In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the job interview format and process look much different from previous years. But many key components remain unchanged, and there is no substitute for being prepared. Interviewers can tell if you are prepared for and engaged in the process. If you are not, someone else will be.
The Do’s and Don’ts
The following interview tips will help you know how to prepare before, and what to expect as you work toward your goal of securing an exciting and rewarding new adventure.
Interview Tip 1: Make a Good First Impression With Your Resume and Application
Do: Take Time to Make the Right First Impression
- Make sure information on your resume is not only current, accurate and error free but also tailored to the position. Resumes often require some customization to ensure your background aligns and is relevant with the requirements of the position. Having a resume to reference during the meeting is often very helpful. Being able to draw a parallel from your background to the position can direct the discussion in a positive manner.
- Reference accomplishments in a clean and crisp way, bolstered by analytics. For example, “I implemented a new process that resulted in a 15% increase in operations productivity across the finance project completion rates across the organization.” Note that if you use the expression “we,” you should be prepared to explain what your role was.
- Put your online presence in order. Update your professional social profiles to reflect your resume. Conduct a quick check of any social media accounts you have (including nonprofessional ones) to ensure there is nothing that could be viewed as controversial or cast a negative image.
- Double-check your information in the applicant tracking system. Some applicant tracking systems (ATS) parse information from your resume. Other systems allow for free-form text fields to be completed. Be consistent and accurate and review the information on your resume after it is uploaded as well as what you entered or was auto populated into the ATS.
Don’t: Undermine Your Chances
Applying to multiple positions within the same organization generally has a negative effect. A targeted approach is more effective, while applying broadly within an organization can appear desperate. Hiring leaders and recruiters may review hundreds of resumes for each open position; not seeing your name multiple times is actually a good thing.
Interview Tip 2: Plan Ahead
Do: Follow the Four Rs: Review, Research, References and Role-Play
- Review, research and references. Take time to review the position you are applying for. Research information about the organization: mission statements, financials, press releases, etc. References, make sure you know whom you are interviewing with and their position. Do you have common connections? Are there people in your network that can proactively provide a reference for you?
- Role-play, spending time presenting yourself, practicing your elevator pitch, and responding to questions. The goal is to be yourself, not robotic. Focus on keywords that relate to the position, your background and the organization.
Don’t: Miss Out on the Opportunity to Plan and Prepare in Advance to Conduct Yourself in a Positive and Professional Manner
No matter the outcome of the interview, you want to be regarded as a good candidate that presented well. Allow for plenty of time before the meeting. Don’t discuss politics or religion. Turn off your phone and give the interviewer your undivided attention.
Interview Tip 3: Know the Format
Do: Confirm the Format in Advance
- Find out how the meeting will be conducted and whether there are any related activities expected of you. Will it take place over the phone, via video or in person? Will there be a single interviewer, or a group, often referred to as a panel interview? Find out in advance if you will be expected to present materials during (e.g., PowerPoint presentations) or will need to take any tests.
- Prepare the logistics for your video interview. If the meeting is being conducted via video, make sure you have a designated location that is clean and quiet. Make sure that your internet, camera and audio are working properly. Have a copy of the position description printed out, a copy of your resume and a notepad. It’s okay to take notes during the conversation. It’s also important to make a conscious effort to maintain good eye contact, even though that can be challenging via video.
- Find out what is required if you are interviewing in person. Ask whether you need proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Make sure you have several copies of your resume available, a copy of the position description and your questions for the employer with you. Ensure that you have directions and instructions on what to do when you arrive. Validate that professional business attire is appropriate. Wear a mask, and don’t wear perfume or cologne. Turn off your phone before you begin.
Don’t: Underestimate the Value of Being Prepared
Don’t let a tough question or scenario throw you off message. Stay the course and focus on the goal of getting to the next round of interviews or a job offer.
Interview Tip 4: Be Prepared
Do: Anticipate Questions and Practice Your Answers
- Analyze the position description and your resume to identify probable questions. Reviewing the position description for themes and points of emphasis will help you anticipate questions. Rehearsing responses will help you maintain focus. Be prepared to respond to questions about your resume, including why you are interviewing.
- Prepare a compelling response to the question, “Why are you interested in the organization and the opportunity?” If you are unemployed, the answer may be simple, but you also don’t want to appear that you are looking for an interim position until you find something better or different. Be sure to focus on why you think this specific opportunity is a strong fit for you.
- Practice controlling your facial expressions. The expression “having a poker face” could be applied to interviewing scenarios; it is helpful as to not appear to be too animated or too serious. Have a friend or trusted partner practice with you; their feedback can be valuable.
Don’t: Ramble or Speak Negatively of Your Experiences
Instead, offer clear and concise responses to the question. If you need clarification of a question, don’t guess—ask. Don’t speak negatively about your current leader or the organization. The interview is a session to not only get to know your skills and what you know but who you are. Stay away from discussing politics or religion. Remember to turn off your phone and give your undivided attention.
Interview Tip 5: Have Questions Prepared
Do: Demonstrate Your Interest in the Company by Asking Informed Questions
- Ask relevant questions about the position and the organization. Being prepared with questions demonstrates you are interested in the company and you performed research before the interview. Be sure that the questions you ask show you are informed about the organization and the opportunity.
- Thank the interviewer(s) for their time. A follow up email is also a positive and professional practice.
Don’t: Ask Simple Questions
Your questions should encourage the interviewer to engage and provide additional insight into the position and direction of the organization. Don’t leave without finding out what the next steps in the process are and the potential timing. Avoid the waiting and wondering on the next steps.
Learn and Grow
Even if you don’t get a job offer, you can learn from each interview. See if you can obtain feedback from the talent acquisition or human resources teams. If not, review your notes.
If you are extended a job offer, weigh the pros and cons, and you’ll make a great decision. If you turn down an offer, do it professionally; don’t burn a bridge. If you accept, make the most out of the new adventure, and make a difference.
The views and opinions expressed in this content or by commenters are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HIMSS or its affiliates.
HIMSS Virtual Career Fair
March 3, 2021
Ready to find your next health information and technology job? Connect with leading employers seeking to hire top talent at the HIMSS Virtual Career Fair. Register to attend and you’ll have to chance to engage with health information and technology employers, explore opportunities for every stage of your career and make new connections to broaden your network.
Save My Spot