10 tips for graduate nursing and midwifery interviews

Michelle R
If you are a nursing or midwifery student in your final year of study, you may have interviews for graduate positions scheduled in the coming months.

Michelle Rutherford is responsible for interviewing and recruiting graduate nurses and midwives to a major metropolitan health service located in Melbourne, Victoria. Michelle shares her top 10 interview tips below.

Preparing for an interview

1. Be on time

As you already know, being late to an interview is never ideal. Not only does it reflect poorly on the interviewee’s time management skills, but it can also make you feel nervous and flustered. Allow extra time for traffic and parking, even if you are familiar with the area - you never know when roadworks will arise. And if you are taking public transport, remember that delays can occur so plan your journey ahead of time. If you arrive early, you could find a café nearby and relax with a tea or coffee before the interview. If you do happen to be late to your interview, apologise to the interviewer and try to remain calm.

2. Ensure your phone is on silent

To prevent a disruption during the interview, it is a good idea to turn your phone off, or keep it on ‘silent’. Remember that having your phone on ‘vibrate’ can still cause a disruption. If you have a valid reason to keep your phone volume turned on (for example, if you are expecting a very important call), then it may be best to let the interviewer know this at the start of the interview.

3. Be your “professional” self

As fun or relaxed as the interview may be, remember to remain professional at all times. Avoid using slang terms such as “mate”, “cheers” or “catch you later” and of course, do not curse.

4. Be prepared to answer questions about your strengths and weaknesses

It is likely that you will be asked to describe your professional strengths and weaknesses. Try to be as honest as possible, but also don’t under-sell yourself. When describing a weakness, explain how you aim to develop in this area, and why you think the organisation will help you improve. If you’re not sure what your strengths and weaknesses are, try asking friends or co-workers.

5. Know the organisation

When a candidate has researched our health service, we notice straight away and it really makes the candidate shine. Most health organisations will have a vision and mission statement, as well as values that are unique to the organisation. If you can incorporate these into your interview, it is sure to impress the interviewer.

6. Practice some relaxation techniques prior to the interview

Before an interview, you may feel nervous, stressed, anxious or overly excited. There are a variety of relaxation techniques you can try to help calm yourself. Consider meditation, talking to a friend, breathing deeply, or listening to your favourite song. And remember – we are not here to scare you. We are here to get to know you and help you begin your career.

7. Prepare an answer to a conflict question

It is likely that you will be asked to describe a situation that involved conflict. Think about what happened, how you handled it and what you reflected on following the situation. If possible, discuss a situation relevant to the position you are applying for such as an event that occurred during previous work experience.

8. Dress to feel comfortable, confident and professional

Sometimes, choosing an outfit for an interview can be the hardest part! We do not expect you to look glamorous or spend hours on end getting ready. However, it is important to dress smart and to wear clothes appropriate to the job you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a general nursing or midwifery position, you may like to wear closed toe shoes, trousers and a blouse/shirt and tie. If you wear make-up, I recommend you keep it natural.

9. Be conscious of your body language and posture

It is important to smile and have open, welcoming body language. The interviewer is most likely looking for candidates who will be welcoming and friendly to patients and their families, so it is important to show signs of this behaviour during the interview. For example, rather than sitting with your arms folded and diverting your gaze, make eye contact with the interviewer and have non-defensive posture.

10. Thank the interviewer for their time

Final impressions can be just as important as first impressions – this is the image that will stay in the interviewer’s mind once the interview has concluded. If you feel it is appropriate, you may like to shake the interviewer’s hand upon leaving the interview, as this will exude professionalism and confidence.

Good luck to everyone going into your interviews, this is an exciting in your nursing or midwifery career! If you need help, at any stage, we are here to help just call us on 1800 667 877.