As graduation nears for many nurse practitioner students, finding a job is a top priority. Landing that first NP position can be a daunting task but a solid job interview can certainly give you the upper hand over other applicants. To prepare for your upcoming job interviews, start by avoiding the most common mistakes interviewees make.
1. Unprofessional Appearance
Showing up in flip-flops is enough to doom any job interview, unless you’re applying to work at the local water park. Dress for success for each and every interview, better than you plan to dress for a workday if you are actually hired for the position. As a nurse practitioner you will be a well paid professional so present yourself as such. Put on a suit, your classiest kicks, and scrub off that temporary tattoo your kids or fraternity members convinced you to put on your forearm last week.
Not only does a professional appearance require career-appropriate attire, you need to act the part. Eye contact and a firm handshake go a long way in presenting yourself as confident and competent. Resist the temptation, especially as a new grad, to slump in your seat and act intimidated by employers. Play the part.
2. Not Doing Your Homework
Not having a basic understanding of a clinic or hospital before you interview is a glaring mistake. It conveys negligence on your part. Before every interview, look at the clinic or hospital’s website taking in as much information as possible. What types of patients do they treat? What kinds of employees do they have on staff? Do they have an online appointment scheduling system you can compliment in your interview?
In addition to looking at your prospective employer’s website, do an online search for the company. Employer review websites may alert you to common problems employees of the organization face. Or, you may find local or even national publications praising your employer or interest.
Finally, read, read, and re-read the specific job posting itself. Interviewing without understanding as many specifics of the position as possible is a red flag to prospective employers.
3. Showing Up Unprepared
When you show up unprepared to an interview, employers assume this is your norm. No clinic or hospital wants to hire a nurse practitioner who isn’t ready to work. So, be proactive in your interview prep.
While most employers ask you to send your resume in advance, show up at every interview with a few copies of your resume in hand. Distribute them to everyone present at the interview. This shows employers you have thought ahead in anticipation of the big day. It also helps them ask pertinent questions regarding your education and experience.
Bring a notebook and pen with you to each interview and take notes. Scrawling down a few points as your prospective employer explains the job opportunity helps you not only remember the interview later, but also conveys interest and active listening.
For every job interview, you should come prepared with a few questions to ask your prospective employer. This is a good place to show that you have done your research on the organization and feel it would be a good fit for you. At this point in the interview process you should be asking questions such as “What challenges do you see your clinic facing over the next year?” rather than “Do you think we could work out an arrangement where I get off work at 2pm every Wednesday?”. Save these types of questions for after you get an employment offer.