5 Top Tips for your New Graduate Interview

I’ve spent a bit of time thinking about my own experience and the feedback that I have received after applying for nursing jobs and attending interviews. I’ve also spent a bit of time asking others in nursing positions that do some of the hiring.

It’s New-Grad Nursing job application and interviewing season now so I thought I’d help a fellow nurse out by sharing with you my Top 5 tips to help you better prepare for the experience ahead.

1. Do your homework

When applying for your dream grad job, know who it is you’re applying to! Make sure than you:

  • Research the facility/ ward/ company.
  • Know what awards, programs or specialties the facility/company has achieved or is aiming to achieve.
  • Read up on what their values are.
  • Know about what employment progression they have to offer you.

You can do this in a number of ways such as using google to search for their company website, contact the facility, use LinkedIn as a way to connect with NUM’s, DOM’s and other nurses who work within that area, and, most importantly, ask questionsremember be professional, be respectful!

2. Show Initiative

Nothing is ever handed to anyone.

  1. If you’re on placement within the area you are hoping to get a grad position, ask to have a meeting with the NUM, DON or education team to find out what it is they look for in future prospective employees.
  2. You can also reach out to DOM’s and NUM’s over LinkedIn and request a time to meet and pick their brain about future employment – but again, be professional and respectful.
  3. Go to Grad Open Days- it’s the easiest way to meet the team that could be on the interview panel. So, make sure that you introduce yourself, ask questions about the unit, team culture, training and education and anything else you want to know that may help you in gaining the position.
  4. Get the education team’s email address. This may prove useful when you remember a question or what further information about the department – the education team is your best friend for information.

3. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Going in with the mentality that you will get your dream job right off the bat with no plan B can land you in hot water – my personal experience!


Once you’re in the industry it’s easier to move around but getting in is the hardest part.

Doing this gives you the best possible chance of getting your foot in the door.

Don’t overlook aged care, ward nursing, rural & community nursing, mental health, private hospitals, GP clinics- the list goes on!

Once you’re in the industry it’s easier to move around but getting in is the hardest part.

Reach out to recruiters, these are (usually) trained professionals who may be able to assist you in gaining a position in rural health, GP clinics and other health facilities. They can also offer great advice and usually really good at offering possibilities you would never have thought about.

4. Duh! It’s so Obvious!

This tip is more for interview prepping.

In most interviews you’ll most likely get a clinical/ patient scenario, the question(s) will give you clinical details with some background information and the first thing your brain is going to do is jump right into the clinical aspect of patient care.


Remember, you are a person giving personal care to a fellow person; I say person a lot because we treat people, and people need reassurance, respect and trust

The clinical aspect is important but so is the human element.

When presented with that scenario, don’t forget that in the real world you would introduce yourself, explain to them what you need to do and how you’re going to do it and get consent to do those things and most importantly hand hygiene.

In the scenario, the panel is not only looking for clinical knowledge but also the human element to the scenario.

This is your chance to show that you can connect with the patient, build rapport & trust and see the patient as human, not just a clinical diagnosis.

The clinical aspect is important but so is the human element.

5. Go back to basics

This tip coincides with the previous tip.

When faced with a clinical question/ scenario in an interview, the scenario will most likely be a deteriorating patient scenario that will have:

  • clinical information
  • background information, and possibly
  • a medication or two

Remember this: DON’T BE A HERO!

Here’s how to tackle this one…

Identify and verbally work through your DRABC’s.

State what you could be looking out for, what you may do or give to help the patient and improve their situation.

If you are applying for a specialty ward i.e. renal or cardiac, know specific drugs or tests you could use/do in that clinical environment.

Remember this: DON’T BE A HERO!

(They) are looking for team players who are safe, advocate for their patients well being and know when to call for help.

Usually, once you’ve answered the first question you may get a follow on question stating the patients deteriorating further and then you’re asked: “what do you do?”

This scenario is asking you to do two things:

  1. To recognise your limitations and when a patient is deteriorating beyond your ability to provide safe and adequate care
  2. To demonstrate that you know how to escalate your concerns for your patient (remember we are their advocates) and call for help.

You work within a team, we are only as good as the team we work within- the interview panel knows this and are looking for team players who are safe, advocate for their patients well being and know when to call for help – there is no weakness in asking for help, and no room for ego!

I hope you enjoyed what I thought would be useful.

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