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Chapter Five: 6 Ways to Nail Your First Travel Nursing Interview

by CoreMedical Group

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Nervous about your first travel nursing interview? You shouldn’t be! From preparation to follow-up, you should feel confident in your ability to interview well (and get the job!) Take a look at our collection of six ways to nail your first travel nursing interview, and start your adventure right now.

Do Your Research

Your knowledge of the hospital, clinic, or company that you are interviewing with is a key factor in setting you apart from the rest. If you want a potential employer to be interested in you, you have to showcase your interest in them as well. The best way to do this is to research the facility and make notes. What kind of nursing services is this facility known for, and how do your skills match? The more information you can reference when sharing your own experience, the better. 

Use Your Travel Nursing Agency

Luckily, when you find the best travel nursing company to suit your needs, you will have a recruiter at your disposal to do the behind-the-scenes stuff for you. Your recruiter will guide you through the process from your initial onboarding with the agency to your credentialing, first interviews, first job offer, and beyond.

At CoreMedical, our account executives and recruiters work hand in hand to create the best matches for both client and candidate. Your recruiter will be well-versed in the needs of the client, even what kind of personalities mesh well with the current staff, and will pass this information on to you. Your recruiter will also act as your career coach, assisting you in creating a better resume and scheduling mock interviews, so you’re 100 percent prepared for your first travel nursing interview.

Understand What Travel Nursing Is

Every RN and LPN searching for travel nursing jobs wants to take care of patients, but understanding how a travel nursing contract varies from a permanent nursing position will help you nail your first travel nursing interview.

Travel nursing jobs become available when additional staff are needed to diminish nursing shortages, fill in for staff who are on leave, or supplement specific patient care programs. To become a travel nurse, you must be able to quickly adapt to changes in procedures, management, and patient demographics.

In your first travel nursing interview, emphasize these specific travel nursing requirements by showing examples of your ability to organize and prioritize tasks with little instruction, your proficiency in quickly adjusting to different scenarios, and your willingness to float when needed.

Create an Ideal Interview Setting

Travel nursing is a unique way to build your clinical expertise at facilities all across the country. While some travel nursing interviews are face-to-face, many interviews will be via phone or video chat, like Skype. Whether you are on screen or not, you should be dressing professionally for your interview. No scrubs allowed! Dressing the part helps condition your mind into being more professional, just as smiling when you speak helps you sound more friendly and confident.

Remember to organize your notes well ahead of time, have your resume handy, and have your list of questions for the employer within reach. If you’re participating in a Skype interview, test all of your tech ahead of time with a mock interview with your recruiter or travel nursing agency representative. Place your light in front of you, make sure to tidy the room or view behind you, and tuck your furry friends away during your travel nurse interview to limit interruptions.

Prepare for Their Questions

Take the time to think about some of the common questions you will be asked during your first travel nursing interview. Your travel nursing agency will have had experience with your potential employer, and your recruiter can provide some sample questions previous nurse interviewees have received. We’ve included some common questions and tips below, as well.

  • Why do you want to be a travel nurse?
    • This is where you can sell your adaptability and excitement.
  • What do you consider your strengths and weaknesses as a nursing professional?
    • Remember to follow up a weakness with a strength. Share what you’ve learned from your weakness throughout your nursing career.
  • How are you staying current with the nursing profession?
    • Reflect on your credentials and any additional education you may be seeking.
  • Can you describe a situation in which you handled a difficult patient or a stressful situation?
    • Every employer wants to make sure you can handle yourself when times get tough, and this is your time to shine.

Ask Your Questions

Your travel nursing interview is as much for the client as it is for you, the candidate. It’s wise to enter your interview prepared with questions that will better inform you of the facility’s culture and policies, as well as the position’s workload. Not only does this help you in determining whether this is the best travel nursing contract for you, it shows your interviewer that you are dedicated to learning more about them. Just remember not to ask questions with answers that are readily available on their website!

Here are some sample questions you may want to include, and some that your recruiter may be able to answer for you:

  • Why are you bringing in travel nurses? OR Why do you continue to bring in travel nurses?
  • What are the nurse-to-patient ratios?
  • What is your policy surrounding floating?
  • What type(s) of charting do you use?
  • What kind of onboarding or orientation would be available to me?
  • Can you describe the culture of the unit/management?
  • What shifts are available, and what are your scheduling methods?
  • Is call available and/or required?
  • What are your overtime policies?
  • Do you frequently offer extensions for contract assignments?

Take these six tips and spend some time researching your potential new employer. Be sure to review all your nursing history and prepare for the questions they’ll be asking you, as well as the ones you’ll be asking them. Now you’ll be extra prepared for your first travel nursing interview! All you need to bring to the table is your expertise and excitement.

Looking For More Information on Medical Staffing Agencies?

Contact us today, and be sure to download our Travel Nurse Agency Guide!

8 Things to Look for in a Medical Staffing Agency: For the Traveling Nurse


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