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What If Your Nursing Interview Is a Video Call?

During the coronavirus pandemic, remote job interviews became prevalent among many businesses, including healthcare facilities. Many employers have continued to conduct at least some part of nursing interviews virtually, even after lifting mask mandates and other preventive measures. As a result, nurses who have earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) are well poised for career advancements and should be ready for non-traditional interview formats.

In-Person Interviewing Skills Still Matter

Even for an interview conducted remotely, the standard advice for interviewing still applies. This article provides you with some best practices for interviewing for a nursing position:

Preparation and research. While a video call feels less formal, this is not an excuse to go into it unprepared. Nurses should still do their due diligence about a company’s history and overall mission and goals, says American Nurse, a publication by the American Nurses Association. You should consider how your values align with those of a potential employer and how your unique skill set will assist the organization in achieving those goals.

In addition, you should know the responsibilities and expectations of a position and how your qualifications match those requirements. Ideally, you should have answers for these topics on hand:

  • Job description for the position
  • Copy of your resume
  • Research notes
  • List of points to cover and questions to ask
  • Blank paper for note taking

Appearance and attire. Choose professional attire, just as you would for an in-person interview, such as a suit, suit dress or blouse and slacks. In general, avoid bold patterns, prints and bright colors. You should have clean, styled hair and minimal jewelry or accessories.

How Can You Prepare for a Virtual Job Interview?

Now that you have the usual preparations underway, you should give adequate thought to the virtual element of the interview.  

Choose a neutral spot. When creating an interview space, the background matters. Avoid any area of your home with frequent foot traffic or distracting clutter. According to career coaching advice published in Wired, a blank wall often provides the best background. Place a small table or desk in the space — approximately three feet from the wall instead of directly against it — and pair it with a supportive, low-backed chair that does not creak when moved.

Optimize lighting. Lighting is tricky and an area where you want to strike a balance. Too much light, especially from a window or lamp directly above or behind you, can create glare and make it difficult for the interviewer to see. Natural light is usually most flattering. Alternatively, position table lamps on each side of you so the light crosses at a diagonal and illuminates the entire space.

Remain mindful of camera type. If choosing between a laptop or cell phone for the video call, choose the highest resolution device. While a laptop’s screen likely spans 12 or more inches, the quality of the camera may hover around just one megapixel. On the other hand, many cell phones have a front-facing camera that easily exceeds that, typically five megapixels and higher, giving the interviewer a crisper image.

Pick a position. The downside of using your cell phone is finding a way to stabilize it and choosing a suitable angle. A flexible arm mount is a relatively inexpensive solution for both. It secures your phone at eye level and allows you to swivel it to capture the best viewpoint for the interviewer, with your head and shoulders filling most of the screen.

Perform a test run. A mock interview can ease nerves and ensure your at-home setup is functional. Download the video chat software on your primary device as well as a secondary one in case of a technical failure. Ask a friend to sit in for the interviewer and be sure to record the session. Watch it back to see if the video feed, lighting and audio are satisfactory. Keep all devices, including earbuds, fully charged in the days leading up to the interview.

Although a remote nursing interview might throw you off guard, there are many ways to make it a success. By following some of the tips above, you can make a memorable first impression, capitalize on your degree and continue advancing your career.

Learn more about The University at Texas Arlington’s online Registered Nurse (RN) to BSN program.

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