So, you have completed your training, qualified as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), sent out your resume and have and interview – time for some LPN job interview tips. Some individuals think that the studying is the most difficult part of getting employment as an LPN, but others know that getting through the front door can be really difficult, especially if you are nervous and who is not nervous when being interviewed for a job?
One of the best pieces of advice that you can get is to follow LPN job interview tips from those who are in the know, which includes those who are responsible for employing LPNs in various institutions. These individuals know what they are talking about as they interview people every day and know what mistakes are constantly made. By following these tips you can give yourself a much better chance of cracking the interview and entering the profession of nursing for which you have trained.
General LPN Job Interview Tips
Everyone is nervous when being interviewed for a new position, no matter whether you are 18 or 80. Being well-prepared can help to calm those butterflies in your tummy and these general LPN job interview tips are vital to you having a good interview.
Golden Rules to help you ace your LPN job interview:
Preparation is everything. Just as you prepared for your NCLEX exam buy studying, you should also prepare adequately for an interview. Create a nice folder with copies of your resume, educational transcripts, and any other credentials, even if you have already sent copies to the organization. Include recommendations from former managers, supervisors, teachers or lecturers, and even colleagues. Do some research on the organization or medical facility, which is usually quite easily achieved by going online and typing in the name of the organization.
Think about the type of question that the interviewer is likely to ask, and prepare ready answers. Virtually every interviewer will include questions such as “tell us about yourself”, “why should we hire you”, why you are leaving a previous job, how you function in a team, and what your strengths and weaknesses are. Formulate some good answers to these questions to help you feel prepared.
One of the most important LPN job interview tips is to ccreate a list of questions to ask the interviewer. Most interviewers will ask whether you have any questions about the job or the facility, and you need to have some prepared to show your interest (this is where your research into the institution will come in handy). Make sure that the questions that you ask are important, relevant questions. Asking questions about career development opportunities shows that you would like to grow with the company, and that you are committed to remaining there long-term. Continuing education, whether nurses have input regarding the care environment, and the nurse-to-patient ratio are also good questions to ask.
It is always best to give yourself sufficient time to get to an interview, and you should arrive approximately fifteen minutes early; this will give you time to find the right office, do a quick check on your appearance, and calm your nerves so that you do not go into the interview out of breath or perspiring nervously.
If you are unsure about a question that you have been asked, ask for clarification. The interviewer will not think less of you, and it is better to ask for clarity than to incorrectly answer a question because you did not understand it clearly.
- Dress professionally and conservatively, as the interviewer will make judgements on your character and professionalism based on your appearance.
- Greet the interviewer with a short but firm handshake; be sure to make eye contact and smile.
- Speak clearly and confidently, and loudly enough to be heard without shouting.
- Be relaxed and do not fidget during the interview.
- Never use slang during an interview.
- NEVER chew gum during an interview.
- Always thank the interviewer for their time when leaving.
After The Interview
One of the LPN job interview tips that most professional interviewers mention is to send a hand-written letter to thank the interviewer for affording you the interview. This shows that you are really interested and are professional. Throwing in a few facts about yourself and why you would be the perfect person for the job is also a good idea.
Questions You May Be Asked During An Interview
Earlier in this article under “General LPN Job Interview Tips” we mentioned that you should be prepared for the questions that will be asked in an interview. These questions are generally the same when you go for an LPN interview, no matter who the interviewer is.
The following questions are part of the LPN job interview tips compiled by experienced health care managers and recruiters and include character-discerning questions which are being asked more and more these days. This information is vital to them because of the legal penalties for negligent hiring, which are motivating more character-based hiring policies.
1. Do you belong to any nursing organizations?
The interviewer may ask this question of an LPN who has worked before or is currently working. Nursing organizations provide a good forum for networking and skills development. What the interviewer is trying to find out is whether you are committed to the profession enough to want to continue to grow your knowledge by spending more than just the required hours at work. Answer by supplying the names of the organizations to which you belong; if you do not belong to any state that you are interested in joining a local organization.
2. How would you deal with an irate patient?
As an LPN you may have to deal with patients who are in pain, worried about the financial affect of their health issues or frustrated about being in hospital and away from their business or loved ones. It is important that a licensed practical nurse understand the patient’s feelings and perspective in order to deal with the situation best. The interviewer is interested in hearing how you would approach such a situation, and you should answer truthfully, citing examples of how you have dealt with this type of situation in the past.
3. How would you transfer a patient from a bed to a wheelchair?
Some of the patients that you will come into contact with may not be able to move independently and need to rely on the nursing staff to assist them. As an LPN you need to know how to move a patient from a bed to a wheelchair and vice versa without hurting them. The interviewer in this case wants to know that you understand the correct procedure for transferring a patient.
4. Tell me a bit about yourself
This is one of the questioned mentioned under “General LPN Job Interview Tips” and is virtually always included. The interviewer is trying to find out something about you that is not on your resume. Do not go into your whole family history, answer with information that is personal but relevant to the business or job, such as the fact that you love a challenge, spend your free time volunteering at an old-age home because you love listening to the stories the old folk tell, or you cycle in the country whenever you can as you like staying fit and the beauty of nature relieves you of all stress. This will show that you are passionate, dedicated, compassionate and care about your own health; all good qualities for a licensed practical nurse to have.
5. What would you say is the most valuable knowledge you have gained in your career as an LPN?
Professionals learn from their on-the-job experiences, and the interviewer wants to learn what you have gained from working with patients when they are at their most vulnerable, and whether you have grown through your experiences or are just going through the motions. Respond with an experience that changed your perspective of the patient experience, or that gave you an insight on how to improve your work quality.
Behavioral-Based Interview Questions
At some point in the interview, the interviewer may ask a few behavioral questions, which will typically ask you to describe how you handled a challenging situation in your previous experience or explain how you would handle a hypothetical situation. These questions challenge your skills and ethics, and your answers to behavioral questions will very often be what wins or loses you the job.
Here are some LPN Job Interview Tips as to how to ensure that you answer the behavioral questions in the correct manner:
- Behavioral questions ask you to describe different situations where you used good logic, problem-solving skills, persuasion or coping mechanisms, so note down several examples from your previous work experience that highlight your best on-the-job behavior.
- Listen very carefully to the question asked and ensure that you fully understand it; if not ask for clarification. If you misinterpret the question and give the wrong answer it may mean not getting the job.
- Respond to the question with a complete thought; your reply must have a beginning, a middle and an end. Give a brief background to the situation, explain how you handled it, and end off with how your reaction solved the problem.
- Keep your answers brief but thorough; do not take too long to answer a question but do not leave out any details.
Examples Of Behavioral Questions
- After an extremely demanding day with a patient who required all your attention, one of their family members approaches you aggressively and accuses you of negligence and hurls insults and abuse at you. How do you handle this? This questions your compassion and understanding, respect, discretion, self-control, and endurance.
- Describe a situation where you were unhappy with something that happened at work. How did you handle it? This questions your loyalty.
- If required to, would you like to work in another position or would you rather not be cross-trained? This questions your flexibility.
- Your shift ends in 15 minutes and you have carried out all your duties, how would you utilize your remaining time? This questions your initiative.
Questions You Could Ask During An Interview
High on the list of LPN job interview tips is asking questions of the interviewer to show your interest in the job and the organisation. This will also show the interviewer that you are proactive, which is a good trait for a licensed practical nurse to have.
1. What duties would this position entail?
No matter how much research you do on the organisation, the only way you will have a clear picture as to what exactly will be expected from you is by getting that information directly from the interviewer. Although the job of an LPN is generally the same, duties may differ slightly from organization to organization, state to state and department to department.
2. Does the organization offer career development and further study opportunities?
This type of question lets the interviewer know that you are dedicated to the profession, are in it for the long haul and are keen to improve your knowledge by ongoing learning. It shows dedication, drive, and determination. Organisations like to know that their employees are not just going come to work daily as something they must do, but really enjoy their job and want to stay with the company.
3. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
This is a favourite question during interviews, and those professionals who offer LPN job interview tips recommend that to prepare your answer to this question you review your qualifications. Pointing out one’s strengths is generally easier than one’s weaknesses. It is easy to say that you are a good communicator, that you are not a clock-watcher, or that you are excellent in making a patient feel comfortable and lifting their spirits. It is not that easy to admit that you are a bit scared to give an injection however. The way to answer regarding a weakness is to put a positive spin on it; say that you are a bit nervous about giving injections, but that you volunteer at a old-age home one off-weekend per month and that you it includes giving injections, and the more you give them the more confident you are becoming. This demonstrates that you recognise your weaknesses and are prepared to do something to rectify them.
Do not ask about leave, pay, bonuses, or benefits during an interview, these can be discussed when you are offered the position.
Remember, a job interview is not just about your academic qualifications, but also demonstrates your professionalism, reactions to unexpected or stressful circumstances, your strengths and weaknesses, and communication skills. The last of the LPN job interview tips is to dress appropriately for the position for which you are applying.