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Leading Healthcare with Healthcare Leaders

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Getting Back in the Game: 10 Job Interview Etiquette Tips

By Patricia McCollum CIR, Recruiter, Gallagher MSA Search 

Part of our job as executive search recruiters and consultants is to prepare candidates for phone and in-person interviews with our client organizations.  Having successfully placed hundreds of executives, we occasionally have candidates at the Director level - identified through our SearchDIRECT practice - who may be interviewing for the first time, or have not interviewed for many years.  For those individuals, following are some "best practices" job interview etiquette tips by Job Search Expert Alison Doyle. 

  1. What to Wear to a Job Interview: When you are dressing for a job interview, the image you present is really important.  Your image is what makes the first impression on the interviewer - and that first impression is the one that sticks- so it's important to dress appropriately when interviewing.  Regardless of the type of job you are interested in, you want the first impression to be a great one.  When dressing for an interview for a professional position, dress accordingly in business attire.
  2. When to Get a Job Interview: ARRIVE ON TIME!  It's important to arrive a few minutes early, or on time, at the latest, for a job interview.  Know where you are going, how much travel is needed, and how to get to the interview location.   Check out the logistics ahead of time so you ensure that you are not late.  Giving yourself a bit of extra time will give you an opportunity to stop in the rest room and freshen up, if need be, to make sure you don't have any hair, make-up or wardrobe malfunctions.  A few extra minutes will also give you an opportunity to catch your breath and stay calm.  An interview is even more stressful than normal if you are rushing to get there on time. 
  3. What to Bring to a Job Interview:  It's important to come prepared to a job interview.  Bring extra copies of your resume along with a list of references to offer the interviewer.  Also, bring a list of questions to ask the interviewer.  If you're interviewing for a tech or web job and you want to show examples of your work, it's fine to bring your laptop or tablet to show the interviewer what you have accomplished.  What should you NOT bring? Don't walk into a job interview with a coffee or bottle of soda or water, or anything else to eat or drink.  Your cell phone should be turned off and out of sight.  You don't want to be the applicant whose text messages or calls disrupt the interview.
  4. How to Greet the Interviewer:  When you arrive at a job interview, introduce yourself to the receptionist, if there is one.  Let him or her know who you are scheduled to meet with.  Greet your interviewer with a firm handshake and introduce yourself.  Be prepared for a little small talk, but don't overdo it.  Follow the interviewer's lead and let them guide the direction of the conversation.
  5. Responding to Interview Questions:  Listening is as important as talking during a job interview. When you respond to interview questions, listen carefully to the questions, take time to phrase your responses, and ask the interviewer to repeat the question if you are not sure what they are asking.  Be brief and don't ramble when you respond.  However, do be sure that your responses answer the questions, are focused, and highlight the skills you have that are relevant to the job.  Keep in mind that your responses are your sales pitch.  You are selling the interviewer on yourself as the best candidate for the job, so be sure you focus on your relevancy, i.e., why you are a good candidate, how you can do the job, what you can contribute, and how you will benefit the company if you are hired.  
  6. Telephone Interview Etiquette:  Phone interview etiquette is just as important as in-person job interview etiquette when it comes to getting hired.  That's because, regardless of whether you interview on the phone or in-person, a successful interview will get you to the next stage of the hiring process.
  7. Dining Interview Etiquette:  Dining with a prospective employee allows employers to review your communication and interpersonal skills, as well as your table manners, in a more casual environment.  Good manners can give you the edge over another candidate, so, take some time to brush up on your dining etiquette skills before dinner.
  8. What to Give the Interviewer:  Bring extra copies of your resume with you, in case the interviewer needs a copy or you end up meeting with several people.  Have a list of three references printed out, including contact information for each reference, ready to offer at the end of the interview.
  9. Closing the Interview:  Toward the end of the interview, let the hiring manager know that you think the job is an excellent fit and that you are very interested in the job.  It is appropriate to ask what the next step in the hiring process will be and when you might expect to hear.  Finally, thank the interviewer for the time they spent with you. 
  10. Follow Up with a Thank You Note:  Taking the time to say thank you not only shows that you appreciate the interview, it also gives you an opportunity to reiterate your interest in the job.  In addition to saying thank you, refer to anything the interviewer mentioned that enhanced your interest and summarize why you think the job is a good match and why you are a strong candidate.  

Knowing proper job interview etiquette is an important part of successful interviewing.  How you dress, what you bring to a job interview, how you greet the interviewer, and how you communicate can all make a big difference in the outcome of the interview.  Review these 10 etiquette tips for before, during, and after a job interview, to ensure that your job interview etiquette is up to speed and you are making the best impression.

Sharpen the Saw: How to Make Yourself a More Marketable Candidate

By Brad Veal, Senior Consultant, Gallagher MSA Search


With our ever changing world and increased pace of life, gone are the traditional structured lifestyles of many of our parents and grandparents.  This is especially true in our professional careers.  People no longer go to work out of high school or college and remain with the same employer until their "gold watch" retirement.  The statistics vary, but studies show that Americans will hold an average of ten to twelve jobs over their lifetime.  For millienials, that number is expected to nearly double.  That means, like it or not, we all better be prepared to market ourselves.

That discussion could branch off into a myriad of topics, but for today's purposes, we are going to concentrate on interview preparation.  As this blog is geared toward healthcare executives, we are working under the assumption that the pre-interview, low-hanging fruit has been picked:  hospital and health system websites have been combed, interview panel members have been researched, 990 reports reviewed, and communities and markets studied. We will discuss mock and traditional interview experience.

Practice May Never Make Perfect

Before you go through a formal interview process, you should work through several "practice runs".  This can easily be done with family members or professional colleagues.  Take the opportunity to direct them to make it very uncomfortable for you - ask the tough, probing questions.  Video the encounter so you can see yourself through your potential employer's eyes.  And then repeat as necessary, so that you can develop confidence and comfort.  Practice may never make perfect, but this type of tough preparation is very likely more painful than the formal interview itself. 

Case Study - Interviews AFTER the Job? 

We work with a large health system in the Midwest, and one of their top executives encourages his leadership team to annually interview for positions outside the organization.  He believes this instills an ongoing self-development mentality, where leaders look to improve their skills and enhance their experiences in the present, as opposed to delaying until a potential job search in the future.  The caveat is that he will lose good people this way, but he views it as a two-way street, where the employer must do their part to engage the employee so that leaving is unlikely.  This is certainly an unusual, yet progressive, practice that requires a great deal of trust as well as a non-punitive culture.  While many organizations aren't quite this evolved, this can benefit both the employee and the employer, as individuals look for constant growth and development opportunities that will consequentially enhance their organization. 

I interview candidates every day and fully understand that looking for a new job is generally not viewed as one of life's pleasant experiences.  However, I have also found that the dread of the interview process is almost always much more painful than the actual practice.  People seek to make a connection, whether employee and employer, and can all relate to the person sitting uncomfortably across the table.  The more you prepare and practice, the better chance you have to establish a rapport and make a favorable impression.

Unprofessional Resumes

By Patricia Neds, CIRSenior RecruiterGallagher MSA Search

If you want to be taken seriously when you apply for a job, you need to put some polish on your resume, cover letter, and everything contained therein. In addition to having your resume reviewed, make it easy on the hiring agent to see your LinkedIn profile. Hyperlink it on your resume, so all they have to do is click one button. Here are some additional aspects of creating a resume that will help in making sure it is professional and ready for the next phases of the hiring process.

Email addresses

Unprofessional email addresses are just one way of sending the wrong message. Email accounts are free. There is no reason not to sign up for your own. Many professionals share an email account with their significant other generating unprofessional addresses such as bobandpat@yahoo.com. Also, stay away from cutesy addresses like chimpsarecute@yahoo.com. You can always share your admiration of cute apes with colleagues after you’ve been hired. The same goes for offensive or flirtatious email addresses. Use an address that incorporates the name you use professionally on your resume and cover letter.

Failure to proofread

It is amazing how many people submit resumes that contain several typos. Even better than spell check, you should ask a friend to review your resume and cover letter. Make sure your dates are consistent and that you don't confuse your story with overlapping timelines.

Unprofessional voicemail

If your resume is strong enough to convince the recruiter to reach for the telephone, be sure what they find at the other end of the line represents you in the best light—that means your voicemail or whoever might answer the phone.

Lazy words

The use of “etc.” on a resume is a sign of laziness. This says that the job seeker can't even take the time to list out all of their duties. Another no-no is saying “same as above” anywhere on a resume. If you had similar functions at a couple of your jobs, summarize the responsibilities and then bullet out some of your accomplishments. Other examples include spelling out the name of an employer or school (“BYU” instead of “Brigham Young University”) or not providing a city or state for an employer or school. Make sure you provide all the information to clarify the correct organization and/or school.

A resume is your first impression. What is your professional brand? Lead with it, and get their attention right away. An average resume review lasts 7 – 10 secondsmake it impactful! Your professionally written resume and cover letter is what will get you in the front door for an interview.

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