How to Prepare for a Travel Nursing Interview
Jill Eliassen, TNAA’s VP of Clinical Services, did a Q & A session for travelers about how to have a successful interview with facilities. From how to prepare to when to follow up, we have answers to the questions you may have while attempting to score that perfect travel nurse position.
How should a candidate prepare for their interview?
There are several easy things candidates can do in advance to increase their chances of interview success.
Research the facility
Nurses should know what kind of facility it is: Teaching Hospital, Level 1 Trauma Center, Level 2, etc.
Think of relevant, detailed examples that show your experience
Don’t be caught off guard by a question. For example, when asked about your strengths, tell a story that highlights your best qualities. Give the background of the situation, then explain what you did to change the situation and describe the outcome.
Ask great questions
It’s a guarantee that a manager, director, or HR representative will ask if you have questions near the end of the interview. Candidates should have a few questions prepared for the facility as this shows they are interested in learning more.
What are good questions to ask at the interview?
- What is the mission/philosophy of the facility?
- What is a typical shift like on the floor/unit?
- What should I expect from orientation?
What are some techniques you’ve witnessed that have helped candidates nail the interview?
Nurses who are engaged in the conversation usually do well. The ones who act interested in the conversation end up having great interviews, while the ones who just sit quietly usually don’t. Smile with your voice and be sincere.
Travelers who state their flexibility, willingness to float, and the need for little orientation are very appealing to managers and directors. And nurses who bring up HCAHPS scores will always grab the attention of the interviewer.
Another tip: Before the interview, have goals in mind and let the interviewer know what your goals are. Discuss how you can meet your goals while helping the facility meet its own simultaneously.
In your opinion, what is the biggest mistake candidates make?
One frequent comment we’ve noticed is, “I’m a good nurse, and I like to help people.” In most cases, this is over-generalizing your experience. On the other hand, some candidates talk too much about their experience in an attempt to appear as though they are best nurse the facility will never find. Stay away from this approach and let your actual interactions represent your candidacy.
Any candidate who is uncertain about a start date should never bring this up during the interview as a travel nurse. The managers/directors need a commitment from the nurses they are interviewing.
Part of nailing an interview is the follow-up. Do you have any recommendations for what should be done after an interview?
All questions should come at the end of the interview. A very nice, “Thank you for your time,” is greatly appreciated after a telephone interview. You can also send the nurse manager you spoke to a follow-up email expressing your excitement about the assignment and reiterating what was discussed. Having this information documented can be beneficial if management changes before the assignment start. However, for travelers, the appropriate follow-up after this would be to touch base with their particular recruiter.
What kind of help can a candidate expect from TNAA in the interviewing process?
When you work with TNAA, the nurse recruitment team will make sure you are prepared prior to submittal and all the way to the offer.
We even have clinicians to assist with onboarding, preparing questions for the interview, assisting with file preparation, assisting with clinical skills checklists, and much more.
TNAA has an excellent Quality Assurance team to assist with all required documentation prior to onboarding an assignment.
Our caring travel department will get the best housing possible for the nurses in the particular area they want to travel. We can also offer advice about working as a travel nurse and the specifics of partnering with TNAA.
On top of all of this, we have an accounting department who works diligently to pay all nurses correctly and in a timely fashion.