Preparing for a Job Interview in the Healthcare Sector

Preparing for a Job Interview in the Healthcare Sector

The healthcare sector is among the fastest growing industries in the world, which means that if you are about to be interviewed for a position in this field it is very important to know what to expect and how to be ready for it.

What type of interview is it?   

It is important to determine the nature of the interview you will be having, be it one that takes place in person, over the telephone, or in a two-way video interview via the likes of Skype or Zoom.

It is also good to know whether it is just one person who will be conducting the interview, or a team.

Do your research

It is important to conduct research in regard to the company you are hoping to be employed by, as well as the nature of the position. If you have any relevant questions, make note of them so you can ask them in the interview.

Asking intelligent questions will demonstrate to the interviewer that you put effort into getting prepared for the interview.

Focus on your resume

It can be helpful to make some changes to your resume in order to make it more obvious that you are suited to the requirements of the position for which you are applying. If there are any questions about your resume then you need to be ready to answer for them, such as lengthy breaks in your work experience.

Whether you are a professional hoping to change your career, or a student considering taking an accelerated nursing program, job interviews in this sector will normally encompass a number of standard lines of questioning and it is a good idea to already have some idea of how you should respond to them.

Prepare your own questions

An interview is a two-way process. It is not just that an organization is evaluating you to see if you would fit into the position well, but you are also evaluating them to see if they would be a good fit for you.

At the close of the interview, it is often the case that you will be asked if you have any questions, so it is important to have some questions prepared that will help you decide if you think the job is right for you.

Talking about yourself

The standard “tell me about yourself” prompt is one that many interviewees dread, but the purpose for it being asked is to give you a chance to explain to the interviewer why you would be a good fit for the job you are after. This can be a tough question to answer, as it often necessitates a very thorough explanation with examples to demonstrate your achievements and overall experience.

Hiring managers want to know about your strengths and the ways in which those attributes will be in alignment with the job. It is therefore important to highlight examples from your employment history that show how the role will benefit from your skills.

The answer can be kept both professional and personable by focusing on the reasons you are passionate about healthcare, why you want to join the healthcare industry and examples of demonstrated skills that are relevant to healthcare.

It is crucial to ensure that your answers are always kept sincere and focused.

Why you applied for the job

It is important to demonstrate both confidence and honesty when asked why you applied for this position. It is up to the hiring manager to assess your level of interest and passion for both the role and their organization.

It is often the case that the people who are attracted to a job in a healthcare organization want more than just simple employment, so do not be afraid to be authentic when talking about why you care about the company’s vision and mission and how you want to help to enhance the healthcare industry.

This is also a good time to show off your knowledge of this particular healthcare organization by identifying shared goals with your potential employer. It is crucial to be genuine in how you respond to this question so do not provide surface-level answers.

This can be done by pointing out qualities that you value in the organization, talking about specific reasons you want to work there, and displaying your passion for healthcare and the way in which it has put you on your career path.

Plan an outfit

It is a good idea to plan your outfit for the interview in advance. While scrubs are a common outfit for healthcare professionals, it should go without saying that you do not want to wear scrubs to a job interview. The safe choice is always formal business attire, so a suit or dress that is appropriate for a business environment is a good idea. Iron any wrinkles and avoid wearing jewelry or excess makeup.

Identify your biggest strength

Being asked to identify your biggest strength in a healthcare interview can be deceptively difficult. It is important to focus more on professional attributes and strengths rather than personal ones. Avoid leaning too much on common strengths, such as punctuality or organizational skills, as they are unlikely to make you stand out from your fellow candidates.

The goal is to get the hiring manager to view you as a qualified professional in the healthcare industry who will be able to contribute to their organization. To this end you should put your emphasis on the strengths that can be transferred between different healthcare environments.

You could highlight your time management skills or ability to prioritize projects and talk about qualities and skills related to healthcare such as problem solving and empathy.

Identify your biggest weakness

It is inevitable that you will also be asked to identify your biggest weakness. There is no right or wrong way to respond to this, but it can help to display self-awareness and provide an honest explanation for what may be being perceived as a possible weakness by an interviewer.

However, you should also point out ways in which you are already working on dealing with your weaknesses to ensure they will be changed in the future.

It is a good idea to avoid mentioning personal weaknesses and focus on weaknesses relating to healthcare, such as over-committing or being a perfectionist, as these can influence the performance of healthcare professionals in a highly stressful environment.

Have your commute planned

It is important to make sure you get to the interview on time, so research directions and aim to be there between 20 and 30 minutes prior to the commencement of the interview. Go into the interview 10 minutes ahead of time to demonstrate your punctuality.

Talking about the future of healthcare

In a healthcare interview it is common for the subject to be asked about their view of the future of healthcare. The aim of this question is to determine how the potential employee will contribute to organization and how their goals in regard to their healthcare career are connected to the objectives of the organization.

It is possible to use this question to talk about challenges or innovations within the industry, but it is important to avoid talking about too many things at once.

Make sure you have a good knowledge of the organization and the community you will be serving if you get the job, including current events, as they are related to healthcare. Share your views and thoughts on recent industry developments and the way in which the future of healthcare will be impacted by them. You should also focus on the contribution you would make to changes in the industry in a way that will positively impact on healthcare within your community.

How you stay informed

This question represents another chance to show your awareness and knowledge of issues and advances within the healthcare industry. This question should never be just shrugged off as it could indicate that you are out of touch, so try to talk in specifics in regard to issues and advances that you stay abreast of and understand.

One method of staying up to date with advancements in healthcare is with continuing education. If you have not yet taken a course, it could be a good idea to register with one prior to going to the interview. Reading reviews and articles in the scientific press is also a good idea, and you may want to mention the names of specific websites or journals. Make sure it is clear that you intend to pursue avenues through which you will stay informed on developments within the healthcare industry.

Talking about the future

Employers want innovative thinkers who wish to make improvements to processes within their fields. Creative thinkers are often able to see the links between separate roles and specialties and come up with innovative methods of dealing with illness. The introduction of new forms of technology is causing the healthcare industry to change quite rapidly and thus it is vital for professionals to be able to quickly adapt to all these changes.

If possible, talk about any work experience that has assisted you in staying up to date with current trends, and talk about your own expectations in regard to the future of the healthcare industry.

Why you want to work in healthcare

The question of why you want to work in healthcare is one that will be inevitably asked during an interview, as employers want to understand your motivations and how you would fit into their organization.

You need to craft an answer that displays both desire and dedication. It is also a good idea to connect your motivations to advancements and research in healthcare so that hiring managers feel their vision is shared by you and that you will understand what is driving your employers in the event you are hired.

Handling difficult patients

This can seem like a simple enough subject, but interviewers may ask a question about this to judge the level of professionalism you are able to muster in sensitive situations.

Healthcare professionals need to stay patient and calm even when dealing with the most difficult of patients and their healthcare issues. Try to show empathy and your understanding of patient worries while trying to lessen tension. This can be achieved by establishing a strong and supportive bond early on.

Another form of difficult patient may be one that fails to disclose important information, and an interviewer may ask about a scenario such as this to see how you would deal with it. The answer you provide should demonstrate your ability to come up with solutions and show your self-discipline.

Dealing with the elderly

One question that an interviewer may ask a candidate applying for a job in the healthcare field is a question related to how you would care for an elderly patient. This type of question is to determine your ability to give appropriate care for patients who may require different types of care to others. It is important to emphasize that you understand the requirements of elderly patients, including their desire to stay as independent as possible.

Dealing with patients that require extra care

Some patients may require more time spent on them than others, and an interviewer may ask how you would deal with this while still ensuring adequate care is provided to other patients. This is a question that is really all about your organizational and time management skills, but it is also a test of personality, so be sure to stay positive and focus on your abilities in regard to prioritizing tasks.

Breaking bad news

This is a check of your interpersonal skills and your ability to deliver difficult healthcare information in a professional manner. It is important to answer in a way that shows empathy and understanding of how bad news can impact both patients and their loved ones.

Why you should be hired

It is inevitable that an interview will feature the question “why should we hire you?” at some point. The purpose of this question is to give you the chance to show your critical thinking abilities as well as to demonstrate how you can be an asset both to healthcare in general and this specific organization.

It is also wise to use this question to highlight your flexibility. Newcomers especially should emphasize their flexibility as weekends, holiday or night shifts are all likely to be expected depending on the nature of the position for which they are hired.

It is also crucial to point out your related experience and skills and demonstrate the way in which your personal and professional interests are in alignment with the organization. Emphasize your strengths and the way in which they will be able to cope with or even exceed the expectations of an employer. One of the best ways to begin answering this question is to talk about the goals and visions of the organization.

Your career goals

There are several healthcare organizations that will care about the long-term career plans and healthcare related goals of their employees and may even come up with methods through which they can help them to achieve them. The reason an interviewer may ask about your career goals is to work out your motivations and how goal oriented you are as an individual.

It is important that your answer shows your enthusiasm for the healthcare industry and especially your desire to progress further in your field. Avoid going into too much detail in regard to your future plans and focus on the short-term objectives that an employer could contribute to.

Why you left your previous job

This question will undoubtedly be asked of a candidate with previous experience who is looking to change their job. There may be unflattering reasons why you chose to leave your previous position, including unprofessional behavior from those above you, but this is not the time to cast shade on previous employers.

Try and remain as positive as you possibly can and change the emphasis to being about your excitement for new opportunities and fresh challenges, rather than dwelling on the negatives of the past.

Why preparation for an interview is so important

It is not possible to overstate how important it is to make sure that you are properly prepared for a job interview. The healthcare industry in particular is fiercely competitive, and it takes a lot for an individual to be able to stand out in such a crowded field.

Because of this, it is certain that some tough questions will be asked of candidates by interviewers, making it vital to be prepared in advance and to anticipate circumstances where you may be put on the spot to answer a difficult question.

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