How to Answer Interview Questions with Confidence
Author: Jill Gilliland
Editor: Elizabeth Moran, MSN, RN, CPNP
Regardless of your skills, qualifications, and past experiences, how you show up in an interview will ultimately determine whether or not you get the job or not. Mastery of simple communication skills and practices can make all the difference. We have compiled a list of 13 key tips on how to respond in an interview. You can show up with confidence when you are proactive about learning these skills.
- Listen carefully. If you don’t understand the question, ask politely for clarification.
- Pause before answering to consider all facts that may substantiate your response. If you need a minute to think, take your time. Don’t feel pressured to rush into a response.
- Always offer positive information—avoid negativity at all times.
- Get directly to the point. Avoid roundabout answers.
- Before going into too much detail, ask your interviewer if they’d like more background on your response.
- Discuss only the facts needed to respond to the question.
- Focus and refocus attention on your successes. Remember, the goal is not to have the right answers. It is to convince the interviewer that you are the right PA or NP for the job.
- Always be truthful, and try not to offer unsolicited information.
- Avoid opening yourself up to areas of questioning that could pose difficulties for you.
- Prior to your interview, take time to think through your answers to some common interview questions. Formulating your answers and solidifying your thoughts will give you more poise and security during the actual interview.
- Review any information you can find on the person you are interviewing with, as well as the organization. Use multiple methods of search, including institutional webpages, PubMed, LinkedIn, and even YouTube.
- Bring thoughtful questions to the interview. If you are ever asked if you have any more questions, the answer should always be “yes.” Otherwise, you will come across as not interested.
- Plan to ask each person you interview with most of the same questions. This ensures you bring the same enthusiasm to the last interviewer as you did to the first. This will also help you gain a well-rounded understanding of the opportunity.
And don’t forget—whenever you are working to sell yourself or convince others of a course of action, it is important to communicate through multiple channels of communication. Bring your resume to leave with the interviewer and offer to talk through it with him or her. Visual representations of your work history, procedures, and skills are a valuable addition to the verbal response. Good luck!
Melnic is the leading recruiter for APRNs and PAs.
Jill Gilliland is President of Melnic an APRN and PA national recruiting company. Jill is a speaker and publicist on areas such as job strategies, branding and marketing, pediatric critical care needs, and additional topics relevant to pediatric nursing and the recruitment business. She has over 12 years of experience in the recruiting industry coupled with a strong sales, healthcare, and technology background. Jill holds a BS degree in Business from the University of Southern California and an MBA from The University of Virginia, Darden Business School. Connect with Jill Gilliland on LinkedIn.