003: 5 Tips for Standing Out During an Interview and Overcoming Interview Anxiety

TIPSfromCRIT Episode 3: 5 Tips for Standing Out During an Interview and How to Overcome Interview Anxiety

Tips Shared in This Episode

  • Tip 1 - Be the person they're looking for

  • Tip 2 - Prepare for the type of questions and scenarios

  • Tip 3 - Relax!  You've already made it past the hardest part

  • Tip 4 - Ask the tough question

  • Tip 5 - Interview Often


Quick Tip #1: Be the person they're looking for.

This goes along with what I said in Episode 2 - Steps to Becoming a Flight or Critical Care Paramedic - about making sure you do your homework and learn as much as possible about the program you're trying to get a job with.

Talk to crew members and try to talk with the hiring manager.  Ask about the type of people they prefer to hire.  Ask if they're looking for any specific skills during this hiring process.

If the job posting didn't include it, ask for a Detailed Job Description because the more information you have about the job and the company, the better you'll do on your interview.


Quick Tips #2: Prepare for typical interview questions

Here are some typical interview questions you should expect, but don't have "rehearsed" answers.  Know what you want to say, but keep it natural.  This helps you sound more relaxed and authentic.

Typical Interview Questions

  • What do you know about this company?

  • Why do you want to work for this company?

  • What specific steps have you taken to prepare for this position?

  • Why should we choose you over the other candidates?

  • Tell us about a time when you disagreed with your partner about how to manage a patient. How did you resolve the situation?

  • Tell us about a time when you had to work with a partner that you did not get along with.  How did you handle the situation?

  • Give a specific example of a time, personal or professional, when you had to manage your time between multiple obligations.  How did you do it, and how did it turn out?

  • What other skills do you have that you bring to our team?

Typical Scenarios

  • Management of hyperkalemia.

  • Management of DKA

  • RSI scenario

  • Trauma patient management involving progressing to surgical cric.

  • 12-lead Interpretation

  • STEMI recognition and management.

  • Recognizing and management of Aberrant SVT vs. VT

Other common interview steps

  • One program I interviewed with asked me to prepare a 10-15 minute lecture presenting on a specific topic.  They chose the topic, but didn't tell me until the day before the interview.  They did tell me, however, that this would be expected so I at least knew it was coming.

  • Another programs started off their interview with 10 different scenarios where the applicant had 90 minutes to read each scenario, and then write out how they would run the call, start to finish, including assessment questions, treatments, drugs doses, and hand off report.


Quick Tip #3: Relax

Realize that on average Flight and Critical Care programs received between 100 and 200 applicants for each job posting.  If you've made it to the interview then the hiring team already feels you're potentially a good fit for the program.  Now just relax so your true personality, and abilities, can shine through.


Quick Tips #4: Be Different and Ask the Tough Question

If you've ever sat on a hiring committee you probably know the feeling of sitting in a room listening all day to applicants cycle through answering the same questions over and over again.  By the end of the day you probably couldn't many details about those candidates you saw during the middle of the day.

You did, however, probably have a few candidates who really stood out to you.

Maybe it was a memorable shirt they were wearing, maybe it was something unique about their experience, maybe it was their personality, or maybe it was because they turned the table on you and made you think a bit.

Doing something that snaps the interview panel out of their fog can go a long way to helping you stand out.

Now, I'm not suggesting you jump on the table and scream like a banshee (bad move Tom), but I am suggesting you highlight something that makes you uniques.

Also, before your interview is over I guarantee you'll be asked if you have any questions the interview team.  If they don't ask, still make sure you ask this one question before you even think about leaving.

"Give what you've already heard from me today, do you have any questions or concerns about my ability as a candidate for this position?"

Why is this question so important?

Because once you leave, that's it.  The information they hiring team has is all they will have to go on as they decide on who to hire, and the last thing you want is for the team to have an inaccurate opinion about you and your abilities because they misunderstood something on your résumé or something you said during the interview.

Other reasons this question is useful:

  1. Identify Areas for you to work on improving should you not get the job.

  2. May give you an idea of how the panel is thinking about you as a candidate

  3. May give you an idea of your chance of getting hired.

  4. Demonstrates a true interest in making sure you've put your best foot forward.

  5. Demonstrates a willingness to be vulnerable by opening yourself to criticism.

  6. May be just the thing that helps you stand out to someone on the panel.

Quick Tip #5 - Interview Often

I shared this tip in Episode 2: 5 Tips to Get You Started Towards Becoming A Flight Paramedic or Flight Nurse, but it's so good it's worth sharing again

The best way to get used to the process of interviewing for one of these coveted positions is to go through the interview process. The more you interview, the better you will interview.

This serves several purposes.

  1. It helps you discover what type of person these programs higher and are looking for.

  2. You learn the type of questions you'll be asked, and the type of scenarios you'll be given.

  3. You get used to the process so you're less nervous for future interviews.

  4. You have a chance to identify holes in your résumé which can help you identify opportunities for personal and professional development.

Bonus Tip: Put yourself "One Up"

Too often when we're applying for a job we're in a position of weakness.  Either we're so desperate to get the job because we're out of work and need to pay the bills, or we're applying for a job we really want and fear being rejected.

Mentally, this puts on "One Down" from those interviewing us.

We begin to feel like we're inferior to those who are in a place to decide if we worthy enough to join their team.  Automatically this shifts our energy and cloud our responses.   Even if we say nothing to show we're feeling this way, our body language (which by the way is between 60 and 90% of communication) will show our true feelings.

So, rather than going into your interview feeling like you're asking for permission to come work for a company, realize that the company has a need too.  They need skilled people to do a job, and without YOU they can't function.

YOU have the skills they NEED, and so without YOU they can function.

Approaching an interview with this mentality will automatically put you in a "One Up" mindset.  You'll automatically begin to feel more relaxed, you'll stand up straighter, you'll talk more confidently, and you'll articulate why you're the best candidate for the position.


Additional Resources

Quick and Dirty Tips: 10 Tips to Ace Your Interview (Part 1)

Quick and Dirty Tips: 10 Tips to Ace Your Interview (Part 2)

18 Ways to Send the Right Message with Body Language


A special thank to Brandon for the question.

If you have a question you'd like feature on the podcast, head of to AskFlightCrit.com aks send me a message.

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:

To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

  • Subscribe on iTunes.

I hope you enjoy this episode! Until next time remember...

"Education is good, but excellence through collaboration is much better!"

Fly Safe, and Live Well!