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Career Tips and Tools

How To Prepare for a Virtual Interview

Tips to help you make an on-screen connection with recruiters

By Terrey L. Hatcher and Jordan Baker
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O
nline interviewing and virtual job fairs have become necessary tools in the recruitment and hiring process for many healthcare and nursing organizations. They have some clear benefits, including convenient scheduling when a busy hiring manager and job candidates are in different locations.
Yet online-only meetings can sometimes hinder a nurse’s ability to make an interpersonal connection with a recruiter.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, some organizations started with a phone interview, which could then lead to an in-person interview with the recruiter, direct supervisors, and others. But as the pandemic made physical distancing and rigid infection control precautions necessary, face-to-face meetings became a riskier proposition. As a result, virtual job interviews frequently became the starting point for narrowing down a candidate pool.
To make the most of the hiring process in this situation, keep these virtual interview tips in mind as you prepare for your on-screen debut with recruiters:
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Make Sure That You Stand Out

Recruiters are often swamped with resumes for each open position. To secure an interview, you need to make yourself stand out, which can be easier said than done. To capture their interest, make sure you can speak authoritatively on the following topics:
  • What makes you proud to be a nurse
  • What you can offer the organization that others can’t
  • What positively surprises coworkers and managers about you
  • The traits you feel that past managers and coworkers appreciate about you
  • How you define ”excellence” for yourself
  • The contributions you make to the community outside of work
Once you have a good idea of what you should highlight about yourself, think about how you will draw attention to your attributes during a remote interview.

Keep an Eye Out for Culture Clues

Remote interviews don’t allow you to observe the office environment first-hand and interact with other team members outside of the interview. Another downside is that video doesn’t allow recruiters, managers, and job candidates to see and interpret one another’s body language to the same extent.
Unfortunately, you will miss out on these first-person snapshots, which can give both you and the hiring manager insight into working together. But you can pick up on cues from interviewers — including potential displays of rudeness, friendliness, and communication styles — all of which can give you an insight into the company’s culture.

Don’t Be Afraid to Boast (Without Bragging)

Marketing yourself will play a key role in winning over recruiters and convincing them to choose you after the interview. When speaking with recruiters and managers, don’t be afraid to highlight your strengths.
Keep in mind that the healthcare arena attracts people who want to make a difference in the lives of others. With that thought in mind, “arrive” at the virtual interview prepared to discuss how you feel your work as a nurse has made a difference in someone’s life.

Know How to Present Yourself on Screen

Think strategically about how you can highlight your personality virtually.
Because of the inherent challenges in online interviewing, preparation is vital. Make sure to practice responses to boilerplate questions beforehand so you can have a prompt, confident response at the ready. Additionally, it may prove helpful to have notes at your disposal, though you should refrain from constantly referring to them.
As remote interviews remove many of the in-person cues recruiters once used to judge a candidate, many now take these cues from your background. When preparing for your interview, consider what the recruiter will see behind you and stage your environment. A neutral, uncluttered background is best, but if that’s not possible, use a virtual background, preferably with an image of an office, rather than mountains, space, beaches, or an abstract image.
Here are some tips to help you put your best foot forward:
  • Make sure you have proper lighting.
  • Dress professionally.
  • Appear as if you're making eye contact with the recruiter by looking directly into the webcam.
  • Ask the recruiter questions designed to explore the company’s culture and your place in it such as, “What’s your favorite part of working there?” and “What do you enjoy most about the company’s culture?”
  • Be ready to ask follow-up questions to ease into a real conversation with natural give and take. Even more so on screen, showing that you’re engaged in the conversation is important.

A Few Parting Thoughts

The work you have put into landing the right job — sending out resumes, interviewing, networking — is only the beginning of your new career path. After you start your role, you’ll be part of a new culture that may naturally shift and adjust over time. Be sure to keep abreast of these changes and learn how to maneuver them to your benefit. And be ready to share the knowledge you’ve acquired with your new colleagues and show how you can help the organization as it looks to the future. After all, nursing is a team endeavor.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Terrey L. Hatcher is Manager of Content Marketing for Relias. Hatcher has worked in professional development and curriculum design organizations for more than 20 years. At Relias, she has collaborated with nurses, curriculum designers, writers, and others to shape healthcare content designed to improve clinical practice, staff expertise, and patient outcomes.
Jordan Baker is a Content Marketing Manager for Relias. He is passionate about e-learning and helping learners achieve their goals. He works with subject matter experts across disciplines to shape healthcare content designed to improve clinical practice, staff expertise, and patient outcomes.