How to Dress for an Interview After Graduating From an LPN to RN Program
Dressing professionally is one of the most important things you can do for an interview. As an LPN who has just graduated an LPN to RN program, you've probably already gone through this process before. Your clothes will be the first impression that an interviewer gets of you; even before you say hello, or shake their hand! Your clothes need to reflect that you are neat, capable, and professional. Often times people will say that you should dress for the job that you are applying to. This is not the case if you are an RN. Never attend an interview in scrubs. Unless your interviewer specifically says to wear scrubs, they are inappropriate for the interview process. Make sure that your clothes cover any tattoos because those are usually considered inappropriate for the interview process as well. Usually, business or business casual is what you can expect to wear in an interview.
The outfit should be made up of solid, neutral colors – for both men, and women. Bright colors or patterns take away from the business professional look. Ideally, an outfit…
For men, includes…
- Dress pants
- Button down shirt
- Tie/suit jacket – if possible
- Watch – if possible
For women, includes…
- Dress pants, or a skirt
- Jacket – if possible
- Very minimal jewelry, usually none at all
For women colors like red or gold can sometimes be used as accents. If you are not comfortable with adding accents to your outfit, you should simply stick with the basics. After all, the interview is ultimately about you.
Proper RN Interview Timing
Arrive to an interview early. This reflects that you are punctual and eager to begin working. The ideal time to arrive is 15 minutes early. Arriving more than 15 minutes early causes problems. Your interviewer may feel rushed because they don’t want to keep you waiting. To prevent this problem simply wait in your car until it’s time to go inside.
Arriving late is highly unprofessional. Many times it will result in the interviewer rescheduling you, or worse, cancelling altogether. It can ruin your interviewer’s first impression of you. Emergencies do come up, but unfortunately your interviewer has probably heard them all before. The best way to prevent timing issues with your interview is to leave very early. Simply wait outside when you arrive.
How to Research the Company You’re Interviewing With
Researching the company you’re interviewing with is essential. After all of the research you had to do in your LPN to RN program, this should come naturally! It will create a great impression, and showcase your attention to detail. Interviewers often ask you directly what you know about the position you’re applying for. If you can demonstrate that you already know many details about the job, your interviewer will know that you’re a dedicated candidate. Here’s the best method for researching the company you’ve got an interview with…
- Google the name of the company, open up the company’s website
- Write down when they were founded, and their basic company history
- Write down any recent good news about the company and its achievements
- If the company has a social media account, go through some of their posts to get a sense of their culture and tone, take notes
- Try to find a current employee to talk to about the company, take notes
After you’ve taken these steps, study your notes. Make sure to remember this information for when you’re interviewing. Try to retain as many details as you can. The more knowledgeable you are about the position, the more interested you will appear.
Practice Interviewing for the RN Position
The best thing that you can do to improve your interview skills is to practice. This will almost be like studying for an exam, just like you did for your LPN to RN program. You can practice with a partner, or answer questions out loud to yourself. An interview partner can be anyone you know, like a friend or a spouse. They just have to read questions for you.
The best practice interviews go from how you expect the interview to begin to how you expect it to end. For example, start the practice interview by introducing yourself and exchanging small talk. The interview begins the second that you walk into the door – not just when they begin to ask questions. You will be expected to behave professionally at all times. If you want to redo a question or a part of the interview, wait until you’ve finished. Then you can go over the parts you’d like to practice more. Some common questions that your partner can use are…
- Why did you become a nurse? (Or what inspired you.)
- What challenged you about your LPN to RN program?
- What made you want to work here?
- What methods do you use for handling stress?
- What are your weaknesses?
- How do you handle patients who are unhappy with their care?
- What would you do if you saw another nurse mistreat a patient?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
You can also ask your partner to come up with interview questions themselves for you. That way, you will have to think of your answer on the spot.
Dealing With Unexpected Interview Questions
The hardest part about an interview is dealing with unexpected questions. No matter how much you practice, there are bound to be questions you didn’t expect. Do your best to come prepared. This will allow you to focus your energy on answering unexpected questions. An easy way to prepare yourself is by outlining how you expect the interview to be conducted. After you can outline the interview from start to finish, you can prepare properly. Answer these questions to outline your interview:
- What type of interview will it be? In person, phone, or group?
- Where will the interview be?
- When should you leave to get there on time?
- What will you wear to the interview?
- How will you greet your interviewer?
- How will you answer the questions that you can practice?
- How will you answer questions that you didn’t practice for?
- How will you end the interview strong?
- What will you do to follow up with the interviewer?
These questions should give you a basic timeline of your interview. Identify areas where you can see that you will struggle. For example, if you have a time management problem, focus on what you will do to get there early. If you have interview anxiety, practice interview questions as much as possible. In the end, there will always be elements of the interview you couldn’t plan for. By expecting to be surprised, you can keep yourself flexible and able to perform well.
By following all of the advice above, you’ll be ready to handle anything that an interviewer can come up with!
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