Interviewing For A Neuromonitoring Job
If you got the call for an interview for a neuromonitoring job, then you’ve already wowed them with your killer IONM résumé. Now comes the part that everyone love… selling yourself without sounding like a braggart, and then telling them what you think you’re worth.
And this is NOT how it’s done…
Most people aren’t so brash… or confident. But confidence and clarity while speaking is something most companies want in an employee working alongside surgeons in the operating room. Trying to convince them how well equipped you are to handle the most stressful situation on the OR, while your palms are more sweaty than Patrick Ewing, doesn’t have to be the worst experience ever. A little preparation can go a long way.
How To Prepare For An Interview With A Neuromonitoring Company
Ironing your shirt and combing your hair isn’t the only prep work you need to do for an interview. You need to have answers ready to go. Here’s what I recommend…
Step 1: Actually know something about neuromonitoring.
If you’re new to the world of intraoperative neuromonitoring, you probably don’t know squat about it. So it’s time to do some research on the profession before you go making claims of how interested you are in all of it.
Read the ASNM position statement, the ASNM practice guidelines for neurophysiological monitoring and check out these neuromonitoring textbooks that you can see for free (or at least part of it).
Step 2: Meet some people… so you can name drop
I already wrote about how to network with people in the neuromonitoring community. You should be asking them not only about the company they work for and other companies they know about (to land a IONM job), but also what they think about the profession, concerns they have, what their typical week looks like, etc. Write down all the intel you get, along with the person’s name You’ll be using it later when preparing for the interview.
Step 3: Find out about the company
Here you’re going to be contacting people that are already employed by the company and seeing what they think about it, what changes have been made over the past 1,5,10 years, where do they see the company going, etc. After that, do some leg work to find out about the company itself. Where are they doing business, who’s their competition there, what’s their reputation, what research have they published, etc.
Step 4: Write 4 short stories about yourself. Then prove it as true
Come up with 4 stories about yourself where you were in a problem and succeeded. Here, you’re going to want to tell your story (nothing made up here) in such a way that sells you as an asset, while not sounding like a pompous ass. And there’s 1 single ingredient that does this that works like a charm.
You need to prove to them that you’re the only candidate that they can hire for that position. Here’s a couple of ways to go about doing just that.
First, you need to quantify your successes. Details can give a real perception of truth to your story. If you can use an exact number to better verify your statement, all the better. For instance, if you are able to run transcranial doppler, don’t just tell them that you’re comfortable using the modality. Really sell that value.
“I’ve used transcranial doppler on carotid endarterectomy surgeries”
“I’ve used transcranial doppler on over 125 carotid endarterectomy procedures.”
There’s only a subtle difference in the statements. But with emphasizing the amount of cases gives a greater sense of expertise using the modality, while quantifying your answer lends to making it easier to believe.
Second… You don’t want to sell your expertise, but rather what your expertise can do for the company. Position yourself by selling the results, not the method.
Can you tell a difference in these comments?
“I’ve been using transcranial doppler for the past 3 years.” (Selling a service you can perform)
“I was able to introduce transcranial doppler as a service I could provide to a group of vascular surgeons, which landed us 44 more cases that year from that group.” (Selling a quantifiable end result)
That employer’s reaction to the first comment might be “OK, great. But we don’t use transcranial doppler on our carotid endarterectomies,” while thinking “Wow… 44 more cases just from marketing transcranial doppler? Hmm. Maybe this guy/gal can bring us in some new business?”
While using TCD for 3 years might be pretty good proof of proficiency, being good enough to attract new business proves you’ve got something of value.
Third… if at all possible, prove your stories through accolades. If you’ve won any awards, recognition, certificates, been asked to present as a professional speaker, asked to review cases as an expert, etc., let it be known. If you can somehow slip those into your stories (without forcing it), your story will have some nice proof riding along with it.
For example, say the question was… “Tell me about how you might handle a situation where you are relieving someone for a break and you notice that they have significant changes and have not yet reported it to the surgeon.”
If you’ve done some cases reviews, you could start off by saying. “Well, what comes to mind was a case I was asked to review, where a change in SSEP was present and the neuromonitoring technologist failed to report it to the surgeon. Had I walked in on that situation happening in person, I would have…”
Step 5: Predict what questions they’re going to ask
Now that you’ve done your research, and you’ve come up with 4 stories where you can prove your worth, it’s time to start practicing.
Here are some interview questions that you’ll want to go through to practice integrating your stories (and filling in the gaps, they aren’t going to cover everything).
Tell me about yourself.
What are your strengths?
What are your weaknesses?
Why do you want this job?
Where would you like to be in your career five years from now?
What’s your ideal company?
What attracted you to this company?
Why should we hire you?
What did you like least about your last job?
When were you most satisfied in your job?
What can you do for us that other candidates can’t?
What were the responsibilities of your last position?
Why are you leaving your present job?
What do you know about this industry?
What do you know about our company?
Are you willing to relocate?
Do you have any questions for me?
Behavioral Interview Questions:
What was the last project you headed up, and what was its outcome?
Give me an example of a time that you felt you went above and beyond the call of duty at work.
Can you describe a time when your work was criticized?
Have you ever been on a team where someone was not pulling their own weight? How did you handle it?
Tell me about a time when you had to give someone difficult feedback. How did you handle it?
What is your greatest failure, and what did you learn from it? What irritates you about other people, and how do you deal with it?
If I were your supervisor and asked you to do something that you disagreed with, what would you do?
What was the most difficult period in your life, and how did you deal with it? Give me an example of a time you did something wrong. How did you handle it?
What irritates you about other people, and how do you deal with it?
Tell me about a time where you had to deal with conflict on the job. If you were at a business lunch and you ordered a rare steak and they brought it to you well done, what would you do?
If you found out your company was doing something against the law, like fraud, what would you do?
What assignment was too difficult for you, and how did you resolve the issue?
What’s the most difficult decision you’ve made in the last two years and how did you come to that decision?
Describe how you would handle a situation if you were required to finish multiple tasks by the end of the day, and there was no conceivable way that you could finish them.
What salary are you seeking?
What’s your salary history?
If I were to give you this salary you requested but let you write your job description for the next year, what would it say?
Career Development Questions:
What are you looking for in terms of career development?
How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?
What kind of goals would you have in mind if you got this job?
If I were to ask your last supervisor to provide you additional training or exposure, what would she suggest?
Getting Started Questions:
How would you go about establishing your credibility quickly with the team?
How long will it take for you to make a significant contribution?
What do you see yourself doing within the first 30 days of this job? If selected for this position, can you describe your strategy for the first 90 days?
More About You:
How would you describe your work style?
What would be your ideal working environment?
What do you look for in terms of culture — structured or entrepreneurial? Give examples of ideas you’ve had or implemented.
What techniques and tools do you use to keep yourself organized?
If you had to choose one, would you consider yourself a big-picture person or a detail-oriented person?
Tell me about your proudest achievement.
Who was your favorite manager and why?
What do you think of your previous boss?
Was there a person in your career who really made a difference?
What kind of personality do you work best with and why?
What are you most proud of?
What do you like to do?
What are your lifelong dreams?
What do you ultimately want to become?
What is your personal mission statement?
What are three positive things your last boss would say about you?
What negative thing would your last boss say about you?
What three character traits would your friends use to describe you?
What are three positive character traits you don’t have?
If you were interviewing someone for this position, what traits would you look for?
List five words that describe your character.
Who has impacted you most in your career and how?
What is your greatest fear?
What is your biggest regret and why?
What’s the most important thing you learned in school?
Why did you choose your major?
What will you miss about your present/last job?
What is your greatest achievement outside of work?
What are the qualities of a good leader? A bad leader?
Do you think a leader should be feared or liked?
How do you feel about taking no for an answer?
How would you feel about working for someone who knows less than you?
How do you think I rate as an interviewer?
Tell me one thing about yourself you wouldn’t want me to know.
Tell me the difference between good and exceptional.
What kind of car do you drive?
There’s no right or wrong answer, but if you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
What’s the last book you read?
What magazines do you subscribe to?
What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the last year?
What would you do if you won the lottery?
Who are your heroes?
What do you like to do for fun?
What do you do in your spare time?
What is your favorite memory from childhood?
Step 6: Come up with questions for the interviewer
In most interview situations, at the end of the interview, they’ll ask if you have any questions for them. A simple answer “Nope,” makes you look uninterested. Asking questions about what’s in it for you (salary, vacation, sick days, etc.) are all necessary, but don’t end there.
Go ahead and get all that information, but remember to leave on a high note. You want the last thing going through their mind to be about what a great fit you’ll be for their company. Remember, they just spent a bunch of time asking you questions that stressed exactly what they are looking for. When it’s time for you to ask the questions, hit those topics.
Their line of questioning will be along the lines of… “How can you help our company?”
Your follow up question should be along the lines of “in your opinion, where could your company use my help.” There’s probably a better way to put it, but you get the point.
If the end of the interview is going to be you asking the questions, then you need to capitalize on that through preparation. Here are some example questions to ask the interviewer at the end of your interview to gain valuable information and come out smelling like roses…
What kinds of processes are in place to help me work collaboratively?
In what area could your team use a little polishing?
What’s the most important thing I can accomplish in the first 60 days?
Can you give me some examples of the most and least desirable aspects of the company’s culture?
Am I going to be a mentor or will I be mentored?
How will you judge my success? What will have happened six months from now that will demonstrate that I have met your expectations?
This job sounds like something I’d really like to do — is there a fit here?
Now that we’ve talked about my qualifications and the job, do you have any concerns about my being successful in this position?
Step 7: Follow up and follow through
After the interview is over, now it’s time to get to work. If you found out anything from the interviewer that would help you get the job, any hangups they might have that you can fix, or hints to new task you’ll be expected to learn, get started on that ASAP.
Let a couple of days has pass, then write a letter, send and email, or give them a call, and let them know that you were grateful for the opportunity to interview, and you’ve been busy performing XYZ as discussed. Let them know that you look forward to hearing from them at the date agreed upon.
Step 8: Wait and see
If you’ve gone through all this prep work, I’m sure you performed pretty well throughout the interview process. Even if you don’t get the job, you’ll at least know that you gave it a good shot. Plus, you’ll be ready for the next one.
There are a lot of people looking to get into this field, so you really need to stand out. Get prepared and give yourself the best chance for success.
If this did help you land a neuromonitoring job, please let me know about it by leaving a post.
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