You just completed your externship and you’re ready to start your career. But how do you land your first job?
#1. The Initial Phone Call
You receive a phone call from a Family Practice in Westfield, NJ asking you to come in for an interview on Monday at 10AM. During this phone call, you must ask for the name of the doctor you will be meeting and his or her specialty. If you will be strictly meeting with the Office Manager, then you should still ask the name of the doctor(s) that you will be eventually working with and their background. These questions will allow you to research the various kinds of procedures that are expected to be done at the practice and the type of patients that visit the facility. If they have a company website, then you must review it closely. By gathering this information prior to the interview, you can accumulate different questions to ask during the interview and/or towards the end of the interview. You must ask questions in the interview process because you are new to this facility and accepting a position here is a long-term commitment. Asking questions demonstrates how serious you are about the job opportunity and that you want as much information as possible about this position.
#2. Your Interview
Once you have done your research and have accurate knowledge about the Family Practice, then you must think of questions that they may ask during the interview such as, “Tell me about yourself”; “What specific hands-on training do you have in Medical Assisting or Patient Care Tech?” “What did you dislike about your externship experience?; “What are your weaknesses?” It is always important to expect the typical interview questions and expect the unexpected. When you are asked to talk about yourself, you must discuss your professional and educational background. Always use your resume as a reliable source to look into what you can discuss about yourself. You should not discuss any personal information during the interview and it is illegal for the employer to ask you personal questions that reflect your race/gender/origin or your personal life such as, “How many kids do you have?” If you do come across such questions, then the best way to respond is to simply ask how such inquiries have to do with the position at hand and my availability for the opportunity.
#3: Rely On Your Training
The second question is required for you to put your educational background and hands-on experience to use by utilizing medical terminology and explaining your hands-on techniques. You may be required to look back into your school material and request practicing with your instructor on the weekends at HTI. This question might lead you to actually performing those clinical processes on another person. Again, expect the unexpected. The third and fourth question judges your overall perspective on how well you can take criticism and whether you can make a negative into a positive. You must be positive and mention how your externship was a great learning experience where you were able to meet with different patients that have particular medical conditions. Not only did you interact with the patient, you were quickly responsive to the doctor. You may say that MDs can be very demanding in certain situations and you do very well in responding to such situations. What is your weakness? Think of a weakness that came in the way of your job performance and how you were able to learn from that. For instance, quick and smart decision making skills may lead to others not being on the same page as you because you are very attentive at resolving issues at hand and they are not aware of certain information you have in mind. Overall, it is important to write down scenarios and responses—not a script—to help you answer these expected and unexpected interview questions. By writing it down, you are able to retain the information and become better prepared. However, keep in mind that an interview must have flow and treated as a conversation.
#4: Dress Appropriately
Now that you have done your research and feel that you can tackle any interview questions, your concern is what to wear and the expected commute to the location. Because this is the healthcare field, the ultimate question is whether you should wear scrubs. If the employer asks you to wear scrubs at the interview, then you must follow accordingly and expect a clinical practical for the interview. If it is not mentioned, then you must wear professional attire and have a tote/shoulder bag or case where you can carry your scrubs. You just don’t know what to expect! Professional attire means a pair of slacks with a collar shirt and a blazer or, for women, a pencil skirt with a blouse and a blazer. It is recommended to wear neutral colors and not something gaudy. For women, a simple necklace and/or small earrings would be preferable along with natural looking make-up. It is important to keep in mind that you must be professional and presentable for this occasion. In addition, do not wear strong perfume/cologne because that can turn off the employer. This is a first impression, so you have to make sure that you are making the best first impression. As far as the commute, drive to the location a day before so you can be familiar with the location and make sure that you are able to determine where parking is available. If you will be relying on public transportation, then you must maintain a train schedule and/or bus schedule to determine when it’s best for you to leave from your house. It is crucial to be ten to fifteen minutes to an interview because it shows your punctuality and how seriously you take this job opportunity.
As you now understand, preparation is key to a successful interview and the more interviews you have, the higher chances you have of obtaining a position in the medical field. We wish you best of luck!
Should you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact Healthcare Training Institute’s Career Services department at (908) 851-7711.