A special report from MedWorks staffing
Many nurse practitioners tell us that they like a brief, straightforward interview with a prospective employer. And much of the time, nurse practitioner interviews are exactly that: short and sweet, perhaps with an offer made right then. After all, it’s not as if most NPs need to ask, “What would this job entail?” or “What does your company do?” The role of a nurse practitioner is already well-defined in most medical practices, clinics, and hospitals.
However, problems can arise when an interview is too brief: many nurse practitioners come to us because they’re not thrilled with their current position, or they didn’t understand the pluses and minuses of the job before they accepted it. Our advice? Prepare a list of your own questions so that you can gather the information you need to make an informed decision before you sign. Following are some questions that can help you sleuth out important details.
What are some of the pluses and minuses of working in this practice/clinic/hospital?
We recommend just coming out and asking the interviewer what they like and don’t like about the environment. Don’t expect the person to be totally candid: if the boss is impossible to deal with, or the person leaving the position is a toxic co-worker, you’re not going to find out. But look for subtle clues: if the person gushes about the environment (“This is the first job I’ve ever had where I really look forward to coming to work every day and feel like what I do matters”) or has nothing positive to say (“Ummm. We have a nice coffee machine in the break room.”), take note.
What opportunities for mentoring or advancement could I expect, if I stayed here for three to five years?
This shows the interviewer that you’re not planning on quitting in six months, and that you’re ambitious and committed to professional development.
What is the business and marketing outlook for this practice/clinic/hospital?
Just the fact that you’re asking a business-related question is a big plus. Many health care professionals can’t think outside the narrow scope of their responsibilities and have no clue that healthcare is also a business. The interviewer may tell you that the practice is planning on merging with another group, or that the hospital has recently been bought, which also gives you good insights into your potential employer’s future.
What metrics does this practice/clinic/hospital use to evaluate this position?
This is an important one, and the answers will vary widely. Some interviewers will talk about achieving excellent scores on patient satisfaction surveys; others will talk about average wait time and numbers of patients seen per hour; others will talk about meeting billing goals, or creating collaborative relationships with colleagues in the practice. Either way, the answer will tell you a lot about what matters to this employer.
What do this employer and this position have to offer someone with my level of experience?
At MedWorks, we place nurse practitioners at all levels of experience, from those right out of school to those with decades in the workforce. And it’s important to know that every career level has its own needs. As a newly-minted nurse practitioner, you need a supervisor who gives regular feedback and knows how to communicate. As an experienced NP, you need autonomy, and the feeling that your employer trusts you. Make sure that this employer understands your needs and where you are in your career.
It’s important to keep your level of questioning appropriate to the situation. Asking no questions is a bad sign; the last thing you want is to be struggling to come up with something when the interviewer asks, “To wrap up, did you have any questions for me?” But you also want to avoid having your side of the interview last longer than the prospective employer’s did. We recommend choosing three or so questions that are really important to you, to show your interest in the prospective employer, but also in finding a position that’s the right fit.