Master the Remote Nursing Job Interview Process, Every Step of the Way

The easiest thing for most of us to talk about is ourselves. Paradoxically, most candidates report feeling nervous about job interviews- which require them to mainly only talk about their accomplishments. 

Although being nervous prior to a job interview is completely normal, there are many ways to ease the anxiety and present yourself as the strong candidate you are. By making a few preparations, learning what to expect, and practicing, you can ace your remote nursing job interview. 

Interview Prep 101

Start by making a few logistical preparations to get ready for your interview. 

  • Close the communication loop with your recruiter. If the recruiter says your interview will take place next Thursday at 10 am PST, say “Great, looking forward to speaking with you next Thursday at 10 am PST.” This makes your willingness to commit extra clear and may alert the recruiter to any errors with the date, time, or time zone. 
  • Put multiple reminders in your calendar. You don’t want to miss it! Being 5-7 minutes early to a virtual interview is perfect to get ahead of any potential technical difficulties. 
  • Arrange to remove distractions. Secure childcare and tell your family or roommates you will need quiet time to do this interview. 
  • Test the interview platform. Confirm the platform for the interview. Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams are among the most popular platforms. Download any necessary apps on your phone or computer. Use the test features for Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet to practice using the platform and setting up audio and video. 
  • Test your video. Perform a video test and find the perfect nook with ideal interview lighting. You may also decide to select a video background or opt for a blurred background ahead of your interview. 
  • Test your audio. Audio is one of the most common issues with virtual meetings. For a foolproof audio solution, call in on your phone using headphones or Bluetooth in addition to using another device for the video portion.
  • Plan your attire. Make sure you know that your attire will appear professional on camera, and most importantly, will make you feel comfortable.

The Recruiter and Screening Interview

Usually, a remote nursing job interview will begin with a screening call with a recruiter. Don’t stress yourself too much with this portion of the process, since the recruiter is mainly looking for just a few key elements. 

Prior to the interview, it’s a good time to research a bit about your role and the company’s values and their mission statement. Knowing this basic information will help you in all interview rounds, and being complimentary about the company’s mission never hurts.

What the recruiter is looking for:

  • You meet the minimum requirements for the position
  • The expectations of the role seem like a good fit 
  • The schedule works for you, especially weekends, holidays, and overtime if applicable
  • The role seems like the next step you want to take in your career
  • The role meets your salary expectations

At this point, the biggest red flags for a recruiter would be if you seem hesitant or uninspired by the position. The recruiter’s goal is to not waste the hiring manager’s time with unqualified or uninterested candidates. 

The Hiring Manager Interview

The next portion of the remote nursing job interview process is usually with the hiring manager and a few adjacent employees to them. Most interviews have a 2-step process featuring a recruiter interview and the hiring manager interview. However, some companies do have a third round that consists of a peer interview, an interview with more higher-ups, or a set of test projects or cases. 

What the hiring manager is looking for:

  • Your prior experience will mesh well with new expectations
  • That your professional qualities are up to par with the role
  • You seem like a good fit with the team

There are a few questions that you will almost always be asked, so have those answers ready to go.

1. Tell me about yourself.

What the question is really asking:

  • Can this candidate articulate themselves well?
  • Is this candidate confident in themselves and the direction of their career?
  • Do the values of this candidate align with the company?

How to prepare:

  • Avoid getting too personal. Although you can still show some personality, there is no need to tell the hiring manager that you’re married, have kids, enjoy hiking on the weekends, etc. This can all end up giving the hiring manager information that informs their own personal biases that you wouldn’t want impacting the hiring process. 
  • Think past, present, and future. Briefly describe what brought you to this point in your career, the role you are doing now, and where you foresee your career in the future. If you are not currently working, you may state that you took a break from work for personal reasons, and your last professional role was ____, and why you are looking forward to re-entering the workforce. 
  • Discuss your professional values. Elaborate on why this company is your ideal next career move. This is the perfect place to mention the company mission and values that you researched. This is also a good point to add in some personality, “I see that [company] really values integrity. This is important to me because…”
  • Know what questions may cause bias in an interview. Any questions that allude to your race, ethnicity, age, religion, marital status, children, medical conditions, pregnancies, sexual orientation, or country of origin may lead to discrimination. These questions might come up in a seemingly harmless way, “where are you from?”, or “when did you enter the workforce?” are examples of sneaky ways candidates are sometimes asked. If you are being asked a biased question, you don’t have to answer it and can tie it into something relevant to the job position. “I currently live in __, I heard the company is based out of ___. I’m excited to potentially join the team!” or “I entered the workforce a few years ago, but I’m really excited for this point in my career, because…”

2. What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses?

What the question is really asking:

  • Is this candidate self-aware?
  • Can this candidate handle constructive feedback?
  • What are the primary areas of training this candidate might need?

How to prepare:

  • Nail down a strength that is extremely relevant to the role. For example, case management involves the skill of care coordination and patient communication. This would be an excellent strength to lean into. 
  • Consider a weakness that is not as relevant to the role. Self-criticism, public speaking, and difficulty delegating are a few of many skills that might not be relevant to your position. Choose one that is realistic, but also not too relevant. 
  • Discuss how you are working to overcome your weakness. Saying, “I sometimes have trouble reaching out for help. I’m working on this by XYZ” will position you as someone striving to always improve. 

3. Tell me about a time…

What the question is really asking:

  • Is this candidate a team player?
  • Does this candidate have critical thinking skills?
  • Is this candidate able to analyze their own job performance?

How to prepare:

  • Research the STAR method. Practice answering questions using this format, as it is a way to concisely answer behavioral remote nursing job interview questions by focusing on the situation, task, action, and result. 
  • Bank some experiences. Have a list of versatile “experiences” to pull from. For example, a hospital shift where everything went wrong and you had to show teamwork, critical thinking, and flexibility. That way, this experience covers multiple possible questions and is fresh in your memory. Jot down a few of these experiences and keep them nearby in case you get nervous during your remote nursing job interview. 
  • Practice. Interviewing is just like any other skill that requires practice. Role-play a few questions with a family member or friend who cares about you. Have them ask you a few “tell me about a time” behavioral remote nursing job interview questions.

Rely on Your Skills

Remember to connect the experiences you share during your remote nursing job interview to the role you are interviewing for. Here are a few examples of how to use direct-patient care experiences to some of the most popular remote nursing roles.

Case management

Have you…

  • Helped patients with discharge planning
  • Connected patients to an interdisciplinary role, like physical therapy or home health
  • Helped a patient with preventative care or prevention of readmission

Utilization review/management

Have you…

  • Noticed when a patient’s clinical status improved enough for discharge
  • Managed supplies and resources appropriately
  • Submitted documentation to get a patient approved for a service, DME order, etc. 

Data abstraction

Have you…

  • Located clinical information in a patient’s chart
  • Assisted physicians or other team members with navigating charts
  • Obtained any superuser status or relevant certifications for charts 

Telephonic triage 

Have you…

  • Performed a critical assessment of a patient
  • Evaluated a patient’s status after performing an intervention
  • Given recommendations to a patient based on their risk factors and/or chief complaint

Reflect on Your Interview Experience

Don’t forget to send any interviewers you spoke with a quick thank you note a couple of days after your time with them. No matter how the remote nursing job interview went, it’s a great time to take stock of how it made you feel, whether the role feels right for you, and where you can improve for next time. 
Want to learn more about if the role you’re interviewing for is right for you? Check out the remote nursing role guides for more information.