If it’s been awhile since your last interview, or you want to ensure you’re the top pick in that prime travel assignment, it never hurts, and can only help, to do a little preparation.
Your resume may have gotten you the interview, but that alone can’t get you the job. The interview is often the final piece to securing that new position.
Before the Interview
Start preparing to make a good impression, and to feel more confident during the interview, before you meet your prospective employer.
- Research the company, if possible, and prepare questions to determine if this job is a good fit for you. Ask your recruiter for more information about the client and specifics about the job opening.
- Don’t make a bad first impression before you even start. Google yourself and review your online persona. Either do a little cyber clean up with unprofessional pictures or unsavory comments, or change your security to private on your social media accounts
- If you're having an in-person interview, try on your interview outfit in front of a full-length mirror if it’s new, or you haven’t worn it in awhile. It might be acceptable to wear scrubs to some healthcare job interviews.
- Review your references and make sure their contact information is up-to-date. A letter of recommendation isn’t always necessary, but it can’t hurt.
During the Interview
The interview starts before you arrive. The impression you make begins with a phone call or email to schedule an interview, to how you greet the receptionist when you arrive. For travel jobs, it's most likely that the entire process will occur via phone calls, but all interview advice is still helpful to position yourself as the best possible candidate.
- Be aware of your body language. Sometimes what you’re not saying speaks louder than words. Project confidence by being aware of your posture, maintaining eye contact, smiling, and offering a firm handshake. Over the phone, the same is true. Don't slouch or fidget - act as if you're there, and your confidence will shine through.
- Don’t address them on a first name basis unless they suggest it, and ask how they prefer to be addressed, or for correct pronunciation of their name.
- Pause with each question to consider your response, communicate clearly, or ask for clarification.
- The interview is also to determine whether you want to work for this company. Be sure to ask questions of your own.
After the Interview
Once the interview is done, and you’ve confirmed the next steps in the interview process, there’s still an opportunity to convince them you’re the best one for the job.
- Follow up with requested information as soon as possible, if applicable, or follow up with your recruiter for next steps.
- Inform them if you’re not interested in the job so it doesn’t waste their time, your references, or your recruiter's time. If you know you're not interested, say so!
- If you have their direct contact information, send a thank you note to help stand out from the competition and to remind them why you’re a good fit, or reiterate a conversation from the interview. If not, you can ask your recruiter to pass along a message for you. You could also receive a job offer on the spot, so this step isn't usually necessary!
Not Your Average Interview
Technology, and the increase in remote jobs, has enabled more interviews to be done outside of the office. This requires some extra considerations for preparation. Much of your correspondence may be through text or email, and the majority of travel positions interview via phone calls. Check that your email address sounds professional and use a professional tone in all correspondence.
Phone interviews may seem easier than sitting face-to-face in an office, but in some ways they can be more challenging. The interviewer can’t observe your body language, or appearance, so the interview hinges upon your professional communication. To enhance that, prepare by:
- Try to smile when you’re talking and insert excitement into your tone.
- Be prepared with a tablet for notes.
- Wear a headset to participate hands-free.
- Choose a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted.
Video interviews are also becoming more common, although more unlikely for the travel career path. However, these are becoming more convenient, can expand the talent pool for the company, and increase your options for employment. If you’ve never done one:
- Ensure that your computer works with the necessary software before the interview, including a good internet connection.
- Practice a video call with Skype or Zoom with family or friends.
- Take a good look at the screen during your practice call to see how your room and background appears, and determine if you need to tidy up before the interview.
- Remember that your body language is still noted in a video interview.
Seal the Deal
Interview questions can range from the common ones from what you know about the company and why you’re a good fit, to behavioral ones that require more than a one word answer. Use a previous, or hypothetical, situation to respond when possible instead of just yes and no answers. Discuss the situation, what you did, and the results. Don’t forget to include what you learned from a difficult situation to display your ability to accept constructive criticism, work with a team, and excel in stressful situations. Review the job description and your research on the hospital or facility. Try to think of how your skills compliment what they’re seeking so you have the opportunity to include them in your responses. Give them the reasons to hire you.
The best travel assignments can have fierce competition, but a little preparation can make a good first impression and help you rise to the top of the applicants.