You perfected your resume, worked with a few great travel companies (like a pro), found some exciting travel nursing jobs to apply to, and (YES) you got the call – the facility wants to interview you! You’re excited – and you should be. But now it’s time to prepare!
As all healthcare travelers quickly find out, interviews for travel assignments usually consist of the traveler asking most of the questions. Your travel recruiter will not know these questions (they are not supposed to) and it is our responsibility to ask them to the hiring manager during the interview.
The #1 reason for a difficult situation and bumpy ride during your travel career is expecting one thing and getting something else. We have the power to take this into our hands and not assume anything (by asking good questions)!
I’m giving you the top 10 most important travel nurse interview questions to ask, plus a few tips sprinkled in!
List of questions to ask during your interview:
1. What are the start and end dates? (Make sure this is in the contract)
2. Did you see I had requested _____ days off, would that be approved? If you don’t get them approved before the contract is signed you most likely will not get time off. (Make sure this is in the contract) Also, try to take your vacation time between contracts to make you a more appealing candidate!
3. What is the schedule? (Monday-Friday, Tuesday-Saturday, etc) Are there any expectations to work weekends? (Make sure this is in the contract)
4. What happens if the census drops? Are my hours guaranteed? Will I need to float to another building? (Make sure this is in the contract)
5. What is the parking situation?
6. What is the dress code?
7. What should I expect for orientation?
8. Why is there a need for a traveler? Have you ever had a traveler work here before? How did it go?
9. Who is a part of your nursing team?
10. Will I have a dedicated mentor or person to ask questions to? (Mentor question if you are new to a setting make sure there are other nurses of your discipline at your building full-time, not PRN or floaters because you may never see them.)
Tips for a travel nursing interview:
- Start the job interview out with gratitude. Thank the hiring manager for the opportunity. Tell them something you have heard or saw online about that facility and why you are excited about this interview.
- Smile. Studies show not only can we hear a smile through the phone, but we can also detect what kind of smile it is. Our smiling makes us sound likable. People want to hire people they like.
- Stand up and stretch out during the interview. This is also known as power-posing. The bigger you make your body the more testosterone flows. The more testosterone that is flowing the more confident we feel and sound.
- Talk in your lowest natural tone of voice. High pitch voices are associated with children and less competence. Take a deep breath and drop into your low tone.
- If you’re nervous about your phone interview, keep a stress ball or some kind of little object in your hand to fidget with. This a great way for some people to stay level-headed when in a quick-thinking situation.
- Talk about how you successfully handled different types of patients and challenging situations! Your job interview is your chance to express that you are both an ideal candidate and a qualified candidate. You can do this by discussing past instances where you used your intuition, clinical skills, and positive demeanor!
- Up to 90% of the impression you make on a phone interview is not what you say. It’s all in the tone and vocal power in which you say it. Our voices carry so many non-verbal cues that have nothing to do with the knowledge we have. Make sure you sound confident, passionate, and excited about the opportunity!
- Laugh and enjoy yourself! Yes, it’s an interview… but it can also be a friendly, fun conversation!
Expectations for a new travel nursing job:
Once you’ve nailed your travel nursing interview and get that job – it’s on to a new opportunity! And it’s important to have the right expectations when you have a career in travel.
Keep in mind, that you are a medical professional that chose to travel! And traveling has never meant an easy ride! But this doesn’t matter to us. We are on this adventure to learn, grow and become better people. No one becomes a better person by complaining or taking the easy road. I can tell you right now every single assignment will have something in it that does not match your expectations. Even if you ask every question perfectly.
Expect things to go “wrong” and different than you want it. Every road trip, every housing situation, every assignment… something will happen that is less than perfect. Which in itself is perfect. That is how we grow. Roll with it. It’s part of the ride you signed up for!
If you want to enjoy this journey, decide to be flexible. Ask all the questions, be proactive, but also decide to trade your expectations for appreciation no matter what.
Attitude of gratitude always! Not just on the “perfect” days.
Good luck with your travel nursing interview! I know you’ll do great!