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Without a Shadow of Doubt: Ace the NP Interview Shadow Experience

Can I share just one earth-shattering tip about how to act during your shadow experience…

Do not get too comfortable!

Let’s unpack what I mean.

Your resume is beautiful. You breezed past the phone recruiter. You aced the first round interview. Charmed the participants of the second round interview. And now you’ve been invited to the facility to really see if you’re a good fit.

Remember when you were a kid going over to a friend’s house and your mom or your guardian told you to be on your best behavior? Or remember going on a first date? It’s exciting, nerve-racking, and filled with eager anticipation. The shadow experience is similar.


So go in with 3 professional goals in mind. You want to be presentable, be personable, and be prepared.

  1. Be presentable! When in doubt, dress up not down. And if you have a white lab coat (without facility or academic logos) bring it with you. And then wear it if that’s customary for the facility or department. But, don’t fall into the trap of dressing how the employees dress. There are few instances where you would absolutely dress down when shadowing, like the OR for example. If they say they wear jeans or scrubs, that is not an invitation to join them. Don’t take the bait. Dress to impress.

  2. Be personable! You want to convey a sense of warmth and friendliness and show authenticity. You are a real person after all. There should be a distinct line between what you share and don’t share. Don’t overshare about your person life and risk moving on to the next step of the hiring process. Think of shadowing as the informal part of the interview process. While it may be informal, it is most definitely a pivotal part of the decision making process and can make or break your chances of receiving a job offer.

  3. Be prepared! Interviewing is a multi step process. Think of every phase as an opportunity to present yourself in the best way possible. It is very likely that the hiring manager will not be present during the bulk of your shadowing experience. This is largely in part to the autonomy NPs have and the role that the hiring manager plays. Hopefully, the hiring manager shared your resume and gave a brief rundown on your experience and potential candidacy. But if this isn’t the case, having your résumé on hand would be to your advantage. The person you are shadowing may not be familiar with asking interview type questions. But know that anything you say and do will be reported back to the hiring manager, so interact with your potential colleagues like you’re still trying to get the job.


If you practice these 3 tried and true professional tips during your shadow interview, I’m sure a job offer is just around the corner.

I’d love to hear what your shadow experience was like.

About the Author

Josie Tate is a successful nurse practitioner, visionary nurse leader, and inspirational career mentor. She is the creator of Clincepts, a professional development resource that helps bridge the gap for nurses transitioning into advanced practice.

Nurse practitioners across the industry get and stay happily hired using strategies from Josie’s proven framework. At its core, Clincepts empowers and equips nurse practitioners to stand out, shine bright, and speak up as the best candidates for the job.

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