Tell me why you’re the best clinical informaticist we could hire.
Eek! Interviews are not everyone’s forte but are necessary to land an informatics position at a new company. They can be intimidating, but with a bit of practice and some foresight, we know you can ace your interview because you’re smart, prepared, and really know you’re stuff. Now to convince the hiring manager of that.
Follow the steps we’ve outlined to prepare for the multiple stages of an interview you’ll be most likely to see when interviewing for a position the informatics field.
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Review or brush up on some of the topics from below that you’re rusty on. If you’re not an expert in any of these area, become familiar with some of the more prominent concepts in each topic. Bonus points if you ask your interviewer how their organization is currently handling these topics.
- Review Data Types, Data Structures, Data Analysis
- Review any research you have been involved in, the purposes of the research, and the outcomes of the research. Write down a list of challenges you faced in the research project.
- Understand the Basics of HIPAA (a wordy PDF document, but if you can grasp this, you’ll probably know more than 90% of the other candidates)
- An understanding of some of the challenges faced by healthcare organizations
- Clinical Workflows and How to Implement Better Ones
- Data Analysis Techniques and Software Programs
- The Most Popular EMR/EHR Systems
- The HITECH Act and Meaningful Use
“Soft Skills” Preparation
For this section, find a friend, roommate, husband, wife, girlfriend, mom, etc and have them ask you these questions. If you’re just hanging out by yourself, fish up a notepad or piece of paper and begin going through each scenario and writing down what happened, what task or action you took, and the response to that action.
When practicing, don’t worry too much about answering right away and instead take a little time to really think about the best scenario to give for each situation. Have your interview partner ask you to “Tell me about….”
- A time where you had to deal with conflict and what you did to manage it
- A time where the technology at your organization was just not working out and what you did about it
- A time where you noticed a possible problem area in clinical workflows and how you closed that gap and the results of doing so
- A time where you had to use research and data to develop a recommendation or solution for a problem your organization was having
- A time where you noticed an inefficiency in a process and took steps to make it more efficient
- A time when there was a lapse in communication or difference in communication styles and how you handled the situation
- A time where you used good judgement and logic to come to a conclusion
- A time where a project landed up not working out, what you thought was the problem, and what you would do in a similar situation to change the outcome
- A time where a project was successful, the elements that made is successful, and how you would apply those elements to a new project
These scenarios hit on the skills a clinical informatics should possess such as clinical or technical experience, understanding of technologies, ability to translate disorganization information into organized information, project management skills, conflict resolution, and process improvement.
Once you go through each questions, you’ll find that you have a good bank of scenarios to call from. This can really help prevent you from “blanking out” and not being able to recall specifics during an interview. Themes in these scenarios may also appear, which can help you on more traditional questions such as strengths, weaknesses, where you see yourself, etc.
Perform Research on the Company You’ll be Interviewing With
Don’t go in to an interview thinking that you’re interviewing with a hospital system when really they provide biomedical services.
Take at least fifteen minutes before your interview date to browse the company’s website, google their name and latest news articles, and browse their blog for topics that interest them. If you can bring it up smoothly in the interview that you saw that they do work in a specific field you’re interested in, don’t be afraid to bring it up. The interviewer will be very happy to see that you really are interested in working with them.
Brainstorm Questions for the Interviewer
As an interviewer in previous positions, we can tell you that wrapping up an interview and receiving no response or a “nope, no questions” type of answer from the interviewee when you ask them if they have any questions throws up a big red flag. Are they interested in the company and the position? Or are they just looking for any old job? Do they even care if they get it? Are they curious about what exactly they’d be doing or what its like to work here?
An interview with a company is just as much as a time for them to interview you as it is for you to interview them. If you’re going to be spending the next few years with this company, then you should probably understand what they’re all about and if you’ll fit in with their culture. If you’re fresh out of questions, here are a few you may be able to ask…
- How are you guys handling… meaningful use? ICD-10 Implementation? Privacy and security concerns?
- Does your organization currently have an EHR in place? What was the hardest thing about its implementation?
- What is the strategic plan for the company? How do you see clinical/health informatics fitting in to the overall plan?
- What has been the hardest technical/clinical/other area of expertise/etc your organization has had to overcome in the last five years?
- How would you describe the culture of the organization? Could you see me fitting in with it?
- What is the performance review cycle like? How are employees evaluated?
- Do you enjoy working here?
Feeling more prepared? Great! Now go out and get that informatics analyst, CMIO, or nurse informaticist position you’ve been hoping for. You can do it. We have confidence in you!