You’ve searched, you’ve applied and you’ve tinkered with your resume countless times. Now, you’ve landed that coveted job interview! Just one last box to tick before you can begin your dream career at VA.

Alexander Graham Bell said, “Preparation is the key to success.” Though this famous inventor was probably not talking about job interviews, his advice still applies.

If you take the time before your interview to get ready, your effort will show, and you’ll have a chance to shine. We’re here to help you do that with 10 tips from Hillary Garcia, a national health care recruitment consultant at VA.

  1. Re-read the job posting. Double check the description, duties, requirements and expectations. “You’d be surprised how many people ask to be reminded ‘which position is this.’ That’s a sign that you aren’t invested or prepared for the position you are seeking,” Garcia said.
  2. Confirm time and location details. Follow up the day before with the person who scheduled your interview to confirm where to report and at what time. Take their email and phone contact with you.
  3. Be early. If your interview is in person and you are unfamiliar with the route, do a test run and make sure to allow extra time on interview day. Medical center parking locations can get busy, potentially delaying your arrival to the interview spot. If your interview is virtual, make sure you’ve tested your equipment ahead of time. Allow yourself a time cushion before the actual interview begins to make sure everything is working.
  4. Plan your outfit. When you’re calling to confirm the interview details, ask what to wear. It could be scrubs, business attire or business casual. Feel free to ask this question and any others as you prepare.
  5. Study your resume. Compare it to the job duties on the opportunity announcement. Write down ways you have excelled professionally, stood out in your current role, and won accolades or company recognition. Then, be sure to tie those into your interview answers. “A live interview is the time to shine, be confident and bold! You don’t want to leave anything out,” Garcia said.
  6. Bring supplies. It’s not a bad idea to bring a notepad, pen and additional in-depth resumes to provide the panel. Be prepared to take notes while in the interview to ensure you answer all parts of the questions because many will have multiple components.
  7. Research the medical center. Each center has a website with information about the unique services they provide, medical center history and more. Familiarize yourself with the specific location by using our VA facility finder.
  8. Practice answering position-based interview questions. We often use these questions in job interviews. Learn more about PBI questions here and then role play answers to these questions with a family member or friend.
  9. Prepare questions. Most interviews give an opportunity at the end for you to ask questions. Preparing questions for the team sets you apart from others who reply in the negative. Asking questions that let the interviewers tell you about a typical workday or time on the unit shows them you can picture yourself as a part of their team, and lets you hear more about a day on the job.
  10. Write a thank you. Here’s a bonus post-interview tip: follow up with a brief email or note of thanks. Gather interview panel contact information while in the interview (or after it) from whoever scheduled you. “Add a closing statement about why you are the best fit or how you can contribute to their team,” Garcia said.

Work at VA

Prepare ahead of time for your job interview to increase your odds of receiving an offer. We’d love to welcome you to the VA family.

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Published on Apr. 13, 2021

Estimated reading time is 3.3 min.

Views to date: 1,000


  1. Bob Vanhorn April 19, 2021 at 9:00 am

    Lol take the L

  2. SW April 13, 2021 at 4:38 pm

    I don’t need to read this. I was well qualified for two different positions at my local va but I wasn’t hired due to my AGE. The people who were hired had less experience (or no qualifications) than I had. In one case the other person was unfamiliar with the program and was “playing” with it at home to see what it could do. In the case of the other position, it was in the PIV office and the other candidate had no police type background and I had some but the other candidate was hired. Going through mediation got me nothing. NO job placement even though I was lied to and told they were always looking for cleaning people or food service (neither of which I would have been able to do anyway). I was told they did not have any of those positions available. I was told I could ask for money, I did and was DENIED. I wasn’t asking for millions but apparently the director of the va wasn’t authorized to hire or pay an employee a meager $40,000.00 a year. I had asked to be paid a WG-9 for six years (I did not say as a lump sum, they ASSUMED that). So who hires the chief of staff at a va hospital for over $200,000.00 a year when the director is authorized to hire a clerk for $40,000.00 a year? So you can post all the tips and hints you want but there are BAD people who work at va who will GET AWAY with DISCRIMINATING against qualified candidates no matter how prepared and qualified they are. Right mr passmore, mr coro, ms gearhart.

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