How to Ace the Green Interview

health care career

It’s an ages old question and one often faced by our Concorde students getting ready to graduate and launch themselves into a health care career.

How do I interview for a job in a field in which I have no professional experience?

You always hear employers say they selected a candidate for a position based upon his/her past experience on the job. But, how can you get experience when employers won’t hire you without it? This especially can be a challenge in the competitive world of vying for a health care career.

It’s called the “green interview,” and it can be difficult. But it’s not insurmountable.

“A majority of our students have not worked in their field of study,” said Danielle Van der Knaap, Graduate Employment Specialist at Concorde’s campus in San Antonio. “During the interview, they really need to market themselves.”

How to market oneself during an interview for a health care career

Van der Knaap suggests the following ways to make yourself stand out during a health care career interview, despite not having actual professional experience in the field.

  • Take a look at the job description and see what qualifications you meet. Those will be your selling points.
  • Make sure you are confident and presentable for your interview. Confidence is key.
  • Touch base on the experience you have received in school and on extern/clinical. Use your medical/dental terminology and relate your questions to the field/position. You want to ensure that you market yourself for the position and NEVER sell yourself short. Stating that you have no experience or not relating the questions to the field is not a good sign.

Other methods to put to use during an interview for a health care career

Joan Kilna, Graduate Employment Specialist for Concorde’s campus in Portland, Ore., offered a few other helpful suggestions.

  • Be ready to answer those questions that reveal your weaknesses. Own your lack of experience, but follow it up with a positive statement in a related area. For example, instead of just saying, “I don’t have any EMR experience,” you should say, “I don’t have experience with EMRs, but I have worked quite a bit with Word, Excel and Outlook, so I’m sure that I’ll pick it up quickly.”
  • Focus on transferable skills. Emphasize that you never were late to that retail job you had for two years. Highlight the times you were asked to train new cashiers. Tell brief, focused stories where you delivered customer service that went above and beyond. Talk about how you smoothed over things with that difficult co-worker. All of these are valuable work experiences that will be essential to your career.
  • Show a willingness to learn. Ask the interviewer what specialized equipment or procedures the office uses, write it down and say, “Thank you. I’ll do some research tonight and read up about that.” Taking initiative is always a good idea (and following it up by actually doing the research).
  • Send a thank you note the next day. These help you stand out from the crowd and reinforce the idea that you really, really want to be there.
medical assistants

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