If you have an interview coming up for a new job in respiratory care you are no doubt focused on doing and saying the kind of things that will lead to an offer. But a job interview is a two-way street, and the interviewer has to do a good job of selling you on the department and hospital as well.
In both scenarios, honesty is the best policy, said Brian Kessler, MBA, RRT, RRT-NPS. As director of respiratory care, neurodiagnostics, and patient transport services at Ascension St. Vincent Evansville in Evansville, IN, he has conducted lots of job interviews in his day and wholeheartedly believes folks sitting on both sides of the desk need to be up front with each other throughout the interviewing process.
Painting an accurate picture
“I think the candidate and the hiring team both need to be sincere, transparent, and honest during the interview,” Kessler said. He does his part by trying to paint an accurate picture of his hospital and his department, focusing on overall operations, strengths and weaknesses, hospital and department culture, and expectations he has for his staff.
He’ll offer up what a typical day in the department looks like, and he always throws in some “bad day” experiences as well so that the candidate can see things aren’t always perfect.
“I expect the candidate to do the same,” Kessler said. ”If they are only providing responses that they feel will improve their chances of getting the job but do not truly reflect their work ethic, views on professionalism, skill set, etc., it almost always becomes evident within the first year of being hired.”
Staff members who don’t live up to the expectations they set during the interview will most likely find themselves with a poor performance review.
“For example, if during the interview the candidate states some of their strengths are being organized, team-oriented, and willing to learn and work with all patient populations, but after 7-8 months they are still having issues organizing their workload, decide they don’t want to be oriented to pediatrics, and are also struggling to understand the importance of interdisciplinary patient rounds, then that can influence their job performance,” he said.
Kessler goes out of his way to ensure his interviewees feel comfortable admitting they may not be a good match for his department or his hospital. “I tell them it is okay for them to realize after the interview that this job may not be a good fit for them based on their honest reflection on how we described the job expectations, culture of our department, and all the tasks, procedures, and types of therapy we provide,” he notes.
That said, he stresses that most departments are looking for some core traits in staff members, and job seekers would do well to take them to heart.
“There can be large variances in the roles and responsibilities of the respiratory therapist at different hospitals throughout the nation,” he said. “However, some things probably do not vary.”
What does every job candidate need to bring to the table? According to Brian Kessler, the five essentials include —
- Being organized.
- Being hard-working.
- Having a positive attitude.
- Being team oriented.
- Being willing to learn and adapt.
Being honest about your ability to execute on these traits and anything else that comes up during the interview might be the sixth thing to add to the list.
“I would tell candidates it is one thing to be able to talk-the-talk and say the right things during the interview, but they really do need to work on developing these as habits that truly define their professional performance,” Kessler said.
That’s the key to long-term success on the job.