Nursing Informatics Interview Tips

If you’re a clinician who has never been involved in the installation of a hospital application system or any other system in any other environment for that matter, the job interview might seem like a challenge as seen in the nursing informatics job interview videos I created.

However, since many hospitals are willing to train the right candidate for an entry level analyst position, it is only wise to prepare yourself for the interview by at least becoming familiar with the job you’re applying for.

It is nearly impossible to attempt to come up with a list of questions that might be asked in such interviews as the job positions vary in number and description. Nonetheless, I know from experience that when interviewing for entry level analyst positions, employers are trying to gauge factors like:


-“Is the candidate trainable?”
-“Does the candidate appear eager to learn?”
-“Can the candidate communicate well?”
-And finally “Do we think this candidate can get along with the rest of the team?”.

I definitely cannot help you with that last question, but I can give you pointers to address the others.

Tell Us About Yourself

From my personal experience, the first and most basic question asked during interviews is “Can you tell us about yourself?” and as expected, most candidates don’t have a problem answering it.

Most of the times this question allows the candidate to relax some by talking about something they obviously know very well, and it also gives the interviewer an idea of the candidate’s communication skills.

Personally, I answer this question with my education background, work experience, why I switched jobs, and, in between, I sprinkle some quick personal stories.

Of course, I practiced this speech many times before and, without interruptions, I can go into these details for 3 to 5 minutes at most.

One piece of advice I do have with regard to this question is, do not mention anything religious or political!

Given the sensitivity that people have about such subjects, this is not the time to talk about your volunteering activities for xyz religious or political organization, although you can talk about volunteering in a general way that doesn’t have any religious or political overtones.

The Crucial Question Many Fail To Answer

The next question which to my own amazement candidates struggle with is: “What can you tell us about this job position?” or “Can you describe what your understanding of this job is?”.

I cannot emphasize this enough: Please READ AND UNDERSTAND the job description prior to the interview.

Many facilities also do pre-interviews where an HR staff or the hiring manager calls the candidate to assess if they are interested in the position, and during that conversation they brief the candidate on the advertised job.

Make sure you take notes while discussing over the and ask simple questions like “Could you give me more details about this position?”.

It appears that most people don’t bother to pay attention to these details and I did see interviews that were pretty much over once the candidate demonstrated lack of knowledge about the job.

This should be an easy question to answer, and yet, one day we interviewed 5 candidates, and only one knew the details of the position. And the “I’m nervous” excuse doesn’t fly well either.

The Guaranteed Question And How Not To Answer It

Another guaranteed question in these interviews is “Why are you interested in this position?”

Saying simply “Because I’m interested in computers” won’t get you far in the interview.

Also answering the question by saying that you don’t like the current system at your hospital only puts you on the spot to be asked the logical question of, “what functionalities don’t you like, and how would you make it better?” Definitely, no need to set yourself up this way, unless you have a brilliant argument ready to spew.

Be Familiar With The Software Implementation Cycle

Finally, it is a good idea to become familiar with the software implementation cycle as I mentioned in the “what do informatics nurses do” post.

Even though this might seem esoteric at first, it is a good idea to become familiar with those concepts because during the interviews it is quite common to describe the phases to the candidate, and then ask, “which one of these phases do you think you might enjoy the most and why?”

By being familiar with these phases of the project, answering the question is not only easier, but you will also sound very informed, especially if you have no professional experience in the matter.

Interviews are hard to digest by both the interviewee (who is being fried on the grill of questions) and the interviewer (who is kindling the fire under the grill). However, from the interviewee perspective, if prepared thoroughly (by anticipating a great number of potential queries), you may end up mastering them, dazzling the crowd and landing the position you are aspiring to.

Questions? Contact me through here!

Other topics you might be interested in:

Tips for an informatics resume.
Nursing Informatics interview questions.
More nursing informatics interview questions.
Questions to ask in a nursing informatics interview

Chris (20 Posts)

Chris Smith works as a clinical analyst consultant with 9 years of experience working in the nursing informatics field. He started this blog to help others learn more about nursing informatics because he got tired of reading a lot of misinformation about this field on the web. You can connect with Chris on Google+

13 Responses to Nursing Informatics Interview Tips

  • Helen says:

    I appreciate the info on this blog. Unfortunately I just had an interview about 2 weeks ago for a analyst training position at a local hospital and a couple of their questions got me, even though they were straight forward questions. One of the questions was something like, how would you convince physicians that don’t want to use the system to come to training or to use the system? I probably said something dumb because I didnt get the job. By the way, my interview started like you mentioned, tell us about yourself and describe this position, so I hope you post more tips, as I’m looking forward to them.

    Thank you!

    • admin says:

      Hi Helen.

      Thanks for reading the blog and I’m sorry about the position not working out. On the bright side, given the current market, maybe another position opens up, and you’ll be better prepared for the interview. To answer your question, indeed, not an easy question, specially if you don’t have much experience in the field. I have personally encountered this situation, and I find it amusing because even though we hold training specifically for physicians, not many attend, and on the day the system goes live, they say that they weren’t notified about the training.

      Regardless, when physicians refuse to use an application, most of the times they have an excuse for it. For example, many will tell you that they simply don’t have the time, or that the application slows them down, or that what they do in the computer is redundant. Based on these facts, I try to first get the physicians point of view as to why they believe the application won’t work for them, and then based on that, I tried to address their concerns. Therefore, I would say something along the lines of, “Most likely there are physicians in the organization that don’t mind using the application, but for those that do mind, I would try to identify those who might be resistant to the application, and I would try to find what their concerns are, and then address those. So if they tell me they don’t use the application because it is redundant, I would try to learn how they are using it now to possibly identify a better workflow for them because I have learned that many times users will do 10 steps when in reality, you can do a task in 3. Also, many times physicians claim they don’t have the time to attend training so for those, I would actually call them directly or leave a message with their secretary to find out if there are better times that work for them. Finally, with the new regulations such as meaningful use, I would remind them that their reimbursement could be directly related to their online charting. In the past I have had physicians that once they learned they wouldn’t get reimbursed if their charting wasn’t done online, they immediately had time to not only learn, but excel in the application.”

      There are many other things you could mention, but that’s what came to mind in a flash! Best of luck, and if there is anything else you would like to know, let us know!

  • anina c says:

    Your tips for an informatics interview are interesting. It sounds as if there are plenty of informatics jobs out there, but surprisingly , I have not found any though I hold an MSN (informatics) degree. Any suggestions?

    • admin says:

      Hi Anina,

      I have received other emails from people that have an informatics degree saying they can’t find any jobs. I don’t know abot your specific situation, but what I can tell you is that employers prefer candidates who have previous experiene in informatics. If you have a degree and no prior experience, then things get a bit tougher as you’re competing with those with prior experience. Thus, my only suggestions are to keep on applying and to make sure you have a relevant resume for the position you’re applying for. I have seen plenty of resumes from entry level candidates and most of these resumes are very poorly written in terms of ‘relevancy’ to a position. Best of luck.

  • Emich says:

    The tips you gave are very interesting and i will definitely use them. I just graduated with MSN in informatics but have not applied for the position yet. My question for you is will having informatics certifications help when applying for job? if it does which certification is better to take now?

    Thank You

  • Kelly says:

    Hi Chris,
    I’m so glad that I stumbled upon your website in my search of informatics. I have an interview tomorrow for a Clinical Informatics Specialist position. I am an RN and have a background in risk/quality/advocacy, so I currently work closely with many of the managers, physicians and admin staff; however, I do not have an informatics background. When I received the call on Friday to schedule the interview I was told: “I suggest you learn everything you can learn about what a clinical informatics specialist does before Monday.” So, that is what I am trying to do. Thanks for posting so much great information! You have lowered my stress level quite a bit.

  • alysha says:

    Hi Chris, I studied health informatics in school and am trying to find something entry-level. Any tips on where to start (break into the field)? thanks!

    • admin says:

      Did you get a bachelor’s masters?
      Is this your first degree?
      But entry level jobs, apply to vendors as they are always willing to hire entry level candidates.
      Also, look for go live support jobs.
      Many times hospitals want elbow support for their users and they are willing to train entry level candidates on the software.
      Difficult to answer a generic question if I don’t know specifics.

  • kris says:

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge in nursing informatics! im planning on taking on consulting opportunities or remote jobs soon. What type of questions should I ask the employer? Thanks for your help!”

  • Joyce says:

    Hi, Chris

    Great tips!!! I appreciate you sharing your expertise. I have been a bedside nurse for over 10 years. Please give examples or explain further ,,”Be Familiar with Software Implementation Cycle”? I have been working with EPIC as a CyberStar for 2 years. Also I have an Interview for this Friday for Clinical Informatics Specialist.

    • admin says:

      On the post you read, I hyperlinked to what the implementation cycle was.

      Finally, it is a good idea to become familiar with the software implementation cycle as I mentioned in the “what do informatics nurses do” post.

      The link was:

      I went through each phase on that post, and I gave a simple example of each.
      Integration Testing
      Go live/Post go live support.

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