You’re in a preeminent field. Over the next ten years, the need for nurse practitioners will grow at a rate of 26%. Pursuing a career as an advanced nurse practitioner opens the door for a variety of new opportunities.
But there is still the matter of the interview. For your job search to lead you into a nurse practitioner position that you’ll love, you will need to excel in the interview process.
Every interview is different and you need to be prepared.
The interview process can vary depending on the job description, the organization and their representative that you are interviewing with, and how you conduct yourself during the interview.
The following is a list of the top 10 nurse practitioner interview questions you need to be prepared to answer.
How Questions and Answers Determine If You’re a Good Fit
Before we jump right into answering those questions, it is relevant to consider how an interviewer uses your questions and answers to decide if you are the right person for the position.
While work skills and experience are significant, remember that an interview is a lot more than that.
The person conducting the interview will use your answers to develop a picture of your:
- Working style
Each interview answer you give should help the interviewer create an impression of who you are.
Nurse practitioner interview questions may be similar in context to other industries, but you should use your specialized knowledge and training to guide your answers.
Prepare for Your Nurse Practitioner Interview Questions
Answering nurse practitioner interview questions effectively may require some preparation.
To craft the perfect answers to common nurse practitioner interview questions, follow these tips when preparing for the NP interview process.
Tip #1 – Review Your Application
The interviewers will review your application and ask about any previous employment, educational institutions you attended, or specific skill sets. So don’t get caught off-guard.
Re-read the application before the interview and make sure you can speak comprehensively about the information that you provided.
Tip #2 – Review Your Resume
Many of the interview questions will likely revolve around things you mention on your nurse practitioner resume, so make sure to review it before entering the interview.
Be prepared to go into detail about anything you have listed on an application or resume that has been submitted or presented at the time of the interview.
Tip #3 – Review the Job Description
You will undoubtedly be asked questions that are meant to test how well your prior experience aligns with the job description.
You should read the job description several times and be prepared to demonstrate how your previous experiences will allow you to complete the duties and assume the responsibilities outlined by this organization..
Tip #4 – Research the Facility
Nurse practitioner interview questions may touch on specific information about the facility, office, or healthcare system.
You don’t have to memorize the organization’s website, but make sure that you browse through it (especially any content related to career resources). Learn about what the organization does, who they are affiliated with, and how they are structured.
Take a look at their mission statement and values that may be highlighted. If you are applying within a specific department, familiarize yourself with any recent press bulletins. Having knowledge about these areas will show that you are excited about any cutting edge research or advanced techniques that they are proud to make publicly available.
Instead of merely selling yourself, you want to show your enthusiasm about their organization. Demonstrate how hiring you will benefit them. Think about a particular skill that you will bring and how you can use it to improve their patient outcomes and regulation compliance, or provide a cost-saving option for that office or department.
Tip #5 Find Out If You’re Meeting with HR or a Potential Colleague
For many nurse practitioner positions, you will have multiple interviews. These interviews may begin with a human resources representative as a general screening process and then proceed on to a direct supervisor or department representative.
If you are interviewing for an NP position within a practice setting, you may have an opportunity to meet with other nurse practitioners and physicians. This is an excellent time for both you and the practice members to ask questions and determine if this will be a good fit for everyone.
Some companies may conduct initial interviews over the phone. You may even be speaking with a recruiter instead of a direct employee of the organization or practice. In this case, conduct yourself as if the interview was being done face to face. Professionalism is crucial.
You should be aware that recruiters are well-trained and quite knowledgeable. Often, a physician or NP will provide more in-depth questions to ask nurse practitioners during the interview process.
The person conducting the interview will be prepared to go beyond the “Tell me about yourself” type questions. So you will need to prepare for an HR interview as rigorously as you would a conversation with a hiring manager when considering a nurse practitioner position.
Now, you’re ready. Let’s look at specific items to expect at an NP interview.
1. Why Did You Choose to Become a Nurse Practitioner?
Be honest. What was it about being an NP that inspired or intrigued you?
Was there a particular moment or event that made you decide? Or have you always known you wanted to be a nurse practitioner?
If you have a story from childhood or adulthood that showcases the reason, share it. Stories help people connect. Connecting with your interviewer is essential.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a story. You have your specific reasons. You may have become a nurse practitioner because:
- You love to solve complex problems
- Deep down you just enjoy helping people get and stay healthy
- You love a job where you experience something new every day
Tie your answer back to your nurse practitioner philosophy.
2. As a Nurse Practitioner, What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?
Being asked about your strengths and weaknesses will likely present itself as two questions. Your interviewers ask about positive characteristics and vulnerabilities to determine if you align with what they need from someone in this position.
You must show the employer that you have the strengths they need. Depending on the role, you may discuss either work skills or soft skills.
Soft skills every nurse practitioner should develop, include:
- General communication skills
- Deescalation skills
- Feeling and showing empathy
- Time management
Work skills include:
- Clinical experience
- Areas of expertise
- Provider competencies
- Professional certifications
Be prepared with a detailed answer, not “Oh, I’m a good problem solver.” Just like a great novelist, you must show, not tell. Describe why these are your strengths and how you have effectively used them in the past.
When discussing weaknesses, avoid the “humble-brag.” Instead, show that you are aware you’re not perfect. An interviewer wants to know that you have identified personal challenges and are working toward improvement.
3. Can You Tell Me About a Time You Had a Disagreement with a Peer?
Your interviewer wants to know how you resolve conflict. More importantly, this question gives insight into how you communicate within a team.
Can you put yourself in the other person’s shoes? Do you strong-arm people until you get your way? Do you present reasons to support your argument like a skilled debater and offer solutions? Or maybe you fume, gossip, or pout.
Don’t present yourself as one way if you tend to use a different approach. But consider how you should effectively communicate your strategy.
And if you do fume, gossip, and pout, you may want to leave that out. Put a positive spin on your results.
Focus on your unique attributes with interpersonal communication. If you overflow with positivity, share how that influences your professional relationships. Describe your skill in debriefing a team after a conflict has occurred.
4. Tell Me About a Clinical Emergency and How You Reacted
Your interviewer needs to hear about your clinical experience and skill. You need to be able to respond well in the face of a crisis. Explain the clinical situation and how you (not your preceptor or colleague) resolved the case safely and effectively.
Be sure to reveal any nuggets of wisdom that you learned from that experience. Employers want to know that you can not only handle stressful situations, but that you as a nurse practitioner, can learn from these experiences and expand your knowledge and skills as a provider.
5. A Clinical Scenario
If you are a new graduate or changing specialties, anticipate detailing your clinical thought process. Review the top ten comorbidities that you expect to see in practice. Make sure that you are focusing on the pertinent subjective and objective data, the diagnosis, and a treatment plan.
Your future colleagues want to know that they can trust your clinical knowledge and skills. Successfully answering this scenario may be critical to job placement.
6. Tell Me About a Time You Worked With a Difficult Patient or Family Member
If you’ve been practicing, then chances are you’ve had the distinct opportunity to work with a patient who:
- Didn’t follow up appropriately
- Isn’t complying with medical orders
- Got irritated or anxious
Share how you approach the situation and let your motivational and situation-diffusing skills shine. Patient education is a huge part of nursing and conflicts like those described can be related to patient knowledge and comprehension.
Think back. If you have a real story to tell, consider how you will present it. As you answer, nurse practitioner interview questions like this, realize that it’s okay to admit that you don’t do it flawlessly every time.
But turn it into a positive. Discuss what you learned from a tough experience and how it has changed your approach today.
It is not how we act on a good day that defines us. It’s how we perform during stressful situations that demonstrates our capabilities.
7. What Makes You a Good Fit for This Nurse Practitioner Position?
Okay. Here’s the secret. It’s okay to tell them how awesome you are here. That is as long as you don’t use the word “awesome.”
Talk about past achievements and how those achievements, past experiences, and skills will help you bring this knowledge to their organization.
If you’re shy about your accomplishments or try to be humble, realize that a healthy dose of confidence is attractive in an interview.
8. Why Do You Want to Work at This Facility?
Even if this wasn’t your first choice, create a list of reasons you’d like to work here.
It is vital to review their mission statement and values because they may influence your decision. But when possible, add other reasons of your own. You never want to appear to be quoting their own values as if you have memorized them for the purpose of the interview. Put them into your own words to convey similar interests and intent.
For example, does this healthcare system offer specific mentorship programs that interest you? Do you have great respect for their research or that they’re a Center for Excellence?
Does the setting particularly appeal to you?
Do avoid mentioning compensation or benefits packages. These should be the icing on the cake and not your primary reason for selecting this place of employment.
9. Can You Give Me an Example of How You’ve Worked with Physicians to Deliver Patient Care in the Past?
Every nurse practitioner needs to know how to work with different physicians, as well as other professionals, and the various personalities that come with human interaction. If you share a strained relationship, patients suffer. Depending on your facility and state, your relationship may be hostile or collegial.
However, working cooperatively as part of a cohesive interdisciplinary team is imperative for positive outcomes. Communicate your approach to working with physicians (and other professionals) and how this impacts patient outcomes.
10. Where Do You See Yourself in five years, ten years?
An interviewer wants to know your plans for longevity and growth within their company.
Take this opportunity to share how you plan to develop as an NP. Convey your passion for people and the practice of medicine.
Your goals may include:
- Getting your Doctor of Nursing (DNP)
- Earning a leadership position within the health system
- Performing research or publishing a study in an academic journal
- Managing, mentoring, or training other NPs
Other Questions To Be Aware Of
Be prepared for nurse practitioner interview questions to vary. Some interviewers design the questions to throw you off balance to see how you think on your feet.
Don’t let yourself get caught off-guard. You can do this!
Some other questions you might hear are:
- What does holistic care mean to you?
- If you could do any job, what would that be?
- Tell me about an accomplishment you’re proud of and why
- What would your current/former direct supervisors say about you?
- What is the greatest professional disappointment you have ever faced?
- What do you look for in a direct report?
- Is there anything you wish you had done differently at your current/last job?
- Have you ever disagreed with a physician? What did you do?
- Have you ever needed to provide indirect care? How did you go about it?
- Are you interviewing for other positions?
- When you face something unfamiliar or new, how do you handle the situation?
- How did you go about choosing your NP specialty?
- Nurse Practitioner Interview Questions for the Interviewer
- An interview may seem one-sided. But it should never be this way.
Your interviewer will always ask if you have any questions. The worst thing you can do is say “no.” Always have a list of questions for this person. Even if it is something that they have already covered, you can ask for clarification or for them to expand on that topic.
You may want to avoid getting too technical in these questions. Instead, ask questions to connect and explore whether you think this is a place you want to work.
- What attracted you to the facility/department?
- How do you see this role benefiting the organization?
- What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing your hospital right now?
- Are there any skills you wish I had?
Note that some of the answers may allow you to further state why you’re a great fit. So listen attentively. And then respond as needed.
We hope we have provided sound information so that you feel better prepared for nurse practitioner interview questions. If you have any questions, reach out. And best of luck!