Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Jumping Through Hoops - The Interview Process - Epic Sphinx Test UPDATE

Have you ever gone through a rigorous interview process in order to get hired?  Multiple telephone interviews, then face to face interviews, possibly followed by some seemingly unnecessary personality assessment or qualifications testing process.  While I've surprisingly had clients call me and hire someone for a contract position after only reviewing their resume, typically there is a interview process one must go through in order to become employed. (Either as a consultant or permanent employee).  Some of the toughest jobs to land can be Epic related positions.  Just when you think you have all the certifications and experience necessary to get the job you've been envisioning - Epic adds another hoop.  (ie: The Sphinx Assessment*). 

In speaking with candidates as I walk them through these processes, I've had many express exasperation at all the "hoops" they're asked to jump through and frankly, I can't blame them.  Sometimes the process can seem like hours upon hours of your life you aren't going to get back.  However, the best way to look at each interview process is as a learning experience.  The more you interview, the more you learn about how to interview.  Like any skill, for most people interviewing takes practice and experience to become good at it. 

Consider that; permanent employment is like marriage, you go into the experience hoping it will last forever.  With this in mind, isn't it worth your while to take the time to go through the interview process and learn as much as you can about the potential employer before making one of the biggest decisions of your life?  Making sure the position is a good fit not only benefits the potential employer but also benefits the candidate.  Many people, myself included, have dived head-long into an employment situation without much hesitation, only to find out after a few months that we've jumped out of a frying pan and into a fire.  By taking your time through a lengthy interviewing process and jumping through each hoop with a level of understanding that both you and the employer want to make the most educated decision possible, it will make the process easier to tolerate.

So..., the next time you're in the middle of scheduling yet another interview, keep the above points in mind - try to put a smile on your face and consider what you're learning about yourself and your potential new employer.

*Regarding the Sphinx (Exam, Test, Assessment - call it what you will) I've heard quite a bit of feedback from Epic EMR experienced Consultants that have taken it and failed - it is a pass/fail scenario and Epic will keep the results on file forever.  Many Epic clients have been sold on the idea that they should use this test and only hire people that pass.  Sadly this belief is eliminating a lot of certified professionals that would be amazing employees.  In conducting an online search for sample questions, not much was available, only a few notes on Glassdoor.com under Epic (company).  There are 3 sections to this test: Programming Logic, Math Logic and "Logic Logic".  If you have taken this test and would like to (anonymously) share your feedback, please do!

23 comments:

  1. Via LinkedIn: Lowell Buschert 1st
    Consultant/Senior Integration Analyst Health Industry

    I totally agree. Its an information exchange process. You are evaluating the employer as much as they are evaluating you

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  2. Yes, I'd like to share a comment. The test is slanted towards younger members of the workforce, who are used to this type of testing. Epic is very open about hiring only young people. You cannot just answer the questions, you have to answer them in a certain time frame. You score includes how quickly you answer. I imagine if you took the complete time allotted you would have to get a perfect score to pass. Epic does not acknowledge its shortcoming. I know when I was in one of their classes, the classroom activity was to create a complete setup for an employee to view a report. I included a user record. Nope, wrong. I asked the instructor how was the person going to view the report without a user record. Another fellow student pointed out the assignment says "complete setup", so she begrudgingly said she'd take it back to the group to see if the assignment should be revised. Epic words things clumsily. I found that even on the certification tests. I passed them first time, but found myself struggling with their terminology.

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    1. Thank you for your feedback Sheila - very helpful information!

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  4. I fully agree that the pre-employment Epic assessment test is preventing hospitals from acquiring exceptional employees. I just took the test for the second time but for a different hospital then the first time I took it. I don't understand the point of the test. I especially don't understand how grading the test on how much time it takes you to complete it is relevant to how good of an employee you will be.

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  5. can you retake the test if you didn't pass.if so how soon?

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    1. I've been told by our client hospitals that once you take the test your results are on file at Epic forever. Typically they do not allow people to retake the test so the above experience was unusual.

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  6. Since my initial posting I've received multiple comments on the Sphinx Test. Some people said they just lost patience and gave up, others said they breezed through it (and passed) in an hour - typically it takes 2 hours - and others have said it was difficult and frustrating. If you are taking the test without prior Epic knowledge or you're not a programmer (IE first section of the test) the client will consider your results accordingly. I've been told the Logic Logic portion asks the same questions multiple ways and that a calculator is provided for use in the Math Logic portion.

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  7. I have deep experience and chaired $1M integrations with another EMR/HIS and am not a developer and/or coder. If it is a simple fact of regurgitating the facts on a sheet of paper no issue. This simply was the hardest assessment I have ever taken and failed miserably. Received a standard thanks but no thanks standardized email from the hospital.

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    1. Some of the most talented people I submitted that had to take the Sphinx test didn't "pass" it -

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  8. I have deep experience with Intersystems Ensemble and HealthShare interface engines along with programming using Cache Object Scripts and Javascript. I took many interviews by phone and in person for a hospital position where everyone seemed to like me, my education and experience. There were FIFTY openings but I "did not qualify" for ONE of them because I took that Epic assessment and was told by the recruiter that "I didn't do very well." They refused to tell me how the test was graded and what my actual score was. I was working for another recruiter that was working on another job with a large hospital group that demanded the Epic assessment. I did not know Epic kept the records and would not allow a person to take the test again - maybe afraid you might improve??? This time the recruiter would not even return my calls or emails to let me know how I did and after reading these comments I'm thinking that he was told I'd already taken it. Why would anyone in their right mind tell a recruiter if they didn't think they had to - "Oh I already took that test and was told I didn't do very well???" His rudeness and the senselessness of requiring this test boggles the mind. To my way of thinking, it's a way to screen out anyone they don't want already, to fill positions with friends and family while advertising the position is available to all and to increase filling of American jobs with foreigners who will work 24 hours a day for almost no money. I am not criticizing the foreigners but the companies who want to squeeze all people for more and more output for less and less money.

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  10. Forgot to say that my last job was with Harvard Vanguard Atrius which IS an Epic EHR "shop." But that did not count towards anything regarding the recruiter or the Epic company itself vis a vis my having or not having to take the assessment. Utterly ridiculous, denying people work based on [what?], cruel, I could go on.

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  11. I took this test about 2 weeks ago and PASSED IT!!! :-) I was so excited to have passed this test and the difficulty level totally caught me off guard.

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    1. A bit late, but CONGRATS! It is a tough test and not really all that Epic related.

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  12. Tamara, how dd the test go? Whats your background? Are you a computer science graduate?

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  13. Thanks so much for the post! Sure, I went through a 2 rigorous interview and wrote a long test in order to get my job. However, I’m very happy now because I absolutely like what I’m doing. I can understand that because you want to get a good job and employers what to find a good worker, that’s it. A rigorous employment process means that people take their job seriously and really want to find the right person. However, you can always boost your chance to get hired if you use help of Top Resumes Writers and order a professional resume.

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  14. Working with a recruiter for an Epic position, I needed to take the Epic Sphinx Test. Having no prior knowledge of this test, I failed. Hind sight tells me, I should have declined. Most large healthcare organizations implementing Epic, will hire a candidate and send them to Epic school, must pass (3) exams and have (6) months to complete. That's fair.

    My question: Since I failed the Sphinx Test, would I be eligible for hire, attend school, take the exams and become certified?

    The answer to this question can determine one's career. And if true, then NO ONE should take the Sphinx Test.


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    1. Hi Val - it is my understanding that you can only take the test once and that Epic keeps the record forever. If you fail, then that information will keep coming up again and again. Sorry.

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    2. Honestly, I have taken this test 3 different times with 3 different hospital systems and am scheduled to take it again with a 4th. If Epic keeps it on file, not every place checks to see if the person took it already, because if they did I would have had the opportunity to take it as much as I have. I've worked as a credentialed trainer for 2 years for Epic, I feel that I know the system very well. However, I am making the assumption as no one has told me that I failed the test each time in the past. The questions have nothing to do with Epic, however what I have been told is that the test is supposed to be used to gage how well you will do learning their build process. I do not believe that this test is a good indication of how well someone will do. I am learner by doing, not by reading something.

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  15. I remember how I prepared for such interviews, I even used the professionals paidpaper.net at this issue. I may say that it really helped me, cuz I was very nervous/ That is why everyone may safely try it too.

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