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The Most Common Mistakes when Interviewing for Medical Management Jobs

Written by Steve Thornley, CSC, CEO of CareNational 
Contact him at 1.800.974.4828 ext 101, or steve@carenational.com

In the last six months alone, CareNational has prepared several hundred Medical Management professionals to be ready for their interviews, both for Clinical Nursing roles and for Admin and Allied support positions.  On a personal level, I myself have prepared well over 1000+ candidates over the course of my career.  Overall I have seen a common thread that typically runs through most unsuccessful interviews.

The most common issue I see is a general Lack of Preparedness.

Most people think that the “shoot from the hip” and “using my personality” approach is all they need. The other outlook I see regularly is the “I know how to interview” attitude. 

Recently I had a couple of candidates tell me that they “were pretty much offered every job they interviewed for” and they really did not feel they “needed any assistance in preparation.” But the funny thing is, none of those “I know all about interviewing” candidates got hired.  And as a general trend, those are the candidates who perform the most poorly during interviews, based on the feedback we receive from our clients.

I bet you can think of at least one smooth-talking professional you have encountered that could probably ace any interview, but you know that they would not have the first clue how to do your job if they got hired. Well the flip-side of that coin means that there are those who would be experts at doing your job, but they will never get a chance to prove it because they interview poorly and do not take the time to hone those skills.

One would think that candidates interested in a successful interview would consider each scrap of advice, no matter how elementary they felt the information was. You may be the most experienced candidate for doing the job once hired, but an interview is a different beast entirely. You need to brush up on those specialized communication skills that simply may not be a part of your day-to-day duties.  Additionally, most professionals in managed care roles tend to stay with the same employer for 3-5 years before considering new career opportunities, which means your interview skills will get a little rusty between jobs. Bottom line, if you think you know it all, or if you don’t have an open attitude towards preparedness for the interview, none of those qualifications matter.

Here are a few simple steps that will aid you in being prepared for the interview:

1- Know how to respond if the first question the interview asks is “What do you know about our company?” Sounds simple enough right? It is if you take the time to research the company. Their website is a good starting point, but finding people that really know health plan or hospital is better. LinkedIn.com could be a great way to network with people that have had former relationships with the company, those that are currently employed there, or individuals who have done business with the company. Dig deep into public information, press releases, their history, charitable activities they engage in, and their financial standings. Sites like Glassdoor.com can help find out about the general perception of the company.

2- Prepare questions in advance.  A lack of questions can be interpreted as a lack of interest in the job.  I say prepare 10 questions, but plan on only asking 3-5.  As the interview progresses you will find many of your questions being answered before you can ask them, make a note and move on to the best 3 questions that remain unanswered. What to ask? What would you want to know about the ‘hot button’ issues of the hiring manager (such as the Director of Case Management or Manager of Claims)? Develop some questions that will help you find out.  You can also use the question time as an additional opportunity to make yourself shine, rather than as an info-gathering tool.  Use some of the information you gathered to develop smart questions that reveal you did your homework, such as “I see the Health Plan just acquired a TPA that primarily serves as a HEDIS Vendor, does that mean you plan to expand HEDIS support to outside organizations, or are you planning to bring those functions back in-house?”

3- Find out about the hiring manager and their background. The internet has a wealth of information about people, including the person/people you will be interviewing with. If they have a LinkedIn.com profile, you can find out all about their background, career and education info, and sometimes even hobbies and interests. You can find out about professional associations that the hiring manager may belong to, as well as related conferences and association activities. How great would it be to walk into an interview and basically have the resume on the person that is interviewing you? Using some of that information professionally and ethically can give you the edge over the competition, or at least serve as a great conversation piece to break the ice.

Following a few easy steps in preparation can make a world of difference in your interview performance and your confidence!

Written by Steve Thornley.

Steve has been involved in the healthcare recruitment industry for over fifteen years and helps lead a professional staff of recruitment professionals dedicated to health plans and healthcare providers.  

For more information on CareNational, send an email to contact@carenational.com or call 1.800.974.4828 x101