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The Masterclass Guide to New Grad Nurse Interview Questions

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The Masterclass Guide to New Grad Nurse Interview Questions

Welcome, welcome. You have stumbled upon the only guide on new grade nurse interviews that you will ever need. After reading this, you'll go out there and be the best you that you can be, and hopefully secure the new nursing position of your dreams.

With tons of combined experience in the healthcare industry under our belt, we at Healthcare Consultant know exactly what the hiring managers for healthcare organizations are looking for when it comes to the new grad nurse interview process. As many of us have been on both sides of the table, multiple times.

11 Common New Grad Nursing Interview Questions

  • Describe a challenge in the workplace you have faced and how you overcame it.
  • What is your availability for work?
  • How do you spend your free time?
  • How did you learn about our organization?
  • Do you have any questions for us?
  • Who have been the biggest influences in your life?
  • Do you think this company would be a good fit for you? Why?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • How do you believe you can contribute positively to our team?
  • What hobbies do you have?
  • What made you want to be a nurse?

When being asked these questions, please answer the positively, authoritatively, and as honestly as possible. By doing this, you'll portray confidence and show your genuine side in your job interview. Make your responses stand out from the crowd, dig deep and find things that will intrigue the interviewer. As an example, if an interviewer asks you if you have any hobbies, don't just respond with yes, I like to run. Tell the interviewer why you like running and what motivates you to explore different paths and trails when running and how this learning experience can be applied to your new graduate nursing career.

A New Grad Nurse Being Empathetic With A Patient

When you interview for a nursing position, you will likely be asked about your problem solving skills, education, training, and skills. Be prepared to give examples when responding to new grad interview questions. Interview questions for nursing new grads will be different depending on the institution or specialization. These nursing interview questions and answers regarding your strengths and weaknesses in many cases should be able to put you in a good spot.

Now, the questions above aren't distinctly what you'll be limited to in your quest for nursing success. You'll be asked about your education, training, skills, and your ability to critical think in high-pressure situations. The interviewer will likely be looking for examples when you're responding to their new grad nurse interview questions. 

Here are the top 7 interview questions you will probably be asked as a nursing new grad, along with example answers:

1. What made you want to go after a career in nursing?

I can guarantee you that you will be asked this question during an interview. But by being asked this question, you'll be able to show why you want to be a nurse and what kind of value that you can provide an organization if they were to hire you. And remember, you are competition against everyone else interviewing and applying for the position at hand, so make sure that your answers outshine the pack.

Example Answer: "My mom was a nurse. She came home everyday and told me the stories of her day with a smile on her face and how many people she was able to help. With this in mind, she inspired me to carry on her legacy and help as many people as I can."

2. How have clinical rotations prepared you for your new career in nursing?

This question allows you to describe your experience during nursing school. You should be specific about the skills you have built and all the processes you learned how to do in clinicals.

Example Answer: “At Healthcare Consultant Medical College, the time I spent learning was invaluable to my career growth. My rotations allowed me to learn vital skills like bedside manner and how to perform routine tests.”


3. How would you handle a tough patient?

The interviewer wants to get a basis of how you handle high pressure situations with someone you may not particularly enjoy being around. Find a way to communicate to the interviewer that you will continue to provide amazing care, no matter how difficult the patient is.

Example Answer: “I would start it off by checking to see if the patient has any valid complaints about my care or their health. If there isn’t anything that I can fix right away, I would remain calm and empathetic to the patient.”


4. What happens if your shift replacement did not arrive on time or at all?

By asking this question, the interviewer is trying to gauge how flexible you are with working. In healthcare institutions, they will always want someone who is flexible to situations changing as situations do often arise.

Example Answer: “I would wait at least 30 minutes before contacting my immediate supervisor to let them know. I would ask if they had someone to take over for me and in any case, I will continue to work until the new nurse starts their shift.”


5. What certifications and specialties do you have, if any?

Easy question, they want to see if you have anything extracurricular you can bring to the table.

Example Answer: “I am certified in x, and specialize in x. I used these skills in x.”


6. How do you deal with stress in the workplace?

Nursing in general is regarded as a pretty stressful field at times, so there will probably be days that are more stressful than others. Your interviewer wants to gauge how well you handle and work through stressful situations in the workplace.

Example Answer: “I deal with workplace stress with ease. I set boundaries and piece each thing into smaller pieces when I feel like I am overwhelmed. This helps me to refresh and realize that the thing stressing me probably is not as bad as I thought.”


7. What are your favorite and least favorite things about being a nurse?

They’re testing you to see what your true gut reaction feelings are. Remain positive and do not present negative answers that do not have an upside. Also make sure that your answer is plausible.

Example Answer: “To start, I think the worst thing about nursing is watching a patient's health decline over time, I want to see them get better. The best thing however, is being able to provide people with the best care I can so I can watch them leave the hospital feeling much happier.”


Other New Grad Nursing Interview Questions:

Each interview is unpredictable. That is at its core, what makes it so hard to prepare for new grad nurse interview questions.

Each interview will be unique, and each interviewer will ask different candidates a variety of questions.

It can be hard and pretty scary to practice for the unpredictable, but the trick is practicing getting into the mindset of answering questions with ease. Once you’re able to answer questions with ease and you get a similar, but not exact question, you’ll be able to answer it quickly and confidently.

Here are a few other questions you may be asked. Take a moment to think about them and write down your answers. Then share these answers with an outside source, preferably someone who works in hiring or is a nurse themselves.

  • Have you interacted with patient’s families who are not satisfied with your care?
  • Should nurses get sick days?
  • Have you ever been told to sacrifice quality care for efficient care by a supervisor? How did you handle this?
  • When a patient passes away, how do you handle your emotions?
  • How would you deal with a doctor who is being rude?
  • What would you do if you discovered you made an error with medication?
  • What is your greatest skill as a nurse?

You can probably brainstorm some more questions just like these from your experience in the workplace or at school. Take some time to really sit down and think about what you’ve been asked previously.

You’ll be satisfied with your results.


The Top Interview Tips for New Grad Nurses

Live Career gives us ten things to remember when preparing for an interview:

  1. Research the company thoroughly
  2. Review common and uncommon interview questions
  3. Dress the part
  4. Arrive on time (15 minutes early please)
  5. Be polite and courteous to everyone
  6. Be authentic
  7. Keep your body language top of mind
  8. Ask questions
  9. Be confident, but not arrogant
  10. Follow up with a thank you email

A New Grad Nurse Practicing For An Interview

A lot of the tips in that list make a lot of sense without jumping into them. But, let’s go a little deeper and talk about some of the more important ones on the list.


Research the Company

Make sure you know who you’ll be interviewing with, get a good grasp of who they are by researching them online. Try to find things in common that you can slyly slide into your answers to interview questions. You will also want to check into the company culture and have a good grasp of what their goals are and their motto is.


Review Interview Questions

By checking employment websites like glassdoor, you’ll be able to view some of the interview questions that other applicants have been asked. Practice these and the ones that we went over in previous parts of this masterclass guide.


Dress the Part

Healthcare facilities are notorious for having strict dress codes. Try to choose dark business casual colors when planning your outfit. Colors such as black, dark gray, or navy blue will suffice along with minimizing the amount of jewelry and accessories you wear. Nurses often are required to keep their hair out of their face and it may be appropriate to do this for your interview as well. By selecting the correct interview attire, you are demonstrating that you are serious about wanting the position you are interviewing for.


Questions Nurses should ask during a Job Interview

Having a list of questions that you as a nurse should ask during a job interview with a nurse recruiter or nurse manager, is key to closing out an interview and making the interviewer think you are actually interested in working for their company. By asking questions of the nurse recruiter or nurse manager, and showing genuine interest, you are already a step ahead of your competitors. If you were the hiring manager and you were interviewing two candidates with identical levels of experience, of course you’re going to choose the one who displays interest in your company. That means they’re more likely to stick around.


  • What is your culture like at your organization?
  • What is the management style?
  • How do you like working here?
  • Who will I be reporting to?
  • What type of orientation or training do you provide?
  • What kind of qualities are you seeking?
  • What is your overtime policy?
  • How is my success measured at performance reviews?

So whether you’re a new grad nurse looking for clinical questions for your interview, or a new grad er nurse looking for questions, this guide should have covered all the bases for you.

Remember, if you’re looking to take that first step in your career, be sure to do all the research you can, get your nurse interview outfit on point, and have interview questions ready to ask a nurse recruiter or anyone you encounter in the hiring process.

We have a ton of job options posted on our job board here at Healthcare Consultant. We only accept the highest quality jobs from serious companies, so please give us a look if you’re looking to take a new step in your career.

The Masterclass Guide to New Grad Nurse Interview Questions
Jake Tilk

Jake is the Digital Marketing Manager for OptyConnect and Healthcare Consultant. He holds a B.B.A. in Marketing with a minor in Business from Western Michigan University and has a certification in Software Development.

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