Health Service professionals dedicate hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to developing themselves and the skills required IN the role. However, interview skills are also important to develop in order to GET the role and are very often only reviewed in the weeks or even days leading up to a confirmed interview date. Competency-based interviewing follows a structured process and with focused planning, interviewees can devise answering techniques that will lead to success at the interview.
The plan interview candidates put in place to prepare can often be uncoordinated which ultimately leads to underperformance at interview. Some common ad hoc approaches to Interview Preparation that our clients report have hindered their success at interviews include;
- Not allocating enough time to fully read and digesting the job specification
- Focusing on learning off large texts of Health Service policies, rather than perhaps just focusing on the purpose of policies, key aims, and how they underpin the job applied for
- Preparing scenarios to use at interview that are either too short or too long-winded and do not demonstrate the required level of competence
Here are some of the best tips that have helped our clients successfully prepare for the HSE Interview Process
1. Protect time to thoroughly read the job specification; remember competency-based interview questions are compiled from the information provided on the Job specification
2. Make a list of the policies and procedures specifically referenced in the job specification – summarise the key purpose of each policy/procedure (depending on the seniority of the role, there will be varying expectations at an interview on candidate’s depth of knowledge required)
3. Read the explanation of each competency; capture the experience you can match to each part of the competency
4. Compile scenarios for each competency which clearly demonstrate your competence
5. Practice discussing this scenario, and get feedback if possible from a colleague on how this scenario demonstrates your competence and how well you communicate it
Interview Skills should form part of all Health Service staff’s Professional Development Plan. Ideally, Interview skills should be reviewed as soon as you make the decision that you are interested in promotional opportunities. This will allow you time to start developing your Professional Knowledge and competence in common areas such as planning and organizing, managing yourself and others, initiation and management of change, and problem-solving which usually are the core competency areas for most Health Service Roles.
If you are a Health Service Professional and planning on applying for promotions you might like to hear more about how I support Healthcare Professionals to develop their interview skills in the short and long term, contact me here to book a call Contact
Are you applying for a job or promotion in the Health Service? Here are 3 ways to handle interview nerves.
One of the main reasons we get nervous before interviews is the fear of the unknown. Being well prepared for interview as well as having a better understanding of ourselves and what throws us off track can help us to manage interview nerves. The following are key tips that former interview preparation clients of mine have found useful.
1. Prepare yourself – research the organisation/service. Practice answers to common questions that arise under each competency for the role. Try and have a mock interview preferably with a colleague or someone who is familiar with you and the organisation you are interviewing for.
2. Plan your day around the interview – know what works best for helping you focus e.g. – is it revision of your potential answers or policies/ procedures relevant to the role or doing something unrelated to the interview such as a walk.
3. If you find you get nervous during the interview practice the STOP method. The STOP method is a helpful mental technique to overcome stressful situations (with practice you can do this subtly):
✨Stop what you are doing and focus on what you are thinking
✨Take a few deep breaths
✨Observe what is happening inside your body – observe your emotions, the thoughts in your mind and why you are feeling those things
✨Proceed with the intention to incorporate your observations into your following actions
The purpose of STOP is to slow down and help you focus on what you are doing, what your are feeling and it allows you to remember you are in control of your actions and thoughts.
If you find interviews challenging and are considering applying for a role or promotion within the Health Service contact me for a free consultation to understand how my approach may help you. https://bit.ly/3Imn092
At some stage in our careers many of us will feel unsure about the direction we are going. Perhaps we might not envisage a long term future with our current employer. Maybe we have not spent enough time on creating the right development plan to achieve our goals. But, above all, the biggest obstacle to our career could be our own mindset.
Carol Dweck of Stanford University identified two mindsets people can have about their talents and abilities – growth mindsets or fixed mindsets.
Fixed mindset: People believe their abilities and intelligence are static and feel they need to prove themselves over and over. They may tend to avoid challenges, give up easily, and sometimes ignore helpful, constructive feedback.
Growth mindset: People believe they have the ability to learn and grow through effort and practice and as they are more inclined to embrace challenges, stay persistent in the face of setbacks, and welcome constructive feedback.
The difference between the two mindsets is that one creates a need for approval, while the other builds a passion for continuous learning and growth.
Having a growth career mindset can help us to think differently about our career route. Traditionally, when we think about career growth, we envision climbing the corporate ladder however career growth doesn’t always involve a promotion. Growth is making a decision on what your career goals are and how you’re going to achieve them. It’s about taking the best next step towards being great at what you do.
It could be as simple as building relationships with your manager, colleagues, or considering a specialist role rather than the traditional next level leadership role. It may be doing some work on building your communication skills. It may be deciding to acquire a role that fits better with your lifestyle and values.
The key takeaways here are:
- Whatever you feel like you could do better, focus on developing that skill and developing a realistic plan to succeed
- Be open to routes that fall outside of the traditional career path.
- Consider that “up” isn’t the only direction that can help you achieve your goals and bring career satisfaction
Rambling at interview is where candidates stray from the original intent of the question posed by the interviewer making it difficult for them to decipher examples of where the candidate is demonstrating their competence.
In addressing this very common challenge, it is important to seek to understand firstly why we tend to ramble. It is only by reviewing our individual past performance at interviews that we can unpack this but from deciphering this with the clients I work with it is usually attributed to lack of preparation, lack of practice (of answers to common questions) and/or no clear answering framework.
If rambling is an interview challenge that is common for you, here are a few strategies to help you manage this going forward:
- Research: Key strategies and policies which underpin the role are usually outlined in candidate information; it is important to research these and be clear on their purpose and how they relate to the role you are applying for
- Practice: For competency based roles in particular, competencies are described in great detail, try mapping a scenario you have which demonstrates your competency in this area and then practice giving a sample answer
- Answer Frameworks: Once you have devised a scenario which demonstrates your competence, use a framework such as the STAR (situation, task, action and result) method to present your answer
- Focus: Become more aware of the length of your answers and review how you can answer questions in a clear and succinct manner in the time available.
Finding strategies to lessen rambling at interview can help interview candidates to highlight their qualifications, demonstrate their competence and create a positive impression on interview boards.
Many of the clients I coach around careers have arrived at coaching as a result of a challenge or multiple challenges to their personal or professional lives which inspires or sometimes forces them into re-assessing their career. For most of these clients they have been able through our work together to review their current situation, work through the challenges and make the change they need to restore balance and career satisfaction.
What is less common is to encounter clients who make a conscious decision to regularly review their career situation and through reflective practice identify early signs to explore, unpack and take well thought out steps to address the underlying issues before a dissatisfaction or even crises arise.
Career Coaching provides a space to explore your current career situation, as our careers are multi-layered it is helpful to have a thinking partner to help you to poke between the layers to understand what is going on and ask the right questions to help you get the results you need.
To help you get started consider a mini career health check – ask yourself the following:
At the start of the week – how do you feel about the prospect of going to work?
What aspects of the role energise you and why?
Which aspects de-energise you and why?
As you begin closing out 2022, and dare I suggest that we might be starting to “wind down” for the festive period – take some time out for some reflection in this area starting with answering the questions listed above in the context of the year passed and what you hope for your career in 2023.