What are some interview questions I should ask candidates who are applying for a charge nurse position to see if they are a good fit?

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Behavioral-based questions are the key to hiring right the first time. Anyone can look at the resume and obtain a background check to assess whether a candidate has the basic knowledge, skills, and education for the position. But when you use behavioral-based interview questions, you are truly tapping into the candidate’s application of knowledge, skill, critical thinking capabilities, conflict resolution, and/or management abilities and leadership skills. This will help you assess whether the candidate meets the department expectations and fits into the organizational culture.

The following are some examples of behavioral-based questions that you could ask a candidate for a charge nurse position:

  • Describe a situation in which you had to handle a difficult and demanding patient.
  • Give me an example of when you were involved in a conflict with another colleague and describe how you handled the situation.
  • Tell me about a challenging problem that you faced in your previous job. How did you handle it?
  • How do you handle stressful situations? Give me an example and describe how you coped with that situation.
  • Describe a situation that you have encountered in the past that required you go above and beyond your regular duties.
  • Tell me about a situation when you demonstrated initiative and took the lead on a project.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to make an unpopular decision in the best interest of the safe delivery of patient care.
  • Howe have you recognized another employee for a job well done? Provide an example.
  • Provide an example of a time when you had to approach a colleague regarding a regulatory issue.
  • What is the difference between a leader and a manager? Or are they the same?

Tammy L. Berbarie, BA, RN, RN-BC

(February 2011)

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