Overcoming Objections During Nursing Job Interviews | The Nurse Keith Show, EPS 137

On December 4th, 2017, I published a blog post all about overcoming objections in nursing job interviews.

Objections are statements by a potential employer or interviewer when they are attempting to explain why you’re not the best fit for the job. Such objections are sometimes raised in order to see what the applicant is made of and how he or she will respond. Responding is the interviewee’s moment to make the strongest case possible in his or her own interest. Overcoming objections is an important interview skill. 

Woman with her two hands extended signaling to stop

In my work as a career coach for nurses, I frequently hear how nervous nurses are about potential objections that might get raised during upcoming interviews. Being prepared for such eventualities is crucial. Some nurses have reason to be concerned: a negative mark on a nursing license or a recent firing are circumstances that will need to be reckoned with. Objections aren’t always raised, but when they are the response needs to be direct and head on. 

In the aforementioned blog post, I wrote: 

I often tell my clients that one of their main tasks during an interview is to take any negative statements or questions and spin them around. This may sound manipulative, but it’s simply an aspect of the conversational judo that’s often called for in such scenarios.

I then shared some common triggers for objections: 

  • Not having the right experience 
  • Lacking specific clinical experience required (or preferred) for a position
  • Short stints at many jobs
  • Not seeming like a good fit
  • Having been fired from a previous position
  • Having a negative mark on your nursing license (probation, etc)
  • Being away from the nursing workforce for an extended period of time
  • Being perceived as too young or too old

In the blog post and in this podcast episode, we explore details of how to respond to some of these common objections. And when objections are on the table, I recommended the following in the blog post: 

When faced with objections, you need to maintain your composure and not show that your feathers have been ruffled. The interviewer may raise objections in order to see how you’ll respond, so be on your toes. Don’t allow yourself to get rattled — be entirely unflappable in your self-confidence and bright demeanor.

Body language speaks volumes at these pivotal times during an interview, so be sure not to show defensiveness or combativeness by crossing your arms. Crossing legs can also be perceived negatively, but not always.

Be aware of how your facial expressions may betray feelings you may not want perceived. Looking down or to the side before or after responding to a question can often signal a lack of trustworthiness.

Responding to an interviewer’s objections means that you need to be verbally skillful in convincing them that their uneasiness can be overcome by the force of your personality and what you bring to the table. Remember that you can also follow up in your thank you letter regarding your response to objections were raised during the interview.

Self-confidence is paramount during job interviews, especially in the face of objections. The power of personal poise cannot be overstated — how you carry yourself is incredibly crucial.

Asking the question, “What else can I share to convince you that I’m your ideal candidate?” is a bold move,  and it could backfire in some situations for seeming too assertive, but you can use your intuition to know whether it’s the right time to play this particular card.

Be ready for objections, have your responses prepared and practiced, and know that responding in a forthright and confident manner is essential to your success. 


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Check out Keith’s books, Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century and Aspire to be Inspired: Creating a Nursing Career That Matters. 

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