Friday, April 19, 2013

Inside the Mind of the Nurse Hiring Manager

By Aaron Moore, RN, MSN, travel nurse expert

Recently I had the privilege of being involved in interviews for a new staff member on the unit where I work.  It was an eye-opening process, and one that I would encourage others to experience.  As we prepared questions and talked with candidates, I found myself thinking about travel nurse interviews and what a nurse manager must be thinking when they speak with potential travelers over the phone.

It became clear to me that a hiring manager has a few key things on his or her mind:

• Is this person competent in the area I am hiring them to work? 
• Do they seem dependable?
• How will they work with the other staff already on my unit? 
• Oh, and when can they start?!

Competency is a huge piece of what a manager is looking for when they interview you. They have to quickly assess what you can and can’t do.  The résumé or application packet that your company provides on your behalf will usually include a skills sheet that you can refer to during your conversation, which helps the manager see what training you’ve had. 

And that serves as a reminder: make sure to update your recruiter on any classes you have taken, and, at your current assignment, ask to be included in any training that they offer.  Being proficient in balloon pump monitoring, ICP monitoring, or any new equipment that may be out there will only help your chances of getting hired in the future.

Are you dependable?  Managers don’t want to hire someone who calls in all the time or has a history of not helping the team.  So when I am a job candidate, I try to use certain words that managers like to hear, like “team player” or “dependable.”  But be ready to give examples of how you have demonstrated those qualities, and be sure to follow through at each assignment.  If a facility reports that a traveler is unreliable, that poor review can affect future job prospects.  On the other hand, when recruiters hear great things from employers, they will pass those comments along to hiring managers, which can really help your chances.

Lastly, how do you work with the other staff on the unit? I have worked many jobs over the years and have realized that, while the names change, there are always certain personalities that pop up on any unit.   You have to be able to deal with people who are easily upset, angry, or rude.  During an interview, make sure you can describe a situation that shows you know how to deal with conflict.  You also have to be flexible in a job like this, so let the manager know that you are excited to work in their (insert name here) unit, and will help out however you can.

And if the “When can you start?” question seems a little funny, just remember that you are temporary help and you are being considered to fill a very specific need.  There probably won’t be a series of interviews, so you have this one shot to make a good impression.  If the manager likes what he or she hears, you could get offered the job on the same day.  Are you ready?

If you are hoping for a quick offer at your next interview, remember the manager’s perspective and how important it is to present yourself as someone who is competent, reliable, and a team player.  Your recruiter can also give you the inside scoop on the job and help you prepare, but the more you can describe situations that show you have the core traits a manager is looking for, the better your chances of getting the position.

So practice your answers and get ready to enjoy your next great adventure in travel nursing!

Do You Have a Question About Travel Nursing?
Submit a question to Aaron, our travel nursing expert, today.
Or apply now to get started on a travel nursing assignment.

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