The phone interview is a critical aspect of the locum tenens hiring process. Remember, the hospital you’re interviewing with already knows a lot about your background from your locum tenens agency, so your phone interview is often the only interview you’ll have with a hiring manager before an offer is extended.
Talking on the phone sounds easy, right? But a phone interview can be challenging because you’re not face-to-face and aren’t able to gauge the nonverbal cues of the interviewer, such as body language and facial expressions.
And if you think this is “just a locum interview,” think again. You could be talking with someone who may be in a position to extend you a permanent offer or a facility that could relocate you for your dream job. That’s all the more reason to take the interview seriously and make a good first impression.
So how do you nail the phone interview and land the job? Here are a few tips.
Prep with your Recruiter. Before you talk to the hiring hospital, your recruiter can give you important information about the facility, the census, call expectations, dates and shifts, pay rate and other things you’ll want to know about the job. Getting this type of baseline information in advance of your interview can free you up to talk about other aspects of the job and your career with the hiring manager.
Do your Homework. In addition to your prep with your recruiter, do your own research on the facility and print out their information for your reference during the interview. Know who is going to interview you and what their role is at the hiring facility. Write down any questions you may have in advance about EMRs or rotation schedules or workplace culture, so you don’t forget to ask about things important to you.
Set the Stage. Just before starting your call, find a quiet space without distractions (like barking dogs or crying children). If possible, make the call on a landline. But if you must use your mobile phone, then be sure you’re in an area with good cell phone reception. Have a pen and paper with you to take notes, and keep a printed copy of your CV handy for reference.
Perk up! Go into your interview with an upbeat attitude. Though it may feel silly, smile while you’re speaking; it really comes across in your voice. Stay positive in your answers as well by avoiding negative comments about previous employers or working situations. Far better to tell a positive anecdote about work and patient care that shows your enthusiasm for being a doctor and your ability to be a team player.
Stay on Point. Answer questions directly without lapsing into long, drawn out stories or sharing too much personal information. Because it’s a phone interview, you might even keep your eye on a watch or clock to help keep your answers concise. Although you’re the interviewee, it’s okay to ask a few questions of your own. That shows interest and engagement. But keep your questions fair, and avoid being intentionally provocative.
Follow-Up. A brief, well-written thank you email sent in a timely manner can go a long way in the interview process. It’s another way to show interest and thoroughness.