Finding a job when you already have one isn’t easy. Looking to transition from employment in urgent care to a role as a nurse practitioner in the emergency department, I found it difficult to find time for the job search and interview process. Asking for a morning off for an ‘appointment’, which my employer likely assumed was for dental work but in actuality was for a job interview, felt dishonest. Attempting to squeeze job interviews into my demanding work schedule landed me in some awkward positions.
I applied online for a job in a local emergency department and received a voicemail from the prospective employer. I returned the call on my lunch break. Always the multitasker, my lunch break plans for the day involved a quick grocery store run and getting my car washed. Mistiming my call back, I found myself on the phone with the prospective employer as my car was pulled through the car wash. The car wash was much noisier than I expected, and the recruiter for the position could tell something was amiss. Embarrassed, and trying not to seem completely incompetent, I chalked up the noise to a poor connection. Rather than offering to call back in a few minutes, I fought through the noise which was a major mistake. I was rattled and certainly did not come across as someone the organization would want on their team.
I’m not sure if the recruiter believed my bad connection story, or if she simply deemed me incompetent. Needless to say, I did not receive a call back for an in-person interview. Interview blunder lesson number one, don’t interview for a job while driving through a car wash.
In a slightly more effective attempt to obtain a job as an emergency department nurse practitioner, I interviewed with another area hospital. My meeting with the medical director went well, although he was concerned about m lack of ER experience. The position was offered to a physician assistant significantly more seasoned than myself.
Nothing was inherently wrong with my approach to this interview. I performed professionally and came prepared with my resume, several questions, and had done my background research. Still looking for new employment months later, however, I should have followed up. This employer was my best shot at advancing my NP career at that point in time. Had I followed up every few months, I may have been able to get my foot in the door of the emergency department more quickly. Instead, I allowed myself to be overlooked for additional positions that opened up. Interview blunder number two, lack of follow up.
My final interview blunder actually resulted in a job offer. The interview itself went seamlessly, with one exception. I had neglected to educate myself as to the basics of nurse practitioner employment agreements. Thrilled to have found a job before I graduated from my nurse practitioner program, I immediately signed the proposed contract. I did not have much leverage to negotiate as a new grad NP, however I would have been wise to seek clarification on several terms of my employment. Neglecting to do so ultimately led to a bitter departure from this employer a year later. Interview blunder lesson number three? An offer is just the benign of the job acquisition process.
What mistakes have you made in your nurse practitioner job interviews?