Ask the expert: Hiring the right candidate for open staff nurse positions

Nurse Leader Insider, July 25, 2011

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This week, Patty Kubus, RN, MBA, PhD, explains the steps nurse managers should take to ensure the right candidates are identified for interviewing for staff nurse positions.

Q: How can I find good candidates for my open staff nurse positions?

A: What does it take to be successful on your unit? You probably already know this, but if not, be sure that you have a clear picture of whom you seek. It is likely that your HR department has carefully determined the competencies and qualifications of the successful person for the role under consideration, but they may not know the intricacies of each unit. Talk with HR department to ensure they have a good understanding of the open position.

Performance is based ability, motivation, opportunity, and culture.

Consider the knowledge, competencies, and experience required for successful performance on your unit. You will gather data on knowledge and experience from the résumé. You can gather this information in the interview. Some of this information will be garnered from the résumé in terms of education, experience, licenses, and certifications.

You'll need to discover what motivates the candidates and then determine if your unit and organization provides those types of motivators. Nurses need to be intrinsically motivated toward their jobs, meaning that they enjoy working toward meaningful goals, and they are motivated by learning and using their skills so that they stay challenged. Other intrinsic motivators include personal growth, helping others grow, and making a difference in someone else's life. Extrinsic motivators include money, recognition, status, power, title, and social status. You will be able to determine motivation during the interview by asking questions about what they like best and least in their previous jobs. You will be able to tell from their responses if the current position is a good fit for them.

To read the rest of the steps, click here.

Editor's note: Do you have a question for our experts? E-mail your queries to Senior Managing Editor Rebecca Hendren at and see your name in print next week! In the meantime, head over to our Web site and view a growing collection of advice from our experts.

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