Congrats! Your résumé has piqued the interest of a medical facility’s hiring manager. The next thing you need to do is prepare to answer the travel nursing interview questions.
The hiring manager will have shortlisted a number of candidates for the job. Therefore, it’s important that you use the interview as an opportunity to set yourself apart in the best way possible.
You want to make yourself a memorable, first-choice candidate.
Preparing for common travel nurse interview questions is key.
Establishing Rapport with the Hiring Manager
A recent study showed that the impression you make during the introductory part of the interview strongly influences hiring managers’ overall impression of you.
That’s why you should reserve some time to research the hiring manager’s background.
Begin by asking your recruiter what he or she knows about the interviewer. Then, head over to LinkedIn and review his or her profile.
Look for things that you have in common. You can begin the conversation with an icebreaker, prior to fielding your travel nursing interview questions.
For example, perhaps you’re both from Chicago, or maybe you both enjoy playing golf.
Be thorough, and prepare a number of causal speaking points, such as, “I heard you’re from the Windy City. So am I! Do you miss it?”
Or, “What’s the golf like out in the Chicago area?”
The hiring manager will do most of the asking, but consider different kinds of nursing interview questions that you can.
Research the Medical Facility
It’s also critical to know as much as possible about the medical facility where you’re applying for a job.
Every organization has its own culture, so it’s useful to get in-depth information ahead of time.
For example, a facility that combines holistic health with traditional healthcare will have distinctly different values from a research hospital that’s affiliated with a university.
Knowing what the culture is like will help you tailor your own approach to the interview appropriately.
To research the facility, go to its website and read the “about us” section. Pay special attention to the history and mission.
Talk to your recruiter to find out what he or she knows about the organization.
See if you can get first-hand, insider information by contacting people in your professional or extended network who have worked there (or who are familiar with the leadership team).
Remember: if the organization is looking to hire a travel nurse now, it’s probably done so in the past. So, there’s a good chance one or more of your acquaintances have a connection to the facility.
Do Your Homework About the Position
Before preparing for the travel nursing interview questions, you should learn everything you can about the position and what kind of skills the hiring manager is looking for.
Your best source of information for this is your recruiter.
He or she can tell you what “must-have” qualities a good candidate needs. Such as five years of experience in an ER or a specialization working with seniors.
It’s also advisable to find out why the position is open.
Sometimes it’s because the employer is coming up on a busy season or because the regular nurse is on leave. Perhaps the employer is looking to fill the position because the previous nurse didn’t work out.
Knowing precisely why he or she wasn’t a match can provide you with valuable information on how to show that YOU are the perfect professional for the position.
Consider this as one of the questions to ask at a nursing interview when you’re preparing.
Travel Nursing Interview Questions and Answers
The hiring manager will want to know you possess the technical and soft skills for the position. And, that you’ll fit into the company culture.
In addition, you should prepare some questions about the position and organization to show you’re truly interested in what it takes to do the job well.
Here are some examples of travel nursing interview questions you can expect:
1. How do your qualifications and work experience make you a good candidate for this job?
Answer this question by highlighting only your most relevant training and experience.
For example, if the job is in a senior care facility specializing in patients with dementia, discuss your 3 years as a hospice nurse—not your six months in a pediatric ward.
2. What do you consider to be your strengths as a nurse?
Again, make sure to list relevant strengths.
If you’re going to be working with seniors, you could mention your patience and optimism. You could also mention your ability to bond with seniors over things that are culturally relevant to them, such as 1940s and ‘50s songs and movies.
3. How would you approach this specific situation?
Hiring managers often describe a hypothetical challenge to see how you’d respond.
Before answering, think the challenge through to determine what the best outcome would be for both the facility and its patients.
4. What do you do to stay up to date on the latest developments?
Clearly, part of your answer should involve your professional development courses.
But it’s also a good idea to mention trade publications that you read and conventions you attend, in order to know what’s happening in your professional sphere.
5. Why do you think you’re the best person for this job?
Your answer should involve a combination of your knowledge of the position and what you want to learn from this job.
For example, you could answer by mentioning your:
- Technical skills
- Experience with seniors (or other age patients)
- Ability to engage patients
- Desire to learn more about caring for people with [specific illness]
- Passion for healthcare
- Willingness to go the extra mile
6. What do you consider your greatest accomplishment and why?
This doesn’t necessarily have to be a professional accomplishment, so long as you can tie it into your work.
An example would be, “Taking care of my 85-year-old grandfather and making sure his last years were as healthy, comfortable, and filled with love as possible.”
7. How do you respond to high-stress situations?
As any nurse knows, this is a crucial aspect of the job.
The best answer highlights the fact that you’re a team player who can also take on a leadership role, for example, “By prioritizing what needs to be done and ensuring my team and I have all the support we need.”
8. Are you willing to learn?
The hiring manager wants a candidate who can quickly learn the ropes and who’s adaptable to new situations.
Your answer should definitely be affirmative and contain an example of how you were quickly able to absorb new information in a previous position.
9. Do you consider yourself a good team player? Why?
As a nurse, being a good team player is critically important not only to your colleagues but also to the people in your care.
Answer this by giving a good example of how you place your team’s needs before your own.
10. Why do you want to work with us?
This is one of the more important travel nursing interview questions. It’s your opportunity to show you know what the organization’s mission and values are—and how they match your own.
A sample answer could be, “Your organization is one of the best in the country when it comes to senior care specializing in patients with dementia. I strongly believe in providing quality, compassionate care for our elders, and I want to learn more about the most effective dementia treatments so I can add more value.”
Questions for You to Ask During the Interview
- What specific qualities make for a good candidate for this job?
- What’s the typical workload like?
- How do you measure job performance?
Set the Scene
After preparing for the travel nursing interview questions, it’s time to set the scene for the interview.
Since you’re unlikely to be in the same city as the facility where you’re applying for the job, you’ll probably be invited to interview by phone or video conferencing.
While this might feel less intimidating than an in-person interview, you should make sure to create a quiet environment where you can have an undisturbed conversation.
If you’re interviewing by phone, make sure you have a good connection and that your phone’s fully charged.
Choose a place inside with no ambient noise, and have your notes in front of you so you can refer to them if necessary.
And while the interviewer won’t be able to see your face, remember to smile now and then! Smiling changes the tone of your voice and makes you sound friendlier and more empathetic.
If you’ve been invited to interview via Skype or another video conferencing app, then you should treat it just like an in-person meeting.
Find a well-lit space with no visual or audible distractions. Dress professionally, and set up your computer or device so you’re face to face with the interviewer.
And as The Guardian advises in the article “How to master a Skype interview,” practice the technology a couple of times to make sure you’re comfortable with the setup and can complete the interview without any glitches.
As a travel nurse working multiple short assignments per year, you’ll be interviewing much more frequently than the average person. Use our list of interview questions to prepare.
Keep these tips in mind and you’ll stand a good chance of being the hiring manager’s top choice for the positions you really want.
Have you been asked any unique travel nursing interview questions?
Share with us in the comments below!