Graduating from nursing school or any healthcare program is exciting for many reasons. It’s a tremendous accomplishment, it’s the end of a big chapter of your life, but more importantly it means you’re ready for your first job in healthcare. The only obstacle remaining is the interview. Check out the list of tips we've compiled to help you succeed at your first healthcare job interview.

1. Dress like the medical professional you want to be

It’s often true that first impressions matter a lot, but in healthcare job interviews when you only have a few minutes to secure a job, every impression matters. The way you dress for your interview will make a first and lasting impression. It communicates two big things to the interviewer: How you compose yourself professionally, and how seriously you take the work. Remember that you’re no longer a student; you’re entering a career field where lives may depend on you. Dressing like a professional will convey the message that you understand and are ready for this responsibility.

2. Communicate Why you want to work there

Every hospital, doctor’s office, and lab is unique, often with its own specialty or advantages. Decide for yourself why you want to work at this particular place and prepare to articulate that — either directly or offhandedly. You may not be asked specifically why you’re applying for this particular position, but you can demonstrate that you’ve researched the clinic in advance and believe yourself especially qualified to work there. And the interviewer does ask why you want the position, “I just need a job” is the answer they don’t want to hear — so make sure you’re prepared.

3. Relay specific experiences

If you’ve graduated from a good nursing school or medical assistant program, you’ll graduate with a degree and a breadth of experiences from the classroom and clinical. Whether you’re being interviewed by a provider or an HR manager, they want to hear that you’re trained and prepared for everything that will be expected of you on your first day. Don’t exaggerate and never lie. Whenever you answer a question, use it as an opportunity to cite an example that showcases everything you’ve seen and done. This won’t just convey that you’re qualified for the position; it’s a form of active listening, a way of telling the interviewer you understand what they’re asking and what the work entails.

4. Remind yourself you’re prepared for the work

Confidence is a tremendous asset for succeeding at your first healthcare job interview. If you answer questions hesitantly or with visible fear, the interviewer won’t believe you’re ready for the pressure and demands that most healthcare jobs entail — even if your answers are intelligent and knowledgeable. It’s natural to feel nervous, but before you leave for your interview, remind yourself that you’re prepared. You have the training and experience to care for patients and perform the duties your first job expects, so smile and hold your head high. Remember that you can do the job well. All you have to do at your interview is demonstrate your competence, which starts with confidence.

Tags: healthcare job interview, job interview, healthcare