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Travel Nursing Interview Tips + Tricks

Jul 2, 2019
Sarah Gray, RN

The interview process can be nerve-racking, regardless of when the interviews occur and what they’re for. And it’s a total assumption that all interviews are created equal. In fact, for travel positions, they’re quite different – if they happen at all! Whether you’ve done this a million times before or are new to the game, we’ve got the low-down on what to expect, ask, and do – before and after interviews.

This guide gives you suggestions on how to ace a travel nursing interview. If you're looking for a more general introduction to interviews, check out our nursing interview guide!


What's the Point of Interviews?

This might seem obvious but hear us out. Interviews are largely considered an opportunity for an employer to determine whether you’re a good fit for a role. BUT, that’s only half the equation. It’s also the prospective employee’s opportunity to determine if it’s a good fit as well. Obviously, in order for the opportunity to come to fruition, the employer my make the final call. However, you also have the chance - and owe it to yourself - to do the same. You should optimize this time to get answers to your questions in order to get an idea of whether you’d like to pursue the opportunity (or would feel comfortable doing so) if an offer is extended.


What to Expect -

Leading up to your phone interview (phone interviews are the norm for travel nursing jobs), keep your phone on you, and be sure to answer any calls from numbers you’re not familiar with. If you miss the call, be sure to call back ASAP. Depending on how urgent the need is, nurse managers may quickly move on to the next candidate if you do not answer their call the first time around. Also, be ready to answer some of the nursing interview questions on this list.


Must-Know -

Unfortunately, you won't always get all the important deets about a position that you need to make an informed decision. These below points would be best to find out from your nurse manager. They are things you or your staffing agency can always inquire about on your behalf, but it can be most accurate and efficient to discuss them with the hiring manager directly.

Orientation‍

  • How often is orientation held (in the event that you need a flexible start)?
  • How many precepted shifts will you get?

Specific Unit Population‍

  • i.e. All MedSurg units are not created equal. What is the primary patient population and diagnoses?

Nurse-to-Patient Ratio

  • How many beds are there per nurse?

Use of Travelers‍

  • Are they used frequently, or will you be the first/only one?
  • Do they put travelers in charge roles?

Support staff‍

  • What types of support staff are utilized (i.e. CNAs, IV team)?

Floating‍

  • In practice, how much floating actually occurs?
  • What units would you be expected to float to?
  • Will you receive any orientation to those units? How would that work?

Scheduling‍

  • Is the shift set or is it rotating/variable?
  • Is there a rotating weekends policy?
  • What holidays will you be expected to be available to work?


Nice-to-Know -

  • If there is time to ask, these would be nice to know! But no worries, these items are something your agency can always find out on your behalf if you don’t have time.

Scrub Color

  • What color scrubs will you be required to wear? Do you already own an appropriate pair, or will you need to purchase one?
  • (Here's a fun look at why scrubs are the colors they are!)

Overtime Opportunities‍

  • How often are there short shifts, and how likely will it be for you to work overtime?

EMR/Charting System(s)

  • Epic, Allscripts, Practice Fusion, etc.


Must-Do -

Discuss Time-Off Requests

  • Unfortunately, you can’t always assume this was already communicated to the hiring manager.

Discuss and Clarify Timeline‍

  • Start date (especially if yours deviates from the start date indicated on the original job posting/offer).
  • Length (again, especially if yours deviates from the start date indicated to you).

Write Down the Interviewer’s Name‍

  • This will enable your agency to follow up on your behalf and allow you to recognize them on your unit! Don’t be afraid to say “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your full name. Do you mind telling me again?”
  • Note: the interviewer isn’t always necessarily the nurse manager or hiring manager.

If you are interested in the position, it's a good idea to communicate how eager and excited you are to get a job offer! Some ways to do this are by mentioning, “This sounds like a great fit!,” or “If the offer is extended, I would be very excited to accept it!”

Let Your Agency Know as Soon as You Have Been Interviewed!

  • This way they can follow up for the offer, or if you have outstanding questions or reservations, they can find out the answer for you!

Thank the Interviewer for Her/His Time

  • If possible, send a follow-up thank you email.


The above is meant to serve as a general guide and resource, but as always, make sure to get as much information as possible from the hiring manager before making a decision! For some more nursing interview advice, take a look at this awesome guide one of our Trusted Nurses wrote for us!