Clinical Nurse Specialist Job Interview Tips

Clinical nurse specialist job interviews require you to be patient and do your preparation. The challenge for you as a CNS is that your line of work naturally creates a very wide range of possible questions, and you need to do the homework.

Clinical Nurse Specialist Job Interview Issues and Preparation

The clinical nurse specialist job interview is a behavioral interview with obvious areas for technical questions. You’ll find that your job interview contains a lot of questions that relate to workplace issues, and some very important questions regarding principles and practice issues.

The preparation process includes some very basic work:

Study these policies and statements in relation to the position:

  • Standard of care
  • Mission statement
  • Code of ethics
  • Facility programs
  • Position-related policies and guidelines

Interview Question Preparation

The mix of behavioral and technical questions is a natural result of the complexity of clinical nurse specialist jobs.

The behavioral questions can be quite varied, depending on the nature of the position and type of specialization. These are a few of the more common question types:

  • What are the most challenging aspects of your work?
  • What was your most recent experience of a dispute with a family member?
  • What do you do if you notice a sudden change in a patient’s condition?
  • How do you delegate tasks to non-licensed staff?
  • Give us an example of problem solving in a cardiac care situation.

These types of question are based on the typical behavioral pattern. The interviewers are looking for information regarding your work style, organizational skills, and most importantly, skill levels, which are defining areas of interview recommendations.

Interview Skills

Both technical and behavioral questions regarding clinical nurse specialist jobs are necessarily very heavily weighted to skills and experience. These jobs require experts, and the interviewers must make a recommendation based on the interview responses.

That means that your communications skills have to be up to a pretty high level to make sure you can provide good, comprehensive answers. It’s a good idea to practice your interview answers.

There are some very basic things you can do to improve your interview performance:

Practice speaking on a technical conversational level with some help from a friend. Speak clearly. Start off slightly slower than usual, and make sure that you’re not losing your listeners.

Think about your answers during your practice:

  • Is the answer comprehensive?
  • Did you leave anything out?
  • Did the answer make sense to you and your listeners?
  • If the answer was a narrative, like a problem solving question, did you keep the sequence of events clear? (This is important for good presentation, so you’re not getting your answers tangled up and having to reshuffle them.)

There are too many possible types of clinical nurse specialist jobs to give specific examples of technical questions for all of them. The basic principles of answering these questions, however, are common:

  • All technical questions have a basic premise. Make sure you keep your statements in context with the premise.
  • Don’t go off topic or extend the answer away from the question. The risk, as with the narrative answers, is that you’ll lose track of your answer.