World of Irish Nursing & Midwifery May 2019


Interview skills for internship students INMO student and new graduate officer, Neal Donohue , offers advice to internship students preparing for job interviews

yet, it is best to highlight your desire to learn, rather than highlight your lack of knowledge or experience. The interviews will be competen- cy-based, which ensures they are fair and standardised. Most employers will look for a certain set of characteristics or behav- iours, like how you handle crisis situations, why you chose nursing/midwifery, and how you work as part of a team. The main competencies employers look for include: • Applied skills/knowledge (eg. aspects of nursing/midwifery practice such as post-op care, infection control, risk assessing, safeguarding) • Personal and professional development (do you have plans to study further?) • Communication (eg. How would you deal with a disruptive patient? How do you know if a patient has understood your instruction?) • Organisational skills (eg. How do you pri- oritise care at the beginning of a shift) • Change management (eg. Have you been involved in any change of practice in the workplace?). When you are answering these ques- tions, use a story from personal experience if possible. This will help you get the infor- mation across in a way that is interesting and helps to show your interest and pas- sion. Never lie in an interview; it is better to admit that you don’t know some- thing rather than pretend you do and get caught out. In nursing and midwifery, we are always learning. It is acceptable to not know everything so long as you are willing to learn. Dishonesty, however, is completely unacceptable when you are working with vulnerable people. Know yourself You may be asked questions like: ‘Why did you chose to become a nurse/ midwife?’, ‘What are your strengths/

Over the coming weeks many internship students will be attending job interviews. Having invested four years of time, money and hard work into your careers, many of you will be anxious about upcoming inter- views, but remember: you have prepared for this and you are ready. An interview is not an exam and it is definitely not an interrogation. Employers do not simply look for the person with the most knowl- edge when it comes to offering a job. They want to get a sense of who you are as a person and are looking for insight into how you would fit with their organisation. It is important to note that social media and online activity provides a public reflec- tion of who you are. This is a good time to review your social media accounts and remove any links between you and any compromising posts or material. Each workplace has a social media policy and the NMBI has also issued guidelines, which can be viewed at: You really only need to know three things in preparation for an interview: the employer, the job and yourself. Know the employer Show an interest in the organisation. Know its mission, vision and values. Are staff working on anything innovative? What are the main challenges it faces? Do your research and you will not fail to impress. You will find a lot of information online, especially if the organisation uses social media. It also helps if you know who is on the interview panel in advance. Some people may have a particular area of inter- est and you can prepare for the questions Although you are an intern the job you are interviewing for is staff nurse/midwife. Avoid responding with the phrase “I am only an intern…” While there are aspects of the job that you may not be able to do they may ask. Know the job

weaknesses?’ or ‘How do you handle pressure?’ Such questions can be daunting, so it is important to prepare well in advance. This is an opportunity to show how you stand out from the rest of the applicants, so don’t be afraid to tell your story. It is important to also be aware of your communication style. Take your time with each answer, breathe and gather your thoughts. Practising some answers will help with your articulation. Doing mock interviews or recording yourself are great ways to become aware of your behaviour. Your non-verbal communication is just as important as your verbal communication so take the time to prepare for this. If you are anxious, practice breathing exercises, avoid fidgeting and try not to overuse words such as ‘like’, ‘ah’ and ‘um’ while you are gathering your thoughts. Don’t panic Don’t worry about the little things. Plan what you will wear, think about your travel time and parking etc. These things should not be an issue once you have prepared. Take care of yourself, get plenty of sleep the night before, eat a good meal and drink plenty of fluids. Without these basic needs being met you will struggle to concentrate. Resources Some colleges have career guidance services and offer resources such as CV preparation, mock interviews and sample interview questions. The INMO also offers a course on CV preparation and interview skills. For information on INMO courses go to Neal Donohue is the INMO’s student and new graduate officer. If you have a question about the above article, or need support or information, you can contact him at email: orTel: 01 6640628 This information was put together with the help of Dublin Youth Forummembers.Thank you to Catherine O’Connor, Jenny Rea,Roisin Callaghan and SusanWilliams for taking the time out to support your colleagues

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