Preparing for Interviews in Healthcare

21. Resources

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Clinical interview questions
These questions are designed to test your clinical knowledge related to the position that you are applying for and will relate to the techniques required within that role or specialism. Where possible you should draw on specific examples you have witnessed or experienced.
Measurable or observable combination of knowledge, skills, abilities, and other related behaviours necessary to successfully perform a specific job.
Competency interview questions
These questions are devised to assess a particular competency. The question requires candidates to give a specific example of where they have demonstrated that competency. Candidates are advised to structure their response using the STAR technique.
Employers will devise a set of questions relevant to the role and organisation to determine which candidate is the best-fit for the position. The interview should be designed to assess if the candidate meets the essential and desirable criteria in the person specification. Both the employer and the candidate will want to determine if the fit is right between them. First impressions are key and preparation is critical to interviewing success.
Issues/trends based interview questions
These types of questions are looking for you to demonstrate your knowledge of topical professional issues and show your interest and motivation. Use your professional body / placements to stay up to date with “hot topics"
Job Description
A general statement of job duties and responsibilities. Includes information about the essential functions, working conditions, work activities, general qualifications, special requirements, and conditions of employment for the position.
Mock interview
Opportunity to practice answering interviews questions with a members of the careers service in a similar setting to your actual interview.
Motivational interview questions
These questions are designed to assess why you are applying to work in a particular role within that particular practice area and organisation. They are also assessing your enthusiasm for applying your skills and strengths within your specialism.
Person specification
Describes the personal attributes desired in a potential employee. It is similar to a job description, but more specific. These attributes include qualifications, skills, experience, and knowledge, and sometimes personal attributes which a candidate needs to possess in order to perform the job duties. The specification is derived from the job description and helps form the foundation of the recruitment process.
Scenario questions
Here you are presented with a hypothetical situation and asked to talk about how you would act or respond to that given situation. The panel will want to know that you can use initiative and that patient care, safety and well-being is your priority. It might help you to follow a series of prompts for what to include. Such as: assessment of the situation; taking appropriate action; following procedures and guidelines; thinking about appropriate communication; record keeping; evaluating; as well as learning from the situation.
STAR technique
A method to structure your response to competency questions. Situation: where were you and what was the context? Task: what was the problem or the ‘task’ you faced? Action: what specific actions did YOU take? Result: were you successful? What did you learn?
Transferable skills
Transferable skills are skills that you’ve acquired outside of your nursing and midwifery experience, i.e. through your extracurricular activities, which would be relevant to the role. For example, you may participate in societies or sports through which you have developed some of the key competencies the employer is looking for, such as team working.


Resource TitleResource description
Nursing and midwifery interviews, Careers and Employability website
My Career – book an appointment
Royal College of Nursing - Interviews webpage:
NHS England webpage – the 6 C’s
Careers for nursing students – University of Nottingham Moodle Page: for links to information on various Trusts; working abroad; reports; nursing specialisms and postgraduate study.
NHS Health Careers
Nursing Times

Learning outcomes

By completing this resource, you will be able to:

Develop abilities to construct effective responses to interview questions for Nursing and Midwifery students.


Many thanks to Rachel and Gemma for volunteering to act out the role of candidates and Shelley and Abigail for providing additional voice acting.

Content authors: Anne Felton & Erica Sparkes

Project developer: Aaron Fecowycz

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