I need to start a portfolio on interview questions that are really hard for me to answer. Please help me come up with some good answers for the following questions on becoming a registered nurse...
What are your career plans (short and long range)?
What led you to select your college major?
What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
Make sure you know about the hospital, doctor's office, clinic, etc that you are interviewing with. One of the ways we stump people (unintentionally) is by asking how they feel they will best fit in with our staff. This means that the person we're interviewing has to be able to articulate there best qualities, but also has to show that they're interested enough in the job to have taken time to find out about us. This seems like an easy question, but it is often what drives our decision on whom to hire or not. It’s important for most jobs to know that they’re hiring someone who will fit into the team and work with everyone. This gives you an opportunity to show that you are that kind of person.
My suggestion would be to be yourself. Interviewers, for the most part, can tell if you are "acting" in an interview. Be sure to address questions honestly. If you do not, you will find yourself in a place that you honestly do not want to be. I agree that you should focus upon your strengths and limit your weaknesses. All interviewers know everyone has weaknesses.
Interviewers can tell right away if you are truly interested in the career choice you've made. You need to be forthright and show conviction. Ask yourself the following and write it down in your portfolio: Do I really like what I'm studying? Am I committed to seeing it through? Will I enjoy being a nurse? Do I have what it takes? If the answers to all these questions are "yes" and you feel you are enthusiastic and sure of yourself, then you are ready for your interview.
Go to your interview poised and confident. If you feel you are the right candidate for the opening, then exude that confidence! Answer questions directly and honestly and make the interviewer want to hire you. Let them know you're in it for the long haul and will make any and all adjustments to your skills in the future to insure you are always qualified. Give a short history as to why and when you've chosen to be a nurse and what you can do for others.
When listing your strengths and weaknesses, be honest without going into too much detail. Be sure to let the interviewer know that you would be willing to overcome all weaknesses if necessary to be good at your job. Tell about your strengths without too much boasting.
Above all else, remember to smile and be cheerful. Thank the interviewer for their time and wish them well. Leave several ways for them to get in touch with you if they need additional information and be clear about when they will be contacting you to let you know your hiring status.
In addition to being straightforward and convincing in your responses, be sure to allow your enthusiasm to come through. Nursing is a field in which interviewers will look for a genuineness in the applicant and a love of people. There are too many students going into this field only because it is open and the wages are decent. Prove that you are more than this type of student. Learning to sell yourself as a candidate for employment is a big part of an interview. ( Being specific in your answers is also important, as mentioned in post #3. )
These aren't questions we tend to ask ourselves very often, which is part of their purpose. So you should think about the truest respose to those questions. Why did you choose that major? What is it about nursing that attracts you to the profession? Why are you good at it? Sometimes rephrasing the questions makes it easier to respond.
As the other posts have noted, be as honest as possible with your answers. Concerning the final question, I would concentrate more on your strengths than your weaknesses. If you list a specific weakness, I would also try to support how you plan to overcome it and how by doing so it will make you stronger still.
Forshort range goals, you'll want to realize that your interviewers will realize you are freshly out of college--and possibly still studying if you go from a Community college to a four year University--and will be well aware of your experience level. So, you might indicate that short range you want to expand your experience in a particular specialty (e.g., pediatric, orthodedic, or gereatric nursing, etc).
For the first question, I would suggest that you have some sort of specific long-term goal in mind. It should be the kind of thing that you would say if you were asked "where do you see yourself in 15 years" or something like that. This will show that you have actually put some thought into what you want from your life and from this career.
Be very honest about your strengths and weaknesses, and make sure that you have concrete life examples of each. The worst answer you can give is to try to turn a discussion of weakness into a discussion of strength, i.e. saying that "my weakness is that I work too hard," or that "I'm a perfectionist." Interviewers see right through that. When you mention a weakness, as I said, be specific, and also discuss how you have tried, and are trying, to overcome it.
I think the biggest thing to remember when trying to respond to such questions is that you need to be confident in your response and also to be honest. If you know you want to become a registered nurse, then that is your first question answered. For your second question, you need to somehow relate your answer to your career plans. For your third question, again, try and relate them to your desire to be a nurse. Therefore good things to say would be the ability to empathise with people, people skills, the ability to work under pressure. But you also might like to ask your friends what your strengths and weaknesses are. This might help you gain a different insight into your own character.