Mastering the Phone Interview Process
You’ve worked hard to establish yourself as a highly-skilled allied healthcare professional, and now you’re ready for the freedom of travel. This means, as you take your initial steps, you have another set of skills to master — the art of the telephone interview. In order to ensure phone interview success, Brent Harrolle, Regional Vice President of Recruiting for Med Travelers, offered the following tips:
Preparing for the Call
“As with any other interview, preparation is key,” explained Harrolle. “By doing your homework in advance and practicing your answers, you are more likely to be able to fully articulate your skill-set and your value to the healthcare organization.”
“Prior to the call, it’s also very important to make sure your environment is clear of other people and extraneous noise, such as radios, TVs and pets — and be sure to have your résumé in front of you for quick reference. I always suggest that interviewees prepare a list of accomplishments for each of their former positions prior to starting the call. This will help you to really focus on the specifics that you to want to highlight, and ensure that you don’t forget anything important.”
Harrolle also recommended that candidates fully research the facility prior to the call by checking its website or using a search engine. “Find out about any news, highlights, awards or other details that could relate to your position ,” he said. “Request information about the facility and the open position from your recruiter too. By knowing as much as possible about the role and environment, you’ll naturally feel more comfortable discussing the specifics with your interviewer.”
Formulating questions in advance is also strongly encouraged. Focus on the position's responsibilities, goals and expectations of the facility and the department manager. Of course, in addition to being prepared, make sure you’re on time for the call itself!
“The first 15 seconds of the call are crucial,” declared Harrolle. “Do your best to present yourself as an enthusiastic professional and keep in mind that even the way in which you answer the phone has an impact on the caller! Speak clearly and distinctly, but don’t overtake the conversation. Even if you’re nervous, remember to slow down and ask the interviewer if your answers are fulfilling their needs.”
Harrolle pointed out the importance of establishing a connection with the interviewer, which can often be more difficult over the phone than in an in-person interview. “Ask about the caller's experience with the facility,” he suggested. “Mention something you know about the open position and do your best to convey your desire to secure the job. Once you are comfortable, ask the interviewer about his or her specific goals and expectations and ask about the facility’s experience in working with travelers.”
During the Call
Another critical recommendation is that candidates make an effort to really know their own résumé. “This is important,” said Harrolle. “Don't assume that the person on the other end of the phone is completely aware of your background or unique skills. Demonstrate your accomplishments. Review a problem that you turned into a positive situation. Help the interviewer understand the problem, your specific role, what path you took to resolve it and the final result.”
“Make sure you also take the opportunity to discuss experiences you have had with similar equipment or procedures that are integral to the position and always emphasize your ability to be a team player. Have examples ready and ask questions from the list you have prepared. Asking good questions illustrates that you are already thinking seriously about the position and the assignment. Potential employers expect to be asked questions and welcome opportunities to talk about their companies and their own backgrounds.”
Closing the Call
“The way in which you finish the interview is just as important to how you started it,” Harrolle pointed out. “You want to leave the impression that you are an accomplished professional. If you don't already have it, be sure to ask for the interviewer's name and title. Thank him or her for their time and be sure to say that you are very interested in the opportunity.”
“If the interviewer has not asked you about your schedule or availability, it’s a good idea to ask what the next step in the process is going to be,” concluded Harrolle. “And after the interview has been completed, call your recruiter to discuss it."