Top 5 Characteristics of a STAR Healthcare IT Candidate

Originally posted on Healthcare Informatics

While this frequently-asked question has plenty of reasons why some candidates rise above the rest, it really boils down to 5 critical characteristics that’ll put you in the best possible light when we begin reviewing resumes and candidate profiles before we schedule a phone screen for a new search assignment:

Broad Expertise – This includes both your understanding of several leading healthcare IT vendors as well as workplace experience of various healthcare systems over a number of years. Not all HCIT vendors are built the same, and your knowledge and relationships with a variety of vendors is a huge advantage. Being at the same IDN for 20 years – while compelling – limits your exposure to a variety of workplace cultures and management styles. Exposure to different types of leadership helps prepare you for a new role and is important when you’re compared to a “lifer” who’s been drinking the same corporate Kool-Aid for decades.

Career Progression – Demonstrating how you advanced your career over a long period of time is always a good way to convey your expertise. If you held the position of CIO and also participated in working closely in some operational role, that’s a plus. On the other hand, it could spell trouble if you scaled your role to the position of CIO and later became VP of IT without a solid way to explain the change of title. Employers want to see you’ve been promoted during your career and have held multiple positions.

Success Metrics – I talk about this quite a bit. It matters. I like to see how you moved the needle in each role during your career. List your metrics by order of importance to the reader. It’s great that you served a major role in a local civic organization or helped raise money for a charity, but those shouldn’t be the first things on your resume for that period in your life. What’s crucial is where you migrated from one system to another, or if you consistently ran your department under-budget or increased satisfaction levels for users of your department’s technology. Perhaps you led the integration efforts in a merger with another healthcare system. That’s a key metric.

Tenure – If you’ve found a way to build good tenure over the course of your career, that’s huge! If, on the other hand, you’ve had five different employers in the past ten years – that could be a challenge. If you’ve moved around more that you wanted to, make sure you can easily explain the details. Also make sure your references can help tie down your story. During the dot-com era, many of us jumped to chase that elusive pot of gold called stock options. Most employers will give you a mulligan for that.

Education – That advanced degree or M.B.A. can be the real differentiator. An undergraduate degree is required for most management roles, and our clients usually prefer someone with broader educational credential. It’s not required in all situations but definitely helps. Demonstrate that you are a life-long learner who has taken courses to further your education and increase your knowledge in certain areas that could benefit a future employer.

There are countless other characteristics we look for when sizing up a great candidate, but before scheduling a phone call when initially screening candidates, this is my Top 5 list to begin a search to find an HCIT STAR!