Tuesday, September 27, 2011

When talking to Recruiters, are you asking the right questions?

The Healthcare Technology industry is more competitive than it has ever been.  With an abundance of need for qualified HCIT experienced consultants and very few qualified resources, many Healthcare Technology consultants are over-whelmed with emails & phone calls from industry recruiters. 
Keep in mind that the interview process is a 2-way street.  You have a right to know more about the recruiter you are speaking to, what their intentions are and more about the company they represent.
Below are a series of questions and side notes to assist you during your job search or engagement search process.

Recruiter Screening Questions                                               (*see notes below)

1.        How long have you been recruiting for Healthcare Technology Professionals?

(answer should be at least 3 years: you want your recruiter to have a firm understanding of your qualifications and know how to represent you to their clients)

2.        If I chose to work with you, how often can I expect to hear from you?

            (you want to know that your recruiter is going to stay in touch with you, many recruiters will  submit your resume and if they don’t get a response from their client, you’ll never hear from them again)

      3.       What about my experience interests you?

(this is another way to determine their knowledge of your qualifications and also determine what positions they have open)

4.       Do you have any openings for my qualifications at this time?

       (one frustration that candidates frequently express is that they have been approached and interviewed by a recruiter only to find out after the call that there is no job opening.  It is ok to get to know a recruiter that you can work with in the future if they do not have any current openings that match your qualifications, but the recruiter should be expressing the fact up front.)

      5.       How long has your company been in the HCIT Industry?

       (obviously the longer the better. Due to the heightened attention EMR has been receiving, there are numerous start-ups that lack financial stability, knowledgeable representatives and solid clients)

6.       Does your company offer salaried/hourly/1099/W2/perm placement employment and what is the pay schedule?

       (decide what employment model you prefer prior to your job search)

7.       What, benefits does your company offer?

8.       What is your travel reimbursement plan?*  Is travel reimbursement paid weekly/bi-weekly?

9.       Who is the client?* (providing they do have a position they want to consider you for)

10.   Does your company have a signed contract with the client you want to present me to?*

Notes:  You will always want to specify that recruiters are NEVER to submit your resume without your permission.  Lately there have been numerous entities that will submit resumes without a candidate’s permission.  Hospitals are likely to throw out any resume they receive from more than one source, so if your resume is submitted without your knowledge from one company and with your knowledge from another, you may end up losing an opportunity.   

You have a right to know where your resume is going!  If a Recruiter refuses to tell you the name and exact location of the client, find another recruiter!

Many agencies will submit resumes to hospitals that are not a client in hopes of obtaining new business.  The best way to guarantee your resume is reviewed by the hospital is to make sure the agency representing you has a contract with that hospital/healthcare system.

Make sure you know about the financial aspects!  Always find out what the pay schedule is, what the travel reimbursement policies are and what (if any) benefits are available to you.  Many smaller agencies do not provide pay or travel reimbursement until their client has paid, and that may mean you will have to carry that financial burden for 4 weeks or more on your credit card.

ALWAYS use your gut.  Pick two or three Recruiters from different companies that you feel comfortable with and work exclusively with them.  Contrary to popular belief, the more recruiters you work with does not net more opportunities.  Working with 10 or more recruiters is really not a benefit to you and may cause more confusion than you want.  By limiting your alliance with 2 or 3 Recruiters from different companies you should be able to stay significantly busy.  If one company isn’t bringing you enough engagement options, drop that recruiter from the list and add another.  If you are seeking a permanent position, use the same rule of thumb, 2 or 3 Recruiters from different agencies that offer perm placement (either internally or via client hospitals).  The only exception to this rule would be Go-Live Support Analysts that move frequently from one engagement to another, in this case utilizing multiple recruiters may increase your opportunities for short term engagements.

Keep a folder or spreadsheet listing the names of the Recruiters you are working with, what company they represent, when they contact you or when you contact them, the title and location of each position offered, where your resume has been submitted, whether or not you interviewed with the client and each engagement you accept.  This will eliminate duplications.

Update your resume each time you complete a new engagement and provide the updated resume to each of the Recruiters you work with.

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Resume Tips- How to Make Your Resume Stand Out

What to put down on paper: Resume Tips
 Let's discuss Resumes. I've seen so many horrible resumes I don't know where to start... so I'm going to start from the top of a resume and work my way down.

Include: Name, Address, Phone, email (& linkedin, Twitter, Blog etc link if you have one)

Omit: SS#, marital status, number of children, health or any other personal information that could be used to discriminate.

Objective lines are no longer necessary or desirable. Put that info in your email or when necessary a cover letter.

Summary: In a paragraph sum up the total of your best qualities (example: Accomplished, Versatile Technology Consultant with over 13 years of experience. Industry strengths relevant to: Healthcare Information Technology and Small business technology. Experience includes the following skills: etc)

Work History: Name each company you've worked for, dates of employment, job title and at least 3 bullets of your main responsibilities, try to include a bullet at the end about a milestone with that company (example: Earned the Presidential Sales award 4 years in a row).  If you have a technical career remember to include what technologies you used...for instance; instead of "worked as a builder during the EMR implementation" you might want to say "provided build assistance with the implementation of Epic Ambulatory".  Even if you have listed your technical skills in the Summary section of your resume, it is important to reiterate in the work history so the reader knows how recent your experience is with specific technologies.

Education: If you dropped out of High School and have gotten your GED, just list the high school you attended, if you've graduated college or have been out of high school longer than a few years you really don't need to list it at all. The important information is in the College degree, even if you only attended college, put the years and area of study. Also list any work related courses you have taken or certifications you have obtained in your field.

Awards and Affiliations: list any business awards you've received and any memberships you may have to work related organizations.

Volunteer work: (This is optional) list any relevant volunteer work you've done

References: Do NOT include references on the resume. Put: "References provided upon request" No need to provide references until you're to that stage in the interview process.

Font:  Use a simple font like Times New Roman or Ariel, don't go with fancy letters or fonts like Comic Sans because it is often more difficult to read and doesn't appear professional. 

Your resume (depending on how many years you've been in the job force) can comfortably be 2 full pages long. If you have a highly technical career, longer is acceptable. Keep personal information off the resume. If the potential employer wants to know your hobbies they'll ask.

Don't throw the baby out with the bath water, you want to be thorough but not overly wordy. Don't try to over-sell yourself. Get enough information out to intrigue the reader into calling you for an interview, then you can WOW them!

7 more tips:
1. SPELL CHECK! SPELL CHECK! SPELL CHECK! I've had clients turn down people for simple spelling mistakes.
2. Do not give reasons for departing jobs. cover that in interview
3. Stick to bullet points, paragraphs of information can be overwhelming
4. Update your resume regularly
5. If you are considering work in more than 1 industry (ex: Sales OR Management) its a good idea to create different resumes for each industry to highlight those particular skills.
6. If you have changed professions over the years there is no need to put information from 10+ years ago. For instance, if you worked various restaurant jobs until 1998 and since then you've been in Nursing, no need to put any experience before 1998 on your resume because its not relevant to your current job search.If you don't feel like you have a handle on how to create a eye catching resume, hire someone to help you.
7. Do not email a link to your resume if you have it available on a web site without including a resume in document form.  Providing your resume as an attached Document in PDF or DOC format is ALWAYS preferable.

UPDATED More Resume Tips!
-Use the same font throughout the resume.  You can change size to indicate a new section (ex: SUMMARY, EXPERIENCE etc) and bold the font to highlight employer and title but use the same font style
- Stick to black & white! Leave the colorful resumes to the people applying for Marketing or Artistic positions.
-  Dont include your mugshot.  A picture is unnecessary.
-  Double check for spelling errors. Many tech terms will not get caught by spell check.  (ex: Siemens Soarian... I've often seen it misspelled "Sorian"... if you can't spell the technology you're working with correctly how will an employer have faith in your abilities) 
- Watch for spelling errors with acronyms as well.  EHR often is autocorrected to HER.
-  Include your linkedin profile address but avoid your Facebook information.  Most information found on facebook should remain separate from work.
-  Have a friend or colleague that has similar industry knowledge proof read it!
-  When naming your document, use a combination of your name and the date to make it easily searchable by recruiters when they save it (ex: CLester092011.doc)

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Job Search Phone Etiquette

Job Search Phone Etiquette

There are a number of things you should remember when you decide to seek new employment.  Now is a good time to cover Job Search Phone Etiquette. I'm going to omit conversation about phone interviews here, we will cover that in a future blog. Let's stick to the process between creating your coverletter & resume and obtaining that initial interview.

Here we go...It is very important to list a phone number on your resume or in your profile on linkedin & on the job boards**. Email communication often goes to spam. You may miss a great opportunity simply because you didn't make yourself accessible enough. When deciding on what phone number to use, I would suggest always using a cell number if you own a cell phone. If you are concerned about receiving too many messages on your personal cell phone, you might consider purchasing an inexpensive pay-as-you-go phone. That will provide you with a secure phone to use until you've found a new position. Then the phone can be disconnected and donated to charity.

When using a cell phone during a job search think about what your ring-back tone says about you. If you're seeking a professional position and your ring-back tone is: "I Got 99 Problems & the Bitch Ain't One" by JayZ, its likely you wont be receiving any messages.
Same goes for your voice mail message, it may say something your friends will find amusing, but not a potential employer. Keep your ring-back tones light & keep your voice mail box message short & professional. (Ex: You've reached the voice mail box of John Smith, I'm sorry I missed your call, please leave a message with your phone number and I'll return your call as soon as possible)
I dont recommend using the automated response that says "you've reached (your phone number) leave a message at the tone". The Recruiter has no idea if they've reached the right person or not.

If you are in a place where you cannot answer your phone to discuss potential employment, turn your phone off so it will go directly to voice mail. It's very frustrating to the caller to have someone pick up and immediately hang up because their phone started ringing at an inappropriate time. That person will likely not call you back. If you do not own a cell phone and must resort to using a home phone, change your message to something simple like the one mentioned above. Always alert all family members that the number is on your resume and you are expecting important calls. Advise them to answer the phone professionally and supply pen and paper in a convenient spot so they can take down any necessary information if you are not at home to take the call. If there are children under the age of 10 in the home, they probably should not answer the phone during your job search. Too often I've had young children pick up that are incapable of taking a message. Even teenagers can be a road- block to your new career.

Recently I had the following conversation when dialing a home phone number: 
Teenager: "Yeah?!"   Me: "Hi is So & So home"? Teenager: "She can't come to the phone"
Me: "This is Cherie Lester from (name of my company)" "Could I leave her a message about a job"?Teenager: "Your number came up on caller ID, I'll tell her to call it"CLICK

Obviously this kid wasn't schooled as to the importance of phone etiquette while her Mom is searching for a new career, either that or she had Robert Patterson on the other line. (See Twilight)
You could also consider putting times of availability on your resume & profiles so Recruiters know when to reach out to you and you know when to expect their calls.

With numerous candidates on the market, its imperative to make sure the first impression you leave with a potential employer is a positive one. Often this first impression is your voice mail message, ring back tone or a family member taking a message for you. Keep the suggestions above in mind and it will be smooth sailing!

**In some instances omitting a telephone number from your resume is acceptable.  In the HCIT industry there are a few areas of expertise that have a limited candidate pool.  If you are an expert in one of these areas you may be flooded with calls from recruiters.  In that case, create a specific email address to receive inquires on your resume... rule of thumb is some combination of your first name/last name at gmail/ymail or yahoo.  This will eliminate having to potentially change your phone number.

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