Before the world of video calling, interviewing for a nurse practitioner position across state lines meant incurred travel expenses and additional stresses for both the employer and potential employee. But in this day and age, Zoom, Skype, Google Meets, and the like video call platforms, have opened doors of opportunity for landing an out-of-state job without any of the hassle or cost.
While a virtual interview might seem like a more relaxed approach, just like a face-to-face meeting, there is still an etiquette to keep in mind when being interviewed. Though there are some common interview techniques to adhere to in any type of interview setting, mastering the art of a virtual interview could mean the difference of either landing or bombing your nurse practitioner dream job. Here are six tips to help you crush your next virtual interview.
1. Maintain professionalism
Treat your video call with the same professionalism as you would an in-person interview. Appearing professional on all fronts will not only keep your interviewer’s eyes and mind from wandering and losing focus on you, but will also show your interviewer that you’re respectful of their time and attention, and that you’re serious about the opportunity ahead.
Choose a neutral, quiet place for your interview without any elaborate backdrops; such as an area in your home with an empty wall space. Avoid public spaces such as Starbucks, as tempting as their free WiFi and fresh lattes may be!
Unlike a standard phone interview, your appearance should be the same as it would be for an in-person interview (at least from the waist up, if you must wear sweatpants!). It’s no secret that looking great also goes hand-in-hand with feeling great, an added bonus that will exude confidence on the other end of the camera.
Remember, your interviewer’s first impression of you will be your username and profile picture, so double check that they are both appropriate. If need be, create a new account that is specifically for your nurse practitioner interviews with a professional photo and screen name.
2. Diminish the potential for interruptions
You wouldn’t go to an in-person interview with your volume turned up on your phone or be caught dead browsing your Facebook page in between scenario questions; likewise you should treat your video call just the same. Silence your phone and close out any programs that might set off notification alarms on your desktop.
You also wouldn’t bring a third wheel to your in-person interview, so if your interview is taking place in an environment where there is the potential for contact with other people (such as during a time when other people will be at home), be sure to let those around you know of your interview or need for privacy in advance so as to keep them from accidentally popping into the view of the camera or from making disruptive noises around you.
While young children may not be able to grasp your need for a professional and quiet environment, if possible, make arrangements in advance for someone to help keep your tot entertained or schedule the interview well into their nap time.
Lastly, be sure to secure animals away from your interview space and out of earshot of the microphone. While your pet may be generally quiet in nature, you can bet your bottom dollar that UPS will show up even if you’re not expecting a package; and if you do decide to interview during a little one’s nap time, a dog’s bark is sure to be a recipe for disaster! As such, don’t hesitate to leave a note on your front door to keep any unexpected guests at bay.
3. Familiarize yourself with the platform
While video call platforms such as Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts serve the same purpose, they each have their own unique functions and tools. Avoid technical difficulties and user error by familiarizing yourself with key features such how to turn the camera on and off and the mute button. You may even want to do a test run with a friend to ensure that your sound is clear and that a headset won’t be needed for added clarity.
Even if you’ve used the platform before, giving it a quick spin with a practice call will reacquaint you with any added updates and will also ensure that your device or computer has everything in place for compatibility. If you find yourself completely stuck, YouTube tutorials are a great source to get you through the basics.
4. Use notes
Take advantage of a virtual interview with notes or a cheat sheet to help you remember things you want to mention about your experiences as a nurse practitioner. Just make sure your notes are in your line of sight, easy to read and to the point so that you can use them sparingly as a quick reference; as relying too heavily on notes can make your interview feel scripted. As with an in-person interview, it’s always a good idea to have a copy of your CV handy as well as a pen and notepad to jot down a few things you might want to remember from your interview.
5. Know where to look
Where to look when you’re on a video call can be a little confusing. The trick is to maintain eye contact much like you would with an actual person, as opposed to looking directly into the camera lens. Checking into the video call a few minutes early will give you the opportunity to double check your appearance and the lighting; otherwise, avoid looking at yourself onscreen no matter how tempting it may be.
6. Follow up!
As with any type of interview, following up with a thank-you letter (like this sample) is just as important after a virtual interview. Keep the letter formal and send it out either via email or as a handwritten note and not through a direct message on the call platform.
As a general rule of thumb, treat your virtual interview similar to how you would an in-person interview… Be prepared and if you wouldn’t do it in person, don’t do it over the internet. The result? You’ll need these key steps to accepting a nurse practitioner job offer!
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