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7 Questions to Ask when you Interview for an NP or PA Job

Posted on March 17, 2020   |   by   |   Communication Skills, Employers, Interview Questions for NPs and PAs, Job Seekers, New Grads

7 Questions to Ask when you Interview for an NP or PA Job

When interviewing for an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN – CRNAs, CNS, NPs, or Midwives) or Physician Assistant (PA) job, it is important to ask yourself what you need to learn from the interview process in order to accept a position. By organizing your questions into categories, you will set yourself up to make the best decision possible. We’ve come up with several suggestions below to aid you through this process. 

Some interview questions you may ask directly, but often you can listen for the answer. Ask the same questions with each person you interview in order to compare answers. If you are interviewing for more than one job, it is important to build a spreadsheet to compare options. You may even want to weight the categories to compare what matters most to you.

Benefits- APRN and PA job Compensation, Not Just Salary

Often the benefits package will be presented to you from the start of the interview process, but if not consider asking the hiring manager or human resources department for this information when given an offer. APRNs and PAs often wonder when is the appropriate time to ask about salary. 

Let the employer be the first to bring up salary. You may be asked about your salary expectations during your interview, or the conversation might occur once an offer is made.  When asked, inquire about their salary range. State that you are either a new graduate and unsure or new to the area and unsure. Often HR departments have established salary ranges – your goal should be to receive an offer at the top of this range.  If you are experienced, you do not have to share your current salary. Rather, you can share the amount you are interested in, but this has the potential to anchor yourself to a lower number than they may have otherwise offered. Thus, we suggest letting them speak first. Then, once you receive the range or get an offer, you can negotiate. 

Interview Questions for Human Resources:

What is the estimated start date?

When should I expect to hear from you so that another opportunity does not pass me by?

Benefits to inquire about: (ask if there is a benefits package- then ask about any missing information when you receive an offer)

  • Medical, dental, and vision insurance
  • Education benefits – higher education tuition reimbursement, college tuition for your children, loan repayment options
  • Sign-on or productivity bonuses 
  • Holiday schedule requirements 
  • Relocation packages, including temporary housing
  • PTO/sick time
  • Malpractice insurance- tail coverage
  • Retirement/401K matches
  • Reimbursement for continuing education (CMEs) 
  • CME days off to attend conferences and/or training
  • Reimbursement for licensing fees
  • A work cell phone and/or computer
  • Reimbursement for a lab coat with the hospital logo 
  • Parking costs and/or access to public transportation

Questions to ask HR after you are made an offer:

  • Yearly pay raise and/or opportunities to grow in the role? 
  • Are raises determined by merit or productivity? 
  • Are there bonus/productivity incentives?
  • Is there a sign-on bonus?
  • What is the vacation time allotted? Sick time? Paid holidays? 

Interview Questions About the Role and Culture

  • Who will I directly report to? Will this person always be available on-site for me?
  • What do the day-to-day responsibilities of the role look like?
  • What is the collaborative vision for the role of MDs with the APRNs and PAs?
  • Are there regular meetings for the team to communicate?
  • What is the team model to provide role delineation for APPs and trainees so that an environment of trust and respect is cultivated?
  • How will I interact with all members of the team – including MAs, RNs, MDs, fellows/residents, etc.?
    Is there interdisciplinary support, i.e. from behavioral health clinicians, nutritionists, etc.? 
  • Who will I work with the most? What is the team dynamic like? 
  • Who is the collaborating physician?
  • What is the role of the APRN within the interdisciplinary team?
  • What will the schedule look like for the person in this role? How many shifts in a 4 week period will be required, including days, nights, weekends?
  • How many patients does the APRN or PA see or carry?
  • If understaffed, can APRNs and PAs pick up moonlighting shifts (i.e. paid extra to work them), or is a hospitalist hired?
  • How is work allocated to ensure all ancillary staff work to the tops of their licenses, such that APPs are not burdened with additional administrative responsibilities atop their clinical duties? 
  • Are the APRNs and PAs currently in this role satisfied? If you could change one thing what would it be?
  • What are the top three things providers here enjoy about their jobs?
  •  What are you looking for in an  APRN or PA that joins your team? What qualities do you appreciate most in those with whom you work?
  • What is your favorite part of this job? What is the most challenging?
  • How would you describe the culture here? What is the clinic/office environment like?
  • How is your work/life balance? Are you writing notes all the time at home and/or working late? Does it depend on the day?
  • What can I tell you about my qualifications for this position?
  • If I were the chosen candidate, do you have any recommendations on how to make sure I am as ready as possible on day 1?
  • What are you looking for in the APRN or PA who would join this team?
  • Can you describe the patient population in more detail? 
  • What is a typical day like for the APRN or PA in this role? 
  • How much time is allotted for administrative duties or academic time?
  • Are there any research initiatives that I could be involved in? What would my role be on these? Is there time allocated for me to pursue these types of initiatives?
  • Can you tell me more about the non-clinical part of the role such as: attending meetings, conferences, and seminars. Can you elaborate on what this means? 
  • Is there a more senior nurse practitioner at this practice, and can you elaborate on how his or her role evolved since the beginning?
  • Are there any specific training requirements? If I were to be the candidate chosen for this position, what could I do to best prepare before beginning?

Interview Questions About the Orientation Process for APRNs and PAs

  • How long is the APRN or PA orientation?
  • Who will I meet with regularly for feedback as I progress through orientation?
  • Will I have a designated preceptor in the beginning?
  • How many patients will be required of me to see per session? Will there be a gradual patient load or will I be expected to start off at the same patient volume requirement as other providers??
  • Are there competencies, skills, and educational opportunities?
  • Opportunity for shadowing?

Questions About the APRN and PA Scheduling

  • Who creates and schedules patients? 
  • Does the clinic/institution use an off-site call center, or does the staff do the scheduling?
  • What is the culture around double-booking?
  • Does the team self-schedule?
  • Is there block scheduling?

Interview Questions About the Work Environment

  • What are the company’s values? 
  • What characteristics do you look for in employees in order to represent those values?
  • What is the team culture and work environment like? 
  • How do people interact and treat each other? Does everyone feel respected?

Interview Questions about Opportunities for Professional Development

  • Are there opportunities for professional development?  If so, what do those look like?
  • Is there a structure for program professional advancement? What does that look like?  
  • Do the APPs have protected time? How much time is allocated to administrative duties?

Interview Questions About Job Success Factors

  • What are the top priorities for this role?
  • How do you measure success in the role?
  • What do you see as the most challenging aspect of this job? 
  • If you hired me, and I was successful, what would be different in a year?
  • Is there another APP at this practice, and how has his or her role evolved with experience/?

Here are additional resources for APRNs and PAs. Do you need a Sample Resume? Are you looking for an APRN or PA Job?

Or, are you hiring? Let’s talk, Jill Gilliland, President, Melnic. jill@melnic.com

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