Are You Prepared for Your PA or NP Phone Job Interview?

The telephone job interview is your first, and best, chance to get your foot in the door.

Woman on the telephone for a job interview
Why dress up if the interviewer can’t see you? We explain.

Did you know that if your PA or NP phone job interview goes well, you have a good chance of moving on to an in-person interview? It’s true. Increasingly, hiring managers are using phone interviews as the first step in the hiring process for nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs). This is especially true for candidates who live at a distance. While basic interviewing principles apply to any interaction with a hiring manager, here are a few things you’ll want to know before you answer the phone.

Do Your Research. Even though you won’t be visiting the hospital or clinic, you should know as much about it as possible. A great way to do this is to visit the hospital website and look into its history, current services, research, and policies. Carefully review the position description and role you’re being interviewed for. It’s also a good idea to look up your interviewer through professional sites like LinkedIn. Knowing the person’s position and area of expertise will help increase your comfort level, as will seeing his or her profile photo.

Introduce Yourself with Confidence. Because the PA or NP phone job interview serves as your introduction to the hiring organization, the interview questions are likely to be broad and open-ended. Expect questions like:

  • Tell me little bit about yourself.
  • What do you know about this position and our organization?
  • What do you see as your transferable skills for this position?
  • Why are you pursuing a job change?

At this point, the interviewer is validating the information on your resume, and getting a sense of your personality and experience. He or she is deciding whether to keep you in consideration or screen you out. Provide clear and concise answers to keep the conversation moving. You don’t want the call to get stuck on one topic, so avoid giving too much background information.

Ask Great Questions. At some point during the phone interview, you will have a chance to ask questions of your own about the physician assistant or nurse practitioner position. In the same way, stick to 2-3 broad questions that show you’re interested and have done your research. Avoid asking any question that could be answered by the job posting or the organization’s website.

Overcome Technical Limitations. When it comes to taking the call, here are a few more things to keep in mind:

  • Take the interview in a quiet environment with no distractions.
  • Do not eat, drink, or chew gum.
  • Dress professionally and smile. Even if the interviewer can’t see you, they’ll hear the positive tone in your voice.
  • Speak slowly and pause after an answer to give your interviewer a moment to respond.
  • Have a pen, paper, and access to your calendar nearby. The interviewer may ask about your availability for a future interview.

Be a Closer. As the call comes to a close, be sure to express your interest in the position and a willingness to meet in person. You can also ask about the next step in the interview process, and when you might hear back. Regardless of the outcome of the call, it’s important to express genuine appreciation. We recommend that candidates send a thank you e-mail after the interview.

What about Video Conferencing? It is increasingly common for interviewers to use Skype or another videoconferencing platform to initially screen applicants. All tips for a phone interview still apply, and you also will need to address the following:

  • Sign up for a Skype account (if necessary) and test your computer system beforehand.
  • Make sure your environment is well-lit, clean, and uncluttered. It is best to be sitting at a desk or kitchen table, rather than in an overly casual environment like on a couch or a bed.
  • Professional attire, makeup, and grooming are as important for video as they are for an in-person interview.

Above all, take the phone interview seriously. It may seem that a 15-30 minute conversation is less critical than an in-person meeting. But in truth, the PA or NP phone job interview is perhaps the most important step, as you must quickly and effectively prove you’re worth further consideration. Good luck! For further reading, you may enjoy these phone interview tips from the the NAPNAP Career Guide.

The Melnic team is here to support you. For additional interview tips or career coaching, please contact us.