If you are like most Job Seekers, you wonder if you are doing the right things to get a new job. You probably wished for insights into the Hiring process so you do not lose out on any great opportunities. In this blog, we discuss a problem that many job seekers do not know they even have: they do not make a memorable impression.
When you look for a new job, it becomes a major priority in your life. The open position you are targeting is only one concern for hospitals and clinics. A recruiter often works on several open positions at a time, and Hiring Managers try to interview people in between their normal responsibilities. This situation means that you are in real danger of falling through the cracks if you do not come across well.
Insights into Hiring
I reached out to several people with experience in recruiting, coaching, and/or representing job candidates. I wanted their insights into what makes people stand out during a job search. Some responses were edited.
Kim Myers – Team Lead & Senior Healthcare Recruiter, Yoh Services, Philadelphia, PA, working with RNs, LPNs, Physician Assistants (PAs), Nurse Practitioners (NPs), Medical Assistants, and Physicians. [email protected] Kim states specifically “don’t over prepare” so you are not stiff in the interview. Kim recommended the following in our phone conversation:
- Be friendly and professional with the receptionists because they share information with the hiring managers. The receptionist tells the hiring manager about your professionalism (i.e. were you on time, how did you treat the receptionist, did you project confidence when you walked through the door). Also, make sure when the interviewer comes to meet you that you are smiling and not engrossed in your phone.
- Investigate whom you are meeting. Check them out on LinkedIn; research the organization and what they want in a candidate.
- Measure what you are doing. Convey how you can contribute to the organization’s success. They have seen your resume, now they want to know about you.
Jeff Hinds – President of Premier Physician Agency- www.premierphysicianagency.com/, works directly for the individual job-seeking physician. Jeff believes candidates need to do these 3 things to make a memorable impression:
(1) Cover Letters – It is important for candidates to not only list their relevant training and experience but to also expand upon key attributes/skills being sought to strengthen their application. To do so, they should consider including a Cover Letter to accompany their resume. The contents of the resume will tell employers how they are qualified for the job, but the inclusion of a cover letter will provide them an additional opportunity to sell themselves and show employers why they are the right candidate. Applicants should pay close attention to the job posting, pull any defined attributes or skills being sought, and be sure to expand upon their experience/training/successes in the cover letter.
(2) Highlight Connections – Most candidates Premier Physician Agency works with are non-local, so it involves relocation as part of the equation. As such, they coach their candidates on the importance of highlighting any pre-existing connections they have in the area and/or organization. Employers are looking for longevity in any hire they make, so it is important for candidates to present themselves as the long-term solution through sharing that pre-existing comfort level with the area – e.g., lived in the area your whole life or in the past, friends or family in the area, hobbies that are supported in the area, etc.
(3) Professionalism – From an employer’s perspective, his/her entire interview process from start to finish can be a direct reflection on how he/she may be as an employer. As such, it’s important to maintain a high level of professionalism in all communications. How you communicate with employers can give them a glimpse of your attention to detail, your promptness (i.e. work ethic), demeanor, and overall excitement for the job.
These may seem like small, obvious tips for job seekers, but again, it’s often the little things that can differentiate you from the competition when all else is equal.
Elizabeth Becker – Client Partner with PROTECH- www.protechitjobs.com, a company that specializes in placing IT professionals. Many of Elizabeth’s clients are in the healthcare space. She gave excellent advice that is relevant for all job seekers. Here are her comments.
Making a positive impression in an interview, especially when it’s a phone interview, can be extremely challenging. Hiring managers talk to so many people that they all begin to blend together. Most candidates aren’t memorable because they make these three interview-killing mistakes:
1) Being too meek/passive. Interviewing is a two-way street. If you come to the interview and only answer the questions the interviewer asks, you aren’t engaging. Hiring managers want people that can come into a role to find and solve problems. If you’re not digging into the role and asking questions, you won’t seem like a self-starter.
2) Not being yourself. People want to work with people they like, so don’t be afraid to make a joke or to tell an interesting story about yourself. Although traditional interviewing advice may tell you to be as vanilla as possible to avoid saying something the hiring manager deems offensive, would you even want to work in a place where your sparkle isn’t appreciated?
3) Not knowing anything about the company. A huge interview killer is a candidate that hasn’t taken the time to at least google what it is that the company does.
Common Thread and Additional Advice
As you probably noticed, everyone mentioned preparation as a key step to differentiate yourself from other applicants. Too many people fail to conduct even basic research on the hospital or clinic where they want to work. Do not be one of those people.
I want to add one thing that I saw help many candidates stand out in a crowded field – a well written thank you note. When I was a healthcare recruiter, I remember one instance when a hiring manager came into the meeting to discuss which candidate should receive an offer for one of our openings. On top of her notes, I saw the thank you note sent by one (and only one) of the candidates. That candidate received the offer because she proved she was great at following up with people. It is a lesson that has stuck with me for the past fifteen years.
Job seekers receive advice to “sell themselves” all of the time, but they are often given little more than clichés. Present yourself in the best possible light by:
- Being professional with every staff member you encounter
- Using social media to learn more about the interviewer and the organization
- Having concrete examples of how you contribute to a hospital or medical practice
- Making sure your cover letter, resume, and thank you note communicate the value you offer
When you take these steps, you separate yourself from the candidates and present yourself as someone that a hiring manager not only wants but needs on his/her team.