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Job Interview.

Common Interview Questions. 

You will be asked many questions at face to face interviews.   These questions will be discipline specific.  So when you respond use discipline specific responses. 

Be sure to have reviewed that health care facilities website so that you know what their philosopy, core values and mission statements are.  Check clinical guidelies and The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia's practice expectations of you as a graduate registered nurse. 

Common Questions. 

1. Tell me about yourself.

2. Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses.

3. Why do you want to work here? 

1. Tell me about yourself. 

This is an opportunity to give a positive and 'best person' first impression.  A unique response will enable you to stand out from the crowd. Speaking a second language, volunteering for a charity group, unusual hobbies or life goals can give you the edge here as someone who has unique but admirable qualities. 

2. Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses.

Acknowledge your strengths as:

  • areas of particular interest to you;

  • areas where you have a strong theoretical underpinning;

  • areas where you have had the opportunity to pratice to attain a level of confidence and competence; or

  • areas where transferable skills will enable you to be a better graduate nurse. 

Acknowledge your weaknesses as areas for improvement:

  • skills where you have had limited opportunity to practice;

  • situations where you have not received the opportunity to experiences;

  • specialist areas of practice where you did not go on clinical placement; 

  • areas where as a beginner it would not be unreasonable for you to not be an expert: time management, prioritising care, delegation 

Avoid areas that you should have strengths such as:

critical thinking, undertanding the clinical reasoning process (nursing process), problem solving, team work, knowledge base.  



3. Why do you want to work for us?

Here is where it is vital that you understand the health care facility's philosophy of care and core values.  Your interviewers will be looking too see if your philosophy is in line with theirs. You can say things such as:

  • Your health care centre has a reputation for ...

  • Reports for other graduate nurses about the graduate program here ...

  • Having my graduate year will expand my ...

  • I wish to specialise in .........

  • As a student I really enjoyed my placement here and I wish to ...........

  • As a nursing graduate I am looking for .....................................

All of these comments link you with the organisation, so that the interviewers can see that you wish to and will work well within their health care facility. 

Behavioural and Situational Questions

Behavioural questions ask you to reflect on your past experiences and to present real-life examples to demonstrate your skills. It is believed that the description of these experiences are a good predictor of future behaviour and performance. 

Be sure that your responses are or can be applied to the nursing profession and demonstrate:

  • emotional intelligence

  • professional behaviour and attitude;

  • understanding how to work within guidelines and codes of conduct;

  • is patient/person focussed; and 

  • has a goal setting, problem solving approach. 

Common mistakes made with Behavioural Questions.

  • not being specific enough to the situation;

  • talking in future or present tense rather than in the past tense; 

  • Not speaking about their specific roles and tasks; and

  • making assumptions that the interviewer understands or has experienced the scenario themselves. 

Example of a behavioural question.

Tell me about a time when you had to make an important decision quickly? How did you feel about having to do this?

Use the STARL approach.

Situation - outline the situation

Task - explain what your task was in the situation

Action - explain the sequential steps you took.  This must be 'I' focussed. 

Result - explain the outcome

Learning - state what you learnt from the situation/experience

Situational Questions

A situational question asks you to describe how you would handle a certain situation under certain circumstances. 


Example of a situational question. 

A co-worker has unfairly criticised your judgement several times, and has obviously been talking to other in the team about this.  What would you do? 


Before answering the question, ask yourself:

What do they really want to know about me?

  • conflict resolutions skills;

  • coping with difficult people;

  • motivating others;

  • working in a team;

  • flexibility;

  • problems solving skills;

  • ability to take initiative; or

  • organisational skills. 

What do they fear about me?

  • unprofessional behaviour and attitude;

  • poor people skills;

  • not sharing organisational values;

  • not workingwell in a team;

  • creating problems; or

  • not providing quality care. 

You may find that you need to be part of a group for your interview or a phone or a video link up interview.  Click here to find out how to do your best for a:

Group, phone or video link up interview. 


Practice does make  perfect. Practice in front of a mirror to see your facial expressions, record your voice to see how many times you ummm and ahhh, video tape yourself to see how you put it all togetherl. 

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