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More Cardinal Rules for the Job Inerview

Punctuality is just one element of a successful job interview. Here are other things to remember as you set out to make that all-important first impression.



“There are some cardinal rules for nailing a nursing job interview. First look the part. The public expects nurses to look professional. When dressing for a nursing interview, carefully consider your appearance. Neat, clean, professional-looking clothing that is modest and neither too tight or too loose is best. Short, clean finger nails and closed-toe shoes are preferred. Lastly, display your confidence: Stand up straight, maintain good eye contact, and offer a firm handshake.” –Brinda McKinney, Arkansas State, Jonesboro


“I like to see professionalism, showing up on time, professional attire, having a copy of resume on hand, exhibiting a positive and appropriate attitude, manner and energy for the interview and what is being discussed. Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself with confidence – give me examples that show your sense of teamwork, leadership qualities or taking the initiative.”  — Neely Kimbral, The BridgeWay



“Bring resumes and not only proof your resume and application but have a second pair of eyes to catch the things you missed. And punctuation! Fill out an online application with your name in all lower case or in all caps shows lack of attention to detail. These do matter; you’re not texting a friend. This is a recruiter’s first impression of you, so don’t treat the process too casually.” —Meggan Spicer, Practice Plus


“Do your homework, be prepared for the interview. Be aware of the mission and values of the organization. Discuss your values, highlight personal characteristics that exemplify the values of the organization and discuss how you can contribute to helping the organization achieve their goals.” —Patricia Cowan, UAMS College of Nursing, 



“Be open and honest, show sincere interest in the job and be open to alternate positions if you are asking for a highly desired position. A prime way to louse up an interview is to look at your phone at any time during the interview. It is best to turn it off before going into the agency.” —Barbara Landrum, Henderson State University.


“A nurse that does not seem open to learning and new situations is a big ‘No’ for me. Another turn-off is someone who presents as a ‘know-it-all’ despite minimal experience. It is easy to tell how a person naturally works with others. It shows when people are not team players.” —Jessica Rouse, Rivendell


Basic Etiquette

“Don’t lie! Lying about your education or your prior experiences is never a good idea. With today’s technology, information is more accessible than ever; therefore, verifying information is quick and easy. Fabricating some of the details to make yourself look better to the employer may be tempting, it is not worth the risk of ruining your professional reputation or the embarrassment that may result.” —Pamela Ashcraft, UCA School of Nursing


“Three cardinal rules: Remain ‘engaged’ with open communication skills, including good eye contact; be prepared with appropriate questions regarding the position and have an overall professional appearance. Three things that louse up an interview: Gum chewing, pre-occupation or distraction with a cell phone and lack of energy and enthusiasm.” — Kathy Pierce, Jefferson Regional Medical Center School of Nursing


Nursing Notes

“Choose an organization to work for that will support your career goals. Don’t miss the opportunity in interviews to make the organization sell themselves to you.” 


Joe Jimmerson, MNSc Director Nursing Quality & Magnet Programs, UAMS
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