We work with a number of nurse practitioners here at ThriveAP to help arrange out of town interviews for our programs. And, yes, we’ve heard a few horror stories over the years (as well as some run-of-the-mill feedback from employers). While we don’t wish less than ideal situations on anyone, they do serve as lessons learned for out-of-town nurse practitioner interviews. If you’re heading away for an NP interview, here are a few pieces of etiquette to keep in mind.
1. Who pays for travel and lodging? How will expenses be covered?
Generally, the employer covers the cost of travel and lodging for an out-of-town nurse practitioner interview, but this shouldn’t be assumed. It’s perfectly okay to ask if the employer will be covering your travel expenses or if you should budget to cover these costs on your own. You’ll also want to find our how expenses will be covered. Will you pay upfront with reimbursement from the employer? Or, will the employer book travel and related items for you, covering the cost up front. Don’t forget to save your receipts!
Bonus: I recommend inquiring about costs for expenses like flight, hotel and potentially transportation to and from the airport or a rental car. Nickel and dime-ing a prospective employer over the cost of breakfast at the hotel, for example, can paint you in a negative light.
2. Who makes the travel arrangements?
Some employers book flights, a rental car and other travel logistics for interviewees. Others leave it up to interviewees to book their own flights or at least find the desired flight and travel accommodations on their own. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask your prospective employer what you should expect in regards to coordinating interview logistics.
Bonus: If you’re responsible for booking your own travel and lodging, visit on a budget. Booking a first class ticket or a fancy hotel may not go over very well with your potential boss. I typically ask for a few recommendations of where to stay to make sure the employer and I are thinking along the same lines as to what constitutes reasonable accommodations.
3. Can I bring a spouse or significant other?
Some employers invite spouses or significant others to accompany highly qualified applicants to town for interviews while others do not. You should not expect that your sig-o sit in the nurse practitioner interview with you, but rather that they are able to share your experience checking out the area where you’ll potentially relocate. If the employer does not invite your significant other, you can certainly cover travel costs on your own to bring them to the area. This can be wise if they will be relocating with you. Typically, if an employer will cover the cost, they will offer to do so. I usually refrain from asking for this in the interview process.
4. How should I pack for the interview?
Some employers send detailed agendas and have day-long plans for nurse practitioner interviewees. Others stick with the typical one or two hour long interview for out of towners. Be prepared for either scenario. Make sure to pack at least two interview outfits in case the employer asks you to come back the following day to talk with more members of the team or to have a meal with potential colleagues.
Bonus: Make sure your spouse or significant other also packs a professional outfit. An employer may invite your significant other out for a meal to meet the team and you’ll want him or her to represent you in the best possible light.
5. How should I plan to spend my time?
You must, must, must prioritize the interview itself (obviously!) and any associated events. Even if you have a long-lost best friend in the town where you’re interviewing and plans to catch up over dinner, if your prospective employer suggests going out to eat, you’ll need to ditch the date with your friend. The signal you want to send is that you’re devoted to this job. The best way to express your interest is by being fully engaged during the interview process whatever it entails.
Along those lines, you’ll also want to be punctual for your interview which can be difficult when you’re traveling and/or unfamiliar with the area. Arrive a day in advance of your interview in case of travel delays and so you can plan your route for the big day.
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