This blog post lays out all the skills & tips you need to land your first entry-level job after you complete an Allied Health program.
Searching for employment in the medical field is not as difficult as one might imagine. When you have all the right tools, skills, and guidance, you’ll be well prepared for your interviews and ready to start your career!
HTI’s Career Services department helps students every step of the way, and can guide you through the process of externship, interviews, and eventually hire.
So you just graduated from a medical program and you’re embarking upon the exciting process of interviewing for jobs! What do you need to know?
Besides the appropriate certificates, you’ll need a set of practical skills, soft skills (including attitude, manners, willingness to learn, etc) and proper attire. Many students believe it’s enough to have practical skills & their certificate of completion, but they forget about other important qualities employers are looking for.
Being polite, possessing charisma and a good personality is very important! Every business has customers (and in the medical field, patients) and want their employees to provide the best possible customer care. Therefore, you need to demonstrate your “soft skills” and show your capacity from the moment the prospective employer calls you in for an interview!
How To Land An Interview: The Initial Phone Call
- Answer the phone with a smile (the person on the other end will feel the warmth in your tone).
- Avoid unprofessional voicemails and ringtones. No rap songs as ringtones.
- Also avoid unprofessional emails. Your potential employer doesn’t want to contact you via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once you’ve gotten an interview, preparing your appearance is just as important as what you will say.
What To Wear To Your Interview?
Helpful Tips for Ladies
- Brightly colored nail polish and long nails are not appropriate for the medical field.
- You are not in a modeling contest; the only colors you should wear to an interview are dark blue, black, or gray.
- You wouldn’t let someone with hair covering her eyes draw your blood… Make sure that your hair is out of the way and up in a very tight ponytail.
- The earrings you choose to wear should be no bigger than the size of a dime.
- No rings (unless a plain wedding band).
- No bracelets.
- If you choose to wear a watch, choose only a sport watch (Scrubs and Beyond has them).
- Your shoes are important—if you decide to go with formal attire, make sure you wear short heels, closed toe and black.
- If you’re uncomfortable in fancy attire and aren’t confident in a pants suit or fancy black heels, then and ONLY then can you wear your scrubs (choose colors you should wear to an interview, including black, dark blue, light blue or gray).
- When you wear your scrubs, you will obviously not wear high heels. In that case, wear white sneakers (make sure they are very clean!)
- Once you are hired, you can then choose to wear your festive holiday scrubs, your bright pinks and flowers, your butterfly scrubs, etc… (as approved by your facility).
Helpful Tips for Gentlemen
- Guys, your shoes say a lot about you and your cleanliness. Make sure they are black, with no stains or dust. (We all know the last time you wore your fancy shoes was at your cousin’s wedding!) Please polish them up.
- If you do not feel comfortable wearing a suit to your interview, a white shirt with dark pants and a very simple tie will work just fine.
- Your hair should be brushed back. (Nothing can be covering your eyes.)
General Interview Tips
- You will want to appear clean, professional, and polite.
- The color of your hair is very important! Do not die your hair bright purple, or orange, or bright red (when you are not a natural redhead) or neon green!
- Stick with only natural hair colors—you are now a healthcare professional and working in the medical field.
- NO CROCS!
- Piercings—LEAVE THEM HOME. Do not wear any facial piercings!
- Smokers, please refrain from smoking a few hours prior to the interview, as the smell of smoke is very strong and can linger on your clothes.
- NO CHEWING GUM while you are being interviewed! If you choose to chew gum prior to the interview, don’t forget to get rid of it before walking into the building!
How To Conduct Yourself During An Interview
You are walking into the building or doctor’s office 15 – 20 minutes before your scheduled interview, (you’ve remembered to spit out your gum!) and are starting to feel a bit nervous. Before heading through the front door, remember to breathe in and breathe out once—and remind yourself you are more capable than you know!
What Do You Do Next?
- Walk straight to the reception area and introduce yourself: “Good morning, my name is __________, and I am here to see Dr. Smith. He scheduled an interview with me at 9.”
- The receptionist will then tell you to have a seat and will let the doctor know you are there. Remember to thank him or her with a “Thank you.” Soft skills (being polite, personable, etc) are vital to getting the job and KEEPING the job.
- Once the doctor or office manage comes to meet with you, you must immediately get up from your seat and firmly shake their hand. Be confident and friendly. You can say something like, “Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to meet with me.” You are letting them know that you’re aware of how busy they are and thankful that they are taking time to see you.
- After walking into their office, wait for the doctor’s signal to take a seat. Ladies, you may choose to gently cross your legs or sit upright with your knees together. Guys, sit up straight and rest one hand close to your knee if you choose.
- Make sure you are prepared with at least 5 copies of your resume; if more than one person will be conducting your interview, you must give each member of the team a copy and keep one for yourself. You will want to make sure you follow along where they’re reading.
- Maintain eye contact, and do not look around the office you (you may become distracted).
- Keep focused on the interview questions, you don’t want to continuously ask the doctor or staff to repeat themselves.
- Make sure you keep the conversation light and show your teeth! Do not be afraid to smile.
- Ensure you show a friendly attitude and always be professional!
- After the interview concludes, wait until the doctor or office manager gestures for you to stand or actually states that the interview is over. Do not get up before.
- Again, shake hands and express your gratitude for the time they offered you.
- Do not be afraid to ask when you should expect a call back.
- You may also ask very delicately and humbly, “When can I start?”
- NEVER leave without a business card from the doctor or business manager.
- After a few hours you might want to send a “Thank You” email.
- When you are waiting to hear back from the facility, do not grow anxious. A hiring process can typically take up to two weeks in some cases (especially if there are background checks, drug screenings, or physical examinations that need to be done). Have faith in yourself and expect good news!
Thank you for reading these interview tips. Should you have any further questions or wish to practice for your interview, please contact Healthcare Training Institute’s Career Services department at (908)-851-7711. We are happy to assist our students prepare every step of the way from externship to hire.
NOW IS THE PERFECT TIME TO START YOUR MEDICAL CAREER! Apply Now for our January 2016 Classes.