Although different employers have different interview methods that they like to use when interviewing LPNs for a position, there are a number of LPN job interview tips that you can keep in mind to help you get through the interview. Remember that you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you – you need to decide if the job is right for you as much as they need to decide if you are the right person for the job. It is normal to be nervous and often nerves can even help you do a better job in the interview.
Preparing For The Interview
Preparing for the interview is something that is extremely important. There are two main reasons for this:
- It serves a practical function in that you will have all of the information you need to do well on an interview
- You will feel more confident in your ability to succeed in the interview
Preparation includes researching the different organizations that you are applying at. This is so you can answer any questions they ask you about the organization, but it also allows you to get a clearer picture regarding whether or not the organization is a good match for you.
The next thing that you should do is to practice the actual interview. Even though you cannot know what questions exactly you will be asked, you can prepare for the general situation with fellow nurse, family, or friends. Outlining your strengths, weaknesses, and qualifications as a nurse will help you prepare in this way.
Make sure that you know and understand what the different job descriptions are for each of the positions you are applying for as different institutes may wish to employ an LPN for different reasons. This will help you focus on your relevant skills in the interview.
It is important that you make a good first impression in terms of your appearance. This means that you should be well groomed. Wear conservative clothing that speaks of professionalism. Do not wear a lot of jewelry and avoid it altogether if possible. Make-up should be applied very lightly, if at all, and you should not wear sleeveless tops. Cover any tattoos that you may have and be sure to sit up straight and have neat hair.
LPN Job Interview Tips
The first of the LPN job interview tips that we have for you today involves preparation. This is essential, especially if it is your first job interview for an LPN position. Preparation includes:
- Creating a comprehensive folder to take with you to the interview. This should contain transcripts of your high school diploma and LPN training as well as your resume.
- If you have been employed before, get letters of recommendation from your employer. If not, try to get some letters from your lecturer.
Although interview questions are never standard, and you can never be 100% sure of what you will be asked, there are a few questions that often come up, such as “Tell us about yourself”. You should research the common questions that are asked in interviews and prepare your answers.
In order to show that you are interested in the position as well as in the healthcare facility, you need to prepare some questions to ask your potential employer. These questions need to be well thought out and relevant. Do not ask questions for the sake of asking questions, but rather think of things that you really want to know about the place where you have applied for a job. The questions that you ask will tell your potential employer a lot about who you are and whether or not you are in fact adequately suited for the position. Here are some suggestions of questions you could ask:
- You could ask if there are any continuing education opportunities available at their facility
- You could enquire as to the nurse-to-patient ratio in that hospital
- You could ask whether nurses have input regarding the care environment
However, if none of the above is relevant, ignore them and think of your own questions.
When it comes to job interviews it is always better to be horribly early than even a little bit late, so if you are unsure about how to get to the interview location, or if you are worried about traffic, give yourself plenty of time to get there. Arriving early can also give you a few moments to catch your breath and compose yourself. Use the restroom to check your appearance and ensure that you look professional and ready to go.
First impressions are extremely important and your interview is essentially the first impression that your potential employer will have of you. Some tips to keep in mind here are the following:
- When you greet your interviewer give them a firm and brief handshake while smiling and maintaining eye contact (be careful not to stare)
- When giving your answers during the interview, speak in a clear voice and try to appear confident even if you are not really feeling very confident inside
- Do not fidget or chew gum (or eat/drink anything else for that matter) as this will put forward the idea that you are unprofessional or disinterested
If you are asked a question that you do not fully understand, it is better to ask for clarification than to attempt to answer the question anyway. A good way to compose yourself for the next question is to ask a question back after you have answered. You must make sure that these questions are relevant and that they show your interest in the job and convey your intelligence to the interviewer.
Many people choose to send a handwritten note to the interviewer after the interview is complete thanking them for their time. This will allow the interviewer to remember who you are when the selection process begins.
There are a number of questions that tend to come up in LPN interviews more or less without fail. Although we cannot include a comprehensive list here, these questions should give you an idea of what you can expect from a potential employer when in an interview for a licensed practical nurse position at a health care facility.
What They Can Ask
What Nursing Organizations Do You Belong To?
The reason that an interviewer may ask this question is to gauge your level of commitment to the profession. Belonging to an organization shows an interest in the profession outside of your working hours. If you do belong to nursing organizations, state the names of the organizations, how long you have belonged to them, and why you joined. If you do not, indicate the organizations that you are interested in joining (if any).
Are you authorized to work in the US?
This is a practical question to gauge whether or not you can be employed in that company. Answer briefly and truthfully.
What is your current address and are there alternative places to reach you?
When answering this question give just the area in which you live unless pressed for a specific address (this information will have been on your resume in any case).
What days are you available to work?
When answering this question, keep the following in mind:
- The broader the range of days you give, the more useful you are to the employer and the more likely they are to hire you.
- If you have restrictions on your time because of having children or for another reason, be honest about this up front. For example you may only be able to work day shifts while the children are at school.
- Remember that you will be held to the answer that you give here, so be honest.
Will you be able to work our schedule?
The first step here is getting information regarding the schedule and what exactly will be required of you. Once the schedule has been outlined, answer truthfully regarding your ability to stick to it.
Are you over the age of 18?
In most states you must be 18 years or older to work as an LPN. Consequently this is an essential question that you must answer truthfully if it comes up. Your answer will be double checked, so if you are not older than 18, do not bother applying.
What are your long term career goals?
This question is aimed at assessing your long-term plans. An employer is not interested in hiring someone who is planning to switch careers in a year’s time and who is merely working as a nurse to fill the gap. In addition they may be less than interested in hiring someone who wants to take over their own job. Be truthful and realistic.
Have you worked or earned degrees under another name?
This could be relevant if you are married or if you have had your name legally changed.
Are you available to work overtime?
Do not answer ‘yes’ unless this is true. You may feel tempted to give the ‘correct’ answer in order to impress, but this strategy will backfire if you have to decline overtime once working for the employer.
How did you become interested in becoming an LPN?
There are no set formulas for this answer. Just tell them why you have chosen this career.
What They Can’t Ask
Questions about religion and religious practices.
Your religion is your own personal business and does not impact on your job as an LPN in any way. You have every right to decline to answer questions on this score.
Questions about social groups or organizations.
The social groups or organizations that you belong to outside of work are your own business and do not impact on your nursing career. You can decline to answer these questions.
What your maiden name was and if you do have or plan to have children?
Sometimes employers are disinclined to hire people who are planning to go on maternity or paternity leave sometime soon, but this is a form of discrimination. You are not required to answer these questions.
If you smoke or drink.
As long as you do it on your own time and not at work, smoking and drinking is your choice.
There is also usually a number of character questions that come up which are designed to subtly ascertain whether or not you have the right personality for being an LPN. These character questions can come in many different forms and often potential employers try to surprise you by asking a question in a way you were not expecting, or asking a strange and unusual question to begin with. Keep a cool head and answer to the best of your ability.
- How do you handle Irate patients?
- How do you transfer a patient from a bed to a wheel chair?
- What is the most valuable knowledge you gained in your career?
- Tell me about a situation where you showed compassion for a patient.
- -What qualities do you have that would make you a good nurse?
- It is your lunch break and you see a resident fall. What do you do?
In the past job interviews were very structured and contained set questions. However, because potential employees can learn the correct responses to these questions, they are not really a true representation of that employee’s abilities or character. Consequently job interviews tend to be more flexible at the moment and employers ask whatever questions are o their mind in whatever format they choose. The best of the LPN job interview tips, then, is to keep a clear head and think before answering, because you can seldom be sure of what you can expect exactly in a job interview context.