Ace Your New Grad Nurse Interview: 25 Common Questions and Sample Answers

As a new nursing graduate, landing your first job is an exciting and nerve-wracking experience. Interviews can be challenging, but with the right preparation, you can showcase your knowledge, skills, and passion for the nursing profession. In this comprehensive guide, we’ve compiled 25 common new grad nurse interview questions and provided sample answers to help you feel confident and ready to impress potential employers.

Why Preparing for a New Grad Nurse Interview is Crucial

Acing your new grad nurse interview is vital for several reasons:

  1. Make a Great First Impression: Interviews are often the first interaction you’ll have with a potential employer, and making a strong first impression can significantly impact your chances of getting hired.

  2. Demonstrate Your Knowledge and Skills: During the interview, you’ll have the opportunity to highlight your nursing education, clinical experiences, and the skills you’ve acquired throughout your training.

  3. Stand Out Among Candidates: With many new nursing graduates vying for the same positions, a well-prepared and confident interview performance can help you stand out from the competition.

  4. Show Your Passion and Fit: Interviews allow you to convey your enthusiasm for the nursing profession and demonstrate how your values and goals align with the organization’s mission and culture.

Top 5 Things Employers Look for in New Grad Nurses

  1. Good Communication Skills: Effective communication is essential in nursing. Employers want to see that you can communicate clearly, actively listen, and convey information concisely.

  2. Compassionate Personality: Nursing requires empathy and compassion. Employers seek candidates who can provide compassionate care and connect with patients on a personal level.

  3. Teamwork Ability: Nursing is a collaborative profession. Employers look for individuals who can work effectively as part of an interdisciplinary team and contribute to a positive work environment.

  4. Willingness to Learn: As a new grad, employers understand that you’re still learning and developing your skills. They value candidates who are eager to learn, open to feedback, and committed to continuous professional growth.

  5. Computer Skills: With the widespread use of electronic medical records (EMRs), employers seek candidates with basic computer literacy and the ability to quickly adapt to new software and technologies.

25 Common New Grad Nurse Interview Questions and Sample Answers

  1. What made you want to become a nurse?

    Sample Answer: “I’ve always had a desire to help others and make a positive impact on people’s lives. Nursing is a profession that allows me to do that while also providing long-term job security. I love the idea of being able to care for patients, support their well-being, and contribute to improving overall healthcare outcomes.”

  2. Do you have a preferred shift you would like to work?

    Sample Answer: “I’m open to working any shift, but as a new nurse, I would appreciate the opportunity to work during busier shifts initially. I believe this would allow me to develop and sharpen my skills more quickly. If your facility offers rotating shifts, I would be happy to experience the diversity that it offers.”

  3. What are some of your best qualities?

    Sample Answer: “I believe some of my best qualities are compassion, dedication, and a strong work ethic. I strive to give 110% in everything I do, and it’s important to me that my colleagues and patients feel they can depend on me.”

  4. How do you keep personal problems from interfering with work?

    Sample Answer: “I understand that personal issues can sometimes weigh heavily on us. When facing a stressful situation or problem, I take the time to address it at home and try to resolve it. Before work, I focus on establishing a mental plan for my responsibilities, which helps me stay focused and avoid distractions.”

  5. Do you have a preference for nursing specialties?

    Sample Answer: “Eventually, I would love to work in an area that deals with cardiac critical care. However, I understand that I need experience before pursuing that specialty. If I had a choice, I think starting in a med-surg unit would be a great way to gain valuable experience as a new nurse. What are your thoughts on where I could be most useful while learning and gaining experience?”

  6. Do you have children?

    Sample Answer: “Yes, I have two children, a son who is 12 and a daughter who is 5. I’m fortunate to have a supportive family who has offered to help with childcare after school and on weekends when necessary, so I can work reliably.”

  7. If hired, will this be your only job?

    Sample Answer: “Yes, this will be my only job. I’m excited about beginning my nursing career, and I want to fully dedicate myself to learning and growing within your organization. I believe focusing on one employer will allow me to apply myself in various ways and become an asset to your team.”

  8. Do you have experience working in the healthcare field before becoming a nurse?

    Sample Answer: “While I haven’t had a paying job in healthcare, I’ve gained valuable exposure through volunteer work. I assisted with planning health fairs at local nursing homes and hospitals, and I spent two summers as a volunteer candy striper. Those experiences broadened my understanding of the healthcare industry and influenced my decision to become a nurse.”

  9. What are some things you would like to improve about yourself?

    Sample Answer: “There are always areas for self-improvement. If I had to choose a few, I would say I’d like to improve my ability to set personal boundaries and goals. While I’m determined and hardworking, sometimes I let my drive to excel at work or for others interfere with accomplishing things that are important for my own growth and development. I believe setting boundaries and working toward personal achievements will make me a better person and benefit those around me.”

  10. Tell me about yourself.

    Sample Answer: “I’ve lived in this area for over ten years. My husband and I have one child, and we’re very active in our church and 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 my skills and continuously learning to become an asset to your organization.”

  11. How did you hear about this job?

    Sample Answer: “I first heard about this opportunity from a friend at church. He spoke highly of the company and the level of care he and his family have received here over 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. What interests you about our company/facility?

    Sample Answer: “I’ve known people who have worked for your company previously, and they all told me 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 positively impacts the healthcare team and the patients.”

  13. Where do you see yourself in five years?

    Sample Answer: “As a new nurse, my primary focus is on establishing myself in the profession and continuously learning. Within the next five years, I hope to begin working toward earning my master’s degree. One thing I appreciate about your organization is the room for growth, which appeals to me as I’d like to build a long-term career, not just have a job. Earning a higher degree will make me a greater asset to my patients, employer, and personal development.”

  14. Can you tell me about a time you demonstrated teamwork on the job?

    Sample Answer: “In my previous job as a restaurant hostess, we were short-staffed one Sunday afternoon when a waitress called in sick. I volunteered to wait tables instead of acting as a hostess, so my coworkers wouldn’t become overwhelmed. By working together as a team, we were able to serve customers faster and catch up on the backlog.”

  15. What do you do if you do not know how to answer a patient’s question?

    Sample Answer: “If a patient asks me a question and I don’t know the answer, I would be honest with them. I would tell the patient I’m unsure but will find the correct answer by asking my charge nurse or the doctor, whichever is most appropriate. Once I have the information, I would relay it to the patient as soon as possible to address their concerns.”

  16. How well do you handle changes to your schedule, assignments, or work environment?

    Sample Answer: “I understand that a day in the life of a nurse is not always perfectly scripted, and unexpected changes can occur. Whether a coworker becomes ill or we have several admissions, I’m willing to adjust and work together with my team to provide quality patient care. Because we share the goal of being good nurses and improving patient experiences, I can easily adapt to changes in my schedule, assignments, or work environment.”

  17. What do you do to regroup when under pressure and overwhelmed?

    Sample Answer: “We all respond to pressure or feeling overwhelmed differently. I’ve spent 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. What do you think will be the most challenging thing about being a nurse?

    Sample Answer: “I think the most difficult aspect of being a nurse will be having to admit when we’ve done all we can for a patient, and their prognosis is not good. I have a strong desire to ‘fix’ things, which is part of why I became a nurse. However, I understand my job is not to fix everything but to do all I can within the boundaries of my role and be supportive when that’s all that’s left to do.”

  19. What do you like to do in your free time?

    Sample Answer: “I have several hobbies that help me relax and recharge. I love curling up with a good book or binge-watching movies on rainy days. When the weather is nice, I enjoy working in my flower beds and gardening. I’m also a member of a local bowling league – I’m not the best bowler, but I enjoy the activity and socializing with friends.”

  20. Tell me something others find interesting about you.

    Sample Answer: “Many people find it interesting that I’m adopted, and I also have an adopted son. My biological mother chose to place me for adoption when I was eight weeks old. Years later, I met her and developed a friendship. I feel blessed to have the family who adopted me and wanted to share that kind of love with someone else.”

  21. Why do you feel you are the best person for this job?

    Sample Answer: “I’m 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 although I’m a new nurse, I believe my willingness to be a team player and learn could be an asset to your company.”

  22. What would you do if your replacement did not show up for work?

    Sample Answer: “If my replacement didn’t show up, I would first let my supervisor know so they can check on my coworker’s well-being. If possible, I would offer to cover part of the shift until my coworker arrives or until my supervisor can find a replacement or rearrange staffing for that shift.”

  23. How would you handle a situation when a patient needs to be persuaded to comply with a treatment?

    Sample Answer: “I understand there may be times when patients are hesitant about recommended treatments. In nursing school, I learned the importance of promoting patient autonomy. If a patient refused treatment, I would first try to understand their concerns. I would explain the treatment plan per the doctor’s orders and ask if they have any questions. I would also inquire if they 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 their will.”

  24. Are you willing to work nights and weekends?

    Sample Answer: “Like most people, I enjoy having some nights and weekends free for personal activities. However, I’m quite willing to work nights and weekends. What is your company’s policy regarding 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. What is the most rewarding thing about being a nurse?

    Sample Answer: “I believe there are many rewarding aspects of being a nurse. Perhaps the most rewarding is the feeling of knowing I’ve made a positive difference for someone else. Whether I offer emotional support or encouragement to my patients or become part of a strong team that works together, everything I do to promote good patient outcomes and develop strong nurse-patient and professional relationships has its rewards.”

Additional Tips for a Successful New Grad Nurse Interview

Preparing for your new grad nurse interview goes beyond practicing questions and answers. Here are some additional tips to help you make a great impression:

  • Research the facility or organization thoroughly before the interview.
  • Arrive early and dress professionally.
  • Bring copies of your resume, certifications, and any necessary documents.
  • Prepare thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer, demonstrating your interest in the role and company.
  • Practice your body language, maintaining eye contact, and having a confident handshake.
  • Send a thank-you note or email after the interview, expressing your appreciation and reiterating your interest in the position.

Remember, the interview process is a two-way street. While the employer is assessing your qualifications, you should also evaluate whether the organization and role align with your goals and values. By being well-prepared and presenting yourself professionally, you’ll increase your chances of making a lasting positive impression and landing your dream job as a new grad nurse.

PERFECT New Grad Nurse Mock INTERVIEW! A++


How do you answer a new graduate nursing interview question?

Apply your communication skills to respond to nursing interview questions. Incorporate vital nursing characteristics into your responses. These may include reflecting on your ability to prioritize patient care, being an effective part of a team, and adapting to stressful situations.

What are the 6 C’s of nursing interview questions?

Interviewee: Before your interview, you must ensure you understand the six Cs of nursing, which are: care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment. It’s not enough to say what they are – you need to share examples of when you’ve successfully exhibited all these traits.

How do you ace a new grad interview?

To prepare, fresh graduates should reflect on their experiences, identify relevant skills, and practice telling structured and concise stories highlighting their actions, challenges, and positive outcomes. By preparing specific examples, fresh grads can feel more confident and articulate during the interview process.

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