How to do well in an AIN interview
The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association’s Professional Team gives us the low-down on how to do well in an interview to be an assistant in nursing (AIN).
How to prepare for your interview
- Accept the interview time given, don’t email asking to change the time to your convenience, move your schedule around the interview time given to you.
- Find out the exact location of the interview and figure out how to get there on time.
- Make sure you have 100 points of ID like a passport and drivers’ licence and photocopies of them
- Make sure you bring qualification certificates and photocopies of them
- Wear smart casual clothes and shoes with neat hair, minimal jewellery and make-up
- The questions you will be asked in the interview will be based on the selection criteria. Review the criteria and prepare for possible questions. You must match all the selection criteria to be hired. Tailor your answers to the selection criteria available on the job advertisement.
What to do in the interview
- Make sure you turn up to the job interview ahead of the time specified.
- Turn off your mobile
- Thank the interviewers for having you.
- Emphasise your past and present achievements relating to the skills required.
What not to do
- Talk too fast. Take a deep breath and talk at a normal rate.
- Looking nervous. Body language is 93% of communication. Ensure your body language is open and friendly
- Talking too much – state your answers clearly and succinctly
- Swear or say derogatory comments about previous workplaces or colleagues
- Talk about your personal life
- Remember water is your friend. Take a sip to refocus.
A panel of up to 1-5 people will ask you a list of questions. It’s important that you answer them correctly and have knowledge about what AINs do and what is out of an AINs scope of practice. These questions will usually be field related. Here’s a list of common questions (and the correct answers) asked in AIN interviews.
Q: You walk up to a patient to do their vital signs and you notice they are pale and don’t seem to be breathing. You call their name, but they are not responsive. What do you do?
A: Follow DRSABCD. Look for danger. Check if they’re responsive. Then call for help. For a hospital/clinical setting: Call the emergency button on the wall by the patient’s bed.
For a community/non-clinical setting: Call the ambulance and commence CPR.
Q: A Registered Nurse asks you to give the patient their medications for her. What do you do?
A: Explain in a respectful manner that you cannot do that as it is out of your scope of practice. As an AIN, you are not authorised to give medications.
Q: The Registered Nurse tells you that she is under a lot of pressure and that she gives you permission to do the patient’s medications. What do you do?
A: You would say you are not legally authorised as stated in the question above but offer to help her do other tasks that are within your scope of practice, so she has time to give her medications.
Q: Can you tell us about a time you have had to deal with conflict or a difficult situation? How did you resolve it?
A: Try to recall a time on placement or in your previous jobs where you were put in a difficult situation with a patient, their family, a co-worker or a customer. If you cannot think of one of these maybe think about a situation at home where you have had a difference of opinion and how did you work through it. Your answer is looking for you to show the skills of communication respect and problem solving. This is through using tools like talking to them calmly and respectfully. Addressing their feelings/problems coming to a compromise together where both parties feel heard and understand what happened.
Q: Give me an example of a time when you had multiple tasks to be completed and how you managed this.
A: Provide an example of how you manage university assessments, work, placements, sports and home life. This is about prioritising and time management. Provide examples how you had to do this, and personal experience is ok in this context, as you have most likely not got many work-related examples. But you can use work related examples if you have them.
Q: You have a big workload with many tasks to do in a short amount of time. How do you manage your workload?
A: You can answer this in many ways. One example is that: you look at what you have to do and prioritise the most important/pressing task and go down the list from most important to least important.
Q: What qualities do you have that would help you to succeed as an Assistant in Nursing?
A: Any qualities that you have that relates to nursing such as empathy, good communication skills, time management, the desire to help people, etc.
Q: The hospital/organisation’s CORE values are collaboration, openness, respect, and empowerment (they change depending on the institution, but the principle is the same), how would you incorporate these values into your work?
A: There are a range of answers you could say here. Relate each value to a nursing skill/quality.
Q: What made you want to be a nurse?
A: Say what you like about nursing and what did lead you to nursing.
At the end of the interview
The panel will ask if you have any questions. You should say you have at least one question. It could be something like are there many opportunities for professional development in this job position? Or any other question you can think of. Thank the panel for their time and that you hope to hear from them soon.
You’ve done your interview. Hopefully you get a call or an email informing you that you have been successful!
If you are not successful, when you’re contacted, ask for feedback and what you can do to improve your interview. Try again next time.
The key is to be prepared.