Whether you’re a nurse that just graduated or a seasoned therapist looking for a mid-career move, interviewing is an unavoidable part of getting the job you want. The interview process can often be a daunting experience regardless of where you are in your clinical career. But it doesn’t have to be. Check out this guide to crush your clinical interview and land your dream job STAT!
Ready Your Resume
The key objective of your resume is to secure an interview. If your resume doesn’t stand out in a positive way, you most likely won’t have the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and skills one-on-one with the hiring manager.
Resumes are a living document. They should be kept up-to-date, reflecting your current experience and skill sets. Make sure the resume you’re using to apply for jobs is your most recent version.
The way in which you present the information in your resume is also critical. Your work experience and skills (clinical, technological, and personal) should be clearly stated towards the top. Be sure to use consistent formatting (font, sizing, headers, etc) throughout your resume. Lastly, spelling and grammar mistakes are a simple fix with all of the computer programs out there today. Consequently, any typos and grammatical issues are a flag that you may lack attention to detail. When in doubt, get a friend (or two) to help you proofread.
Helpful hint: read your resume back-to-front at least once. You’d be surprised how much your brain overlooks when reading in natural progression. This makes it think differently and work just a little bit harder.
When you have an in-person interview, don’t forget to bring a couple copies of your resume with you to hand out. It shows you are prepared and professional. They may prefer digital after all, but better safe than sorry!
Research the Company
Now that you’ve secured the interview, it’s time to impress the hiring manager and show off what you know. It’s very important to be well-informed on the company you’re interviewing at – not only to impress the interviewer, but for your own understanding as you pursue a new career option. A great starting place for research is the company website. Take a close look at their mission, values, and newsworthy events. Once you know more about the organization, you’ll want to translate that knowledge into insightful questions.
Prepare your Questions
Many job seekers view interviews as a one-way interrogation, but truthfully they should be a two-way conversation that ensures a proper job fit for both parties. There will most likely be a time during the interview (usually towards the end) when the interviewer will ask something like, “so what questions do you have for me?” Not asking a question can make it seem like you aren’t very interested in the position or facility. Take advantage of this opportunity to dig deeper and ensure you have all the information you need to make a decision if they offer you the job.
Some example questions include:
What would a typical day look like in this position?
Why is this position currently open?
What types of growth and learning opportunities can someone in this role expect?
A quick internet search on “best questions to ask in an interview” can also help you craft strong questions.
Practice Makes Perfect
The old adage still stands: if you fail to prepare, you are preparing to fail. Instead, set aside some time to prepare for the questions you will be asked. While some interviewers will throw in a few unexpected questions, you can be certain there will be plenty of predictable ones during the conversation. A quick internet search of “common interview questions” may provide an overwhelming amount of results. Be a bit more specific by adding in your discipline. For example, “common interview questions for nurses”. Think through what your answers to these would be. Practicing with a friend can also help to shake off the nerves.
When answering the interviewers questions, you want to make sure you are on “PAR”. This is a common technique to ensure your answers are well-rounded when it comes to behavioral interviewing questions. These are questions that ask you to revisit how you handled previous situations in order to gauge how you’ll handle future issues. First, identify the Problem posed by the question. Then, identify the Action you took in response. Lastly, explain the Result (hopefully positive) that occurred because of what you did.
Keep in mind – no one is perfect. It can be seen as a red flag to an interviewer if you can’t remember a problem you’ve had to address or a mistake that you’ve learned from.
Demonstrate Interview Etiquette
Even with a top-tier resume and well-thought out questions, an interview can bomb without the proper etiquette.
Dressing properly for the interview will help you feel confident and look professional. Remember, when in doubt it’s better to overdress than underdress. You can never go wrong with a classic business suit, but a nice pair of slacks (or skirt) and a business shirt will also do the trick. If possible, throw on a structured jacket or blazer to top it off. Dark and neutral colors (black, navy, or grey) are the standard, but a pop of color can help you be more memorable. Jewelry, accessories, and make-up should be kept simple and not distracting for either you or the person interviewing you.
One of the most common interview gaffes is showing up late. Make sure to identify the route for your commute ahead of time and ask about parking if you’re driving. Plan to be there at least 15 minutes early just in case. Once you arrive, go ahead and turn your cell phone off so that it doesn’t go off during the interview.
Be sure to smile and display a positive attitude to everyone from the parking lot into the building. (You never know who will have a say in whether or not you’re hired!) Body language is also important. It’s always best to sit up straight, maintain eye contact, and display a friendly, open posture.
End on a High Note
It’s important to end an interview on a positive note and clearly convey your enthusiasm for the position. Don’t leave any doubt. Verbally confirm your interest in moving forward. Ask the interviewer for a copy of their business card and send a quick, sincere thank you note after the interview. A hand-written note is great, but a quick email will also do the trick to show your appreciation.
Already have a Matchwell clinician account? Great! Be sure to upload all required credentials for the facility pools you want to be in. When interviewing to be accepted into a pool, it’s good to remind the interviewer that they can message you directly in the Matchwell platform if they have any other questions.
Don’t have a Matchwell account yet? No worries. Clinician accounts are completely free and only take a few seconds to create. Head to clinician.wematchwell.com to sign up and start applying to facilities you want to work at. Then, when you land that first interview, put these tips to good use!