In the grand scheme of life events, job interviews tend to fall under the category of "things that are both very exciting and incredibly stressful." Nurses often get that experience times two, since many healthcare facilities conduct both primary interviews and nursing peer interviews.
In some ways, the peer interview can be even more nerve-wracking than interviewing with a boss or manager. Generally, you know what to expect from a primary job interview and can prepare your responses in advance. But how do you prepare for a peer interview?
Well, the best way to be prepared is to know what to expect, so here are a few things you can expect in your nursing peer interview.
Nursing Peer Interviews Often Involve Multiple People
The first thing to expect in your peer interview is more than one interviewer. Nursing peer interviews often include several of the nurses from the floor or wing you are vying to be a part of, so prepare yourself for a panel-type interview.
If you've never experienced a panel interview before, this can be a little daunting, but rest assured it's really not that different from a one-on-one interview. The most important thing to remember is to make sure you address all of the interviewers as equally as you can (even if one is asking all the questions). Try to:
- Introduce yourself to each interviewer when you walk in
- Make eye contact with each of them during the course of an answer
- Address your questions to the whole group if you can, or if the question relates to something one of the interviewers previously mentioned, be sure to point that out. E.g. "You mentioned teamwork on the floor earlier, Lisa..."
Be Prepared for More Specific Clinical Questions
There will be plenty of behavioral questions (e.g. Tell me about a time you had a challenging patient assignment and how did you handle it?) in a peer interview because they want to make sure you're a good fit for the team. But your clinical expertise could also be probed:
- Provide an example of problem solving a patient’s care in this specialty area?
- How would you apply research findings to your practice?
If you're a new grad the panel may not be looking for you to have clinical specifics exactly right. These nurses have been in your shoes and so have a good idea of what you've experienced and what you haven't. If you do have experience on the floor you could be asked how you'd handle a specific situations:
- How would you prioritize the following:
- an OR tech waiting to transport a patient to surgery
- a patient complaining of shortness of breath
- a vomiting patient
Have Specific Questions of Your Own
Your interviewers ask specific questions to measure your knowledge and interest, and you owe it to yourself to do the same of them. Asking to have an interviewer's earlier point clarified is a great way to show you're listening. Also, consider questions that show you're thinking long-term:
- Do you have an orientation program? What is it like and how long does it run?
- Do you have nurse educators available? What is the best time to see them?
- Do you give any support to continuing education?
- When do you conduct performance evaluations and how are they done?
Remember, you also need to make sure these nurses, your peers, are people you want to work with. Take the time to find out what they're like before you sign a contract. Here are some more pointed questions you could ask:
- What do you enjoy about your job?
- What is the most challenging thing about being a nurse in this environment?
- What type of colleague do you least like to work with?
- How would you describe your personal approach to patient care?
Interviews in any field can be stressful. We hope this post provides you with a helpful resource for acing yours. If you'd like more help on preparing for a peer interview, don't hesitate to contact one of our recruiters today!