The questions to ask during a nursing interview

Updated February 21, 2017

A nursing interview provides the opportunity to meet with candidates and gauge how well they will fit with your facility and staff. During an interview, touch on the requirements of the position and ask questions that will give you insight into the nurse's personality and style.

Education and Certifications

To make sure that the applicant for a nursing position meets the educational requirements of the open job, ask about her background. Topics to address include university degrees, certifications, training courses and continuing education. If the applicant is seeking a position that has a specific training requirement, verify that she has successfully completed all necessary courses.


If your nursing position requires a candidate who has a specific amount of experience, ask about it immediately. Inquire about the duties of each position and how they changed over time to get a sense of how the nurse progressed and at what rate. If your open nursing position poses specific challenges because of the nature of the patients' illnesses and care requirements, see if the candidate has experience that will help him handle problems as they arise. Ask about the applicant's most important accomplishment in his career to gain insight into his priorities and personality. Ask about specific ways the nurse helped patients or the business in his last position.

Career Interests

Ask about the applicant's professional interests as a nurse. If you run a facility with a specific nursing focus, such as a long-term care facility, ask why the person is interested in working with the type of patients and residents that you serve. In doing so, you can gauge how enthusiastic she is about working in your area of speciality; for nursing positions that require a high level of patience and tolerance, personal motivation can be an important factor in job satisfaction and success. You can also ask about career goals to get an idea of how long the nurse will stay at your facility, if hired.

Communication Style

Because a significant percentage of a nurse's working hours are spent communicating with patients, families, doctors and pharmaceutical vendors, professionalism and sensitivity are important strengths. Ask job candidates how they handle unexpected and stressful situations, particularly when it comes to dealing with overbearing and difficult families. Give specific examples of things the nurse might encounter while working at your facility, and ask him to explain how he would handle it. You can also engage in role playing, where you play a patient, doctor or family member, to see how the nurse would respond.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Smith has been a scientific and engineering writer since 2004. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, newspapers and corporate publications. A frequent traveler, she also has penned articles as a travel writer. Smith has a Bachelor of Arts in communications and writing from Michigan State University.