Acing a Travel Nursing Interview

For travel jobs, the first interview is often over the phone. Use it to your advantage by having all the information you need at hand. Prepare exactly as you would for an in-person interview. Confidence is crucial, and that comes with preparation.

During the interview, you’ll typically be asked about education, experience, skills, and interests. Get your answers ready, because in some cases, delivery is almost as important as the answer itself. Every interviewer is looking for the same thing: a person who is reliable and competent; who will take responsibility, direction, and initiative; and someone who will fit seamlessly on the team with a minimum of fuss and training. Your job is to convince the interviewer that you are that person.

Here are some tips for a winning interview:

  • Get your credentials together and be ready to list all the highlights. Have your resume on hand, even for a phone interview. Sure, it’s your history, but we all tend to forget details when we’re nervous.
  • For an in-person interview, bring copies your resume, license, certifications, letters of recommendation, and any other professional documents that may be important. If it’s a phone interview, bring the documentation when you first visit the job site.
  • Invest a little time in learning about the hospital or other facility. It shows interest and a willingness to go the extra mile. There are often a lot of candidates for a good job, so anything you can say to make yourself stand out is great.
  • Be personable. Show the interviewer that you’re easy to talk to, a good listener, and easy to get long with. Don’t interrupt, and do give detailed but concise answers.
  • Don’t be surprised if the interviewer asks to make a criminal background check. It’s a common occurrence these days.
  • No distractions. If it’s a phone interview, makes sure anyone in the house understands to keep quiet, disable call waiting, and turn off the TV and music. In person, sit comfortably and lean forward just a bit. Don’t let your attention wander, and don’t cross your arms – it’s a closed, defensive posture.

Common interview questions:

  • Do you consider yourself a team player? Why or why not?
  • If a doctor confronted you with an unreasonable demand, how would you handle it?
  • How would you handle difficult patients and/or their family members?
  • How well do you react to unexpected circumstances, like having to perform a procedure you have never done?

Savvy questions you should ask:

  • What is the unit’s nurse-to-patient ratio?
  • Is there a support staff on the floor to assist nurses?
  • What is the scheduling process?
  • How long is a typical shift?

These are only a few suggestions; don’t be afraid to ask what you want to know. End the interview by reiterating your interest in the job, thanking the interviewer for his time, and asking if there is any additional information you can provide. Get the interviewer’s name and contact information… and use it. Follow up with a call or an email within a few days and then another a week later.