In a world where the first impression you make is very likely without you being present, it is vital to really think about what others, especially a potential employer, are able to learn about you. In the field of travel nursing, this is a very important point and its consideration can make the difference between getting a job and getting passed over for one. If you have ever asked your recruiter, “am I doing something wrong? Why am I not getting interviews or job offers?”, then this blog is for you.
In a conventional employment search, a potential candidate will get called in for at least one interview with a hiring manager. In those scenarios, almost all would agree that presentation is a definitive factor in whether or not someone gets hired; most would pay close attention to hygiene, grooming and clothes selection to give the best impression.
Travel nursing differs because rarely is the visual component a factor in interviews, as they are mostly conducted over the phone, if the manager doesn’t simply hire based on the resume. However, this doesn’t mean that you aren’t still making a first impression, before the conversation even begins. Here are some things to consider to give you the best chance in a competitive and saturated market:
Does your Facebook page have controversial statements, comments and links? Travel nurses are attractive to hospitals primarily because they aren’t a part of the existing drama at a facility and can usually integrate seamlessly while staying out of Core staff conflicts. If your page can make someone infer, even erroneously, that you might have a problem with race, gender or some other bias, you can forget that job. If you are overly passionate about politics or activism, it might be deemed that you would further stir up already turbulent waters at a hospital.
Does your Instagram page show that you are a hard-core partyer? If you’re constantly surrounded by red cups and kegs, always in bars or have pictures of illegal substances (even if certain ones are legal in your home state), expect to not get interviews. If your page is over-sexualized, will you be viewed as too much of a distraction to be worth hiring?
As a common-sense caveat, be aware that posting things about facilities on Twitter or any pictures of patients will also be a red flag for a hospital. Don’t do it. Remember that hiring managers are human beings too and you are subject to their biases, as well. If you can’t sanitize your accounts, consider making them private and creating separate ones for your professional interests. If time permits, a potential employer will always dig around to see what you’re about before any interview happens.
Those magical pocket computers we all obsess over are actually telephones, and it’s important to remember wise protocols in their use. If your outgoing message is “hilarious” to you and your close friends, ask yourself if a potential employer would share in the laugh. Are you snarky, rude or unprofessional? Then enjoy unemployment. Do you have an offensive song playing as a Ringback tone? It may be worth rethinking that. It is highly likely that nursing managers call far more frequently than people realize but no messages are left because something heard while calling your phone was deemed offensive.
If you do get the chance for a phone interview, it’s important to ensure you sound great, both as a candidate and simply sound good in that conversation. You may love your Bluetooth headset for calls but on the other end of that line, someone is listening to a distant voice, fading in and out among the sounds of an apparent wind tunnel. Maybe you have the one brand that doesn’t sound like total garbage while driving around or maybe the people you talk with regularly are too polite to tell you how abysmal it sounds; either way, if you can’t not use it, research how it sounds to someone else. Is your reception so poor that you have a massive delay? If so, let the interviewer know so that the dramatic pauses in your answers to her questions are not misconstrued as uncertainty. Are you a toilet talker? No worries (unless you are using Facetime!) but be aware that phones pick up audio by design, so urination sounds are not helping you get the job. And does it need to be said that everyone can hear a toilet flush?!? Leave it alone during the conversation…it will be ready to swirl when you’re finished.
Do you have any tips to avoid tanking an interview? Let us know in the comments!