Interview Challenge

interview

It is important to practice your interview technique.  Practice makes perfect.  The Career Services departments are available to schedule Mock Interviews so that you are prepared to provide the best answers to employers on your interview.  Here are a few questions along with preferred answers that you can use when practicing your interview skills.

  1. Question: Tell me about yourself? This question is usually the first question an interviewer will ask. It is important to have a “tailored answer” to this question that focuses on what is important to the interviewer. The interviewer is trying to get a feel for what the applicant deems important about themselves. They are also trying to get a sense of whether or not you truly understand which experiences, skills and abilities are relevant for the position the graduate is applying for. This is an unstructured question and one that will make or break the interview. Remember to tell our students and graduates that it’s more about the interviewer than it is about them. Focus on the skills needed to do the job they are interviewing for.
  2. Question: What is your strength? This question allows the candidate to focus on the good qualities that the employer may be looking for. Answering this question using positive adjectives such as reliable, punctual, dependable, or excellent communicator is the best way to demonstrate to an employer that you will be an asset to their office.
  3. Question: What is your weakness? For every strength, there are also weaknesses. This question sometimes causes students to seem as though they are perfect! Besides, who wants to point out the negative behaviors? The best way to answer this question is to acknowledge the weakness, but with a positive twist. Answer: “My weakness is not being able to say no. I tend to take on more task than I am able to finish. However, I am working to become more aware of this and instead of immediately saying yes, I respond by saying let me get back to you with an answer tomorrow. This gives me an opportunity to check my schedule and ensure I am not overcommitting myself.” This is a tailored answer that all students should have perfected. Whatever the weakness is, practice with your Career Services team on how to communicate it with a positive twist.
  4. Question: Why should I hire you? This is another opportunity to remind the employer about your strengths and any other positive attributes that may cause you to stand out from other applicants. Also be prepared to give examples of how your strength has been demonstrated. Answer: “You should hire me for this position because I am dependable. My classmates always counted on me to help them study for test and work on projects because they knew I was always in class and paying attention.”
  5. Question: Do you have any questions for me? This is the interviews way of bringing the interview to a close. This is also a great time to show your level of interest in the position. Answer: “Yes, I would like to know what the schedule would be.” or “Do you have a specific dress code in your office?” or “What are you looking for in an ideal employee? Do you feel I meet the requirements for the job?”

Practice makes perfect!  Make an appointment with your Career Services office to learn more about how to answer interview questions.  Good luck in the process!

Top 5 Reasons You’ll Make a Great Medical Assistant

Careers in healthcare are on the rise, and medical assisting continues to be projected as one of the fastest growing occupations. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the career outlook for medical assistants is quite impressive. In fact, it’s projected to have a much faster than average job growth all the way through to the year 2024. From 2014 to 2024, it is expected that medical assistant employment will grow by 23%. As a result of this, you may be asking yourself – would I make a good medical assistant?

There are many traits that contribute to a person being successful as a medical assistant. Take a look at the top five reasons you’ll make a great medical assistant.

You are a Good Listener.

Listening is essential in the healthcare field. During the course of your day, you will need to listen to the needs and concerns of your patients and extract vital information to relay to the medical team. Not only will you be expected to listen to your patients, but you will also need to listen to doctors and nurses. You must be able to take instructions from them for multiple patients at a time and execute those directions properly. This is another vital skill that requires you to be able to listen carefully.

You are Compassionate. 

As a medical assistant, you are going to have patients that are experiencing many different emotions and it is an essential part of your job to be there to comfort and support them.  In some cases, your patients may be in pain or have terminal conditions that require a high level of compassion and empathy.

You Love Helping People.

 There is hardly a greater field, than healthcare for a caring person who loves to help people. As a medical assistant, you have the opportunity to have a positive impact on people every day.  Whether you are taking a patient’s history, performing a blood draw or helping a patient understand their condition, what you do really matters and has an ultimate effect on the patient’s well-being.

You Work Well Under Pressure.

Dealing with patients that have a serious illnesses, or life threatening injuries, is not easy. Being able to maintain your professional demeanor while you are under intense pressure is essential to good patient care.  In addition, working in a busy medical office can get quite hectic.  Being a medical assistant requires someone who is patient, tolerant, and in-control even when under pressure.

You are a Team Player.

 Working in healthcare means being a part of a team that includes doctors, specialists, nurses, administrators, and more. The ability to work well as a team is an integral part of being a medical assistant.  You will need to be able to work with different personalities and different skill levels in an effort to provide your patients with the most comprehensive care. Providers rely heavily upon a strong team of professionals to help everything run smoothly.

Does this sound like you? While you may not possess all of these traits yet, you can get there. If you’re ready to start your healthcare career training, we’re here to help. Check out the Medical Assisting program at Platt College today to find the campus closest to you.

Written by: Jennifer Robinson, Social Media Coordinator/Blog Editor – Platt College

The Most Important Thing to Take on an Interview

The day has arrived and you are preparing for your first interview. You have worked hard to learn a new skill. You have studied and passed your certification exam. You have a copy of your diploma, transcript and certificates demonstrating great attendance and grade point averages in your portfolio. You have multiple copies, ready to leave one behind for anyone that asks. You have prepared an award winning resume. Your interview attire is perfect- clean and ironed. You have studied the top 10 questions you could be asked on an interview and you have prepared answers for all of them. But, there is still something missing. Self-Confidence.

The one thing that will win an employer over is a candidate that possesses self-confidence. Self-confidence is a magnet for success. It means that you believe in your own skills, goals, and ability to succeed. In an article posted in the Time Management Ninja, the author lists 10 reasons that self-confidence leads to success.

 10 Reasons That Self-Confidence Leads to Success:

  1. The Drive to Start Things – Confident people start things. They are not shy about striking out on a new idea even when those around them are still pondering it.
  2. The Ability to Stand Up for Oneself – Confidence allows you to stand up for yourself in a fair and consistent manner. Otherwise, you may find yourself unheard or unfairly treated.
  3. The Ability to Say No – Confident people have the ability to say “No” where appropriate. They do not take on unnecessary or inappropriate work or obligations.
  4. The Ability to Say Yes – And at the same time, confident individuals say “Yes” to opportunity. They do not miss new options because they are shy. I have seen individuals pass up opportunities (even promotions) because they didn’t think they were “worthy”.
  5. Confidence Overcomes Fear – Lack of confidence can lead to paralysis from fear. Fear of failure. Fear of what others think. Fear of the unknown. To succeed, you need the confidence to face and overcome your fears.
  6. Believe In Themselves – Self-confidence means believing in yourself. Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.” He was right.
  7. Set the Bar High Enough – Confident individuals set the bar high and aim high. Lack of confidence leads to weak goals, setting the bar too low, and mediocre results.
  8. Stretch Your Limits – Confidence lets you know your limits and test them. By stretching your limits you increase them. You are stronger than you think.
  9. Confidence Asks Questions – Confidence allows you to ask questions, even when others are silent. Confidence even lets you “ask for the job”.
  10. Believe In Winning – Confident people believe in success. And more importantly, they believe in their ability to succeed.

As you prepare to land your new career opportunity, consider the most important thing you can take with you, self-confidence. When you believe in yourself, you stand out in the crowd and you will always have good success!

To ensure that you’re prepared make an appointment with your Career Services team.

Written by: Shaundra Hamilton, Ancora Education – Vice President of Career Services

Land the Right Medical Assistant Job for You

Before moving to Fort Worth, I was gainfully employed as a medical assistant in Austin, Texas. The family practice employed five providers in total, three physicians and two nurse practitioners. I look back on this time fondly, as I couldn’t have found a better fit to start my career. The work was intriguing and fulfilling. I learned about differing techniques, odd medical anomalies, the inner workings of insurance companies, countless lessons on people in general, and so much more. While my professional skills and personality made me the right candidate for the position in that office, I like to think my prep work helped get my foot in the door. These are the top five things helped me land the right Medical Assistant job for me.

  1. Be a detective. Before an interview, find out everything you can about the practice. Read reviews on Yelp. Look over the company website. I even Facebook and LinkedIn stalked people that worked there after the first interview. You can prepare a list of questions for your interviewer not only to gain vital information on the position, but also to show that you care about the role. Learn about the providers. The practitioner(s) you are supporting can drastically change your job description. At one practice, the Medical Assistants were assigned to different providers daily. One Nurse Practitioner wanted me to get in and out of the rooms with little more information than the patient’s vitals and medication lists. She would get very agitated if I spent more than 5 minutes with the patient. Another doctor wanted a full medical history with vitals taken and labs processed before she entered the room. The best decision is made when you know the job, what is expected of you, and the medical personnel you will support.
  2. Know your ideal position. Some openings for Medical Assistants are desk jobs. The position requires very little face to face interaction with patients. They need someone to solely process referrals or prescription refills. Another position may have the MA only rooming patients. Most places I came across had a mix of both, but know what you want to do or are okay with doing before wasting everyone’s time. I once attended an interview with a vague job description at an allergy clinic. When I found out the position entailed being cooped up in a lab mixing homeopathic allergy tonics and Fedexing them to patients, I was no longer interested.
  3. Identify your values and trust what your gut tells you. If you don’t believe in homeopathy, you shouldn’t work for an office whose main course of treatment is homeopathy. Watch how the leaders treat other employees. If the thought of an abrasive personality in a manager makes you ill, don’t take the job. You will quit or be miserable, which would ruin an otherwise fun, interesting, and gratifying career. After moving from Austin, I hastily accepted a position with a family practice in a well-to-do neighborhood. While it was called a family practice, it was one stop shopping for some of the patients. While I was occupied with little Johnnie’s strep throat, Mrs. Cooper scowled impatiently across the lobby to get her Botox injections. My next patient would be getting his HCG injection equipment.  I was supposed to teach him how to inject the horse hormones to stave off hunger on a 500 calorie per day diet. I was annoyed by the fact that doctors were incorporating beauty treatments at a family practice, but I was horrified that a doctor’s office would embrace a dangerous and inefficient weight loss scam like the HCG diet. The practice manager explained to me that the patients wanted these things, so we had to comply to keep their business. I could not sell gimmicky healthcare and found a new job quickly.
  4. Volunteer in a medical environment. Start NOW. Lack of job experience will make a resume sparse and sad, but a year of volunteering in a hospital or nursing home can beef up the CV and get your foot in the door for an interview. This will also give you the opportunity to network in the medical community. I was a birth doula for a fantastic organization that helped women with little or no support when having a baby. It was fun, rewarding, and later got me into an amazing practice.
  5. Smile. Of course you smile when meeting for interviews, but amp it up.  Smile when you make the calls. Smile at patients in waiting rooms. Smile at the receptionist; she will hopefully be a future coworker. Smiling lowers stress, releases neurotransmitters responsible for euphoria, and makes you look more attractive and sincere. Don’t force it. If you aren’t in a cheerful mood, reference something in your mind that makes you grin. Practice smiling. I’m not making this up. Google it!

To find your ideal Medical Assistant position, be as prepared as possible. Check out the office, people, and philosophies of the practice to verify this is a position you want. Volunteer to network, look better on paper, and feel like a decent human being. Then SMILE because you will find the best opportunity for you.

Written by: Megan McCatty, IT Administrative Assistant – Ancora Education

Communication Can Change Everything

communicationAs a Surgical Technology instructor and clinical coordinator, I came to this field knowing that I wanted to help people. I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives in a medical aspect. I enjoy the gratification of making someone feel better. I moved through the ranks as Surgical Tech, evening shift, day shift, specialty tech, and finally heart scrub. Eventually, I was asked to come teach at the Platt College Oklahoma City Central Campus. In all my time in this field, whether it be in the hospital or in the classroom, I have found that there is one thing critically important to the profession that can’t be found in any textbook, and that is communication.

As humans we are able to communicate in many different ways. One such way is by asking questions. When I’m teaching a class, I welcome the students to question what I am telling them. If I don’t say a medical term correctly, I want them to tell me. I feel that I am encouraging a culture of critical thinking.  If new information is presented, they should pull from all of their knowledge and experience to evaluate if it is right or wrong. There are so many ways to do our job as surgical technologists, and I want the student to be able to have an open mind and ask why and how the information can benefit them and make them a better scrub. These are the kind of people we need, not only in this profession, but in the world.

When I go to sites like Facebook or other forums for Scrub Techs, they are constantly telling each other what they are doing wrong. They quickly pull rank by saying how long they have been doing it and dismiss any new ideas. I think if we could find a way to talk to each other by asking questions, such as, why they did something a certain way, or why they feel that their way is a good practice, we could accomplish so much more. We should communicate with each other in a positive manner and with an open mind. We should look past judgment and take with us the good.

Listening is also an important part of communication.  Active listening can build better relationships. Being able to listen effectively makes for a productive employee, and a productive employee is a desirable employee.

Communication can be uncomfortable when you disagree with someone and have to confront them. There are many ways to do this without anger or conflict.  The first thing to do is edit your thoughts before speaking. Just coming out and telling someone that they are wrong will most likely make them mad.  Instead, find a way to clearly and concisely let them know that you do not understand the way they did something; it will make the person more open to speak about their actions. Second, you should always communicate with a good attitude. When engaging in a conversation with someone, your body language and attitude need to match.

My final word of advice would be to speak up and speak often. Communication skills are paramount to a team-oriented career like surgical technology. As stated by M Leonard, S Graham, and D Bonacum “Effective communication and teamwork is essential for the delivery of high quality, safe patient care.”

We liveperson at computer in a world where social media and technology allow us to hide behind a screen and never look people in the eye. That’s why I feel such a sense of responsibility to teach the importance of communication.  Many errors can be avoided by speaking up for what is right. Minor misunderstandings in relationships can be avoided with better communication. Have the courage to speak up. Have the passion to learn and truly understand what you do.  Have the drive to be the best you can be and enjoy what you do every day.

Written by: Nola Jones, CST & Surgical Technology Instructor – Platt College OKC Central

NOT NETWORKING = NOT WORKING

shutterstock_194022155_renderedIf you are clever at small-talk, have the confidence to insert a positive personal story that almost fits into a conversation, and can manage to sound smart when discussing news, business, and sports, you are a good networker. If you prefer to talk to people you know, don’t know how to keep a conversation going in an uncomfortable situation, and don’t like the pressure of always being “on,” then you my friend, are NORMAL!

Whether you love to network or hate to network, your career just might depend on it. “Networking” in the professional context, means talking and relating to people for the sake of improving your career. But guess what? Your best network is the people you already know!

I have had 7 jobs in 20 years (large and small companies, several you have heard of), and 5 of the 7 jobs would not have happened if it weren’t for my friends. Here are the 7 jobs, and who got me the “in” I needed to land an interview.

  1. IT Consultant – My sister, and my best friend’s wife were both employed at my targeted employer. They got my resume to hiring managers.
  2. Process Manager – A friend that I met during my first job left and got a new job at a new company. He told me about the role and got me in the door.
  3. Product Manager – Someone I barely knew from a co-ed 4-person beach volleyball league.
  4. Product Manager – Monster.com. Yep, no help on this one. But my resume worked now that I had “Product Manager” on it.
  5. Regional Director – High School friend I had kept in touch with and hounded about jobs over the years. He finally came through.
  6. Project Manager – CareerBuilder.com. Yep, no help. Miracles do happen.
  7. Product Strategy Director – Someone from a parent-company that I was in training with for 5 days. During training he was impressed with me (so don’t act like a clown during training–you never know who could be of help to you later).

The key for me was that I let everyone mentioned above know I was looking for work, and what kind of work might be good for me.

When I was “in between jobs” do you know what kept me sharp, gave me confidence, and helped me practice those uncomfortable conversations with strangers? Job networking groups. Guess how many job offers I got through a networking group? Zero! Would I go to one again, and did I see it help other people get jobs? Absolutely.

Look for groups like this one:

http://careerdfw.org/J/

Consider clubs and groups for employed individuals. People with jobs are better at helping people get jobs!

http://www.networkafterwork.com

Join your local Rotary club.

Join your local Chamber of Commerce

But most importantly, network with friends, family, and family friends!

Written By: Dan Morchower, Product Strategy Director – Ancora Education