25 Most Common New Grad Nurse Interview Questions & Answers

Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN

Are you a new nurse or preparing to graduate from nursing school? Does the idea of scheduling your first nursing interview sound exciting? Maybe you are ready for that next step, but don’t know what to expect in a new nurse interview. Perhaps you have asked yourself, “What are the most common new grad nurse interview questions and answers?” If that sounds like you, this article is for you. As you continue reading, you will find information about what prospective employers are looking for in new nurses, how to prepare for an interview, and what questions you should ask before the interview ends. Additionally, I will share 25 most common new grad nurse interview questions and answers that you can use to prepare for and ace your interview.

Why Is It Important To Ace Your New Grad Nurse Interview?

It is vital to prepare for and ace your new grad nurse interview. Acing your new grad nurse interview means you were prepared for the tough questions and kept calm under stress. When you do well in an interview, your chances of securing a job offer increase.


What Are The Top 5 Things Employers Look For When Interviewing New Grad Nurses?

1. Good communication skills:

Effective communication skills are essential for nurses of all experience levels. In a new grad nurse interview, prospective employers want to see a candidate who is comfortable communicating with others. Your tone of voice, the words you say, and your body language will each tell the interviewer something about you.

2. Compassionate personality:

At the heart of every good nurse is a personality that demonstrates empathy and compassion. Some of the new grad nurse interview questions the interviewer asks will likely be used to determine your ability to show compassion toward others.

3. Someone who is willing to be a team player:

Nurses practice autonomously but are expected to work as part of an interdisciplinary team. Prospective employers want to hire nurses who understand the importance of working together with other team members to promote the welfare of patients and the success of their organizations.

4. A willingness to learn:

After being in school for a while, you may feel like you never want to see another classroom. Although you may never go back to school, good nurses never stop learning. You need to be confident in your new nurse interview but not so confident that you feel like you know it all. Employers want to hire nurses who are eager to grow and learn.

5. Computer skills:

There was a time when all nurse's notes and clinical documentation were done by hand in paper charts. Today, however, healthcare facilities use Electronic Medical Records (EMRs). Even if you have never used an EMR outside of nursing school, chances are you have some knowledge of computers. Employers know that candidates with computer skills will struggle less when it comes to learning programs needed to carry out their daily duties.


Preparing for a new grad nurse interview can feel overwhelming, especially if you do not know what to expect. To help you prepare, we have compiled a list of the 25 most common new grad nurse interview questions and sample answers.

1. Interview Question: What Made You Want To Become A Nurse?

What the Interviewer Really wants to Know:

This is one of the most common questions asked during nurse interviews, especially a new nurse interview. The journey to becoming a nurse is difficult at times. The interviewer knows that and will ask this question to see what drove your determination to accomplish nursing school and become a nurse. While nurses can earn generous income, do not make your answer all about money. It is best to mention job security instead of income security. Employers want to hire nurses who have a genuine desire to promote the welfare of others and help improve patient outcomes by doing a good job.

Sample Answer:

I always wanted to find a career where I could help others that would also offer long-term job security. I feel like I found both in nursing. I love caring for other people, and the feeling of knowing something I say or do makes their day better. I believe if I work hard and do a good job, there will always be somewhere for me to grow and contribute to a long career as a nurse.

2. Interview Question: Do You Have A Preferred Shift You Would Like To Work?

What the Interviewer Really wants to Know:

The prospective employer may have more than one job opening. If there is more than one opening and you are offered a position, your preference may be considered when deciding your shift assignment. The interviewer also wants to know if you are set on only working a particular schedule, which could indicate you are not flexible.

Sample Answer:

I feel like I could be comfortable working any shift. However, as a new nurse, I would love the opportunity to work during busy shifts. I feel like this would give me the opportunity to develop and sharpen my skills. If your facility offers rotating shifts, I would be happy to experience the diversity that it offers.

3. Interview Question: What Are Some Of Your Best Qualities?

What the Interviewer Really wants to Know:

Interviewers often ask job candidates to share what they feel their best qualities are. It gives them a chance to know some things about you and is an excellent way for them to gauge your confidence. Although this is not a trick question, be mindful to answer it carefully. Point out your good qualities that are relevant to the job or to nursing in general. Be confident but not arrogant.

Sample Answer:

I think a few of my best qualities are that I am compassionate, hardworking, and dedicated. It gives me a sense of fulfillment knowing others feel like they can depend on me, so I try to give 110% in everything I do.

4. Interview Question: How Do You Keep Personal Problems From Interfering With Work?

What the Interviewer Really wants to Know:

Everyone experiences problems from time to time. An interviewer does not expect you to act like your life is perfect. Instead, they want to know you can separate personal issues from work responsibilities and that you understand the importance of doing so.

Sample Answer:

I know there are times when it is more difficult to keep personal problems from weighing on you. When something is stressing me or I'm facing a problem, I have learned to take the time to address that issue at home and try to resolve it. Before I go to work, I give myself a little time to focus on what I need to accomplish at work and establish a mental game plan of how I will get things done. I find when I intentionally focus on work and set priorities, I am less likely to become distracted by other issues.

5. Interview Question: Do You Have A Preference Of Nursing Specialties?

What the Interviewer Really wants to Know:

Because new nurses are inexperienced, this question is one that some people may not expect to be among new grad nurse interview questions. However, interviewers often like to ask this question to get an idea of where you may be a better fit. Some specialty areas have minimum work experience requirements, while others are appropriate for entry-level nurses. Don't be worried about preferring a specialty that requires more experience. You could still be offered a job and later have opportunities to transfer departments or work your way up. When you answer this question, keep in mind if you have long-term goals of working in a specialty unit like cardiac care or pediatric intensive care, you can mention areas that will prepare you for those roles. The following is an example of how to do that.

Sample Answer:

One thing I love about nursing is there is a specialty for everyone. Eventually, I would love to work in an area that deals with cardiac critical care. I understand I need experience before I can do that. So, if I had my choice, I think a great place to start would be the Med-Surg floor. What are your thoughts about where I can be most useful as I learn and gain experience?

6. Interview Question: Do You Have Children?

What the Interviewer Really wants to Know:

Don’t read more into this new grad nurse interview question than what it says. The interviewer simply wants to know more about you and your outside obligations. Knowing if you have children, their ages, and who helps care for them will help a prospective employer determine what position is best suited to meet both your and the facility’s needs.

Sample Answer:

I have two children. My son is twelve, and my daughter is five. I am thankful to have a large family who helps with my children. They were supportive of me when I was in school and have offered to keep my children after school and on weekends, when necessary, so I can work.

• In this example, the candidate addresses the fact that she needs a babysitter to accommodate work and makes it clear she has already made arrangements. This lets the interviewer know the candidate understands the importance of being reliable at work, as demonstrated by taking the initiative to establish caregivers for children, as needed.

7. Interview Question: If Hired, Will This Be Your Only Job?

What the Interviewer Really wants to Know:

It is not uncommon for people to work two jobs. If an interviewer asks you about working another job, they are trying to determine your availability for work. In some cases, depending on their need, if an employer needs someone who can be flexible with their work schedule, they may offer incentives for employees who work for them exclusively. For instance, if an employer needs someone who can take split shifts or work the on-call schedule, they may guarantee a minimum number of hours each paycheck. Whatever your answer to this question, provide an explanation. A few examples follow:

Sample Answer Option #1:

Yes, this will be my only job. I'm excited about beginning my nursing career, but I also do not want to stretch myself too thin. I would love to take advantage of the opportunity to learn an organization in and out and apply myself in as many ways as possible versus working between two employers.

Sample Answer Option #2:

I currently have another job and have considered keeping it. I have talked to my current employer, and they are agreeable to being flexible with scheduling if I am offered a position with your organization. I am interested in knowing your company's policy about nurses working for more than one agency.

8. Interview Question: Do You Have Experience Working In The Healthcare Field Before Becoming A Nurse?

What the Interviewer Really wants to Know:

Working in a non-nursing healthcare job is not a prerequisite for landing a nursing job. However, when interviewers ask this question during a new graduate nurse interview, it helps them determine your exposure to the healthcare field. There is no right or wrong answer; just a simple yes or no will do. Don't sell yourself short, though. If you had a job or volunteered in a healthcare position, be sure to mention it.

Sample Answer:

I’ve never had a paying job in the healthcare field, but I have done a lot of volunteer work. I have assisted with planning health fairs at local nursing homes and hospitals. I also spent two summers as a volunteer candy striper. Those experiences helped broaden my view about the healthcare industry and influenced my decision to become a nurse.

9. Interview Question: What Are Some Things You Would Like To Improve About Yourself?

What the Interviewer Really wants to Know:

This new grad nurse interview question is not meant for you to be down on yourself or point out all your poor qualities. Instead, the interviewer is looking for cues from you that you acknowledge there is always room for growth and improvement. Think of a few things you would like to do better, mention them, and explain why you’d like to improve.

Sample Answer:

I could probably think of several things I'd like to improve about myself. If I had to choose a few, I'd say I would like to improve my ability to set personal boundaries and goals. I am determined and a hard worker. Sometimes I let my drive to do well at work or for other people get in the way of accomplishing things that are important for my own growth and development. Sometimes I have a hard time telling people no, even if it means crowding my personal schedule or interfering with my own plans or needs. I feel like if we all learn the importance of setting boundaries and working toward personal achievements, we become better people, and it benefits everyone.

10. Interview Question: Tell Me About Yourself.

What the Interviewer Really wants to Know:

While most new grad interview questions are open-ended, the interviewer may ask you to share information by saying, "Tell me about yourself." In this case, it is okay to share some personal things like whether you are married or have children. However, the interviewer is particularly looking for information as it relates to the job for which you are applying. For example, what have you done to prepare for this role? Do you have certifications that will be helpful for this job, etc.?

Sample Answer:

I have lived in this area for more than ten years. My husband and I have one child and are very active in our church. I also try to be active in community events. I’m excited about the prospect of working here because I know your company is locally owned and employs local residents. I look forward to using the skills I have and learning more so I can become an asset.

11. Interview Question: How Did You Hear About This Job?

What the Interviewer Really wants to Know:

Interviewers often ask this new grad nurse interview question so they can determine how well known their organization is in public. For example, if you heard about this job from a friend or family member, chances are they are happy with the services here and think you would be a good addition to the staff. If you found the job posted on the company website or in the local newspaper's classified section, the PR department may be interested to know and take this as an indication they should do more to make the public aware of their facility.

Sample Answer:

I first heard your office might be hiring a few new nurses from a friend at church. He spoke highly of the company and the level of care he and his family have received here through the years. So, I visited the company's website and looked at the posted jobs to see if I met any of the job requirements.

12. Interview Question: What Interests You About Our Company/Facility?

What the Interviewer Really wants to Know:

This question gives the interviewer the chance to determine what interests you as a nurse and lets them know how others view their company. For example, you may like the company's concept of offering every other weekend off so employees can have quality family time. On the other hand, the company may offer incentives for nurses to return to school. When you answer this question, be honest about the things that interest you, and be sure to include ways those interests can benefit the company as much as you.

Sample Answer:

I have known people who have worked for your company previously. They all told me that they felt a sense of friendship and family here. I love the idea of developing strong relationships with my coworkers. It creates an atmosphere of support that impacts the healthcare team and the patients.

13. Interview Question: Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years?

What the Interviewer Really wants to Know:

This is one of the most common new grad nurse interview questions. Interviewers sometimes ask this question to get an idea of your short and long-term goals. Your answer also indicates whether you plan on finding employment and developing a long-term work relationship or if this is just the first step in your career. It is essential to be honest. Prospective employers understand that not all employees will work with them through retirement. Knowing your goals will help them determine if you are a good fit for their organization and, if you are, they can find a position that meets their needs and your goals.

Sample Answer:

I have always been a person who likes to set goals and plan for the future. Since I'm a new nurse, I want to become established with work and learn as much as possible. At some point, hopefully, within the next five years, I would like to begin working toward earning my master's degree. One thing I like about your organization is there seems to be room for growth. I find that appealing because I'd like to have a career somewhere, not just a job. I feel like going back to school and earning a higher degree will make me a greater asset to my patients, my employer, and myself.

14. Interview Question: Can You Tell Me About A Time You Demonstrated Teamwork On The Job?

What the Interviewer Really wants to Know:

This new grad nurse interview question is your opportunity to show the interviewer you are a team player. Your answer doesn’t have to be complicated. Think of a time when things got busy at work, or a coworker needed help.

Sample Answer:

I used to work at a restaurant as a hostess. One Sunday afternoon, we were swamped, and one of our waitresses called in sick. I volunteered to wait tables instead of act as hostess, so my coworkers didn't get overwhelmed. Because we had more hands working to serve customers, they got orders faster, and we were able to catch things up. It was a great feeling to be able to help my team.

15. Interview Question: What Do You Do If You Do Not Know How To Answer A Patient's Question?

What the Interviewer Really wants to Know:

No one knows the answer to every new grad nurse interview question. The interviewer is aware of this and knows that you are a new nurse. This question allows the interviewer to gauge your willingness to ask for help when needed, which is an essential part of working as an interdisciplinary team member.

Sample Answer:

If a patient asks me a question and I do not know the answer, I am honest with them. I will tell the patient I am unsure, but I will find out the correct answer by asking my charge nurse or the doctor, whichever is most appropriate. When I get the answer I need, I will relay that information to the patient as soon as possible so he knows his questions and concerns are important to me.

16. Interview Question: How Well Do You Handle Changes To Your Schedule, Assignments, Or Work Environment?

What the Interviewer Really wants to Know:

Some days at work are easy with few disruptions in schedules or assignments. Other days, things can be so hectic you don’t know what to expect next. The interviewer wants to know you are willing to adjust to necessary changes without becoming frustrated. When you answer this new grad nurse interview question, acknowledge you know a day in the life of a nurse is not always perfectly scripted and voice a desire to work together with your team to get work done in a safe, effective manner.

Sample Answer:

I think it is safe to say the unexpected can happen at any job. I have always tried to demonstrate a willingness to accept changes whenever needed. Whether a coworker becomes ill and needs to leave work or we have several admissions, I understand we all must work together to provide quality patient care. I believe because I am aware of our shared goal to be good nurses and improve patient experiences, I can easily adjust to changes in my schedule, assignments, or work environment.

17. Interview Question: What Do You Do To Regroup When Under Pressure And Overwhelmed?

What the Interviewer Really wants to Know:

Nursing is a rewarding job. It can also be quite stressful a times. An interviewer does not expect you to be immune to pressure on the job. They expect you to have effective coping mechanisms that allow you to adjust during times of increased stress or when you are feeling overwhelmed.

Sample Answer:

I think we all respond to pressure or feel overwhelmed differently. I have spent a good bit of time learning about my own emotions and responses to situations. When I feel overwhelmed or pressured, I try to take a few minutes to gather my thoughts and prioritize what needs to be done to keep work flowing smoothly.

18. Interview Question: What Do You Think Will Be The Most Challenging Thing About Being A Nurse?

What the Interviewer Really wants to Know:

With all the wonderful things that come with a nursing career, there are days when the job is more challenging than others. Some things can tug at your heartstrings and make you feel emotionally drained. Anyone who has worked in healthcare for any amount of time is aware of this, including the interviewer. If they ask this new grad nurse interview question, they are not looking for a rehearsed response that makes you look tough enough to handle every situation. Instead, the interviewer wants to know you can acknowledge some things will be harder to handle than others and that you are willing to accept those difficulties and work through them.

Sample Answer:

I think the most difficult thing about being a nurse will be having to admit we have done all we can for a patient and that their prognosis is not good. I have always been what lots of people call a “fixer.” It’s part of why I became a nurse. However, I understand my job is not to fix everything. Instead, I will do all I can within the boundaries of my job and be there for my patients, even if all that’s left to do is be supportive.

19. Interview Question: What Do You Like To Do In Your Free Time?

What the Interviewer Really wants to Know:

This is not a trick new grad nurse interview question. This question helps the interviewer get to know you on a personal level. Keep in mind everyone has a life outside of work. You don’t have to try and impress the interviewer by listing a dozen healthcare-related activities you do when you leave work. Instead, give them a glimpse of what makes you happy and keeps you motivated.

Sample Answer:

I have several hobbies. I love to curl up with a good book or binge-watch movies on rainy days. I love to work in my flower beds and garden when it's nice outside. I am also a member of a local bowling league. I'm not the best bowler, but I enjoy it!

20. Interview Question: Tell Me Something Others Find Interesting About You.

What the Interviewer Really wants to Know:

This is one of my favorite new grad nurse interview questions. I think because I have something to share about myself, most other people do not. I will share my answer to this question and give you an additional sample answer. Remember, this is another opportunity to let the interviewer get to know you.

Sample Answer:

My Answer: I have a non-profit called Operation Battle Buddy. Our goal is to help military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We match veterans with a service dog and then pay to have the veteran and their new dog trained by professionals specializing in emotional support animals. It is a very rewarding mission.

Additional Sample Answer:

Most people don’t know I am adopted, and I also have a son who is adopted. My biological mother chose to surrender me for adoption when I was eight weeks old. Years later, I met her and developed a friendship with her. I feel so blessed to have the family who adopted me and wanted to share that kind of love with someone else.

21. Interview Question: Why Do You Feel You Are The Best Person For This Job?

What the Interviewer Really wants to Know:

This is another one of the common new grad nurse interview questions. When you answer, keep in mind that it is okay to mention some of your attributes, but be sure to include how those attributes will benefit the company/organization.

Sample Answer:

I am a hard worker and feel dedicated to learning and growing as a nurse. I’ve reviewed the job descriptions for the available positions at your facility and feel like, although I am a new nurse, my willingness to be a team player and learn could be an asset to your company.

22. Interview Question: What Would You Do If Your Replacement Did Not Show Up For Work?

What the Interviewer Really wants to Know:

All nurses need to ensure there are no lapses in patient care. Nurses must stay at their post until the nurse taking the next shift arrives, or the charge nurse makes appropriate changes in staff.

Sample Answer:

I would first let my supervisor know my replacement has not arrived. That way, they can check and make sure my coworker is safe. If possible, I will offer to cover some of my coworker’s shift until she arrives or until my supervisor can find a replacement or rearrange staffing for that shift.

23. Interview Question: How Would You Handle A Situation When A Patient Needs To Be Persuaded To Comply With A Treatment?

What the Interviewer Really wants to Know:

This is one of the new grad nurse interview questions you may feel a bit uneasy answering. The trick to giving a good answer is to pay very close attention to the words “persuaded to comply" in this question. Some interviewers will ask this question to see how well you respond to their insinuation that patients must sometimes be convinced to accept treatment.

Sample Answer:

I know there are times when patients may feel like a recommended treatment is not something they want to do. In nursing school, I learned one of the most important things a nurse can do is promote patient autonomy. If my patient refused treatment, I would first try to understand why. In some cases, it is a lack of understanding. I would explain the treatment plan per the doctor's orders and ask if they have any questions. I would also ask if the patient would like to discuss other options with the physician. However, I would be careful not to try and persuade the patient to do anything against his will.

24. Interview Question: Are You Willing To Work Nights And Weekends?

What the Interviewer Really wants to Know:

Some people prefer to find a job that does not require night or weekend work. The interviewer genuinely wants to know if you are able and willing to work these shifts. Whatever you do, be honest when you answer this question. It is better to say you cannot work this schedule and why than to say you will work nights or weekends and not follow through, which could result in loss of the job. It is okay to ask if there are positions that offer only night or weekend options or if the company offers rotating schedules.

Sample Answer:

I am like most people and do enjoy having some nights or weekends to do things I enjoy. However, I am quite willing to work nights and weekends. What is your company’s policy about these schedules and shifts? For example, do you have some employees who only work nights or weekends, or do you offer opportunities to alternate night and weekend schedules?

25. Interview Question: What Is The Most Rewarding Thing About Being A Nurse?

What the Interviewer Really wants to Know:

This is a new graduate nurse interview, so the person conducting the interview knows you may not have lots of personal experiences to draw from to answer this question. Even with little or no experience, you can think of some things you feel are rewarding about nursing and share why you feel this way.

Sample Answer:

I believe there are lots of rewarding things about being a nurse. Perhaps the most rewarding thing is the feeling of knowing I made a difference for someone else. Whether I offer emotional support or encouragement to my patients or become part of a strong team who works together, I think everything I do to promote good patient outcomes and develop strong nurse-patient and professional relationships has its rewards.

10 Tips To Prepare For A New Grad Nurse Interview

1. Find your way around the facility before your new grad nurse interview.

It is always best to know where you are going before you need to be there. Once your interview is scheduled, visit the facility and ask where to locate the office of the person conducting the interview. If the facility is not large, you may only need to know the facility location and allow someone to escort you to the appropriate office upon arrival. However, it is best to know where to go ahead of time so you can prevent arriving late for the interview.

2. Update your resume with all your work and education experiences.

Be sure to keep your new grad nurse resume always updated. Each time you have a new job or go to school, add that information. Important information on your resume includes the school you attended, the school address, what certificate, diploma, or degree you earned, any job you have had, contact information for a reference check, and names and numbers of personal references.

3. Get professional letters of recommendation.

Whenever possible, it is a great idea to have two or three letters of professional reference. These letters can be from a previous employer or nursing instructor. Good letters of recommendation will speak to your likelihood of success as a nurse. Make sure each letter has the writer’s credentials and contact information included.

4. Pick out a nice outfit and iron it the night before your interview.

It's normal to wake up the morning of your new grad nurse interview and be anxious. When you're nervous, you may feel like nothing looks right, or you can't seem to find the perfect outfit. If you choose what you're going to wear to the interview the night before, you can get it ready and tell yourself that is one less thing to worry about.

5. Be sure to eat breakfast.

If you are nervous about your new grad nurse interview, you may not feel like eating. However, skipping breakfast could cause you to feel more anxious and could result in low blood sugar. You don’t have to go all out and have all you can eat pancakes, but you do need to eat something. Something simple like a bowl of oatmeal or some fruit and yogurt could be enough to tide you over.

6. Read the job description and familiarize yourself with it.

If you take the time to read the job description, you will know what is expected of the nurse who gets the job. By doing this, you can think about possible questions you want to ask the interviewer and be prepared for questions they ask you about the job and its duties.

7. Be prepared to take notes during the interview.

It is always good to bring a notepad and pen with you to an interview. There may be things the interviewer mentions that you want to remember, or they may be something that you want to ask them to clarify before the interview ends. If you do not write down things when they come to mind, the nervousness you may feel during the interview may cause you to forget.

8. Make copies of any certifications such as IV certification, CPR certification, etc.

While it is important to list certifications on your new grad nurse resume, employers typically ask for copies of certifications for your file. Having them on hand when you interview keeps potential employers from waiting for you to gather requested information, which could otherwise delay the hiring process.

9. Create a list of possible questions you want to ask the interviewer.

As mentioned in the next section, most interviews allow time for applicants to ask questions or get clarification on topics discussed during the interview. After you read the job description, imagine some scenarios you may face if hired for this job and make a list of questions to ask the interviewer. This is an important step, not only because you will leave with a clear understanding of what the company is looking for in a nurse, but it also shows the interviewer you are genuinely interested in the job.

10. Rehearse interview questions and answers.

Take the time to read sample new grad nurse interview questions, like the ones mentioned in this article, and develop your own answers for them. Ask a friend or family member to conduct a mock interview with you so you can practice answering questions aloud instead of just reading them.

5 Good Questions To Ask At The End Of Your New Grad Nursing Interview

New grad nurse interview questions are not necessarily reserved for the interviewer. In fact, almost every nursing interview will end with the interviewer asking you if you have questions for them. Always ask questions! When you ask questions, it shows you are genuinely interested in the job. Even if you can't think of pressing questions, keep the dialogue going by asking a few. Here are some examples of things you can ask the interviewer when it is your turn.

1. What do other nurses like about working here?

Many times, the person interviewing nurses for positions are nurses themselves. Ask them what nurses like about their facility. Their answers may shed light on subjects the new grade nurse interview questions they asked you did not cover.

2. Which EMR system does your facility use?

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act mandated that all public and private healthcare providers and other professionals must adopt and demonstrate “meaningful use” of electronic medical records by January 2014. While all providers must use electronic medical record systems, there are different programs and systems available. Employers offer training on the type of EMR they use, but asking this question shows your interest in learning.

3. What is your nurse-to-patient staffing ratio?

Healthcare facilities typically have a protocol established about the nurse-to-patient ratio. These protocols are in place to promote patient safety and are beneficial in helping prevent nurse burnout.

4. Do you offer a retirement plan?

When new grad nurses ask about the potential to begin planning for retirement with a company, it shows a desire to establish a long-term career path instead of just seeking a temporary job. That is not to say you will never change jobs, but asking this question insinuates you want to find someplace that offers benefits associated with long-term plans.

5. What qualities are you looking for in a nurse?

This question is good for a few reasons. First, you can find out what the agency needs from the new grad nurses they hire. Second, once you know the qualities they are seeking, you can make an informed decision about whether you feel you are a good fit for the company.

Bonus! 6 Things You Should Never Do In A New Grad Nurse Interview

You may have the perfect answers rehearsed in your mind for possible nurse new grad interview questions, and that’s great. BUT... there is more to having a successful interview than answering questions. The following is a list of a few things you should never do in a new grad nursing interview.

1. Never answer your phone.

Answering your telephone during an interview is considered impolite and unprofessional. If you must bring your phone into the interview with you, it is best to turn it off or at least on silent. Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression.

2. Do not talk badly about your previous employer or coworkers.

Your last employer or colleagues may have been challenging to work with, and while that is frustrating, your new grad nursing interview is not the place to discuss those issues. If the interviewer asks you about your previous job, you should not lie but find something positive to say. For instance, if your last boss acted inappropriately toward you or others, instead of pointing that out, you can say, "I learned a lot about the kind of employee I want to be and the kind of supervisor I want to be one day if I am given that chance. I am thankful for my experiences."

3. Wearing inappropriate attire:

A rule of thumb I always told my nursing students to follow is, if you are applying for a nursing job, dress like you want the Director of Nurses job. Avoid wearing casual attire. Make sure you wear dress shoes and ensure your clothes are ironed and wrinkle-free.

4. Do not show up late.

One of the worse things you can do when going to a new grad nursing interview is to show up late. In fact, it is better to arrive a few minutes early, even if you must wait to be called into the interview room. Being late for an interview gives the impression that you are not serious about the job. On the other hand, punctuality sends a positive sign to the interviewer that you want this job. It also indicates you value the other person's time, which the interviewer will appreciate.

5. Not bringing necessary documents, resume, etc.

Chances are, the interviewer will review your new grad nurse resume and contact your references before your scheduled interview. You still need to take a copy of your resume. Also, be sure to have copies of your driver’s license, insurance, any certifications, and other important documents. Even if they do not ask for the documents during your interview, it is best to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them.

6. Demonstrating Poor Body Language:

Nursing students learn early about the importance of communication. During your new grad nursing interview, the interviewer will not only listen to how well you articulate thoughts and answer questions, but they will also observe your nonverbal communication, such as body language. Sit up straight, place your hands in your lap or on the armrest of the chair. Smile and make direct eye contact. These may seem like simple things, but your body language will demonstrate your confidence and interest.

My Final Thoughts

If you are a new nurse or preparing to graduate nursing school, there is no time like the present to begin preparing for job interviews. Throughout this article, I have shared information about preparing for a new nurse interview and answered the question, "what are the most common new grad nurse interview questions and answers?” When you review the 25 most common new grad nurse interview questions and answers mentioned in this article and intentionally prepare for your interview, you can go into an interview with confidence. Remember, preparation is the first step of a successful journey, and now you have what you need to prepare for a new nurse interview.


1. What Are Some of the Most Difficult Interview Questions Asked to New Grad Nurses?

Preparing to answer nurse new grad interview questions can feel a little daunting. Some of the questions that you may imagine to be simple are often the hardest ones to answer. For example, the questions “Tell me about yourself,” “Why should I hire you,” and “What are your weaknesses?" are some of the hardest for new nurses to answer.

2. How Do I Deal with a Difficult Question in a New Grad Nurse Interview?

When faced with a difficult question during a new nurse interview, the most important thing you can do is tell the truth. If you do not understand the question, ask the interviewer to repeat the question. If you are unsure what the interviewer means, ask for clarification. Whatever you do, do not make up an answer because you think it is what they want to hear.

3. How Do I Handle the Stress Before a New Grad Nurse Interview?

It is natural to feel stressed or nervous about a new grad nurse interview. A few things you can do to prepare include review sample nurse new grad interview questions and answers, know your way around the facility before the day of your interview, get a good night's sleep, eat a small meal before the interview, and avoid too much caffeine.

4. What To Bring to a New Grad Nurse Interview?

Being prepared for your new nurse interview is essential. It would be best if you bring a few things with you: a current resume, a copy of any certifications you have earned, letters of recommendation, a notepad and pen to take notes, and copies of your driver's license and social security card.

5. How Long Do New Grad Nurse Interviews Last?

New grad nurse interviews typically last about thirty to forty-five minutes. However, that time may vary, depending on how many questions the interviewer asks you, the number of questions you have for the interviewer, and whether a facility tour is included in the interview.

6. How To Answer New Grad Nurse Interview Questions Online?

In some cases, prospective employers may ask candidates for new grad nursing jobs to participate in an online interview using methods such as Google Hangouts, Skype, or Zoom. The same preparation as used for phone interviews should be used for online interviews, such as making sure you are in a quiet room and have something ready to take notes. Also, before your scheduled interview, make sure your webcam is on and positioned so the interviewer can see your face clearly. Dress appropriately and make sure your phone is turned off.

7. How To Prepare for a New Grad Nurse Phone Interview?

It is not uncommon for prospective employers to request an initial interview by phone. A few things you can do to prepare for a phone interview include confirming the details, finding a quiet spot to interview, making sure others know not to interrupt during the call, and practicing a mock interview with a friend or family member. Lastly, be sure your phone is charged completely.

Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years of experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels. Because of her love of nursing education, Darby became a test-taking strategist and NCLEX prep coach and assists nursing graduates across the United States who are preparing to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).