Pediatric Nurse Job Interview Preparation

Interviewing for a new position can be very stressful, but it always helps to anticipate questions and be prepared.  When it comes to preparation for a position as a pediatric nurse, giving the right answers to medical questions alone will not be enough.  After all, pediatric nurses specialize in the medical care of babies, children and teens.  Because of that, important qualities to highlight are the ability to work with children and their parents or grandparents; the ability to remain calm and professional, to remain compassionate while being firm when necessary.

In preparing for your pediatric nursing interview, the days of giving the “right” answer to typical interview questions is giving way to behavioral interview questions (the types of questions that pose a situation and ask a candidate for his/her response to that circumstance).  The premise behind behavioral interview questions, which are open-ended, is that the best indicator of future performance is past performance.  Therefore, it’s key to remember to answer these questions by first, stating the circumstance you were faced with, then describing your response to that situation, and finally ending by describing the outcome of this incident.  Give a succinct answer.  Be completely honest—your interviewer may ask probing questions, and any untruths tend to unravel at this point.  Mistakes you’ve learned from show an aptitude for growth.  If you have little experience, it’s okay to describe situations you dealt with in school or at an internship.

If you have a friend, spouse or parent who can practice interviewing you, this would be a good exercise.  Your mock interviewer can give constructive feedback; further they can help point out fillers (like “umh” and “aah”) that you may not be aware of, especially in stressful situations.

Here’s a list of sample questions that may help in your preparation:

  • Why did you choose to specialize in pediatric nursing?
  • What type of training/qualifications/certification do you have?  (Be prepared to show a copy of your certification.)
  • Why should you be selected for this pediatric nursing position?
  • What would you say are your greatest strengths?  Your greatest weaknesses?  (Please be sure your answers relate to the position you’re interviewing for.  Specific examples/situations help reinforce your answers.)
  • How would you handle behavioral problems with a child under your care?
  • What would you do if you suspected child abuse?
  • Why are you interested in working in our hospital or medical facility?  (Great opportunity to show you’ve done your research.)

Write down some questions you may have for your interviewer; this shows interest and preparation and could potentially separate you from another candidate with similar background and skills.  However, try to steer clear of the salary questions in the initial interview.  Also, be sure you are dressed professionally; there’s plenty of opportunity outside of work to display the fashionista in you.  Steer clear of short skirts, cleavage-bearing shirts, bright colors, poorly coordinated shirt/tie combinations, wild prints and anything too tight.  Don’t forget your grooming—clean, groomed nails and conservative hairstyles are best.

Remember, be prepared, be honest, put your best foot forward and shine during your interview.  To your success!