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Make a good first impression at your nursing interview




If you're being interviewed for a nursing position, making a good first impression could help you be seen as a standout candidate. So, how do you plan for those important first few minutes?

Acing an interview for a nursing post is not just about having the right qualifications and experience. Nursing jobs also require good inter-personal and communication skills, so it's important to show the recruiter that you're a strong candidate in these areas too.

Remember, first impressions count. Experienced recruiters usually avoid making snap judgements. However, making a really positive start to your interview will lay the groundwork for success. Here are our top tips for nurses to inspire confidence from the get-go.

What to wear


As a nurse, you don't generally have to think about how to dress at work. But that doesn't mean you should turn up for your interview wearing scrubs. If you're in any doubt as to what to wear, just think smart and you can't go wrong. Keep it simple and avoid over-accessorizing. Use perfume or after-shave sparingly.

Get there early


Don't run the risk of arriving late or with just seconds to spare. Aim to arrive early so that you have time to compose yourself and don't feel rushed.

Body language


What you do when you enter the interview room is as important as what you say. You should make eye contact with the person greeting you, shake hands (try to avoid sweaty palms!) and, most importantly, smile. According to a study by the Penn State University, smiling communicates to another person that you are not only likeable and courteous, but also competent.

When you sit down, don't slouch or look too relaxed. Avoid crossing your arms, which can make you look defensive and unapproachable.

It's OK to use your hands for emphasis, but make sure you do it carefully. Having your palms facing upwards is a sign of openness and honesty. Clenching your fists or waving your hands around too much can make you seem nervous and unpredictable. Try not to fidget and be wary of sub-consciously touching your face or playing with your hair, which can give the impression that you're untrustworthy.

What to say and how to say it


Your first words will say a lot about you to the interviewer. Introduce yourself politely but decisively. It's good to initiate conversation, but you should avoid nervously filling a silence by talking about the weather or other trivia. Adopt a tone of voice that's positive and enthusiastic, but not over-confident or arrogant.

Switch your phone off


If you start your interview by having to say 'sorry' for getting a call or a text, your interviewer is unlikely to be impressed. Make sure you switch your phone off well before you enter the interview room.

Don't carry too much


You should only take into the interview what you really need, for example a small bag with any documentation or certificates you need to present. Go in overloaded and you'll look disorganised. Don't be tempted to go in with a coffee you've grabbed from Costa or your phone in your hand. You'll look as if you're not taking the interview seriously.

Finally, try to stay calm and in control. Interviewers are used to candidates being nervous. However, as a nurse, it's important to show that you can cope well under pressure.

If you’re nervous about your next job interview, then please give one of Sanctuary’s trained consultants a call. They will be able to help give you advice and guidance to help you nail your next job interview.
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