What is an Interview?

What is an Interview

When it comes to job hunting, we're all sales people. It's the job seeker's responsibility to sell themselves, their skills, and their achievements throughout the hiring process.

The great thing about interviews is that they offer a face to face opportunity to sell yourself to prospective recruiters and employers. Resumes, cover letters, and applications can only offer so much insight into what kind of potential employee you might be. It’s this valuable insight that is critical to your healthcare job search success.

Without the interview, hiring managers would have very little to go on when bringing on new employees.

In addition, healthcare and hospital job seekers wouldn't have the opportunity to feel out the employer.

This guide covers the basics of an interview, how to prepare for an interview, interview tips & guidelines, interview questions that job seekers should prepare for, and the interview follow up (usually by email). 


What is an Interview? What's their Purpose?

By definition, an interview is an exchange between two or more individuals in which questions are asked by an interviewer to solicit facts and statements. More importantly, it is a test.

Interviews are a test to see if you are the best candidate for the position and if you can fulfill the duties and pressures that come with the position itself.

In addition, an interview is an opportunity for employers to determine whether or not the job seeker is going to be a good fit for existing company culture, and team dynamics for various healthcare and hospital units.

So much of healthcare is about working in team environments, and the interview process is critical for employers to determine whether or not you are going to be a good fit or cause problems down the road.

Interviewers gauge you on your appearance, demeanor, body language, the information you reveal, and how you handle questions and certain situations.

A job interview precedes the hiring decision, and is a good way for employers to meet you and get a good sense of your personality and fit in the company.

An interview typically can last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, but rarely are they longer due to the limited amount of time that hiring managers have to spend on each candidate.

In addition, it is typical practice for interviewers to schedule several interviews on the same day to get as many of the interviews out of the way, so that they can make their hiring decision quickly.

This means that interviews are a critical opportunity for you to separate yourself from other considered candidates, and truly set yourself apart as a must-hire for the vacant position.

Since the company looks at your personality and fit, this is also your time to gauge the your prospective employer and the company’s atmosphere.

Ensuring that you are a good fit with the company is as important as the company determining whether or not you are going to be a good fit.

One of the common practices during an interview is to give a tour of the hospital or healthcare facility to interviewees to showcase all the unique working environments and benefits offered.

Some of the benefits and features that might be highlighted from that particular hospital or healthcare facility could be recent expansions, employee cafeterias, workout facilities, and additional facilities.

A tour through the facilities is a great way for hiring managers and healthcare recruiters make you feel comfortable during the interview, to showcase where you might be working.

In addition, a tour is a great way for the hospital or healthcare facility to separate themselves from other places of employment you might be considering. In essence, tours have mutual benefits for both the interviewer and interviewee.

Take the time to look around and notice the work environment, the demeanor of others there, and try to get a general feel for the place.

You have to determine whether or not this is an environment you can see yourself working in for the foreseeable future.

During the interviewing process, you can determine the demands of the job as well.

In some cases, you can fulfill all the duties and requirements of the job, but the daily demands might be too much for you to handle.

Interviews a great way of assessing what kind of demands you’ll be placed under, and what kind of outside stressors you will be exposed to.

Ask intelligent questions to give you insight into your functions in the company, if they can meet your requirements for growth, and if you can fulfill your goals at that company.

Asking these kinds of questions are a great way into truly narrowing down exactly what you will be doing in your respective role, and if it is any different than what you expected or what was originally on the job posting.

In some rare instances, job duties will expand or change based upon current hiring needs, and how long ago the job was posted.

It is a good idea to ensure that you have a complete understanding during the course of the interview, so that you will be able to make the best decision possible.


Why are Job Interviews Important?

Job interviews are important because you can make the impression that your cover letter and resume cannot. Resumes and cover letters can only express your experience, skill set, and passion in a limited number of ways.

Job interviews are a great way for you to showcase and communicate your passion and skills for the position, and ultimately set yourself apart from the other candidates who have similar skills or experience as yourself.

Interviews offer you the opportunity to show how much you care about yourself and the job. You convey your passion by how you look, carry yourself, and manage the situation and questions proposed.

Having strong eye contact and a good handshake can say many things about a person that the employer can't gauge from a piece of paper.

For instance, a strong handshake to start off the interview showcases confidence in your skills and experience for the job posting.

Interviews allow you to show employers how you handle yourself in a high-pressure environment and your ability to improvise if necessary.

Interviews offer an opportunity for you to showcase how your resume and cover letter matches the job posting.

You can expand upon how your skills align with the job posting, and showcase how you are well-versed in those specific skills based on previous working or educational experience.

The questions they ask, how you answer said questions, and your body language are used to gauge your abilities as they relate to the position.

The great thing about an interview is that you can demonstrate a level-headedness and give thoughtful answers to bolster your qualifications. In doing so, you can portray yourself as the best fit for the job.

Employers can access your personality based on the questions asked to see if you fit the company’s dynamic, and you can see if you want to fit into that paradigm based on how they express those company dynamics to you, or some of the observations you made in your tour through the hospital or healthcare facility.

It's really about exchanging information for both parties so you can learn about each other's backgrounds and expectations.

It’s important to remember that throughout the course of the interview, you are selling yourself. You have to sell the employer, hiring manager, or healthcare recruiter on why you should be the one to fill the position as opposed to others who might have skills or experience.

During the interview, jump on the opportunity to sell yourself — demonstrate the skills that highlight your application. Give the interviewer a glimpse of how you are the best fit for the company, and why you should be considered over other candidates.


From Interview to Job Offer

In order to beat the competition and land a job offer, it's important to do well in the interview, and the key to performing well with anything is preparation.

Aim to look your best, handle yourself well, bring the proper supplies, prepare for potential questions, do your research, and highlight why you are the best fit for the job.

In the next chapter: Ch.2: How To Prepare For An Interview,, we will discuss what you should do to prepare for an interview, in what order the steps should be taken, and how to ensure you separate yourself from other lesser-prepared candidates.

Don’t fret if you were prepared for the interview, but you didn’t immediately get a call back.

The average number of applications to any job posting is 200, so they usually have a lot of interviews to go through before making a decision.

You can, however, follow up after the interview by sending the employer an email thanking them for their time. This makes you look courteous and considerate, and thus, more valuable.

In addition, sending a follow up after the email ensures that you are once again on the minds of the hiring managers, employers, or healthcare recruiters.

Bringing your name up once again in the follow up is a great way to remind them of your interview earlier in the day and to remind them about why you feel you should be advanced into the next stage of consideration for the position.



The interview is the third step in the hiring process — after submitting your application and receiving a call or email to schedule it.

It's the job seeker's first chance to be in personal contact with the employer, to feel out the workplace, and to make a real connection with them.

Interviews offer a great way for both job seekers and potential employers to get to know one another, evaluate potential fits, determine skills and experience alignment based upon the job duties, and resolve any questions that might exist between both parties.

Use the interview to impress the employer with your demeanor, adaptability, and personal charm.

If you can connect with whoever you're interviewing with on a more human level, such as a shared hobby, then you'll be in a great position when they move on to the hiring decision.

However, in order to get this far, the job seeker must prepare. Practice makes perfect, and interviewing is no exception to the rule. Continue on in our Interviewing Guide to ensure that you are prepared for your healthcare and hospital job interviews.


Next: Ch. 2: How to Prepare for an Interview