Five Steps to Killing Your Interview – Travel Nurse Edition

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(Last Updated On: January 21, 2020)

The phone rings. It’s an unknown number but the area code signals that it is from California.  California!?  Omgsh… it’s the manager calling you to interview you for your DREAM travel nurse position!  You have been DYING to go to California ever since you even dreamt of being a travel nurse!  And your recruiter JUST submitted you! Are you ready for this interview?! Why are they calling you THIS soon?!  Breathe, remember you’re qualified, and pick up the phone….


This is how I feel almost every time I interview for a coveted position.  Possibly a position that 100 nurses have applied for, but they are only accepting TWO applicants!  I freak out, forget everything I’ve ever learned, and want to send the caller to voicemail.  So how do you stay calm, stand out, and make sure that YOU are the one getting the assignment?

How do you stand out in a phone interview?  What sets you apart?  I believe that my passion and excitement for whatever position I am being interviewed for is what sets me apart.  And I believe that that is why I have gotten every single job that I HAVE ever interviewed for.  (Not submitted for, that is a different story).  I should also note that I have only gotten every TRAVEL nurse job I have interviewed for.        (In high school I really wanted to work at the local laundromat, Max I. Walker, and I never got the job).  Ha.

I have worked very hard and perfected the skill of interviewing so that I can be qualified to sit here and write this post and share my knowledge with all of you!  I’d also like to point out that it took me a good few years and TONS of interviews to be confident enough to ace the interview process.  My very first nursing interview I cried in front of the manager because I was so nervous.  To this day I still don’t know how I landed that job, but hey!  No complaints here!

So, back to the point…  Your dream job is calling.  You’re freaking out. How in the world do you set yourself apart and shine over the PHONE?  How do you land this job?


  1. CONFIDENCE.  Yes.  I am sure that you know this.  Confidence… is… KEY!  You’ve heard it time and time before.  But do you actually practice it?  You have to tell yourself that you are qualified and can do the job better than anyone else.  And you actually have to believe it.  And that is how you will sell yourself.  If you don’t think that you could do this job better than everyone else, then there are plenty of ways to improve!  Get another certification, learn a new skill, float to a new floor.  You’ll never know everything but the more confident you are at your job, the more it will show in your interview.

  2. ENTHUSIASM.  If you want this job more than any job out there, you have to show it!  Sell yourself!  Don’t be embarrassed or scared to tell them how excited you are that they have called you.  Or how much you’ve wanted this job since the history of forever!  And if that isn’t the truth, then why did you apply in the first place?

  3. TRUTH.  Absolutely, positively, do not lie!  You will get asked tough questions.  And you will be stumped.  But whoever is interviewing you will know if you’re lying.  It is okay to say that you simply don’t know. Then turn it around and list something positive about yourself.  “I don’t know because I can’t recall ever being in that situation… BUT I work really well with others, blah, blah, blah.”  Also, if you go somewhere under false pretenses you are at risk for your contract being terminated early.  Don’t take that chance.

  4. SELL.  Don’t forget to sell yourself! What is a positive trait about you that you’ve heard about yourself from a manager?  A co-worker?  Or a patient?  Use that to your advantage.  It’s okay to have a humble brag moment!

  5. THANKFUL.  At the end of the conversation don’t forget to thank them for spending time on the phone with you. Sometimes calls can be long and daunting.  They are taking time out of their day to speak with you just as you are to speak with them. Don’t forget it.  And don’t forget to stay humble, grateful, and thankful even if you don’t land the job.


Things aren’t always going to go your way.  Somebody else might out-interview you.  Think of every interview as practice and continue to improve! Don’t be too hard on yourself. Keep applying, and interviewing, and eventually you too will ace the process!


For those of you just beginning, or those who would like more guidance…. these articles may be helpful:

How to Become a Travel Nurse

Why Travel Nursing?  Taking the Leap from Staff Nurse to Travel Nurse

Travel Nursing – Where Do I Start?


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Kylee splits her time between being a NICU nurse and solo traveler. Spending half her time at the bedside, Kylee has been caring for premature babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for five years now. She began Passports and Preemies in 2017 to reach nurses and advocate for the prevention of nurse burnout by traveling. Kylee is the original creator of the “8 Day Vacay” – A vacation geared towards nurses aiming to take advantage of the potentially 8 days off between work weeks with no need to use PTO.

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  1. Nick
    September 13, 2018 / 8:36 pm

    Good advice.

  2. Nick
    September 13, 2018 / 8:37 pm

    Good advice

  3. Sara Zehnacker
    September 13, 2018 / 10:08 pm

    Awesome post!!

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