Have you ever had that dream when you forgot to study for a final exam in high school or college and showed up completely unprepared? How terrifying was that?
There are very few times where “winging it” is a good idea. Being prepared in school and life is essential to success. After all, Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Here is some expert advice on successfully preparing for your next job interview.
Remote or In-Person
First, your preparation should be slightly different if the interview is scheduled to be remote or in-person or if the job itself is located remotely versus in-person. Keep those details in mind as you prepare. We’ll clearly highlight the differences as we discuss each point.
Find Out What Kind of Interview You Will Have
This is critical, mostly just to get yourself in the right headspace. This is critical, mostly just to get yourself in the right headspace. You may expect one thing and then show up to another, which may be difficult for you to adjust to a new plan quickly. So, ask pertinent questions. For example, will I interview with one person or a panel? Will I have several interviews? If the interview is in person, will I take a tour of the campus or office? Will I meet potential teammates or patients? Will I need to demonstrate a hard skill like taking vital signs or coding a medical record?
If the job interview is remote, ask which video platform will be used. Who is the host? Will there be a phone interview as well? Are there multiple virtual rooms where I will be meeting different people? Who will I be speaking with on these calls? Should I prepare documents like my references or past work to share on-screen?
These details will help you be better prepared for your interview. One essential thing to note is that if your interview is remote, test your computer, webcam, and microphone before your interview to make sure it works smoothly on the platform the company wants to use. If it does not, offer an alternative solution before the interview. That will show you are a forward thinker and a problem solver.
Do Your Research
Take the time to research the practice and the interviewer(s). The internet makes it very easy to learn all kinds of essential details about employers, even remote employers who may not be local to you.
One of the great things about working in healthcare is the diverse range of job settings. Each employer will have a distinct work environment and culture, from hospitals and private practices to pharmacies and research labs. Familiarize yourself with the organization and the type of healthcare it specializes in. Learn about their location, history, areas of specialty, and types of patients or clients. Make sure you think you will fit into the culture and align with the organization’s values and mission. This is especially important if the job will be remote.
Use websites and social media sites like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed, Twitter, and the employer’s website to research the practice, the team or department you will be working for, and the person interviewing you. You can also learn a lot through news articles and press releases.
This research can be valuable during the interview. Keep reading, and we’ll show you how.
Study the Job Description
Before your interview, study the job description and the organization’s mission and value statements. Then, identify the keywords you think are essential to the job and the organization. These may be words used multiple times, they may be buzz words in your industry, or they may be words that mean something to you. These are called power words.
Use these words as often as you can during the interview. For example, you could say, “It was my responsibility to care for …” The power word was “responsibility.” By mentioning you took responsibility for an objective and then telling the story about how you accomplished that goal, you show the interviewer you understand the job and are hard-working and conscientious. The more specific you are, the more credible you seem.
Here are some other words to consider:
- Active verbs: accomplish, lead, deliver, build
- Passion words: enthusiasm, priority, motivated
- Competency words: organize, effective, prepare, support
- Culture words: values, commitment, mission
Again, do your research to pinpoint the best power words to use during your interview. And in all cases, be authentic. Don’t say something just because it sounds good. Actually mean it and have a specific example to back it up.
Discuss and Demonstrate Soft Skills
The healthcare sector relies on employees who are proficient in soft skills. Soft skills are those traits demonstrated by employees with emotional intelligence, such as adaptability, communication, empathy, and leadership. These intangible skills are necessary for interacting effectively with patients and team members. Soft skills also enhance problem-solving and critical thinking when used in high-impact teams.
Soft skills can be especially important if you interact with stakeholders remotely. Sometimes, details like fear, confusion, and stress that we would generally notice through body language or voice inflection get lost in translation over video or phone. In the interview, tell stories about how you’ve used soft skills in the past to manage conflict and attain your goals. Even something simple like saying, “I tend to over-communicate with my team when I work remotely because I know they sometimes feel disconnected,” will show you understand the importance of soft skills in the workplace.
Anticipate Resume Questions
Your interviewer has already reviewed your resume. What questions will they have? Be prepared to answer those questions. For example, are there gaps in your job experience or your schooling? Gaps in resumes are less critical than they used to be, but they still should be addressed so no false assumptions are made.
Has your experience been in other fields? Find a way to turn that experience into a plus for your potential employer. For example, your retail experience makes you an expert at problem-solving or customer service, which will benefit patients. Employers will respect your honesty and your ability to use your experience in other environments. Find a way to demonstrate those soft skills crucial to most healthcare organizations.
Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse!
When you rehearse your answers to the most likely questions in an interview, your preparation can make you more comfortable during the interview, hopefully putting you in a better position to answer the questions you weren’t prepared for. In addition, your answers should highlight your real successes and accomplishments in your work life.
Here are some common questions to prepare for:
- Tell me about yourself – Keep this answer to your work experience, especially any progression you’ve made in your chosen career. Your employer doesn’t need to know where you were born and how many siblings you have.
- Why do you want to work in healthcare? – Your answer should show your dedication to helping others. Share a personal story that led you to the healthcare industry. Highlight those soft skills that make you a good healthcare employee for both patients and colleagues.
- What made you interested in working here? – This is an excellent opportunity to show your research about this company. For example, you might say something about the mission and what its meaning to you.
- Why do you think you would be a good fit for this job? – Highlight both your hard and soft skills. Show that you can do the job and work with a team. If you are missing a required skill, tell a story about when you learned something quickly and shined at it.
- What’s your biggest strength? — Use power words when answering this question. Tell your best success story and emphasize how your strengths will benefit the employer.
- What’s your biggest weakness? – It is tempting to say something that is not really a weakness, like “I care about the job too much” or “I am too detail-oriented,” but it’s better to give an honest answer and show how you are working on the issue. This shows self-awareness and emotional intelligence.
Interview Questions for Remote Positions
If you are interviewing for a remote position, you may be asked a set of questions that are different from in-person interviews. Interviewers ask these questions to make sure potential employees know the challenges of working remotely and are willing to put in the extra work to fit into the unique culture of a remote environment. If you are interviewing for a remote position, here are some questions to prepare for:
- Do you have previous experience working from home? – If you do, great! Tell the interviewer what you liked and disliked about it. If you do not, be honest and say that but then pivot to talk about your communication and time management skills, which are critical for a successful remote employee.
- Why do you want to work remotely? Again, be honest here. The hiring manager is not trying to trick you. They are looking for an answer that gives them an idea about how committed you are to the job and the industry. Regardless of your motives, be direct but position your reasons in a way that benefits the employer.
- How do you minimize distractions when you work from home? Distractions happen in any job environment, home or otherwise. What is important is how you handle them. Tell the employer about how you deal with distractions at home in a clear and focused way. If you’ve never worked from home, tell the interviewer how you handle distractions at the office. We all have those colleagues who pop in our office for a “chat” that takes all morning. What would you do in that situation?
- How will you communicate with colleagues to ensure work is done efficiently? Highlight that you understand the importance of communication and coordination in a remote team. Explain your experience with communication and software tools you may be asked to use like Google Drive, Google Sheets, Zoom, Teams, and Slack. Give examples of times you dealt with communication challenges at work and how you overcame them.
Prepare Questions of Your Own
Do not go into an interview without a list of questions for them. Asking questions shows the interviewer you are interested in the job and want to make sure you are a good fit for the organization. Be an active interviewer, not just an interviewee.
Your research should have provided you with ideas for questions to ask. If you need guidance, here are some suggestions:
- What are the expectations for the first 30 days in this job? 60 days? 90 days?
- What is the culture like at your organization?
- How are employees recognized for good work?
- What is the training process for this role?
- Do you have a leadership training program or other opportunities for promotion?
- What does a typical day look like for this position?
- What healthcare innovations are you practicing?
- How do you see the future of health care?
Even in a tight job market where most employers desperately need employees, interviews are crucial to getting a great job. Employers are looking for staff that will fit and stick with their organization. So, while they may be eager to hire, they are still being choosy. But don’t stress. With preparation, you’ll ace that vital interview and start your dream job in no time.