Top 4 Tips to Ace Your First Allied Travel Job Interview
A career in allied travel comes with a slew of interviews, to the beat of at least one every few months as you change assignments. But regardless of if it’s your first or your fiftieth, a job interview can be unnerving. In this article, I’ll show you a few ways to ace your travel therapy interview the first time.
The interview process for a travel job is a bit different from that of a permanent job.
First of all, you aren’t job-hunting on your own. All new job opportunities will come through the recruiter your staffing agency assigned to you. (That’s why it’s a good idea to befriend your recruiter; they can easily scout out opportunities they know you’ll like!)
Once you’ve agreed to an assignment, the recruiter will submit your profile (including your resume, cover letter, and references) to the facility manager, who, if interested, will then contact you for an interview.
Another way the interview process differs is how, unlike with permanent placement, the ball is more in your court than in the facility’s. They’ve already conceded to hiring a temp, so it’s more your time and hassle that’s at stake.
To “ace” your interview, then, is to really know what you’re getting yourself into. Make a good impression—it’s not a shoo-in—but also make sure you get a feel for the job before you upend your life to work it.
Tips: How to Ace your Allied Travel Interview
1. Do your research!
As with any interview, the time and effort you put into researching the company ahead of time will pay dividends later. I recommend spending 3–5 hours researching the company. Start with their website and read past the home page, taking notes as you go. What’s their philosophy or mission statement? Did they recently expand or merge with another hospital?
You can also check websites such as Glassdoor, LinkedIn, or Indeed for insights from current and former employees. Besides reading their job reviews, you may glean insight into company culture and salary estimates. What you learn from your company research can help you prepare intelligent questions to ask them.
2. Prepare for their questions
A successful interview isn’t improvised. Unless you’ve planned some responses ahead of time, you may bumble through your answers, talk too much, or omit important details that could’ve helped you in the interview.
Granted, there should always be some natural spontaneity, so don’t rehearse to the level of becoming robotic. But jot down a few bullet points and examples, and if you’re being interviewed by phone, you can keep your notes nearby for quick access.
Types of Allied Travel Job Interview Questions
Travel job interviews can be brief (sometimes just 10–15 minutes long), with fewer questions than what you’d typically get in a permanent interview. Concise answers are best, and they’re easier to achieve when you’re prepared.
Below are common types of questions you may encounter in your allied travel job interview:
“Tell me about yourself.”
Prepare a short “elevator pitch” of your career path, upbringing, and hobbies or interests.
“Describe your skills and experience”
Show what you bring to the table as a therapist, and include soft skills that are relevant for travelers, such as being a quick study.
“What are your strengths?”
The best way to illustrate any strengths you mention is by sharing an example of how those strengths come into play at work.
“Why do you want to work here?”
When relevant, pull from their website a few key qualities that make this company or facility different from others. Only mention the location as a secondary factor.
“Why should I hire you?”
This question sounds blunt, but what it’s asking is how your strengths relate to the company’s values and goals. Don’t just reiterate a list of skills from your resume; expound on them in relation to the company.
“Tell me about a time…” behavioral questions.
Although behavioral questions are more common in a permanent job interview, you may encounter them in your travel interview. And they aren’t easy to wing. Whether it’s about a past conflict, mistake, or success, behavioral questions evaluate how you fare in real-life scenarios.
As you think through some common behavioral questions, prepare a few answers that honestly demonstrate your ability to problem solve, navigate stressful situations, and transform a challenge into a chance for growth.
For more question examples—as well as suitable answers—check out this article.
3. Prepare questions for them
The questions you ask the company are essential for gaining insight into your prospective workplace.
If you’re unsure what to ask, consider whether you’d like to learn more about:
- The location and environment
- Is it a safe neighborhood?
- The immediate need
- Why is the facility hiring travelers? What kinds of cases will I take on?
- Your hours and productivity
- What hours would I work? What are the productivity standards?
- Your future coworkers
- How many Therapists/Assistants/Techs/Travelers do you employ? With whom will I work directly?
- On-the-job specifics
- What EMR/documentation method will I be using? What equipment/resources will I have access to?
You can also get some ideas of questions to ask by reading 15 Questions to Ask During Your Physical Therapy Job Interview.
Save any compensation questions or negotiations for your recruiter after the interview.
4. Make a Good Impression
Finally, the last way to ace your interview is to prepare a good first impression. Allied travel job interviews are almost always done over the phone, but if it’s a video call you should still dress as professionally as if it were in person, and not just the top half of your outfit! Similarly, your surroundings—whatever is behind you on the video call—should appear neat and not distracting.
For optimal service, stake out a quiet environment with good cell reception or a strong internet connection. You can phone a friend ahead of time in your interview spot to confirm the call quality.
A virtual first impression is just as important as an in-person one. Smile (even on the phone—it’ll come through in your voice) and be personable. Express an eagerness to speak with them and gratitude for the opportunity. And whenever possible, follow up your interview with an email to the hiring manager, thanking them for their time and information.
Ace Your Interview and Land the Job You Want
You should hear back regarding a job offer within a few days. Because you did your research and aced your interview, you’ll be able to make an informed decision should they offer you the job.
But if you didn’t get a good impression of the job or facility, don’t be afraid to turn it down. Travel therapists are in high demand, so there will always be more opportunities coming your way!
Put these tips to practice by finding your next allied travel job!
Tim Fraticelli is a Physical Therapist, Certified Financial Planner™, and founder of PTProgress.com. He loves to teach PTs and OTs ways to save time and money in and out of the clinic, especially when it comes to therapy documentation or continuing education for therapists. Follow him on YouTube for weekly videos on ways to improve your physical and financial health.