Nursing University Interviews: Common Errors & Pitfalls

Advice & Insight From Nursing Interview Specialists

There are a number of common errors made during interviews for Nursing. By being aware of them from the outset, you can best prepare whilst ensuring that you avoid falling into any common pitfalls. Here are a selection of errors and how you might best avoid committing them.

Asking the wrong questions

Whilst interviewers need to see a level of curiosity and motivation from any questions that you might ask, they will be easily able to detect simple questions that are asked only to fill space. You must therefore research the university in advance, to make sure that any question you ask is well informed and necessary. The best question will build on your experience and research. An example of a bad question might be, ‘when is the first patient contact?’ This question can easily be answered from looking at the prospectus, and indeed the answer should have already been factored into any decision making on your part. However, you can build on this idea and ask a more informed question, such as, ‘I saw that the first patient contact happens in the first semester, but was unable to see which placements we take during this time. Are we likely to see these first patients in the community or in a hospital setting?’ This question shows research and a desire to learn more.

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Not doing your research

This ties in naturally with the previous error. You must thoroughly research the university, course and interview beforehand. You should be well aware of how the course is structured, your reasons for wanting to study there, and what the university is like. You should also understand the interview process as far as you are able, including anything you may need to bring with you. Remember that the interviewers want students that are truly interested in their course and their institution. Additionally, doing research in advance can be a good way of settling nerves – if you know that you are well prepared, understand the course and the university, and have great questions ready to go, then you are much less likely to feel overly nervous during the interview.

Not arriving on time

Whilst it may seem obvious, you should make sure that you understand exactly where your interview is, how to get there, and when you are expected. The last thing you want is to be running late on the day, and to be flustered when your interview takes place. With the advent of online interviews, it is more important than ever to know exactly when your interview will take place, if it is online or in-person, and the process for registering beforehand. 

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Not being direct

If you have a tendency to ramble, or talk a lot when you are nervous, then consider this before you interview. Very few interviewers will mark down a polite, direct and concise answer versus a rambling one that neglects to get to the point quickly. Take your time to think through a good response that answers the question, rather than starting to speak instantly with no clear goal in mind. 

Not making eye contact

You need to show good manners and great people skills to succeed in a nursing interview. Whilst your assessors will understand that you are nervous, they will nonetheless expect you to make eye contact whilst speaking. Eye contact will be seen as showing confidence and sincerity. Given that you will likely have multiple assessors, it is easy to avoid the risk of making extended eye contact with one person – shift from speaking to one to another as feels natural. 

Not dressing appropriately

You are interviewing for a course that leads to a profession, and therefore you must dress professionally. Your outfit will be the first impression that your interviewer has of you. You should dress as you would if you were on a placement – smartly and professionally, albeit ideally in something that you feel comfortable in. Common choices might be a shirt and smart trousers (like chinos), or a skirt and blouse or simple pullover. Make sure that your shoes are smart and clean. Do not wear too much makeup. Think about how you would expect a professional to dress, and ensure your choice matches this. 

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Nursing University Interviews: Common Errors & Pitfalls

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