Interview questions for Staff Nurse

We analyzed 249 interview reviews for Staff Nurse from various job sites, social network groups and forums.

Here are the most frequent job interview questions asked by HR managers during initial phone or onsite interviews. This list does not include technical or factual questions.

10 frequent non-technical questions for Staff Nurse:

What is your greatest weakness?
Tell me about a stressful situation and how you dealt with it
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
How would you handle a customer with difficult behavior?
Describe a time when you resolved a conflict with a colleague in your past role
Why and how did you choose your career?
What would your previous coworkers or clients tell me about you?
What is the biggest lesson you've learned from a mistake you made?
What experience do you have in this field?
How do you deal with working under pressure?

According to our research, hiring managers looking to fill Staff Nurse role ask soft skills interview questions 48% more frequently than for other roles:

Staff Nurse interview question statistics

1. What is your greatest weakness?top question

How to answer

This question ranks as the most challenging for many people. Fortunately, Mr. Simon is here to help!

Interviewers ask this question to gauge your level of self-awareness, your honesty and openness, and your capability for self-improvement.

  1. About Yourself

    No one is perfect and your interviewer doesn't expect you to be perfect either.

    While it is good to be honest and open, it will not help you to put yourself down.

    What's important is to find a weakness that you have overcome or something that is not related to the position for which you are applying.

    For example, one of our clients admitted that he is not very good at public speaking and that he has recently become a member of Toastmasters International to improve. What a respectful answer and approach, in my view!

  2. About The Company

    Research the company (website, social media, etc) to learn about the company culture.

    What personal and professional qualities do they value?

  3. About The Fit

    It is important that the weakness you decide to talk about is not one that will prevent you from performing the job for which you're applying.

    For example, if you're applying for a front-end developer position, do not talk about how you are struggling to understand HTML code.

Pro Tip

Use this question to sell yourself!

It's important to show how well you've overcome a weakness by motivating yourself and learning a new skill to grow professionally.

Take a quiz

Take a quick quiz and check if you’re ready to answer this question at your next job interview:

Which of the following would be the best answer:

ASometimes I just work too hard

BI have trouble saying “no” when a colleague asks for help and I have my own work to finish

CI am a perfectionist

DI cannot think of a single thing

2. Tell me about a stressful situation and how you dealt with it

How to answer

Nowadays, professional life is stressful everywhere and always. However, there are levels of stress that are so common that we consider them normal, and there are times when they really skyrocket.

Your future employer wants to know how you will behave in such times, whether you will be a helping hand or a burden.

  1. About Yourself

    Remember a time when you had to hit a tight timeline and to work long hours, hard and overtime; or when you found yourself in the middle of a conflict with someone, or with a group of people.

    If you had more than one such occasion, choose one that ended positively and successfully, and ideally, that can demonstrate some of your key skills - your Key Selling Points.

    Most likely, the situation was highly emotional.

    • What helped you persevere?
    • Was there an element that you enjoyed?

    For example, in one of our projects, my team and I had to hit a really tough timeline for a customer, which seemed almost impossible in the beginning.

    However, we knew that we owned the results and that a major decision by the customer depended on the outcome. This sense of ownership, meaning, and impact gave us energy and excitement.

    Those were the challenges that we loved and could deal with for a sustained period of time. Also, the pleasure of working with a highly qualified top manager on the customer’s side added to the enjoyment.

    Now, after a few years, we remember those times as some of the most exciting for our team.

  2. About The Company

    • What do you know about the company, where you may encounter a stressful situation?
    • Are they working on a major project which is approaching a due date?
    • Are they going through a difficult time when cost-saving is a top priority, company culture is full of negativity and mistrust, they have gone through massive layoffs, customers are neglected, and everyone wears a long face?

    These are always stressful times, and you should try to know more about expectations in the company, and how realistic they are.

    Or, are they just a dynamic, highly agile company run by smart and creative folks, which may work excellently for some people and be confusing and mind-blowing for others?

    Do your research.

  3. About The Fit

    Think of your ideal workplace environment.

    • Does this company feel like it?
    • Do you feel excited and enthusiastic about the kinds of stress you may encounter here?

    If you feel compatible with this company culture and enthusiastic about the challenges you expect here, this is a good chance to mention it and to show your excitement.

    Explain your approach or rationale and give your example from the past.

Pro Tip

If you cannot remember any stressful situation with a positive outcome, you can use one with a negative outcome accompanied by your lessons learned.

However, this option should not be your first choice, as the failure to give an example of a successful outcome may portray you as an emotionally immature person.

3. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

How to answer

This question belongs to a family of behavioral, or even more precisely, reflective questions.

The interviewer wants to see whether you are reflective about yourself, whether you are ambitious and strive to grow as a professional, whether you like to learn and develop your skills.

They are also looking for your ambitions to fit the career path opportunities related to the position you are applying for.

  1. About Yourself

    Presumably, you are interested to grow professionally.

    Think about the possibilities that may lie ahead for you: take a personality test (I recommend 16Personalities which is based on Myers-Briggs test), research the internet on what career paths are possible with your skills and current job.

    What challenges do you like overcoming?

    For example, if you are applying for a software tester position, you may find it fascinating to master automated testing in full and eventually become a software engineer, or you may be a natural trainer and love coaching other people which may lead you to become a QA team or department lead, or you may be more interested in understanding business aspects of requirements which may logically lead you into a Business Analyst position.

    However, if you are happy just where you are and want to further your current skills, that is also fine as long as there is a growth path for you that can be imagined and described.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company to learn what career opportunities may be available in the department you are applying to, and what the trends are in the company in general.

    • Is the business expanding, are they opening new locations, or starting new projects?
    • Or are they heavily automating and cutting staff?

    Let’s say you are applying for a UX designer position for a brand-new product.

    In the future, if the product becomes a success - which is what the company hopes for - the company will hire more designers and you may become a lead designer, or you may become a product manager.

    On a side note: If you train your mind to be open to opportunities you will be amazed at how much this world has to offer to you!

  3. About The Fit

    And, of course, try to see where the perfect fit lies between your own potential and aspirations, and the company’s trends and hopes.

    However, beware of the risk of showing too much excitement for future opportunities compared to your attitude towards the current position.

    If you aren’t really excited about the position you are applying for and you demonstrate this lack of enthusiasm, the interviewer may conclude that you are not a good fit for the current position.

    Try to find a source of excitement in the current position as well, otherwise, you may be doing yourself a disservice by applying to a position you will find boring in 2-3 months.

Pro Tip

This question gives you a good opportunity to showcase your Key Selling Points (e.g. “As I am very good at delegating tasks, I can easily see myself leading a team of software testers in the future…”), and end your statement by asking about current initiatives and goals at the company.

It is generally NOT a good idea to say something like:

“Oh, I cannot imagine what happens to me tomorrow, let alone in 5 years”.

This will show you as a person who is unimaginative and not forward-thinking enough to grow with and be a good fit for the company.

4. How would you handle a customer with difficult behavior?

How to answer

People skills are highly valued in every company, and even so much more so in a company that deals with difficult customers occasionally. It is important to show how you can manage difficult personalities.

  1. About Yourself

    Look back on your experience. Have you worked with a difficult or disruptive person? Remember how you diffused the situation and how you turned things around.

    • Do you have certain principles, or methodology, to deal with difficult people?
    • Do you have strong people skills, are you good at conflict resolution?
    • Are you high on emotional intelligence? Can you give an example?
  2. About The Company

    • What have you found about the company and its culture?
    • What have you learned about how the employees value each other?
    • How do they treat their customers?
    • Knowing their line of business or industry, what can be some examples of difficult customers?

    Do your research.

  3. About The Fit

    A question like this asked in an interview, may be an indication that difficult customers, or other difficult stakeholders, may indeed be something that you will probably encounter in this company, and it is important for the interviewer to know that you will be able to handle this challenge with good grace.

    If you can give an example of how you handled a difficult person in the past in a situation similar to what this company may require from you, this will strongly increase your chances of showing yourself as a good fit.

Pro Tip

One methodology for diffusing a difficult situation is called “the triple A” approach:

  1. Acknowledge - what the other person is feeling,
  2. Apologize - for the way the other person is feeling,
  3. Admit - that there was an issue that you are working on to get it resolved.

If it is a customer, it would add that extra touch if you added another "A" to your approach by Asking for the customer's contact information so you can update them of any progress on their issue.

Take a quiz

Take a quick quiz and check if you’re ready to answer this question at your next job interview:

Pick the best answer:

AIf the customer is rude and obnoxious, answer in kind and show him that he cannot push you around.

BListen carefully to what the customer is saying to really understand their concerns then repeat back to them what you heard to be sure you have it right, before attempting to help them with the problem.

CTell the customer that he should have known that the sale is final and there is nothing he can do to renegotiate the terms of the deal.

5. Describe a time when you resolved a conflict with a colleague in your past role

How to answer

Wherever you go, you will always have to work with people. This means that there is a greater chance for conflict to happen. This question helps the interviewer determine how well you would fit within the organization.

  1. About Yourself

    Think of the times you had to deal with conflict.

    • What were the different ways you were able to address the situation?
    • If you were the cause of the conflict, how did the other person talk you down from the conflict?
    • What were the key lessons you learned through your experience?
  2. About The Company

    Research the company and its culture.

    • What do they value?
    • Is there anything that you can find about how they deal with conflict resolution?

    Reading comments to their social media posts often prove helpful to see how they react to customers' complaints.

  3. About The Fit

    • What have you found out about the company’s culture and job description?
    • Are they looking for someone who can take charge and resolve conflict?

    Tell a story of how you addressed conflict and how it turned a negative into a positive.

    Try to conclude with your lessons learned or methodology for approaching conflicts - this will show the interviewer that you would be able to apply your methodology to future situations.

    Use the STAR method to frame your story.

Pro Tip

A key to addressing conflict is listening, communication and emotional intelligence. Highlight these skills.

If you're able to, turn the question around and ask the interviewer if they have experienced the same thing. This will start a conversation, which is the goal of an interview.

6. Why and how did you choose your career?

How to answer

By asking this question, the interviewer tries to understand what led you to choose your career path and hopefully to find out how enthusiastic you are about the work you do and how well you will fit into the job that you are applying for.

The answer will show whether your desire to work “here” and if it is a determined part of your overall career plan or it is just a stop along the way to other things.

  1. About Yourself

    • What characteristics and skills do you have?
    • What makes you good at what you do?
    • What attracted you to your career path?
    • What strengths do you possess that make you the best candidate for the job?
  2. About The Company

    Do your research and learn as much as possible about the organization and the career path you might forge there.

    Match up any of your skills and experiences that relate to the requirements of the job. How can you apply them to your new position, as well as the future?

  3. About The Fit

    Don’t just explain how you originally found this career.

    Show you’re still glad to be doing it, that will put the hiring manager’s mind at ease that you’re motivated to do the work, and that you’ll be a big success if they hire you.

    Your answers should provide the basis for a discussion about your passion for the work you do, your qualifications, and your skill set.

    Make a list of factors that led you to this choice.

    At the interview, tell only about those that characterize you and the situation in a positive light.

    It may have been a successful internship with a similar function, which confirmed your desire to work in this field.

    It could be a successful example of your parents, relatives or friends, which is indicative to you. You might have been motivated by your own academic success in this field which led you to enter it.

Pro Tip

Say that your chosen career best reflects your interests and you see it as continuing to be the most promising one for you.

Here’s a simple formula for answering this question:

First, address the origin of your motivation by tying it to your personal history. Then, explain what keeps you energized about the work on a daily basis that led you to where you are today. Finally connect your story and motivation to this job, the one you are interviewing for.

7. What would your previous coworkers or clients tell me about you?

How to answer

This question is another way of saying, “Tell me about yourself” but from another person’s point of view.

Most prospective employers ask this interview question to compare your self-assessment to how your references might describe you and to assess your soft skills to determine how well you’d fit into their group dynamic and company culture.

  1. About Yourself

    Spend some time reflecting on how others perceive you so that you can speak smoothly without overinflating or undervaluing yourself.

    Recall conversations with coworkers or managers in which you received acknowledgment or feedback.

    It is an opportunity for you to share your best traits (your Key Selling Points).

    • Would your coworkers and clients say that you are dependable, trustworthy, flexible, honest?
    • Do you always show up to meetings on time and promptly reply to emails?
    • Would your coworkers say you are punctual and responsive?

    If you frequently lend a hand when co-workers or customers struggle, your colleagues, clients and managers would highly likely say that you are helpful.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company to learn what the employer or interviewer values.

    Compare their values with your qualities that you think would be a good fit and carefully read the job description.

    The employer's job posting is a great guide for what employers want to see in candidates.

  3. About The Fit

    Use the question as an opportunity to emphasize your strengths.

    It’s important to highlight how well you communicate and how well your personality and work style will match the company and team culture.

    Using the STAR method, describe a successful team project from your previous job mentioning how well you interacted with your colleagues.

    For example:

    My past coworkers have told me that I am highly organized and quite good at time management. During one specific project, my team members gave me praise for developing and sticking to a timeline for all the different aspects of the project. We ended up successfully completing the project ahead of time, and it went really well! I’d love to have a similar relationship with my team members in this position.

    If by chance you didn’t get along well with your coworkers at your last job or your coworkers would be likely to note that you didn’t fit in, it could mean that the company culture wasn’t a good fit for you.

    Make sure that if the job you are interviewing for has a similar company culture, or you may not be deemed a good fit for that either.

Pro Tip

A potential hiring manager may check your references, so it’s important to be honest and consistent with the feedback you give the interviewer, and the feedback the former manager or colleagues will give to you.

8. What is the biggest lesson you've learned from a mistake you made?

How to answer

It’s important to know how to answer a job interview question about mistakes.

They ask questions like this to learn how you handle challenges.
They also want to determine your weaknesses, and decide if you have what it takes to do the job well.

It’s a chance for the interviewer to see that you can learn from your mistakes and use the experience to get better.

  1. About Yourself

    Do your best to tell a positive story about how the mistake was made, how you dealt with it and what learned from it.

    We all make mistakes from time-to-time. Answering some of the following questions will help you understand your own view of dealing with mistakes and their consequences.

    For instance:

    • How do you use a mistake to improve your abilities?
    • Are you self-aware enough to acknowledge failure and weakness?
    • Do you take smart risks?
    • How do you view success, failure, and risk in general?
    • Do you take responsibility for past mistakes instead of putting the blame on others?
    • If the situation repeats, what would you do differently? What would you do again?
  2. About The Company

    Before the interview, look over the job listing, research the company.

    Try to think of a mistake you have made in the past that is not too closely related to the requirements of the job you are interviewing for. What kind of challenges might you face if you get the job here?

  3. About The Fit

    It’s your opportunity to emphasize the skills or qualities you gained from your past negative experience that are important for the job you’re interviewing for now.

    Put a positive spin on your response by defining the “mistake” as a “learning experience” that led to your increased competency in the workplace.

    Talk about a specific example of a time you made a mistake. Briefly explain what the mistake was; quickly switch over to what you learned, or how you improved, after making that mistake.

    You might also explain the steps you took to make sure that mistake never happened again. Say that something you may have struggled with in the past has actually now become one of your strengths.

    Pick a story that ends with a compelling example of a lesson learned. Tell your story using the STAR method.

Pro Tip

Make absolutely sure that the interviewer understands that you learned from the experience.

Never blame others for what you did (however, if you were part of a team failure, you could relate this experience, just be sure to own up to your part in it).

Always be accountable for what you could have done differently in the failure. Demonstrate that you’ve had the maturity to benefit from previous “lessons learned” and you can move on with increased wisdom and competency.

9. What experience do you have in this field?

How to answer

This question may help you convince the interviewer how smoothly you would fit into the position to which you are applying. It's your chance to WOW them! Be sure to focus on the experience that is relevant to the company and position.

  1. About Yourself

    Start with defining your Key Selling Points you want to emphasize for this position.

    • What job experiences brought you to those points?
    • What were the job titles and the most relevant responsibilities?
  2. About The Company

    Do your research of the company and the requirements for the position.

    • What is the company looking for in terms of experiences and qualifications?
    • What problems are they trying to solve with this position?

    Highlight 3-5 key required experiences or skills from the job description.

  3. About The Fit

    Which of your Key Selling Points match with the required experiences or skills? Can you think of an example story showcasing this match?

    Nowadays, every hiring manager wants results, so think in terms of specific achievements and try to structure your example accordingly.

Pro Tip

When telling your story, remember to talk about your STARs!
S - What was the Situation?
T - What was your Task?
A - What Action did you take?
R - Talk about the Results.

10. How do you deal with working under pressure?

How to answer

Many jobs involve moments when, for varied reasons, unexpected situations occur and a quick decision is needed.

The ability to work under pressure is an extremely valuable quality. It is a skill highly sought after by employers. They want to know they’re hiring someone who can coolly evaluate situations, stay focused, take charge and simply get the job done.

Giving a good response to this question may increase your chances of being hired.

  1. About Yourself

    Even if you are confident about your ability to work under pressure, the goal of your answer is to convince your interviewer of that.

    Emphasize your best qualities, such as quick decision-making, organizational and time management skills, the ability to stay calm, focus on the job at hand, think logically, act correctly and employ your problem-solving abilities.

    Also mention the methods you use to manage workplace stress. It can set you apart from other candidates.

    Think of a previous professional situation in which you displayed excellent ability under pressure.

    Use the STAR method to describe that scenario during the interview, and explain the actions you took to diffuse the situation.

  2. About The Company

    Do your research about the company you are aiming for.

    • What are the company’s plans, for example, will there be a degree of pressure like hitting targets, meeting deadlines or managing multiple tasks at once?
    • How might this impact you and how you deal with pressure?
  3. About The Fit

    Performing well under pressure is both a personal and professional quality and can make a difference between an average employee and an excellent one.

    Try to think of ways in which you can use the truth to your advantage. It will help you to gain the interviewers' trust and help them feel confident that the rest of your answers are also truthful.

    Even if you sometime might struggle under pressure, calmly acknowledging that and mentioning that you are actively trying to improve in this area can leave a positive impression on the hiring manager.

Pro Tip

While answering the question, be sure you DON’T:

  • Speak of a time when the stress or the pressure was caused by your own mistake
  • Bring emotions into the conversation thereby letting the interviewer know that you did not handle the pressure very well
  • Speak about an incident where you couldn’t handle the pressure, where for instance the pressure caused you to fail at a task as this will reflect negatively on you
  • Speak about the type of situation that stresses you out, especially if you are expecting to encounter a similar scenario in your future job.

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This page has been updated on August 3, 2020.

You can practice answering this question, as well as over 160 other common job interview questions for Staff Nurse by engaging in a mock interview with Mr. Simon. As an artificial being, his undeniable benefits include:

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