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How Does a Physician Assistant Ace a Virtual Interview?

10 Tips to Prepare Perfectly for Your On-Screen Interview

As a physician assistant searching for a new role, you’re likely to be interviewed virtually. As if the interview didn’t make you nervous enough, you now must contend with the technology you will be using. Oh, and you’re inviting the interviewer into your home.

The virtual interview is something that most of our candidates have needed to master in recent months. By the time COVID disrupted the way things are done, interviewing by video link was already gaining in popularity. The pandemic accelerated this shift. In fact, by April 2020, Gartner had reported that 86% of organizations were already interviewing virtually.

If you have your first virtual interview approaching, or you’ve had several that haven’t resulted in a job offer, these tips will help you ensure you present perfectly on screen.

1.    Prepare Well

As with any interview, much of your success depends upon your preparation. You want to assure the interviewer that you possess the skills and the ambition to excel in the role. Just as with an in-person interview, you should:

  • Prepare answers that demonstrate your medical knowledge, experience, and personality to succeed
  • Research the hiring company
  • Prepare questions that show you have a genuine interest in the role and the employer

A bonus tip is to try to find out who will be interviewing you. Look them up on LinkedIn, and try to find some common ground that will help you connect. For example, if your interviewer is a keen cyclist like you, make sure that you mention your love of two wheels.

2.    Prepare (and Test) Your Technology

The last thing you need is a technology catastrophe. A couple of days before your interview, test that your tech is working. Check your microphone, speakers, and webcam. A great way to do this is to log into the video platform that you will be using for the interview, and test it out with a friend.

On the day of your interview, check out all your tech again.

3.    Prepare Your Interview Room

You wouldn’t expect to be interviewed in a store cupboard, would you? Then don’t invite the interviewer into a space that speaks poorly of you.

You won’t get away with describing how well organized you are if your room is a tip. So, smarten up behind and around you. Remove unnecessary items from view, and make sure that your bookcase is tidy.

Remember, a couple of family photos on the shelf behind you is fine, but you don’t want the picture of you on a drink-fueled ski holiday to create a lasting impression.

4.    Prepare Yourself

Dress for the interview to present like the professional physician assistant you are. Make sure you are well groomed, with tidy hair. Clean your teeth. You want your smile to impress on screen.

Check out how you look on the screen. You should be lit from the front. Backlighting will put you in silhouette, and you certainly don’t want to be a person of mystery during the interview.

5.    Prepare Your Camera

Your camera should be at eye level, allowing you to make and maintain eye contact with the interviewer. Check this before your interview, and look closely at the picture you see – check your background again!

6.    Prepare Your Post-It Notes

Here is where the virtual interview can be you best friend. In an in-person interview you must rely on your memory to see you through. When you are interviewing virtually, one of the best tactics is to stick Post-It notes to your screen, with prompts that help you answer interview questions.

The interviewer will ask questions to test your competence and experience. Prompts you could prepare include examples of your:

  • Medical knowledge
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Compassion toward patients and colleagues
  • Ability to use hospital systems
  • Understanding of patient presentations

A word of warning, though – don’t let your eyes hover too long on your notes. You want to maintain that eye contact and not give the impression that you are reading from a script.

7.    Prepare Your Resume

You will be asked about your experience, and there is nothing wrong with using your resume as a prompt. A good tip here is to highlight the keywords (for example, the key skills the job posting describes) and ensure you mention these.

8.    Prepare Your Virtual Handshake

The first icebreaker in an in-person interview is the handshake. Firm, but not too firm. Not lingering, but held just long enough to acknowledge. Perhaps accompanied by a slight nod of the head and a smile.

How do you replicate this on screen?

Say hello confidently. Introduce yourself by name. Thank the interviewer for meeting with you, and tell them how much you are looking forward to your conversation. Maintain eye contact. That’s it. (Practice with a friend; it’s a little harder than it sounds.)

9.    Prepare Your Closing

Closing the interview is more difficult on screen than in person. It’s like when you are on a phone call and neither wants the first to hang up. Therefore, prepare your close. Know exactly what you will say, which is:

  • To ask how the hiring process will now progress
  • To thank the interviewer for their time
  • To let the interviewer know how to ask you anything as a follow-up (for example, by email)

The final impression you make is as important as the first impression.

10. Prepare Your Eyes

One final word about maintaining eye contact. You will be tempted to look at the face on the screen when you are talking. Don’t. Instead, look into the camera. Practice looking at the screen when the interviewer is talking and the camera when you are:

  • Screen when listening
  • Camera when speaking

This is a skill that you should master – it makes you appear more focused and more confident.

Are Your Ready to Ace a New Physician Assistant Job?

How you interview is determined by how you prepare. Much of your preparation replicates what you would do for an in-person interview. However, there are a few key differences:

  • Make sure that your room is prepared
  • Learn to maintain eye contact on screen
  • Use all the advantages you can create (such as Post-It notes)
  • Take care with your tech

Here at Palm Health, we are hiring for thousands of physician jobs. Your success in finding the right one for you is our success. Whether locum, locum-to-perm, or a perm position is what you are seeking, we are the staffing agency to connect with. What are you waiting for?

Contact Palm Careers today to take the first step to the next step in your career as a physician assistant.

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