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How to be a ‘stand-out’ candidate

If you're applying for a locum nursing position, one of the key questions you can expect to be asked at interview is: ‘What makes you the best candidate for the role?’

Whatever vacancy you’re vying for – general nurse, nurse practitioner, Health Visitor, or perhaps a more specialist role in mental health or paediatrics like an LAC Nurse or Learning Disabilities Nurse  – it’s not just how well you answer that question, but how you present yourself throughout the entire interview.

You’ll likely be competing against candidates with similar experience, so how do you make sure you stand out?

Your Sanctuary consultant would have already given the employer an overview of how your skills and experiences are suited to the role, but you’ll need to do the leg-work of making the employer see exactly what you can offer over another candidate.

It’s all in the preparation

If you’re proactively looking for a new role, the chances are that you will be applying for multiple roles over a relatively short period of time. It can seem like an impossible task to remember the finer details of each role, but spending some quality time matching your specific skills and knowledge to each position will definitely pay off.

The employer wants to know that you fully understand what is expected of the role. You’ll want to dissect the job description, as a solid answer will show you understand the position in terms of the skills, experience and competencies related to it.

Let’s consider the job advert below:

Create a picture such as this:

  • I'm committed to the highest standards of patient-centred care. I'll need to demonstrate that I not only have the right skills and experience, but that I can work effectively in a team and achieve excellence. A stand-out answer will give specific examples, showing how you have interacted positively with colleagues and patients in the past.

  • I'll be a productive and enthusiastic member of the team. I need to show that I'll contribute usefully and confidently to conferences and review meetings. That means emphasising my awareness of patient care plans and my strong communication skills. A noticeably good answer would include one or two examples of how your previous input in care review meetings has resulted in a positive change of strategy or outcome for the patient. Perhaps you've shown initiative and come up with innovative ideas for service improvement which have subsequently been adopted by your team?

  • I'm a highly efficient worker with meticulous attention to detail. I'll need to show how that I am able to use effective time management to balance my caring role with my administrative duties. A strong answer will cover all your key attributes, from well-developed IT skills to an ability to think analytically. If you've been involved in assessments or evaluation previously, make sure you mention specific examples that show you are conscientious and committed to more than just box ticking.

There are, of course, a broad range of interview questions you could be asked, which will give you plenty of scope to show all of the above.

To assist you, we’ve created a downloadable prep sheet for nurses. Even spending just half an hour filling this in will help you focus on the role at hand and give you space to think about why you are perfect for the role!

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