45 Nurse Manager Interview Questions to Ask

As a recruiter, you might screen and interview candidates in many different industries. According to recent recruitment trends, placements in the healthcare industry have been particularly prevalent. In fact, Top Echelon’s 2016-2017 State of the Recruiting Industry showed that healthcare is the third most popular industry for placements in 2016.

If you receive a job order for a nurse manager position, you might be an active part of the interview process. For this reason, you need to know what nurse manager interview questions to ask.

Conducting outside research will increase your chances of making a successful job placement. Get to know a little bit about nurse manager positions and ask the right nursing director interview questions.

The importance of interview questions for nurse managers

Your client entrusts you with sourcing candidates for the open position. The hiring process consists of sourcing, screening, and interviewing candidates.

In order to find the best-fitting nurse manager, you need to ask the right questions. These questions will give you and your client insight into the individual’s qualifications, experience, and education so you know if they match the job description.

Nurse manager job description

A nurse manager oversees an organization’s nursing staff, collaborates with doctors, and provides assistance to patients. They are directly responsible for recruiting, managing, and retaining nurses.

Nurse managers must have basic qualifications for the job before they get an interview. Eligible candidates must have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), have passed the NCLEX-RN, and worked as a registered nurse.

It might also be necessary for candidates to have a Master’s degree in a related field, complete business classes, and be a Certified Nurse Manager and Leader (CNML) through the American Organization of Nurse Executives.

Candidates interested in a nurse manager position must be willing to work in a fast-paced environment. And, they must be detail-oriented and organized, as they will be responsible for medical records.

Nurse manager interview questions

Understanding what is required of a nurse manager helps you screen candidates, recognize talent, and develop interview questions.

Interview questions should be situational and require detailed responses. You don’t want to ask yes or no questions. Instead, you want to learn about the candidate’s experience, why they would be valuable to the company, and what they would do in certain situations. Ask behavioral interview questions for nurses to gain insight into each candidate’s character.

To help get you started, we’ve broken down interview questions for nurse manager candidates based on the following categories:

  • Experience questions
  • Character questions
  • Situational questions

Questions based on experience

If you want to hire the right nurse manager for the job, you (and your client) need to learn a little bit about what they did at previous jobs.

This list of questions will help you see how each candidate’s experiences at past jobs can help them in the open position:

1. Tell me about your experience in management. Did you ever lead a team? How many people have you supervised?

2. What is the greatest challenge you have faced on the job? How did you overcome it?

3. Describe the steps you took to increase employee retention at your previous job. What were the outcomes? (If the candidate has experience as a nurse manager).

4. Tell me about a negative situation at a past job. What did you do to turn it into a positive one? Were you recognized for it?

5. What did you do to calm an angry or upset patient in the past? Tell me about the situation.

6. Was there ever a time you had to convince someone to do something they didn’t want to do? What was it? What was that individual’s reaction afterward?

7. Describe a time you and a doctor needed to collaborate. Was there conflict? What did you do to resolve the issue?

8. Have you ever had to fire anyone? What was your approach?

9. What were the characteristics of your ideal patient as a nurse? How did you handle patients who did not fit those criteria?

10. Have you ever attended a national conference? Tell me about what you learned and how you contributed.

11. Tell me about a time that you were a leader. What did you do to earn that position, and what did you do to keep it?

12. Give me some examples of your problem-solving skills.

13. Was there ever a time you clashed with your nurse manager when you were a nurse? What would you do differently than that individual?

14. Describe an emergency situation where you had to think and act quickly. What would you do differently, if anything?

15. Tell me about a time one of your co-workers was in the wrong. What did you do? Did their actions put a patient in danger?

Questions based on character

Before your client hires someone, they want to be sure that the person has integrity and the right personality to succeed in the job.

You and your client need to ask each candidate questions about their character. Take a look at the following.

16. Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses. How do your strengths impact your career? How do your weaknesses impact your career?

17. What do you do to improve your weaknesses?

18. Are you able to effectively communicate with patients and their families? Give me an example of a time you effectively communicated at work.

19. How do you motivate patients? Describe a time when your strategies worked and a time they didn’t.

20. Tell me about how you handle family members who are emotional. Give an example.

21. What do you do when you get overwhelmed? Explain.

22. How do you stay organized with records? What do you do if co-workers or the nurses you supervise do not adhere to the same organization process as you?

23. Which do you think is more important: nursing or management skills? Explain.

24. What do you do when you receive an order you don’t agree with? Has there ever been a time you refused? Why?

25. Have you ever gone above and beyond what was required of you in your job? What did you do?

26. Tell me about your management style.

27. How do you handle conflict?

28. What is the most important characteristic of a nurse? Of a nursing manager? Explain.

29. Why did you want to become a nurse? Tell me about what led you to this path.

30. What do you hope to gain from a nurse manager position?

Questions based on hypothetical situations

Lastly, you need to know how each candidate would handle situations that might come up as a nurse manager. You can ask situational questions that have happened at your client’s business as well.

31. What actions would you take when starting this position? Have you implemented these actions in previous positions? If so, how has it helped?

32. If you had an angry patient who was making a scene, how would you handle it?

33. If you had a nurse who refused to listen to you, and you were in the right, what would you do?

34. Would you be willing to take up nursing responsibilities as needed?

35. How would you handle a patient who woke up and didn’t know where they were?

36. If you had two staff members who always butted heads, what would you do?

37. How would you respond if you did not get along with one of your staff members?

38. What would you do if one of the nurses was under-performing? Tell me the actions you would take.

39. If this company started using new technology in everyday processes, what would you do to keep up? Have you ever dealt with this situation before?

40. What would you do if a patient refused treatments?

41. How would you respond if a doctor disagreed with you?

42. What would your first actions be upon accepting this position?

43. What would you do if a patient complained about one of the nurses giving them care?

44. Tell me about the actions you would take if you saw a nurse on your staff giving poor treatment to a patient.

45. How much supervision would you give your staff? Tell me about how you would manage them.

Tips to keep in mind

When you or your client ask interview questions for a nurse manager position, it’s important that you take notes. That way, you can compare candidate responses.

Make sure the job description includes information like qualifications, salary range, and location. To save you time, use recruiting software with an ATS (applicant tracking system) so you can sort through resumes quickly.

Track and manage candidates throughout the hiring process. Categorize candidates, companies, and jobs so you don’t confuse candidates for different clients.

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