Preparing for Future Opportunities: Telling Your Story by Tim Nicolello MS, LAT, ATC

Preparing for an interview or a future leadership opportunity requires several key pieces.  One key piece of preparation that is often overlooked or not focused on, is how to tell your “story”. These stories allow you to highlight your previous work and accomplishments that have set you up for success. Having these planned in advance, not only allow you to answer questions quickly and confidently but often answers questions without having to be asked.

Hiring managers are looking for key words and phrases with each candidate interview. Managers will ask questions regarding your involvement in process/project improvements.  You may be asking yourself, what is process improvement or feel that you do not have any formal training or experience in process improvement. Often you do it daily but might not recognize it. This often includes implementing some sort of organization system, collaborating on a pre-op instructions packet due to seeing repetitive questions or issues from patients, or developing a new process for seeing patients due to lack of access (hello tele-health!). These are all great examples of how you can improve patient care or work efficiency. Your day is constantly filled with these opportunities. You need to recognize them for what they are and feel confident in your ability to share your experiences.

Now that you have your story (or a couple), you need to present it in an organized manner. The best way to present is:

  1. Describe the problem
  2. Describe how you measured the current state
  3. What you did to analyze data and implement change; and what resulted in those changes.

If you present in this pattern, you will find that you are providing answers to questions that have yet to be asked, as mentioned previously.

Using data to drive decision making should be the foundation to your decision-making processes. How did you use data to develop a plan of action to implement? It’s not always about getting it right the first time but rather continuing to find a solution through measuring and analyzing results to arrive at the most efficient solution. When sharing your experiences, do not be afraid to use “I”! Be sure to Include your contributions in the project. That does not mean taking credit that isn’t yours but not shying away from expressing the work you did to improve your situation. 

Hiring managers are looking for self-sufficient candidates that know how to use their resources to find a solution. Highlight your “fact finding mission” to help get the data you need to drive the change. Change can be hard for people and their respective teams. Be able to describe how you were able get others on board with your plan.

Lastly, put yourself in positions now to give you these “stories” for the future. This will give you the experiences you need to create stories for when an opportunity presents itself. Your actions will speak for themselves and often put you in positions you may not otherwise have planned for.

If you are interested in resources that can better develop your ability for process improvement; feel free to look further into Lean/Six Sigma. There are courses that will provide you formal training and credentials to go with it.