Category Archives: Interview Skills

Are You Managing Your phones or Are They Managing You?

CallCenter79999Patients expectations for service are always increasing and call center training is a crucial part of the puzzle. Improving performance management and training best practices in the call center is key to keeping your patients happy. Here are six steps for improving you call center:

1) Revamp the hiring and training process:

One of the best methods to uplift your call center quality is by improving the service levels. Effective training and coaching practices can make your agents highly proficient and at the same time will help them in aligning their individual goals. However, this is only possible if you hire reps with the right set of skills and thereafter train them to excel in their role.

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10 Questions an Employer Should Not Ask

Job postings

According to the BC Human Rights Code (Discrimination in employment advertisements), you must not publish job postings or advertisements that give preference to:

  • What is your religious affiliation?
  • Are you pregnant?
  • What is your political affiliation?
  • What is your race, color or ethnicity?
  • How old are you?
  • Are you disabled?
  • Are you married?
  • Do you have children or plan to?
  • Are you in debt?
  • Do you social drink or smoke?

The interview

The Interview

The Interview

Once you are ready to begin your interviews, there are a few key points to keep in mind when designing questions. You need to ensure your interview process is not intentionally or unintentionally asking questions on prohibited grounds. It is important to describe the job and requirements in a way that gives all applicants a chance to apply. For example, if a position requires regular overtime and has an irregular schedule, do not ask:

“Do you have children?” as you would be assuming a person with children could not work longer hours.
If a job requires heavy lifting, do not ask:
“Do you have a bad back or any medical issues?” as you might be discriminating against a candidate with a disability.

Checking references

It is important to note that you cannot ask questions that are illegal during any stage of the recruitment process including your interview or while conducting reference checks. For example, just as you cannot ask a candidate about a disability in the interview process, you cannot then ask their former employer, “How many sick days did they take last year?” However, you can ask if they were reliable and punctual.
While there are many points to cover in preparation for an interview, no point is more important than knowing which questions are considered illegal and are simply NOT allowed to be asked during your interview.
There are numerous state and federal antidiscrimination laws designed to assure that employers hire based upon skill, rather than stereotypes. Therefore, there are some things an interviewer isn’t allowed to ask. How do you know what’s fair game? Here are some questions that should raise red flags.

1. “What’s your race?”
It is illegal for an employer to ask you questions about race or skin color. Unless appearance is a “bona fide occupational qualification” (BFOQ) – for example, if you’re applying for a modeling job- you cannot be required to submit a photo with an application.

Fair questions: None. An employment application may include a space where you voluntarily indicate your race.

2. “What is your national origin?”
An interviewer cannot ask if you are a U.S. citizen, where you were born, or remark upon your accent. Unless a business case can be provided, a company can’t specify that English be the only language spoken on the job.

Fair questions: “Are you eligible to work in the U.S. Could you, once employed, submit documentation to that effect?” Companies now require all employees to fill out an I-9 form, in order to confirm that you’re a citizen or resident who is eligible to work. If fluency in a language other than English is a job requirement, an employer may ask how you learned that language.

3. “What is your maiden name?”
An interviewer can’t discriminate on the basis of gender or marital status. Recruiters may not ask different questions of female and male applicants or of married and unmarried women. It’s also inappropriate for an employer to ask if you’re planning to have a family or have young children.

Fair questions: An employer can ask for your full name or whether you’ve worked under another name – in order to check your employment history. Interviewers may inquire about childcare and other family issues by asking: “Where do you see yourself in five years? What hours are you available to work? Do you have other responsibilities that may interfere with your ability to meet the requirements of the job- such as overtime or travel?”

4. “How old are you?”
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects people over the age of 40, who work in companies with more than 20 employees, from employment discrimination. Employers may specify an age limit for a position only in rare cases where it can be proven that age is a.

In all other cases, an interviewer may not ask when you were born, when you graduated from high school (since most students graduate at age 17 or 18), or any other questions from which your age may easily be determined. Individuals under age 40 aren’t covered by the ADEA, but many states offer them some protection.

5. “Do you have any disabilities?”
Under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an employer may not discriminate against a qualified candidate who is disabled, and must make “reasonable accommodations” for physically or mentally impaired employees.

Fair questions: “Can you perform the basic functions of this position with or without accommodation?”

6. “What is your religion?”
There is no reason for an employer to ask you about your religion or about any holidays you observe.

7. “Have you ever been arrested?”
You are innocent until proven guilty; therefore, it is illegal for an interviewer to ask if you’ve ever been arrested.

Fair questions: Employment applications often include questions about felony convictions, along with a disclaimer saying that a conviction won’t necessarily remove you from consideration.

In accordance with U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) policy, employers must weigh a variety of elements when factoring convictions into hiring decisions. These include the nature and severity of the offense, the time that has elapsed, and whether the offense has any relation to the position advertised.

8. “What type of military discharge did you receive?”
An employer may not ask whether you received an honorable or dishonorable discharge.

Fair questions: The interviewer is allowed to inquire about your rank when discharged and discuss the skills you gained while in the military.

9. “Have you ever filed for bankruptcy?”
Questions about your financial status, whether you own a home, or have previously had wages garnished are off-limits.

Fair questions: If good credit is a requirement of the job, a company is within its rights to perform a credit check.

10. “Do you belong to any organizations?”
It’s inappropriate for an interviewer to ask whether you are affiliated with or are a member of any political, social, or religious groups- including unions.

Fair questions: An interviewer may ask you if you’re a member of a professional organization, like the American Bar Association.

How to React to Unfair Questions

Try and determine what type of information an employer is looking to receive with her questions. For example, if an interviewer asks if you have children, you may deduce that she wants to know if you’d be missing work often to care for them. You might simply answer that you have no problem meeting the positions attendance requirements.

How to Prepare For A Healthcare Interview

How to Prepare For a Healthcare Interview
Nicola Hawkinson DNP, RNFA, RN

The biggest mistake in interviewing is not being fully prepared. Understand that interviewing is a skill; preparation and practice enhance the quality of that skill. Preparation can make the difference between getting an offer and getting rejected.
There is no one “best” way to prepare for an interview. Rather, there are specific and important strategies to enhance one’s chances for interview success. Every interview is a learning experience, so learning that takes place during the preparation and actual interview process is useful for future interviews.
Initial preparation requires recent assessment of skills, interests, values, and accomplishments; a re-assessment and updating of one’s resume; and research on the targeted company/organization and position. Preparation also includes actual practice of typical and targeted interview questions. Final preparation includes details of dress and appearance, knowledge of the location of the interview, what to expect, and protocols for follow-up.

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Beware of Resume Red Flags

During the recruitment and hiring process there are a lot of protocols that should be followed. Hiring qualified candidates starts by creating the proper pool of applicants; only put the best resumes into your database. Knowing the difference between a good resume and a bad resume is sometimes harder than you may think.

Technology is a huge part of daily life as well as job hunting techniques. Candidates are now able to search for example resumes online and use other services to create resumes. We are no longer immune to false advertising on resumes. Yes, everyone wants their resume to stand out and look good, but your resume won’t be the one meeting deadlines and fulfilling job responsibilities; that’s up to you.

Some of the biggest red flags on resumes are: lapses in employment and short time at jobs. When a candidate has not worked in five to ten years that should be concerning. Why? Because healthcare changes all the time and if an employee is not up-to-date with the current changes it can be detrimental to business. Some candidates have reasons for why they have been out of the working world for so long, and if the reason is legitimate, schedule an interview and see if they can overcome their lack of job experience in the recent years. Only do this in cases where the candidate had the right experience before leaving the field, and a good track record of keeping previous jobs. Another red flag is short time spent at jobs. If you see that a candidate has steadily left previous jobs after a year or two than rethink taking them on as an employee. What will happen after a year working with you? Will they leave? You don’t want to have to constantly be worrying that the person you hired is going to pick up and leave.

Once a candidate has been selected for an interview, ask the right questions. If a person cannot give a straight answer about previous job responsibilities, then chances are they have lied about job responsibilities to look better on paper. Some red flags you just can’t confirm without meeting the candidate in person. You may feel like you have wasted your time but at least you are honing your skills for picking up on phony resumes. Paying to red flags will save you a lot of time in the long-run.

Video – Skype Job Interviews

In the past decade video/skype interviewing has become the leading edge technology in the recruiting world. While some recruiting firms recruit for local positions, others recruit nationwide; making it more difficult to have that face-to-face connection with potential candidates. This is where video/skype interviews become vital to not only recruiters but clients and candidates as well.

Ask yourself this: What is the main advantage of a face-to-face interview? A lot of people would say meeting the candidate in person is the most important aspect. Luckily video interviewing has made it possible to see the candidate visually without having to be in the same state or even the same country. Before video interviewing the only way to screen a candidate was by phone and that can be impersonal. Now, with technology on our side not only are we as recruiters able to see our candidates, we are able to get a more in-depth look at who he/she is as a person, and if they really are the correct fit for the position. This generates a stronger relationship with the client, because they will be able to know you are working that much harder to send them the best applicants possible for their facility.

Now, put yourself in the position of the candidate. A video interview seems easy enough, right? It may seem that all it entails is sitting in front of the camera and answering questions just as you would in a face-to-face setting. However, not properly preparing yourself can hurt your chances of being offered your dream job. Technology is not always reliable. There can be times when we lose service and/or connection. We are used to everything being available in seconds and don’t stop to think that technology can in fact contain a glitch or two. With that being said it is important to “check your tech” (check the video connection) ahead of time to ensure there are no interruptions during your interview. During an in person interview there usually isn’t much room for distractions. In the case of video interviewing you’d be surprised how many disturbances can occur.

There are factors that must be gone over with a fine-tooth comb in order to make your video interview as successful as possible. First, take a look at the atmosphere around you. First, make sure there are no TVs on in the background, no screaming children or barking pets. Second, double check that you have proper lighting and can be seen on camera; it would be unfortunate if your interviewer was unable to see you clearly. Finally, dress to impress! Just because you may be in the comfort of your own home during the interview it does not mean that your appearance is not being evaluated as well.

How to Resign the Right Way

Resigning from a medcal job can be stressful and uncomfortable depending on the type of situation you find yourself in. Sometimes a certain medical position just isn’t the right fit anymore or, maybe you’ve found a position elsewhere that is more beneficial towards your career goals. No matter what the case is, you want to leave your current position the right way, without burning bridges or creating hostility.

Be prepared when you are looking to leave your current medical job. Go over documents you signed when you took the job you are leaving and make sure you did not sign a noncompete or nonsolicataion because you wouldn’t want to jeopardize your future employment plans. Whether you’ve had issues with a fellow employee or you feel like your job performance is being overlooked by your boss, the right way to handle resigning starts with your letter of resignation and conduct while you are employed. A letter of resignation is a concise way of telling your current employer you’ll be moving on to another opportunity. Resignation letters are not meant to be rambling diatribes about your discontent with your current employer. If anything they are to be unemotional and to the point. If you really need to tell your supervisor any grievances you have then this should be done face to face. Remember, your current job (Physician Assistant, Nurse Practitioner, Medical Assistant Medical Biller….) has trained or taught you things you can take to your next position so be polite and cooperative. Your current employer might have policies for resignations that might include an exit interview or some kind of protocol you need to follow; be flexible and handle things in a timely manner. Make sure you give your employer at least two weeks’ notice before your last day. Building a good rapport with a medical practice, hospital or ambulatory surgery center starts from the very first day and should continue until you leave because you never know if you’ll need a recommendation in the future and you want to keep the lines of communication open for your benefit.

For assistance looking for a new position in the healthcare field plese visit SpineSearch’s current jobs on our curent Health Care Jobs page

It’s Not All “Dollars and Cents” When it Comes To Your Job Search

When searching for a new position most people tend to look for and accept the highest paying position possible. Whether you are a new graduate that accepts one job offer over another in order to make $2 more an hour, a seasoned health care veteran looking to transition to a much higher paying position … or perhaps somewhere in between; money speaks. No matter your level of experience, you should take a look beyond the dollar amount you are offered as salary. There are many other factors to think through besides the salary that a position pays.

It may not be the wisest choice to make an employment decision based purely on the salary or hourly rate that you are offered. When it comes down to it there are many other benefits that should factor into your career search that will ultimately help you to make a more informed decision. And many of these benefits actually affect the amount of money that you will earn (for example think about the rising costs of health benefits).

We understand that the salary you are offered important; we all need to support ourselves. Remember to ask yourself what other factors or benefits are most important to you in a career choice? Things to consider on top of health insurance include: location, tuition reimbursement, CME allowance, facility type, work schedule, work- life balance etc.? If you still think money (the salary you are offered) is most important, then consider this scenario:

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Phone and Skype Interview Tips

During the recruitment process companies are more frequently turning to the telephone and Skype (video conferencing) to conduct initial screenings for candidates. This is a time saving tool which allows recruiters to determine if a candidate has the right experience to bring in for a live in-person interview. As a candidate on the hunt for a new position you may be unsure of how to prepare for and act during such an interview. Here are some tips to help you ace your next phone or Skype interview with a potential new employer.

No pajamas– For a phone interview it may be surprising to learn but you should still dress the part! Yes that is right; don’t conduct your phone interview in your pajamas and while lying in your bed. Believe it or not, but dressing the part will actually makes a difference in your confidence which will be heard over the phone. If you’re dressed in your pajamas you may be too comfortable and can risk sounding unprofessional over the phone.

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Bad Habits in the Workplace

Our current Newsletter contains two articles with a focus on bad habits in the workplace. Whether SpineSearch has placed in you in a new position or you are currently looking to transition, we want to make sure that you are cognizant of the top rated bad habits in the workplace (that can actually jeopardize your chances of staying employed). Now that SpineSearch has helped you or is helping you to find your “dream job” we want to make sure that are not guilty of any of these bad habits and that you will stay happily employed.

Some of the top habits that we discussed in our newsletter and which lead to tension and an unprofessional image in the eyes of supervisors and other coworkers include:

Being late or leaving the office early- most everyone needs to come in late or leave early at some point in their career. But if you are chronically late or leaving early this shows that you are not committed to your work and that your time is more important than other employees and is more important than your job responsibilities. It is very unprofessional to show up late for meeting or to abuse your privileges by always taking extra time during your lunch break.
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Spring 2013 SpineSearch Newsletter- Join Our Mailing List Today!

SpineSearch is pleased to announce the arrival of our second SpineSearch Newsletter. Our quarterly newsletter is aimed to keep you informed about recent “SpineSearch Sightings” and upcoming SpineSearch events including: industry conferences and SpineSearch continuing education courses.

Our Spring 2013 Newsletter features articles on employee topics such as: “Creating an Emergency Action Plan”, “Identifying Bad Habits in the Workplace” and “Tips to Address Your Employees Bad Habits”.

Please contact us today with your name and mailing address to be added to our quarterly SpineSearch Newsletter mailing list. Click the blue link below to view our recent issue: Spring 2013 Newsletter Happy Reading!