Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Interview Questions
31 Questions and Answers Written by Ryan Brunner
Written on November 21st, 2018 | Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries.
Question 1 of 31
We are firm believers that healthcare excellence can be achieved through strengthening the engagement of our patients. What does this mean to you in your job?
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Today, organizations are coming up with unique and creative ways to involve patients in their healthcare choices and direction and Sunnybrook has made this a part of their excellence value in patient care. Let your interviewer know that you are a firm believer that a patient that is involved and engaged in their own care have better results because of their buy-in into the process. If you have experience working with unique engagement tools like social media, telehealth tools or patient satisfaction surveys, talk about how these have bettered patient care by involving patients in their own care. If you haven't worked directly with these things, at least talk about their importance in today's healthcare landscape.
"As a scheduler in the primary care setting, we saw a significant decrease in our patient no-show rate when we implemented a system that allowed patients to enroll in text and/or email reminders for their appointments. I've had several patients tell me that the reminders a week and one day prior to appointments helped trigger them to make the appointment. For our scheduling staff, this allowed more time for us to focus on future appointment scheduling and greatly increased the productivity of the providers in our clinic. The simple system was a win-win for all involved."
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"Honestly, I can't tell you how many patients that I've had compliment and praise the website and mobile app that my current employer revamped last year to help with patient engagement. For patients in our Ortho clinic, I consistently refer them to our department website for educational resources following surgeries and procedures for exercises and rehab programs they can do in their own home. Many patients have thanked me for this resource as opposed to the old handouts we would give in the clinic that would most often get lost or thrown away after one week. Many patients have also complimented our online patient portal where they can make appointments, see lab results and imaging results and update their personal record with ease. All of these enhancements have allowed me to focus more on 1:1 care in our clinic."
What importance do volunteers play in the clinic and hospital setting? Have you had the opportunity to work with volunteers in your career?
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Like many other large healthcare organization, Sunnybrook brings on many volunteers to help around the hospital and clinic settings. Volunteers at hospitals help greet patients, walk them to appointments, transport patients and assisting with patients on inpatient units. These volunteers can range from being young, aspiring future healthcare workers to elderly, retired people looking to stay busy. Talk about any great experiences you have working with volunteers and explain why you feel they are important in the healthcare setting.
"The volunteer at my current employer are all very inspiring to me because they are donating their time, free of charge to the organization, to come in and help brighten a patients day. On our unit, we utilize volunteers to help with patient discharges. They come to meet the patient and family in the room, help load up personal belongings on a cart and help them bring it to their vehicle. The volunteers all come with a smile on their face and a positive attitude to greet each patient and their family. I'd love to hear about how this position would interact with volunteers around the hospital."
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"I really appreciate you asking this question because I have a great example of a volunteer that helps bring joy to patients at our facility every day. Over the years with my current employer, I've gotten to know Reggie very well. He comes to the main lobby of our hospital two days per week and plays the grand piano in the lobby between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm and I know the patients love him. He has the ability to play just about any song upon request and he'll often invite onlookers to sing along with what he plays. He really has become sort of an icon in our hospital and he truly believes in the healing power of music."
Do you think it is possible to be a good team member, yet disagree with the leader?
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The interviewer wants to know that you can be diplomatic in the workplace, even when you may not agree with your leader.
Show the interviewer that it is possible for you to be a good team member, yet disagree with the leader from time to time. Explain that you believe everyone is entitled to their own professional opinion, yet capable of maintaining respect for each other at the same time.
Show that even if you disagree with the final decision they make, you support the direction the team is heading.
"I think that it is possible to be a great team member, even when disagreeing with the leader. It's all in how you maintain respect for each other despite the difference in opinion."
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"I believe that being a good team member is more about attitude than it is about compatibility. You do not need to agree with everyone 100% of the time, to be effective in your job."
Why do you think you will be successful in this role with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre?
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Rather than just sharing how you have gone above and beyond expectations in the past, focus on how your qualities will help you to meet and exceed expectations with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Discuss the reasons why will you be great at this job. Talk about your qualifications and skills that will help you to do this job well. If you can, match your strengths to the requirements outlined in the job description.
"I know I will be successful in this role because I have been working in this industry for five years with great training and mentorship. I have a solid understanding of X, Y, and Z (skills listed in the job description). Also, I have all of my updated certifications as outlined in your job description. I am well-prepared for this next step in my career."
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"I believe my success with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre will come from having all of the hard skills that you are looking for, whether learned in school or gained through work experience. I know all the key players in this region and stay informed of best practices."
Pick a weakness that is not a core skill for this position. You can be candid in your answer; recognizing that you aren't great at something and acknowledging your need to improve. Be sure to have an action plan in place for improving on this weakness.
Perhaps you are watching TED talks to gain skills in a particular area, reading the latest-and-greatest book on the subject, or maybe you are taking a seminar at a nearby community center. We are all human with our weaknesses, so don't be afraid to share yours!
"I believe I could improve on some technical skills including Excel and Word. Currently I am at a beginner to intermediate level; however, I would be more comfortable at an advanced level. I have enrolled myself in an evening/weekend workshop for the next six weeks. We will see how stellar my skills are after that course!"
Second Answer Example
"I know this will come off as cliche, but it's truthful. My weakness is in not delegating. I know what I want to be done and how I want it done, so it's often easier to do it myself. However, it can inhibit my ability to grow. I cannot take on every step of a project; I need to be able to give the task or a portion of it to another team member or direct report, let go of the control and know it will be taken care of. I've spoken with my current manager about it, and we've developed a system where he can call me out on the behavior since often I'm not aware of it. By bringing awareness to it at the moment, I find my propensity to hold onto control has decreased, so I'm certainly moving in the right direction."
6. Rate your problem solving skills from 1-10. How do you justify your rating? The interviewer wants to know how you would rate your problem-solving skills. Of course, you want to give yourself a strong rating; however, it's essential that you remain realistic. Everyone has room to learn and improve! Be sure to justify your score as well. Here is an answer example: "I rate my problem-solving skills as an 8/10. I will, on occasion, have times when I am not as efficient as I would like to be but all in all, I do feel that my problem-solving skills are above average. My supervisor and co-workers will attest to my fast reflexes when a problem arises, and they would also say that I remain calm under pressure." Here is an answer example: "I would say I get a solid 8.3 on a scale of 10. Seems weird to give myself something like a .3, but I think of it as an 83%, which is a B- teetering on a solid B. It's a solid grade, with definite room for improvement, since I'm certainly not perfect. The reason for the B-/B grade would be that I'm quick to take action and figure out the solution as I go, but sometimes I could benefit from taking a moment to pause and reflect or gather other contributors before taking action. That said, I believe I generally get the best outcome possible when faced with a challenge."7. Have you had any formal training in emergency preparedness in your past jobs? How did the training relate to your job and why was this training important? In today's healthcare landscape, emergency preparedness training has become much more commonplace for organizations and your interviewer will be looking to see if you've had any formal training and if you understand how the training impacts your role with the organization. Talk about any specific mass casualty, weather or other emergency related training you have received. Talk about what your job would entail should an emergency happen in your work setting. Here is an answer example: "Just a few months ago, our staff attended a half day training on emergency preparedness as it related to a mass casualty incident caused by weather, terrorism, chemicals, large scale accident or a number of other things. As a nursing staff, we learned that the key for an incident like this is planning and preparedness to enable us to have a plan in place and the resources available should a mass incident ever occur. Since the training, our hospital has implemented a call and coverage policy for nursing and physician staff. Even though I'm a pediatric nurse, I could get called to provide emergency services after a large scale incident and I feel better prepared to do so now after the training." Here is an answer example: "Yes, our department has received very specific emergency preparedness training as it relates to radiology staff in the case of a mass emergency in our facility. Our department leadership has implemented a very specific set of procedures and policies as it relates to being ready for an incident of this magnitude and all of our staff know the plan if ever put into place. Even though my main focus is on breast sonography in my job, I would be able to step in and perform duties on an x-ray machine or CT machine if ever needed in an emergency situation."8. What type of work environment do you dislike working in? Are you pretty flexible in your ability to work in most environments? Have you experienced a position where the atmosphere wasn't conducive to your productivity? Be sure to know the type of situation offered in this position prior, to the interview. If you aren't completely clear on the workplace environment or culture, kindly ask the interviewer to expand on the work environment for you. Here is an answer example: "I can be productive in most work environments, so long as the mentality is positive and teamwork is encouraged. I cannot work in an environment that feels negative or toxic." Here is an answer example: "I prefer to focus on the positive, so if it's okay, I would like to share with you what my ideal work environment looks like. My ideal environment is organized, collaborative, positive, energetic, and encouraging. I love working with like-minded people who set challenging goals for themselves. I thrive when I work for supervisors who encourage curiosity and creativity in problem-solving."9. With the ongoing changes in the healthcare services industry, how do you keep your knowledge current? Employers expect employees to stay up-to-date on their respective field, and today's technology makes this reasonably easy! List several ways that you receive your industry knowledge and stay on top of trends.
Tell the interviewer about those daily update emails you receive from professional organizations, conferences you attend, and seminars you have taken.
Lastly, it's a great idea to ask the interviewer what resources they refer to for industry trends. That question can start up a great conversation, and you may learn a thing or two as well. Here is an answer example: "Every morning I listen to X Podcast because I find the information to be fresh, and valuable. In addition to this podcast, I also subscribe to a couple of industry blogs. One is ABC, and the other is XYZ. I greatly value the information shared between fellow professionals. What resources do you prefer to stay on top of industry trends and changes?" Here is an answer example: "I am an avid fan of google alerts! I will receive an email with the related information any time there is a major headline about the healthcare services industry. In addition to this, I also subscribe to a couple of medical-related journals."10. Talk about a time that you rewarded or recognized a fellow colleague for their efforts on the job. Why did you do this and why was it important to do so? Sunnybrook goes to great lengths to recognize staff for a job well done and they do so through team awards, customer service awards, leadership awards and a random acts of kindness program. To let your interviewer know that you appreciate and recognize your colleagues for their work, talk about a time that you showed gratitude or thanks to a fellow employee for a job or task that they performed. Explain to your interview that recognition is a great motivational tool in the workplace and also talk about why the recognition was important for the person being honored by you. Here is an answer example: "My current employer's HR department takes nominations and awards a monthly Caregiver of the Month award to employee's that go above and beyond the call of duty to help patients in a time of need. Last year, one of the CNA's in my department spent extra time consoling a dying patient's sister when the physician was not providing a lot of answers to the family on why a simple UTI was taking the life of their loved one. In just wanting someone to listen, the CNA spent some extra time consoling and assuring the sister that the staff had done all they could do for her sister and that the end of life would be as painless as possible. In the following week, we received a very nice thank you letter as a staff and I reached out to HR to ensure that the CNA received the recognition she deserved. She went outside of her job duties to make someones day better than it was and I was ecstatic when she won the award." Here is an answer example: "It's a normal part of human nature to want a pat on the back for a job well done and we don't always get this in the healthcare industry. As a director, I have developed a couple of great recognition programs for my staff and I know they really appreciated being called out for exceptional performance. At monthly staff meetings, I give five minutes of time on eacht genda ao recognize my staff in front of their peers for exemplary performances on our unit. At our meeting last month, I went outside the box and recognized one of our Environmental Services Associates by inviting him to the meeting and recognizing him for a great job in helping prepare patient rooms on short notice when the hospital was at maximum capacity with patients in waiting. He was so thankful to be recognized in front of our staff and I was happy I did so."11. If Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre hired you today, what would you accomplish first? When you start a new position, it is essential to set a goal on how you will make a positive impact quickly after being hired. Tell the interviewer what your impact goal is, should you be the successful candidate. If you want to make an impact with your answer, refer to the immediate needs of the company such as increasing budgets, or improving patient care, for instance. Here is an answer example: "When we were speaking earlier, you mentioned that you were urgently seeking to improve the level of patient care and compassion at this facility. I want to offer my strong skills when it comes to building patient rapport and help to improve the satisfaction of everyone that uses the services of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. I plan to make a positive impact very quickly." Here is an answer example: "This question is a delicate one, and you need to show respect for the onboarding process, then give a moderately ambitious project that you could execute. This concept is often called your 'value proposition' in marketing. "Hire me because I'll do X."
But remember this is your campaign promise, if hired, it will likely be your first target to hit and depending on the environment, it could make or break you. The best approach is to give a functional analysis of the employers' needs and your skills."12. Here at Sunnybrook, we firmly believe in educating and training our employees to help them grow both personally and professionally. Do you have any professional growth areas you would like to pursue in the future? This question poses a difficult balance for you as the interviewer. On one hand, you want to show long-term commitment to the role that you are interviewing for and your interviewer is most likely looking for a long-term fit in the job. On the other hand, Sunnybrook puts a lot of resources and funding into educating their employees to grow and succeed with the organization. For this question, be as open and honest as possible with your interviewer on your career goals and potential areas of education that you'd like to pursue. If possible, tie the job you are interviewing for in with any future goals that you have. Here is an answer example: "Having been a nurse in the primary care and pediatric settings so far in my young career, it is a career goal of mine to one day be a nursing manager or director in the primary care setting. Being a natural leader and a great fit both personally and professionally in a primary care setting, working towards this career goal is definitely a pursuit I will be taking in my career. Sometime in the future, I plan on enrolling in an MBA or MHA program. Can you elaborate on the types of leadership training available to staff at Sunnybrook and what a career path typically looks like for someone in your role?" Here is an answer example: "Having been an X-ray Tech for my whole career out of school, I have taken some opportunities to learn ultrasound and CT when I could and I'd like to further pursue training in those areas if possible. I'd love to be as well rounded as possible to be able to help cover shifts for team members or help out when needed. Are these types of opportunities available here at Sunnybrook?"13. What part of your healthcare career brings you the most stress? Stress can often be a regular part of the day to day work experience. Talk to the interviewer about which areas of your career are the most stressful. Ensure that your answer does not include a factor that would make you appear unfit for the position. (IE: a bus driver should not find driving to be the most stressful part of the job). Here is an answer example: "The part of my career that brings me the most stress is when the schedule is running behind due to lack of hustle on mine or my teams part. I like to be on time with my schedule to ensure that our patients and clients are assisted properly." Here is an answer example: "To be completely transparent, I probably bring myself the most stress because of my innate desire to be the best. I strive for perfection too often, which causes undue stress on myself. I manage this by focusing my energy on productive activities that are good for my career."14. Tell me about yourself. Take a few minutes to tell the interviewer a few things about yourself. You can begin with your recent education, family life, volunteer work, or talk about your travels. Bring up anything that is interesting and highlights your ability to be a responsible, reliable, and bright individual. Here is an answer example: "A bit about me - I love to travel, read, and conduct research. I am a recent grad from Columbia University and have spent the past 12 months traveling the world. It was the best experience that I could have given myself as I was able to learn so much from seeing how the rest of the world lives. I returned to the US just last month and had been actively looking for work the past couple of weeks. I am looking forward to getting into the routine of a career again." Here is an answer example: "I am an avid marathon runner and have traveled to 10 countries in the last eight years to compete in a variety of races. I am a competitive individual and enjoy keeping fit. Being newer to my career in healthcare services, my biggest goal as of late has to take as many related courses and workshops as possible. I am eager to get a great start on my career."15. Sunnybrook has been awarded Canada's greenest employer award in the past and we continue to innovate and find ways to reduce waste and our impact on the environment. What is a green initiative that you've been a part of in the workplace? Healthcare organizations continue to be on the forefront of the green revolution and Sunnybrook takes great pride in their teams taking measures to reduce waste, reduce emissions and be as eco-friendly as possible. Talk about your experiences you've had in your career so far that have been efforts to go green. More importantly, stress to your interviewer that you are a believer that healthcare organizations need to do their part in helping keep our environment as safe as possible. Here is an answer example: "As Director of Environmental Services in my current role, I have been an active participant in our hospitals green initiative since its inception six years ago. In my department alone, we have implemented policies and procedures that have greatly reduced our water usage and completely revamped how we safely dispose of chemicals and cleaning agents we use around the facility. These are just a small part of the work that the group has implemented and in a cost savings analysis done just last year, it was estimated that our green initiatives have saved the organization close to $2 million over five years on top of being more environmentally friendly." Here is an answer example: "My current employer has brought forth many great green initiatives that have lowered our waste and energy usage as an organization and I have taken part in some of these initiative as a nurse. But what I'm most proud of are the little things that can be done on a daily basis to help reduce our impact on the environment. I always make sure to shut down equipment when done with use and at the end of my work day and I try and promote this with my coworkers as well. When in patient rooms, I take the time to ensure that paper, plastic and aluminum go in proper recycling containers rather than just all being thrown in the trash. If every person took this little bit of effort every day, the impact would be extremely significant on our environment."16. Do you prefer to work in a team based position or individually? In which situation are you the happiest and most productive? Talk to the interviewer about your preference when it comes to teamwork or working individually. Be sure to avoid pigeonholing yourself into one particular scenario (IE: I only like to work by myself). You may work well without the need for much management or direction, or perhaps you are better driven in a collaborative and team led environment. Either way, be honest with the interviewer about your preferences without leaning negatively, either way. Here is an answer example: "Whether I am doing an independent project, or working in a team environment, I always give my best. I enjoy the camaraderie of working in a team, but I can be successful working autonomously as well." Here is an answer example: "I have found, in the past, that I work well in an individually driven environment; however, I can certainly be productive in a team-based setting as well."17. Patient care requires a strong amount of compassion. Do you consider yourself a compassionate person? To succeed in the healthcare services industry, you should have a solid level of compassion for your patients or customers. Talk to the interviewer about the compassionate qualities that you possess. How would you rate your level of compassion for others? Here is an answer example: "I understand that compassion is one of the top qualities that I need to bring to the workplace, being in the healthcare services profession. I consider myself a very compassionate individual. I am warm hearted, responsive to my patients' needs, and always empathetic." Here is an answer example: "Some ways to describe yourself could be:
- Warm Hearted
- Tender Hearted"18. How would you describe your personality? Personality and character are two very different things. The interviewer is looking for more information on your traits vs. your integrity. Your example could include buzzwords such as introverted, energetic, and confident. Here is an answer example: "I would describe my personality as approachable, light-hearted, and positive. I believe that, if asked, my colleagues and supervisor would say the same about me." Here is an answer example: "I'm genuinely easy-going, probably from all the international travel I experienced in my 20's. I like to do the right thing, and sometimes I get stressed trying to reach that goal, but I think it's a worthwhile endeavor. I can be funny, but my sense of humor is pretty dry, so people don't always know that about me when they first meet me."19. What importance do you think medical research has played into your field? Have you conducted research or worked with clinical researchers in the past? Through its affiliation with the University of Toronto, Sunnybrook is a pioneer in medical research in Canada and the Sunnybrook Research Institute may conduct research in the department you would work for. While having direct experience working in research or with researchers isn't required, an open mind to research advancing the medical field is. Talk to your interviewer about any research experience you have and give your answer a personal touch by talking about pioneering medical research that has benefited you or a loved one. Here is an answer example: "While I haven't worked directly with researchers in the radiology field, I have witnessed some great advancements in the field during my career that have changed patient care and diagnosis forever. In perusing your website prior to the interview, I was absolutely amazed at the research that Dr. Sadeghi-Naini is conducting on the MRI's use in customizing treatment of metastatic brain tumors. Working with MRI and CT imaging, these are hopefully already powerful tools that can be used in greater realms and his research made me very excited. Are there members of your team that are working with this project?" Here is an answer example: "Working as a Nurse Practitioner in the primary care setting, there has been significant research in many realms that have better how I treat and prescribe for patients. Just recently, I took another look at how I manage my diabetic patients in regard to the exercise treatments that I talk to them about. This seems to be a pretty polarizing topic, but much of the recent research indicates that hard exercise should only be suggested to individuals that can physically handle the workouts in relation to joint health and cardiovascular health. I now look at many factors for an individual before I just automatically recommend a strict workout regiment. This is just one example of research benefiting my patients and I'd be very excited to learn about areas where Sunnybrook is contributing to primary care research."20. Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre seeks to hire those with strong problem solving skills. When were you able to successfully resolve a problem in the workplace? Problem-solving and dispute resolution are critical skills to possess. Display to the interviewer that you are capable of problem-solving within the workplace. Talk about a time when you were creative, proactive, and displayed the leadership qualities required to resolve a workplace issue. Here is an answer example: "In my most recent position we had a consistent problem with employees showing up late for their shifts or calling in sick at the very last moment. Rather than the typical documenting and reprimanding style that management usually takes, I decided to track the results of an accountability reward system. For 180 days, my employees were rewarded for coming to work 10 minutes early. Also, for every month with zero sick days, a bonus was added. In the end, we awarded those with perfect attendance a $600 bonus. The bonus' cost us less money, in the end than the cost of lowered productivity due to absent employees. The program was a success, and upper management chose to keep it implemented for another six months. We will re-assess in December, but it seems to be working very well." Here is an answer example: "I was working in a clinic where the primary population was low income. We had a lot of concerns with patients not showing up for appointments when expected. The staff wanted to start double-booking patient time slots. Instead, I got permission to spend a day in a highly-rated clinic serving the same population. Instead of scheduling, they had these 'drop-in mornings' with a common waiting room. I took these methods and incorporated them into our setting. We did that twice a week, and it completely solved our scheduling problem."21. How do you stay engaged in your job, your department and your company? Why do you feel that employee engagement is important? As most careers in the healthcare field are patient focused to an extremely specific degree, it is often easy to get lost in your own work and not stay up to speed on the overall work of the organization as a whole. Because of this, Sunnybrook holds colleague engagement as one of its values. There are many ways that you can stay engaged in your work and your organization, so let your interviewer know ways that you do this. The method for how you stay engaged is not as important as the fact that you do stay engaged, so you can be honest and creative in your answer to this question. Here is an answer example: "While working in the lab for 40 hours per week, it is often easy to lose sight of the organization as a whole and the direction they are heading when I remain so focused on my job and my department. To keep myself up to speed, I always ensure that I regularly check our intranet pages for news, announcements and upcoming events as well as attending any town hall events put on by our leadership. It really is important to have a focus on the greater good of the organization because a decision or change in process in one area can always come back to effect us and knowing ahead of time always helps." Here is an answer example: "As a nurse, I stay engaged in my job and department by attending CME and other training events to ensure that I am performing to the best of my abilities at all times. To be engaged with the organization as a whole, I make time each day to stay caught up on emails as my current organization always put out news and announcements through our email system. Some of my coworkers don't prioritize emails and they are often left in the dark and looking for help when things change and they weren't aware."22. Have you ever been involved in ordering medical supplies, maintaining inventory, or other types of health care related administrative duties? The interviewer would like to know if you understand what it takes to keep on top of ordering medical supplies and inventory. Assure the interviewer that you are capable of foreseeing needs, and making the appropriate action. Highlight your ability to be responsible when it comes to related administrative tasks. Here is an answer example: "I have experience in ordering medical supplies and maintaining inventory. I fully understand that there is an art to being properly organized when it comes to the availability of supplies. For medical ordering and inventory, I have used a variety of software and programs such as ABC and XYZ." Here is an answer example: "Yes. I used to do this in my former position. I was responsible for maintaining supplies on the general surgery ward for five years. It was great at working behind the scenes with the result being efficiency for others."23. It is often said that a career in healthcare is a 'thankless job'. How can we keep you motivated and engaged, even on the days when you feel your work goes unnoticed? The interviewer would like to know how they could continue to motivate you - even on the hardest of days. Do you need to have verbal recognition? Are you motivated solely by the success of your team? Talk to the interviewer about how you have stayed motivated in the past. Here is an answer example: "I am an easily motivated individual, and it does not take much to keep me engaged. I am fully aware that healthcare-related positions can seem thankless. Honestly, the best thanks that I can get is a pat on the back now and then. The majority of my motivation comes from simply helping people." Here is an answer example: "My chosen career was helping people at exactly the point they were least capable of censoring themselves or giving back. So, I stopped needing thanks from my patients. It's not like I don't need positive reinforcement. Everyone does. But I made a point to find it in other places instead of expecting it from my patients. Nowadays I make an effort to expressly thank the people I work with when they do a good job. I focus on being grateful to be allowed to see private, raw, emotional parts of peoples lives. And I make work-related goals I can achieve for satisfaction."24. In your role, how do you take accountability for the work you perform? What does accountability mean to your patients/customers? Sunnybrook holds accountability as one of its main values for its employees. To Sunnybrook, accountability is understanding that your decisions impact the lives of others and that you in your job are an ambassador of the Sunnybrook name and reputation. Talk about how your position positively impacts your customers/patients and reinforce to your interviewer that you take this responsibility seriously. On top of that, talk about accountability being the number one driver of customer service and patient satisfaction in ensuring that patients return for their healthcare needs. Here is an answer example: "As an X-Ray Technician, I am the face of our department when a patient comes to have a leg or an arm scanned and I treat all patients with the same great care, empathy and professionalism. If I promise any follow up action for a patient, I ensure that I walk the talk as soon as possible. I fully understand that any employee that a patient comes across in our care can make or break their stay with us so I make sure that every patient experiences a positive encounter with me." Here is an answer example: "To me, accountability comes down to doing what you say and saying what you do at all times. With my patients, I am up front and honest with them at all times because great care for them starts with honesty. I am accountable to my patients by having difficult conversation with them when I know they are necessary and may not be received well. I am also accountable to them in the follow up care that I provide for them after our visit. You'll see in my patient satisfaction scores that my honesty and follow through with my patients keeps them satisfied and healthy."25. Healthcare service companies require strong organizational skills and attention to detail. How do you ensure that your work is properly organized, and highly accurate? The success of the healthcare industry thrives on the accuracy of information, and organization. Talk to the interviewer about the ways that you ensure accuracy and organization in your day to day activities. Perhaps you use a particular app or software. Maybe you are a pen and paper person. Whatever your method, be sure to highlight that you are successful in organizing your day. Here is an answer example: "I am a highly detailed person, and I thrive on having a high level of organization in my day. This organization includes my scheduling, paperwork, and more. If I am offered a position with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre you will never find me to be disorganized! I utilize my Outlook calendar and set alerts for myself for deadlines and important activities. My documentation is strong as well." Here is an answer example: "I'm a bit of a nerd. I carry around a notebook and write down important facts if I think there is a chance I will forget them. But this is usually just for transitions. Every clinic I've ever worked in has its way of communicating and recording facts, so I put time and attention into using the system the people around me are using. That way its easier to transition care and the patient has all their info in the same place. My notebook saves me when I'm swamped, but I try to be efficient and put info directly into the [group record/EMR/chart] when I can."26. In order to work for Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, you must be able to pass a full criminal background check. Do you consent to a full background check? Working in the healthcare services industry means that you are in contact with vulnerable people, children, pharmaceutical drugs, drug-related equipment, confidential information, and other areas of sensitivity. Assure the interviewer that you are able and willing to pass a complete background check. If you have a criminal record, you must disclose this. Here is an answer example: "I have a clean criminal record and am happy to comply with any background check you require of me." Here is an answer example: "No problem. I understand that it's part of the job. But I want to be up-front, I have done a full background check before, and there is a possibility you will see a charge for possession of marijuana in the check. It was several years ago, and it's no longer an issue for me because I've made significant changes in my life to pursue this career. But I don't want you to be surprised by the information. I'm happy to answer any questions you have." Here is an answer example: "I have a misdemeanor on my record from 15 years ago. I am happy to continue in the interview process and comply with your background checks should you allow for some exceptions."27. Here at Sunnybrook, we value collaboration in partnering with others to achieve our goals. Talk about a collaborative effort that you were a part of and what part you played. Why was this collaboration necessary? TEAM - Together Everyone Achieves More. This acronym is no more true than it is in the great delivery of healthcare services and Sunnybrook holds team collaboration as one of its highest values. Your interviewer will be looking to learn that you are a team player in the workplace and always looking to work towards great patient care as part of a team. Make sure that your example shows your willingness to participate in a group effort and bring your expertise to the table. If you are a natural leader in a team setting, talk about that fact. Here is an answer example: "Last year, I was asked to represent our Pediatric department as part of a new green initiative at our health system. I really loved the fact that I would now be working with individuals from other departments that I normally wouldn't have the chance to work with along with bringing my expertise on green initiatives that I developed with a previous employer. On this team, I volunteered to take on secretary duties by taking notes during meetings, creating and sending out agendas and putting together documentation of our new processes and policies. In the year the team has been up and running, we have significantly improved the amount of waste around our campus thanks to our efforts." Here is an answer example: "Our laboratory team underwent a standardization process through our entire health system a couple of years ago and the beginning of the standardization processes started with collaboration of the staff of our labs at all of our different locations. As the supervisor for our lab, I helped lead a lot of the initial brainstorming and fact finding discussion for our larger team. With most meetings being through video conferencing, there was a need to be highly organized and detailed and I definitely bring those skills to a team environment. In what was a great learning process, I was able to build some new relationships with colleagues at different sites that I probably wouldn't have if we didn't have this collaborative effort."28. At Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre we take pride in our great relationships with clients, vendors, coworkers, and patients. Do you consider yourself to be a strong relationship builder? Assure the interviewer that you would treat everyone at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre with great respect and a positive attitude. Discuss the ways that you would build strong and healthy relationships if hired. Here is an answer example: "I have often been complimented on my relationship building skills. I like to get to know people and ask them questions about themselves. Most people love to talk about themselves, and I find it's a great and simple way to start building rapport with others. I consider myself to be a strong relationship builder and take pride in my 'people skills'. Rest assured, I would be a great ambassador of positive relationships for Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre." Here is an answer example: "Some ways to build strong relationships in the workplace:
- Have strong follow-up
- Offer sincere conversation
- Get to know people on a personal level
- Be trustworthy
- Avoid gossip
- Offer mutual respect
- Be mindful of your actions
- Compliment others
- Be positive
- Be a strong listener" Here is an answer example: "I am happy to hear that Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre values long-term relationships. This fact is a bonus for me, and it's one of the reasons I chose to work in the medical field. I like working in an industry where genuine care is valued. Healthcare is not a place for gimmicks because health is precious and irreplaceable. In the past, I've had a lot of success by focusing on building a reputation for consistency and followup. What you describe is a good fit for me, these skills are valued by reputable vendors, and I'd like to represent a company that wants to create long-term sustainable partnerships."29. Sunnybrook's vision is to invent the future of healthcare. What does this statement mean to you in your role? Inventing the future of healthcare is a very open statement that is left open to interpretation and your interviewer will be looking to hear what this vision means to you personally and the potential role you play with the organization. Be creative with your interpretation of the phrase invent the future. This could mean striving to find cures for diseases, discovering new innovations in technology or finding any other way to change the future of your field. Make sure to give your interviewer the feeling that you believe in innovation achieved through challenging the status quo when it comes to healthcare. Here is an answer example: "As an Occupational Therapist, it is very easy to succumb to doing things the same old way and get stuck in routines when in the real world, every patient and every situation we encounter is unique and treatments should be unique as well. If hired, you'll quickly find that I am the therapist that thrives on thinking outside of the box and finding new and unique ways of treating my patients. In helping conduct research in the field, my greatest passion in the field is sleep deprivation and I'd love to continue research participation in this area." Here is an answer example: "During my career as a nurse, I am confident in saying that no industry changes as much as the healthcare field. In ten years working as a nurse in primary care, there have been so many great innovations that have changed patient care for the better and I look forward to seeing and being a part of this changing for years to come."30. In the healthcare services industry there are many emotions in a day. Have your emotions ever been in the way of your productivity? The interviewer wants to know if you consider yourself to be an emotionally driven person. Talk to the interviewer about your emotions and if they have ever affected your productivity at work.
Keep in mind - almost everyone is an emotional creature to some degree, but there are other ways that you can describe yourself that have a more positive connotation. If you are passionate, you could choose to refer to yourself as:
- Warm Hearted Here is an answer example: "Everyone is emotional to a certain degree, and I would consider myself kind-hearted and open. A career in healthcare can be emotional at times; however, I choose to focus on the positives. For instance - if we are close to losing a patient, I will focus on the positive memories rather than the illness. This mindset has consistently allowed me to continue with a productive shift no matter the emotions that come my way. " Here is an answer example: "This is a great question. I think the right answer is, 'of course, but not for long'! We've all had those tough cases. A child dies, a patient yells at you, or you have to give someone a cancer diagnosis. Its professional to take a few minutes after an encounter like that and let those emotions come and go. I cope with these emotions by telling myself that it's not my story, its the patient's story. I think it's okay to be moved by someone else's experience, but I don't need to make it mine."31. Here at Sunnybrook, we help train future physician, nurses and healthcare leaders for long lasting careers in their field. In what capacity have you worked with students in an academic training capacity? Sunnybrook prides itself on being one of the premier academic health sciences centers in Canada and they partner as a teaching hospital with the University of Toronto. With Sunnybrook training future physicians, nurses and administrative leaders, chances are great that your potential job there would entail working with students in some capacity. Your interviewer will be looking to find out if you have experience in working with students in some capacity and, more importantly, they will be looking to hear that you are more than willing to help train and educate the future of the industry. Talk about the importance your medical training was to you and be eager to help pass knowledge along to the next generation. Here is an answer example: "In my current role, I work closely with nursing students from our local university and I love getting the opportunity to help show my nursing skills off to the young students. I always think back to a great preceptor that I had in training that allowed me to work with my hands and make the mistakes before trying to fix them ahead of time so I could learn on my own. I take this same approach with the students I work with. On top of the nursing students, my current employer has rotating medical students that do come through from time to time and always try and educate them on the nurses perspective of the provider/nurse relationship." Here is an answer example: "I really owe my initial successes in my career as a Nuclear Med Tech to the training I received during my clinical rotations. My preceptors all took time out of their busy days to guide me on a hands on approach in the imaging rooms, on the equipment and on the computer reading programs. From day one out of schooling, I was able to hit the ground running with their approach. Having not had the opportunity to work with students yet in my career, I would greatly look forward to passing on my skills and knowledge to imaging trainees. Can you talk about the students that I'd potentially work with in this role?"
Author of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Answers and Questions
Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries. Ryan has a long track record of recruiting, interviewing and hiring candidates at all levels of the organizations that he has recruited for. These include entry-level workers, professional workers, physicians and executive level leaders. Ryan has created and worked with many interviewing formats in the industries that he has recruited for and has reviewed resumes and cover letter's for all of the positions he has recruited for.
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