How to recruit nurses in 7 simple steps (2023)

Recruiting qualified nurses is becoming increasingly difficult. Whether you run a hospital, nursing home, or any other healthcare facility, you need to hire nurses who can provide the best possible care to your patients. Simplify the process by first determining exactly what type of nurse you need, then incorporating best practices into every step of the hiring process — from creating your job description and job posting, to screening and interviewing applicants, to contact references, and execution a background check). Read on for our seven steps to recruiting caregivers.

Step 1 - Determine the type of caregiver you need

To determine the type of nurse you need, start by listing the main features of the job. Find out in detail about the work to be carried out. This will point you in the right direction regarding the type of nurse you need to hire, of which there are many:

  • emergency nurse
  • responsible nurse
  • team of nurses
  • house nurse
  • Newborn Nurse
  • nurse
  • Nurse
  • licensed practical nurse
  • Licensed professional nurse
  • Case Manager Nurse
  • school nurse
  • state registered nurse

There are dozens of other types of nurses to choose from, but it all depends on the work you need to have done. Some skills to look out for regardless of what type of nurse you are hiring are:

  • Exceptional patient care
  • general medical knowledge
  • Ability to review and monitor patient's vital signs
  • Understanding of security protocols.
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Empathy
  • technological skills

Make sure you are aware of thistype of employeeYou want to hire, which can be full-time, part-time, seasonal, or temporary.

Did you know?:

It takes likethree months for recruitmentan experienced registered nurse.


Step 2: Create a nursing-specific job description

It's a smart idea to create onejob descriptionbefore hiring. When writing your job description, you should include keywords that will help nursing applicants find your job when searching. Include your job title, skills, and certifications, and use the word “nurse” often.

How to recruit nurses in 7 simple steps (1)

ZipRecruiterprovides a sample nursing job description template to help you create the best job posting.

You must also determine your salary for this position and include it in your job description. The amount you offer will depend on your company's budget and the type of skills you need from the candidate, the location of your company, and the job you need that person for.

How to recruit nurses in 7 simple steps (2)

ZipRecruiteroffers a salary comparison tool to help you determine the right salary for your state.

The higher the foster home, the more you have to pay.Average Nursing SalariesIt can range from a lot, from under $60,000 to well over six figures, which is why it's important to do market research andMake sure you pay the correct amountand competitive salary.


If your company is hiring a registered nurse in certain states, you may be required to provide yourstarget salary rangein your public job advertisement.

(Video) How to master recruiting | Mads Faurholt-Jorgensen | TEDxWarwick

Step 3: Post a job ad and screen applicants

Yourjob adIt will contain your job description, but you must also sell your business. Discover the tools and software you offer to help nurses do their jobs well. Talk about opportunities for advancement in your company. Mention work-life balance, free time, mental health counseling services, and other self-care initiatives your company offers. Nurses spend their days and nights taking care of other people, they need the same in return.

Need to know where to post your job ad? ZipRecruiter is a good option because it's popular and has a wide reach. However, there are some specific nurses boards to consider such as: B., NurseRecruiter andANA Career Centre.

How to recruit nurses in 7 simple steps (3)

ZipRecruitershows the jobs of potential candidates in your area and gives you a wider reach to find the perfect candidate.

After you have placed your job advertisement, you can expect applicants on the same day. The younger your foster home is, the more likely you are to get a lot of candidates quickly. Because of this, it's important that you understand the must-haves for this position so you can get started quicklyScanning continuesand move applicants to the interview deck or rejection deck. If you don't want to search for a candidate, mark your application as rejected so you're not left in limbo.

How to recruit nurses in 7 simple steps (4)

(Video) How To Start A Nurse Recruitment Agency

ZipRecruiteryou can invite qualified candidates to apply to your open positions, increasing your chances of finding the right candidate fivefold.

Step 4: Conduct interviews

One of the most important steps in yourrecruitment processIt's the interview. We recommend that you call each successful candidate instead of emailing them to schedule an interview. While the latter can be more time-efficient, spending a few minutes talking to a candidate will give you a good sense of their enthusiasm for the job and their communication skills.

How to recruit nurses in 7 simple steps (5)

ZipRecruiterhas a gallery of blog articles to walk you through the interview process.

during eachjob interview, ask candidates similar questions so you can rate them evenly. Also, don't overwhelm yourself with too many interviews: stick to fewer than a dozen candidates for the interview phase.

Here are some sample questions to ask during your conversations with the nurse:

  • Why did you decide to become a nurse?
  • Describe a time when you lost a patient and discuss how it affected your ability to do your job over the long term.
  • What is your ideal work environment?
  • How do you deal with difficult patients?
  • How do you deal with disagreements between colleagues?
  • How do you deal with questions from a patient's family?
  • Can you explain situations without using a lot of medical terminology?
  • Describe a situation where a patient or family was not satisfied with the care you provided.
  • What do you do when you don't know the answer?

By asking each of these questions, a short conversation will give you a good idea of ​​the prospective nurse's abilities in different situations. Based on the answers, you can narrow your list of top candidates down to just two or three.


Some states prohibit you from asking for aprevious salary of the candidate. Be sure to check your state laws; If you're not sure, don't ask.

(Video) “TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF!” for Nursing Interviews! (NURSE Interview Questions & Answers!)

Step 5: Contact References

Once you've narrowed down your list of nursing candidates, call your references. At this stage, request at least three supervisory references from each candidate to ensure you speak to at least two. You want to speak to a manager to learn more about the candidate's work ethic and skills. Colleagues will not be able to provide the same detailed information about the caregiver's skills.

To help you get the most out of your short interview with a candidate's references, here are some sample questions:

  • How long has the applicant worked directly under your supervision?
  • Would you work with this candidate again?
  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • What advice would you give to someone who is managing this person?

See our article onReference check questionsfor more options.

Step 6: Run background checks

Conduct a background checkIt's not always required for new hires, but we recommend it for nurses. These are people who may need to take care of vulnerable people and keep a lot of information confidential. Your company could be held liable for any misconduct or error by a nurse you hire, so it's best to do a background check before hiring.

Be sure to get the nurse's written permission before doing anythingexamination. The company you use to conduct the background check can provide you with a form for the applicant to sign.


Check your state laws. Some states require companies to conduct background checks after accepting a job offer.

Step 7: Make an offer

After speaking to all of the candidates, checking references, and reviewing your notes, it's time to make a decision about which nurse to hire. No candidate will tick all the boxes, so don't be discouraged if your top candidates don't give you everything you want. Your best bet is to select the candidate who best fits the core foster roles you need to fill and make an official offer – use oursFree job posting templateto document it.

(Video) NURSE MANAGER Interview Questions And Answers! (Nursing Manager & Supervisor Interview TIPS!)

However, trust your gut feeling. You may not have spent a lot of time with all of the candidates, but you've had at least one lengthy interview with each of them. If you've had a good relationship with a particular candidate, they may be the best fit for your organization. You can teach some additional skills, but you can't teach culture.

bottom line

Today's job market is tough, especially in the healthcare industry, the onelack of care. While this makes recruiting nurses harder than ever, it doesn't mean you won't be able to find the right partner for your business. By tailoring your job posting to your company's needs, skills and offerings, you can attract highly qualified nursing candidates to your open position.


How to recruit nurses in 7 simple steps? ›

One of the best strategies for creating relationships with nursing students is attending career fairs and conferences at local universities and nursing associations. Going to these events allows you to interact with possible recruits in person, answering their questions and asking them about their career aspirations.

What to look for when recruiting nurses? ›

If you're finding yourself frustrated in your job search, consider these four things recruiters are looking for in nursing job candidates.
  • In-Demand Skills. ...
  • Flexibility. ...
  • Polished Professionalism. ...
  • Desire to Grow.

How do you attract new grad nurses? ›

For a continuous flow of applicants, advertise in and sponsor medical conferences.
  1. Attract the specialist nurses the facility needs.
  2. Communicate your staffing needs.
  3. Offer career advancement opportunities; encourage learning.
  4. Promote the advantages of working at your facility.

How do you recruit students to nursing? ›

One of the best strategies for creating relationships with nursing students is attending career fairs and conferences at local universities and nursing associations. Going to these events allows you to interact with possible recruits in person, answering their questions and asking them about their career aspirations.

How do you recruit and retain nursing staff? ›

Focus your retention efforts with these 7 retention strategies:
  1. Be strategic during recruitment.
  2. Establish a nurse residency program.
  3. Make career development a top priority.
  4. Promote a culture of learning.
  5. Offer a flexible work schedule.
  6. Provide competitive compensation and benefits.
  7. Recognize and reward your nurses.
Mar 7, 2023

What attracts people to nursing? ›

As a nurse, you can make a real difference in someone's life. You can offer hope to people, sometimes during the worst time of their life. Nurses often counsel patients and families after a devastating diagnosis, celebrate with them when they receive good news, and become trusted confidantes.

Why is it hard to recruit nurses? ›

Every year, nursing schools turn away tens of thousands of qualified applicants due to insufficient faculty, classrooms, clinical programs, and money according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

How do you inspire new nurses? ›

15 tips to engage and motivate nurses
  1. Build a strong employer brand. ...
  2. Communicate your ethics and core values. ...
  3. Provide a great onboarding experience. ...
  4. Drive engagement through daily huddles. ...
  5. Create a positive work environment through a culture of respect. ...
  6. Lead by example. ...
  7. Provide ongoing development opportunities.

What are some motivational quotes for new grad nurses? ›

25 Inspirational Quotes About Being A Nurse
  • "Sometimes I inspire my patients; more often they inspire me." — ...
  • "Hardships often prepare people for an extraordinary destiny." — ...
  • "Nurse: just another word to describe a person strong enough to tolerate anything and soft enough to understand anyone."
Mar 21, 2022

What are the biggest challenges for new graduate nurses? ›

Most often the challenges among the novice nurses are attributed to the number of patients with complex illness and co-morbidities, inaccessible mentors, performance anxiety, communication difficulties, and blame/complaint culture.

How can a nursing student stand out? ›

  1. Start off prepared. ...
  2. Ask questions. ...
  3. Stay on top of assignments. ...
  4. Get outside help when you need it. ...
  5. Help fellow students study. ...
  6. Put feedback into action. ...
  7. Take responsibility. ...
  8. Go above and beyond.

What motivates student nurses? ›

Providing good care for patients in the clinical practicum is important for students, as it leads to their desired goal of becoming a nurse. Thus, motivation emanating from a desire to improve nursing skills in preparation for the clinical practicum is considered as a form of identified regulation of motivation [9,12].

What are the four key points for staffing a nursing unit? ›

The staffing plan consists of four different elements that must be addressed—the health care setting, care delivery model, patient acuity, and nursing staff.

How do you solve nursing staffing shortage? ›

  1. 1 | Listening to Nurses Concerns. ...
  2. 2 | Prioritizing Workplace Culture Increases Retention. ...
  3. 3 | Prioritizing Nurse Retention Levels. ...
  4. 4 | Increasing Diversity in the Nursing Student Body. ...
  5. 5 | Addressing the Need for More Nurse Educators. ...
  6. 6 | Using Innovation to Address the Nursing Shortage.

How do you succeed in staffing? ›

Strategies to Increase Staffing Agency Sales
  1. 1 Charge more for what you do. ...
  2. 2 Invest in content marketing.
  3. 3 Take a good look at your contracts.
  4. 4 Get paid more quickly.
  5. 5 Study your workers' compensation claims.
  6. 6 Take a look at your current client portfolio.
  7. 7 Use a great applicant tracking system.
May 2, 2023

What do people like most about nursing? ›

As nurses, we have the opportunity to empower our patients and their families with knowledge. When I see that a patient understands their disease process and the plan of care, it is an awesome feeling. Nurses have the ability to bring understanding and peace during what can be a confusing or challenging time.

Why do people like nurses so much? ›

1. Nurses combine science and technology with care and compassion. A strong sense of compassion sets nurses apart — and it's the reason many enter the profession in the first place. Nurses have the opportunity to heal with a combination of clinical expertise and sheer altruism.

What makes a good nurse? ›

Kindness, fairness, caring, trustworthiness, emotional stability, empathy, and compassion are aspects of your personality that serve you well as a nurse. You exhibit strong communication skills. You communicate well with patients and colleagues — sometimes at their worst life moments.

How to retain nurses 2023? ›

Healthcare leaders should focus on six priority areas to relieve the nursing workforce's challenges next year.
  1. Listen to Your Nurses. ...
  2. Prioritize a Diverse Culture in the Workplace. ...
  3. Offer flexibility. ...
  4. Provide Training for Your Nurses. ...
  5. Focus On Mental Health. ...
  6. Introducing International Nurses.
Oct 26, 2022

Why does it take so long to hire a nurse? ›

They need at least six months of on-the-job training and lots of mentoring — expensive investments for any employer. Hospitals do hire and train new nurses, but they can only afford to safely orient so many at a time.

What is the hardest job as a nurse? ›

The most stressful nursing jobs include ICU nurse, ER nurse, and NICU nurse. In these roles, nurses work in an intense environment with high stakes. They manage emergency situations and care for critically ill patients. Other stressful nursing jobs include OR nursing, oncology nursing, and psychiatric nursing.

How do you make nurses feel valued? ›

  1. Say “thank you” and “great job” as often as possible.
  2. Busy? The day gets away from the best of us. Don't leave expressions of gratitude to chance. Add your message of thanks to a mug, coffee tumbler, water bottle, tote, pen, or something else that your staff will see all day long.
Mar 25, 2020

How do you teach critical thinking to new nurses? ›

  1. Demonstrate open-mindedness. ...
  2. Practice self-awareness. ...
  3. Avoid judgment. ...
  4. Eliminate personal biases. ...
  5. Do not be afraid to ask questions. ...
  6. Find an experienced mentor. ...
  7. Join professional nursing organizations. ...
  8. Establish a routine of self-reflection.

How do new nurses gain confidence? ›

Open-ended inquiries can help discover information for new scenarios while also encouraging innovation and additional sources of knowledge. Both provide the nurse with expertise, and that builds confidence. Be sure to engage in active listening, as this will help you know what questions to ask.

What is a good grad quote? ›

Short Graduation Quotes
  • “Be bold, be courageous, be your best.” — ...
  • “There is no script. ...
  • “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” — ...
  • “Follow your fear.” — ...
  • “If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.” — ...
  • “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.” — ...
  • “We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” —
Feb 15, 2023

What is Maya Angelou most famous quote? ›

"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."

What are the barriers to new nurses? ›

Many studies have reported factors affecting the successful transition of newly graduate nurses as: job satisfaction, self-efficacy, skill deficiency, fear, leadership, lack of belonging, orientation duration, dissatisfaction with interpersonal relationships, work stress, role stress, social support, structural ...

How long should a new nurse be oriented? ›

Most new nurses are in an orientation period. This period is typically 1-2 months long, depending on your place of hire. During this time you are with another nurse and you work side-by-side with this nurse.

How can a new graduate nurse overcome anxiety? ›

Have self-compassion and give yourself grace: Self-compassion is the ability to become mindful of your own distress and work to alleviate it. If you're feeling discouraged and anxious as a new nurse, offer yourself the same loving kindness you would offer a friend dealing with the same situation.

What do nursing students need to be successful? ›

8 Nursing School Tips for Success
  • Create Academic Goals. ...
  • Understand Your Learning Style. ...
  • Create a Study Group. ...
  • Be Sure to Take Breaks. ...
  • Avoid Cramming Work. ...
  • Create a Schedule. ...
  • Get to Know Your Professors. ...
  • Practice Self Care.
Jul 9, 2021

How can student nurses be leaders? ›

You could be a leader for example by raising concerns about staffing levels, by acting as a role model, or by taking forward an idea about how to improve patient care.

Why do student nurses reflect? ›

Background. Self-reflection is a useful tool that can benefit student nurses and patients. It enables the student nurses to develop self-knowledge and awareness of their strengths and weaknesses, and assists them in becoming authentic when providing nursing care to patients.

What motivates you as a nurse interview question? ›

Growing up in my family and seeing how much my parents loved what they did every day was both inspiring and motivating to me. I am interested in this job because I feel that I have learned a lot from them about what it means to solve problems, care for patients and make a difference in people's lives.”

What is an example of positive feedback for student nurses? ›

I felt like the care being demonstrated was of a high quality and would be comfortable if I was the service user.” “Excellent care was given throughout my placement, from all members of the team.” “I would have no problem with any member of the team caring for anyone in my family.”

What is a nurse staffing model? ›

Nurse staffing models are rules or guidelines that determine the number of nurses needed to staff and schedule to provide patient care.

What are the 5 elements of nursing care? ›

The nursing process functions as a systematic guide to client-centered care with 5 sequential steps. These are assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation.

What are the five key roles of nurses? ›

Five Basic Duties You'll be Most Likely to Perform as a Nurse
  • Administering medication. ...
  • Recording and monitoring patient vital signs. ...
  • Maintaining a detailed medical record. ...
  • Drawing blood samples. ...
  • Providing emotional support for patients.
Apr 27, 2022

How can nurses improve staffing ratios? ›

Establish a Staffing Committee

The committee typically provides input on scheduling procedures as well as staffing policies and ensures these standards are consistent across a specific unit or the entire hospital. Having set guidelines in place helps lower the chances of an unsafe nurse-to-patient ratio.

How do you overcome staffing problems? ›

Here are four suggestions for overcoming staffing challenges.
  1. Focus on the Big Picture.
  2. Reinforce What's Important.
  3. Leverage Technology to Improve the Employee Experience.
  4. Tap Into Early Career Talent.
Jul 28, 2022

Why is there a nursing shortage 2023? ›

The COVID-19 pandemic pushed these shortages to crisis levels, with demand outweighing supply nearly everywhere.

What are the 8 steps of the staffing process? ›

8 steps of the selection process for hiring employees
  • Application.
  • Resume screening.
  • Screening call.
  • Assessment test.
  • In-person interviewing.
  • Background checks.
  • Reference checks.
  • Decision and job offer.

What makes a good staffing recruiter? ›

A good recruiter remembers small, positive details from their interactions with their rejected applicants and uses them to add a personal touch to their messages. They highlight candidates' strengths and may even suggest other jobs they would be suitable for. And they stay in touch for future openings.

What makes a good staffing specialist? ›

Requirements and skills
  • Proven work experience as a Staffing Specialist, Staffing Coordinator or similar role.
  • Familiarity with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs) and resume databases.
  • Experience with interviewing and evaluating candidates (using phone/Skype screening, structured interviews and tests)

What is the most important thing a new nurse should consider when looking for a potential employer? ›

Ask about financial stability, census and employee turnover. While nursing positions are in high demand from employers, that doesn't always mean that hours won't be cut, or you won't be pulled off your desired shift. Job Passion: Every nurse deserves to feel passionate throughout a long and satisfying career.

How do you interview a nurse candidate? ›

Other common nursing interview questions and answers
  1. What do you like most about being a nurse? There are a lot of things that I like about being a nurse. ...
  2. What do you find most difficult about being a nurse? ...
  3. Why are you leaving your current position? ...
  4. What are your strengths and weaknesses as a nurse?
Oct 19, 2022

How do you know a nurse is competent? ›

A core competency of nursing is “the ability to practice nursing that meets the needs of clients cared for using logical thinking and accurate nursing skills.” The nursing competency structure consists of four abilities: the ability to understand needs, the ability to provide care, the ability to collaborate and the ...

What do you think are the 4 most important things that nurses need to know to provide culturally competent care? ›

Culturally competent care consists of four components: awareness of one's cultural worldview, attitudes toward cultural differences, knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews, and cross-cultural skills.

What are the weakness of a nurse? ›

Examples of common nursing weaknesses our experts say they hear include: Paying too much attention to detail. Wanting to do everything at once. Spending too long on paperwork.

What are open ended questions to ask a nurse? ›

Questions like this: “So what do you think you want to do?” • “Have I got it right?” • “Did I leave anything out?” • “Is there anything else you think I should know at this point?” • “Did I misunderstand anything?” • “So what else can you tell me about…?

What are the 6 C's of nursing? ›

The 6 Cs – care, compassion, courage, communication, commitment, competence - are a central part of 'Compassion in Practice', which was first established by NHS England Chief Nursing Officer, Jane Cummings, in December 2017.

What are the 6 C's of nursing interview questions? ›

Interviewee: Before your interview, you must ensure you understand the six Cs of nursing, which are: care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment.

What is a 5 question for nursing interview? ›

NHS Band 5 interview questions
  • Why do you want to work with the NHS? ...
  • How might you deal with emotionally taxing situations in this role? ...
  • What is your priority when looking after patients? ...
  • Detail a time when you've had to work under pressure. ...
  • What is your proudest achievement in your nursing career to date?
Jan 17, 2023

What are the 2 most important attributes recruiters look for in job candidates? ›

Communication and Interpersonal Skills

According to recruiters, the ability to communicate effectively with others and get along with a variety of different types of personalities are two of the most desirable qualities in job candidates.

What does good recruiting look like? ›

A good recruitment process allows you to find qualified candidates quickly and efficiently. The process requires intentional planning and constant evaluation. The recruitment process should be streamlined so each staff member has the tools and resources they need for their step in the process.

What is the first thing employer sees? ›

1. Is the candidate suitable for the job? The first thing an employer looks for on a resume is whether an applicant has the educational qualifications and/or the work experience relevant to the position.

What are the 5 core competencies of nursing? ›

  • Provide patient-centered care.
  • Work in interdisciplinary teams.
  • Employ evidence-based practice.
  • Apply quality improvement.
  • Utilize informatics.

What are the 5 levels of nursing competence? ›

Benner (1984) also detailed the acquisition of nursing expertise and proposed five possible expertise levels: novice, advanced beginner, competent, proficient, and expert.

What are the four stages of competence nursing? ›

The Stages of Competence model (figure 1) was introduced by Noel Burch in the 1970s. Similar to the Situational Leadership model, learners in the Stages of Competence model fall into 1 of 4 stages: unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, conscious competence, or unconscious competence.


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