5 interview tips to land a travel job
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One unique aspect of travel therapy and travel healthcare professionals is the typical one-time phone job interview. For me, these have typically lasted 15-30 minutes and typically you know if you were offered the job within 1-2 days. As someone who is absolutely terrible at phone interviews and who has on many occasions forgotten what I was talking about and then stated things like “ um yea and that’s that,” (super educated and professional sounding) I have come a long way in 4 years. Here are some tips to help you on your next phone interview.
This is where having a good relationship and rapport with your recruiter/s is key. Make sure your recruiter is not submitting you to jobs without your knowledge and know the exact jobs to which your recruiter submits you. At some points I have been submitted to 8 jobs at once, so make a list and keep track! Like I said, interviews are typically quick and sometimes you don’t know exactly when you will be called. I have conducted phone interviews on lunch breaks, in a Walmart and even in a bar. When you are applying for travel jobs, always answer the phone- ALWAYS. I lost a job once in a high demand area because I called back an hour later. By the time I called back another OT was interviewed and offered the job.
Be ready to ask questions
Have your questions for the interviewer written down and ready to go ( I keep mine on notes in my phone). Typical questions I ask are the following:
- Is there a productivity standard? If so, what is expected?
- What is the typical caseload for an Occupational Therapist at your facility?
- What are the typical diagnosis and age of patients that are treated?
- If the job is at an inpatient facility I ask what the typical length of stay is for a patient.
- What is the schedule for this position?
- Is there any type of orientation for travelers?
- What is the schedule like the first day for a traveler at your facility? (this question is aimed to see if you will have a full caseload or not your very first day.)
It’s very typical that the interviewer may answer your questions before you ask, be sure to pay attention so you are not asking something that has already been answered. I found that interviewers typically respond very positively to questions, so try to have a few options of questions you can ask.
Don’t ask about time off.
Some people may disagree with me about this. On one hand, time off
requests probably should be discussed in the interview because it is a short term assignment. On the other hand, your time off request, with exact dates, should be submitted with your application. Your recruiter should ask you this before you apply for any job, that way everyone is aware of your time off needs before you are
even considered for the position. To me, it seems unprofessional to ask about time off the first interview to your potential supervisor. If they have your application they are aware of your time off request, or at least it’s readily available to them. For travel contracts, if you have time you already know you need off (for me this has typically been Christmas or for special events such as weddings and the birth of my adorable niece). This will be in your contract with the name of whom approved it if you are offered the position. So, is there really a need to discuss it (unless you’re specifically asked) when you are trying to be offered the job in the first place? I don’t think so.
You really want this job, no matter what
When you are applying for travel jobs there will be assignments you really want and there will be ones that are essentially backups. As far as to the person who is interviewing you knows, this is your number one job. You would be so thrilled/ecstatic/happy to have the opportunity to work at this job. This is simply because you want to be the one with the choice, you want to be the one who is deciding, weighing your options and then making a choice from the offers you have. Lastly, you might get only one interview, so even if one job is not your first choice it could be your only choice. I suggest stating how wonderful the job sounds and specific reasons why you would be a good fit. If you don’t have much experience in that setting I suggest stating how excited you are to grow professionally and work very hard to learn more about this setting.
The Wednesday Rule
You finished a job interview and you were offered the job, weee! The Wednesday rule is something I created to make me more decisive when it comes to travel jobs. Unless you are planning to, it’s not fun to wait around weeks and weeks between jobs so its best to be decisive. The wednesday rule is as follows: if you are offered the job before Wednesday you should respond by that same week; if you are offered the job Wednesday or later in the week you should respond to the offer by Monday. Don’t let anyone pressure you into making an impulsive decision, weigh your choice and make a decision that is best for you, but I wouldn’t wait longer than three working days to make a decision. If a facility is seeking out a travel health care professional they typically really need help, so its more professional to give them a response within a reasonable amount of time so they may continue recruiting if you decide to pursue employment elsewhere.
These tips should help you be more prepared and organized when it comes to phone interviews. Apply for as many jobs as you interested in and give yourself plenty of options, but be very organized in order to make the process less stressful for you! 🙂
What else do you want to know about finding and landing travel healthcare professional jobs? What has your phone interviews been like for travel jobs? Leave a comment below!