Applying for a travel therapy or travel nursing job generally has two steps. First, submit your resume through an agency your resume through an agency. Second, do a phone interview with a representative from the facility itself phone interview with a representative from the facility itself. The phone interview is the only place where you get to connect with the actual job. As the travel market gets more and more competitive, acing the phone interview can be a key step to securing a job.
Get ready for a little brag. In the seven years that I did travel contracts, I never had a phone interview where I was not offered the job! Okay, to be a little more humble, I must admit that there were PLENTY of places that passed my resume aside and never called me. Plus, there were a couple of phone interviews that I could tell I was not a good fit for the job and told the interviewer that I was not interested, hence the job never got offered.
Over the years I have heard some feedback about my interview skills from my managers. For most managers, their choice to hire me after the phone interview came down to two main things: 1) I picked up the phone and was available to interview and 2) I came across as competent to walk in and do the job.
Here are my tips to help you land a job on the phone interview.
Pick up the phone!
This one may seem obvious, but it is often the most missed. I have competed for jobs against 12 other candidates eligible for phone interviews. I have been told I was offered a job solely because I was the first one to pick up the phone and not let it go to voicemail.
If you schedule a time for a phone interview, make sure that you are ready and available to pick up the phone. Try to be in a distraction-free place. If the phone interview comes as a surprise, try to pick it up. I have had phone interviews in closets, stairwells, etc. I have made it work and have gotten the job.
Sound Confident But Not Arrogant
When I asked managers “why did you hire me?” the most common response I get is that I seemed confident and competent on my phone interview. I have been told that I have a strong voice and answer questions to the point, without using filler words (like, um, etc).
I highlight my previous experience and speak about the value that I can bring to a facility. Examples of experiences that I mention on phone interviews include:
- Learning and using EMR’s
- Working with different diagnosis populations
- Experience with varied cultures and languages
Ask questions about the Facility
One way to sound experienced and interested in a job is to ask appropriate questions during the interview. For example, as a Speech-Language Pathologist, asking about how patients at a SNF get access to Videofluoroscopic Swallow Studies or what the make up of patients is, sounds like I have a good have a solid amount of background information.
For a bank of sample questions to ask during phone interview: Click Here
Show how you would make a good fit and be valued
Don’t be afraid to sell yourself in the phone interview by adding how you would be a good fit to the facility. Demonstrate your flexibility and strengths that will help you go into a contract and be a good fit from day one. Travelers need to be able to start a job and fit with the facility’s culture from the start.
In conclusion, the phone interview is a key step to landing a travel therapy job. With competition for jobs growing, this can be a make or break factor to getting a job. Picking up the phone for the interview may seem obvious, but is commonly overlooked. Being confident in your skills and clearly stating what you can bring to a facility can sell you to a future employer and help you ace the interview!