Regardless of your specific HIT software or application specialty, the questions interviewers ask and the topics they touch on are often similar across the industry. The following three interview conversation tips are useful for any health IT systems consultant, whether you work with Epic, Cerner, Allscripts or another major EHR vendor.
- Implementation deadlines
Don’t: Bring up blown deadlines and blame them on user resistance.
Example: “There were some issues in the build phase, and the implementation took longer than expected because of physician push-back.”
Do: Highlight the methods you used to help user buy-in for the system changes. Discuss your communication skills, specific contributions to past projects and how your work impacted overall project success or end-user adoption. Clients want to hear how well you perform under challenging conditions, not excuses for failures.
Example: “There was some pushback at first, but I was able to show users how the new product would make their lives easier. I did this by talking directly with end users to understand their concerns, educating them on how the new product works and how it will improve their workflow. Once they realized it wasn’t just change for the sake of change, we could push through the typical resistance and complete the implementation on time.”
- Past challenges
Don’t: Throw your previous client or consulting firm under the bus when asked about past challenges.
Example: “The last project I worked on was with a hospital that had a lot of issues. They were disorganized, their processes were confusing and the whole thing was a mess.”
Do: Focus on how you overcame the challenge instead.
Example: “When I first arrived, lines of communication were not optimal, and it was hurting the ability to accomplish project goals. I made sure everyone was on the same page by acting as liaison for my team. I worked with other departments to ensure responsibilities and timelines were clearly mutually defined. This pushed analysts in other departments to talk to each other about their needs and issues. That way, we could make sure everyone on the team, organization-wide, worked cohesively.”
- Rating your team performance
Don’t: Tell the interviewer how much better or harder you worked compared to other analysts. This can make you seem like you’re not a team player.
Example: “There were six of us on the team, but I was the one who the client liked best and the only one who had a contract extension. I did almost all the job myself because the other analysts were inexperienced and didn’t know what they were doing.”
Do: Focus on describing how your work contributed to positive outcomes for the team. If you found yourself taking on extra work, say it in a way that doesn’t put the rest of the team down.
Example: “There were six of us working together on my last implementation, and I put in extra time to mentor less-experienced members of the team and ensure their work was of the best quality. When we ran into snags, I had no problem stepping up to help resolve the problem, so the implementation could be a success.”
By approaching these three topics from a positive angle, you can greatly increase your chances of interview success, showing that you are an experienced team player. Stay tuned for additional HIT career insight from the HITStoltenblog, and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any new topic requests.
-Melanie Streeter, Health IT Systems Recruiter