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I'm going in for a second interview for a management position, which will be with a team of nurses. What can I expect?

Friday March 8, 2013
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Question:

Dear Donna,

I interviewed for a management position at a hospital with a director of nursing and I have been asked back for a second interview with a team of staff nurses. What could they ask me that I haven’t already answered in my three-hour first interview? Why do they want a group of nurses to interview me? I wore a business skirt suit for the first interview. Would it be appropriate to wear slacks and a sweater to the second?

Upward Bound

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Upward Bound,

What you describe is not unusual for a management position. The first interview is to make sure you have the right stuff — personality, attitude and demeanor — not to mention credentials and experience. The second interview is to make sure you will fit in with the crew and can get the job done. They are looking for compatibility. Those you will be working with need to get a good feeling about you too, and feel confident that you can do the job. Otherwise, your tenure may be short-lived. It’s a good opportunity for you to establish rapport with your prospective colleagues, get a feel for the unit and the facility and discuss some tentative plans.

Second interviews often involve more situational questions. For example, you may be asked: What is the first thing you would do as nurse manager? How would you handle a difficult employee situation? They may even give you a specific scenario. Although these questions can be challenging, there is no need to be nervous. Obviously, you have something going for you if you’ve been asked back for a second interview. Take a moment to compose your thoughts, think logically and answer succinctly. You don’t need to give long, detailed answers. Just answer the question in a way that shows you’re a competent, professional, rational person.

You also should ask some questions, such as “What problems exist on the unit that need immediate attention?” Or, “Tell me what you think is important in a nurse manager?” You also might ask for a tour of the unit or facility, if you haven’t already done that or aren’t familiar with the place.

A second interview is just as important as a first, sometimes more so — don’t get complacent. Dress at least as well as the first interview. A skirted business suit is the way to go. Remember, you’ll be meeting several more people for the first time and first impressions matter big time. You have to dress the part. Make sure you shake hands, while making eye contact and smiling, with everyone at the beginning and end of the second interview. Be sure to make eye contact with all in the room while speaking — don’t just address one or two people.

Unless you were told otherwise, you may not be the only one brought back for a second interview. It would be good to know beforehand, if they’re bringing anyone else in for a second interview. If they are, you should ask, light-heartedly, “Where do I stand with the competition?” Review my article “Interview to ‘Knock their socks off” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Knock-Socks-Off).

Best wishes,
Donna


Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://Events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.