We all know that in order to move forward in our careers, we need to take that leap and apply for a new job at some point. Part of what intimidates all of us is the anticipation of interview questions. Let’s look at some of the harder Healthcare IT interview questions that I’ve come across, and talk about the why behind them to help you understand what kinds of answers an interviewer might be looking for.
“Tell me about a time when you encountered a difficult customer, and what you did about it”
With a question like this, an interviewer is looking for an interaction you have had with clinical staff. In Healthcare IT, there is always some level of friction between clinical staff and the technology they use. If you have any experience where you helped a physician or nurse with technology, anticipate how you can use that experience to respond to this kind of question. If you don’t have an example of working with clinical staff, find another customer service experience to tell about, then pivot your response to let the interviewer know that you are prepared to deal with clinicians who struggle with technology.
“How would you play a role in protecting patient safety at this organization?”
If you are applying for a job in a hospital, there is a good chance you will get a question like this. Of course, your answer will vary depending on the job you are applying for, but you can always find some kind of answer. In a technical role, you might bring up points like these:
- Being diligent to patch critical software when alerts are released
- Setting policy and safeguards for the use of flash drives
- Setting policy for how long workstations sit before automatically securing
If you are applying for a more clinical or operational type of position, you might answer along these lines:
- Gaining extra training and becoming a “super user” of key software
- Looking for gaps in the workflow when patients transfer from one area to another
- Helping other clinical staff to deal with the frustrations of technology
“Tell me about a time when you made a mistake, and what you learned from it”
This is a big one in that our habits tell us to only show our best side in an interview. However, remember the folks sitting on the other side of the table are just like you, and we all appreciate honesty, transparency, and a willingness to admit we make mistakes. If you stumble on a question like this by not remembering when you made a mistake, you may appear either insincere or come off as too cautious.
“What is something you like about your current position?”
We’re usually prepared for questions on why we want to leave our current position. If you fill 10 minutes of reasons you want to make a change, but can’t find anything good about your current job, that may be a red flag to interviewers.
“What do you know about this organization?”
While it’s common sense to have done homework on the organization you are applying to, it seems to carry extra importance in Healthcare organizations, especially hospitals. Most hospitals have a rich history and some unique stories on how they either were founded or grew into what they are now. You will make an unforgettable impression if your interviewers leave the interview feeling great about where they work.
“How would your current team members describe you?”
This is one of the hardest questions I’ve seen. It forces us to think not just about how we view ourselves, but how we think others view us. The best way to prepare for this question is to ask it of a trusted co-worker in your current position and come up with some middle-ground answers on your better qualities.
“What is one of your proudest accomplishments in your current job?”
You need to be prepared with an example of something that you either did or created that saved time, money, or frustration. Maybe it’s a process or workflow that you improved to eliminate unnecessary steps. Maybe it’s a report or spreadsheet that provided useful information to your organization. If you work in patient care, maybe you made the difference in the life of a patient.
“Do you have any questions for us?”
Some candidates think so much about answering questions, they forget to consider what they would like to ask a potential employer. You want to present as being intellectually engaged, so you might ask questions like “What do you like about working here?”, or “How would you describe this organization’s culture”?