Regardless of the specific position, level, or facility in question, most healthcare interviewers are looking for candidates who show evidence of four important traits: 1.) a strong foundation of core knowledge, 2. ) critical thinking skills, 3.) flexibility, and 4.) professionalism. One or two of these may be lacking in candidates with minimal real-world experience, but even brand new grads stepping into their first serious jobs should show signs of promise in all of these areas.
On the other hand, healthcare interviewers won't want to see serious deficits in any of these skill sets, so they'll probably be on the lookout for anything that suggests weak core knowledge, rigid, narrow thinking, or a poor grasp of what it means to behave with professionalism, courtesy, and confidence. So while you work to showcase your strengths, be careful to avoid these missteps that could give employers the wrong impression.
Here are the most common mistakes healthcare interviewees make in an interview:
1. Unprofessional gestures, posture, or eye contact
Take a close look at your overall presentation during your interview practice sessions and before you leave the house on the day of your appointment. If you were a patient meeting your nurse, physician, physical therapist, etc. for the first time, would you trust someone like you? Even the answer is yes, ask again from the point of view of your grandparents, a stranger, a child, or a neighbor. A trustworthy presentation is one that's confident, focused, unflappable, and well prepared.
2. A poor understanding of the system you're entering into
Face your interview with the strongest possible grasp of the responsibilities of this position. For example, you may not know exactly what will be asked of you by these employers, but you know what your responsibilities are as an LPN and you should be fully prepared to step into them. You should also have some understanding of the clientele you'll be dealing with on this job. For example, is this a free healthcare clinic in a rural, agricultural region? Is it a maternity ward in major metropolitan hospital? Is it an emergency care clinic in a high crime area? Match your expectations and your responses to the situation.
3. Uncontrolled nerves
4. Making excuses
If your interviewers challenge some elements of your background or seem to be cross-examining you, don't lose your cool. And just as important, don't move too quickly into a defensive position. If you lost a job in the past, made a professional mistake, or earned less than a perfect grade point average in school, you're obviously not alone. Don't let these things be used against you while you offer up a series of weak excuses in order to explain them away. Instead, discuss them openly, talk about what you learned from these events, be honest and direct, and then move on.
The best way to ace a healthcare interview starts with three words: Practice, practice, and practice. Visit LiveCareer for more interviewing advice, and then sit down with a friend and work through sample questions one by one until you gain the skills and confidence you need.