Congratulations on being invited to an on-site Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant job interview! After feeling a rush of relief and excitement, these interview warning signs can help you decide if this is really the right job for you.
We’re sharing five interview warning signs to look for. If you see them, you may want to ask some hard questions and critically evaluate whether to take the job or stick it out for a better opportunity.
The Interview Process is Disorganized or Unprofessional
Even before you arrive on-site, you’ll have a sense of whether the interview process is well organized. Here are a few clues: You’re given contact information for a person to call if you get delayed. They send you an agenda with the names and titles of your interviewers. You know in advance if you’ll have an opportunity to meet and round with your prospective team. If changes are made to the agenda, the interviewers tell you and help you make adjustments. Finally, you know whether the organization is paying for travel expenses and how you’ll be reimbursed.
You Observe Poor Communication Among the Staff
As you observe the work environment, pay close attention to how the staff talk to one another. Are they courteous and respectful or rude and dismissive? If you sense an undertone of conflict and resentment, that’s an interview warning sign. The organization may not be doing a good job supporting its employees, raising up strong leaders, or nipping personnel issues in the bud.
Conflicting Descriptions of the Role and Responsibilities
As part of preparing for your interview, we recommend that you carefully review the job description. It’s also important that you review the state scope of practice. With this baseline, jot down 3-4 questions about the role you can ask every person you talk to. Then compare answers. Does it seem like they all agree on the responsibilities of the role? If not, the role may not be well defined and you might end up working a very different job than you think.
No Clear Orientation Plan
In a supportive work environment, new employees are given time for training and orientation as they work up to an independent full-patient load. Did you discuss an orientation period during your interview? Do you know what the employer expects in terms of your patient load and productivity for the first 12-18 months? What benchmarks will be used to measure your effectiveness? Before you accept an offer, make sure you understand how the organization will support you as a new team member.
Additional Limits on Your Scope of Practice
Look for any warning signs that the job won’t let you practice to the full extent of your scope and training. Your prospective employer can’t do much about state practice and licensure laws. But, they should be able to explain how hospital bylaws limit what you’re allowed to do. To find out, ask, “Please tell me about your day. What is the role of the NP/ PA?” As you interview, shadow or round, observe the role. If you see activities that fall outside your allowable scope (see bonus links below) ask yourself, “Will I be satisfied in this role over the long term?” One of the top reasons nurse practitioners and physician assistants leave their jobs in the first 2 years is because their scope of practice and role are unsatisfying.
Bonus: 11 Signs of a Successful Advanced Practice Hospital
Bonus: How to Understand the Scope of Practice for a Nurse Practitioner (also generally applies to Physician Assistants)
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