On to the Interview!

As a graduate nurse (GN), you will have a degree, lots of book knowledge, a ton of enthusiasm, and hopefully now some clarity to narrow your job search to only those positions that meet your values and personality-specific criteria.  Knowing the answers to these questions allow you to streamline your search to those job opportunities that align with your attitude, aptitudes, and interests. Do your research. Know your worth. Take the time to recognize what you need and what you want personally and professionally, and only then get out there and get on the right trajectory to your dream job! Always remember that you and your degree are in high demand.  The nursing profession and your future patients need you to not only to bloom where you are planted but to keep blooming there year after year and loving it. Taking time to figure out what works for you will add years to your nursing life and life to your nursing years!


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