Becoming a nurse educator is more than a profession – for many working in this field today, it also is a calling. Nurse educators are able to wear a variety of hats and serve in a number of different roles. Some nurse educators may work in a clinical setting, educating students in a hands-on way about proper patient care. Other nurse educators may work in outreach, educating the community about current health issues and proper protocols to stay healthy.
Still other nurse educators may work in recruitment and present to classes to find interested students who wish to pursue nursing as a profession. Because of the ongoing shortage of qualified nursing candidates, this last role is one that represents a great need in the work force today. While there is an urgent need for nurse educators, however, this does not mean that the interview process will be easy. Proper preparation is the key to acing the job interview so you can gain access to a rewarding career.
Prepare Your Presentation
When you attend a job interview, the way you present yourself that day will be the way your new potential employer can logically expect you to present yourself if you join their staff as well. So you want to do your best to appear as if you are ready to represent that employer in a way that blends in with their corporate culture, ideals, mission and vision, needs and perspective on nursing education as a profession. You can learn a lot about a prospective employer by researching on the internet and even more by requesting information interviews with current nurse educators on their staff.
You can also visit the employer and see how the nurses dress and conduct themselves to gather more information. If you graduated with a degree in nursing online or a similar program, use all available career counseling services as well to polish your interviewing skills. On the day of the interview you want to present a friendly, clean, polished, professional appearance, from the interview suit you choose to your hairstyle and accessories, resume and references. If you look like you are the “whole package” the employer is looking for, your recruiter will have great confidence that hiring you will make them shine as well.
One of the best ways to appear confident, poised and ready to represent a prospective employer well is to practice the entire interview process beforehand. From the specific questions your recruiter is likely to ask to the questions you want to ask in return, from walking in the door and shaking hands to walking back out the door and asking for the job, practice breeds confidence and interviewers respond to confidence positively. Bring your best communication skills to the interview, and think through answers to questions that are relevant to a nurse educator’s role in advance, such as how technology is changing the nursing profession, how your education and skill set will help the employer meet and exceed their goals for your role and more.
Be prepared to “sell” yourself in each facet of the job description. For instance, if the job you are interviewing for requires you to make presentations to bachelor’s degree-level students to encourage them to pursue nursing, pointing out to your interviewer that you hold a master’s degree tells them right away that you have both the skills and a creative, engaging approach that will get students excited about nursing. If you have a vision for how your skill set can enhance your role, point out to the interviewer why they should select you over other candidates. Show them your leadership qualities .
End on a High Note
Most importantly, do not leave the job interview without asking for the job – if you want it, that is. As with any other predominantly social interaction, employers too like to know that you want to join their team over the teams of their competitors. Also be sure that by the time you leave the interview you understand what the next steps are and when those are likely to occur.
Then follow up a few days after the interview with a kind, short handwritten thank-you note (an email also works if necessary) and reiterate your gratitude for their time and your interest in the position. This simple courtesy is something many candidates neglect and can keep you at the forefront of the interviewer’s mind as they make their decision.