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As I browse the sites I belong to, I see so many people applying for and interviewing for medical transcription positions. With so many looking for positions, it’s important that your interview be one that stands out in the mind of the recruiter. Here are some questions to be sure you ask in your next interview:

  • If you are using your own computer, what technical requirements must your computer meet for the company’s system? Some systems require a specific operating system, some require that you not be on a satellite internet connection. Be sure that you have what’s required to connect.
  • Can you tell me about the quality assurance program at the company? Know and understand what is required to meet the quality standards. What standard must you meet? How often are quality reviews conducted? Is there any type of reward system in place for high scores?
  • What is the retention rate for your company? I’ve sometimes heard the phrase “An MT will jump ship for a half cent a line.” I don’t buy that. I think when MTs are happy and treated well at a company, retention isn’t the issue it may be at other  companies. Seek companies where the MTs go and stay. It will tell you something about how those folks are respected in the work they do.
  • What technical support is available for your staff? Does the company provide technical support? If so, during what hours? Is there an escalation process if their system happens to go down? Because so much of what we do is paid on production, you will want to be sure you have technical support available if you have a problem.
  • What kind of feedback will I receive and how often? Most places will do 100% review on any MT’s work when they are new. What about after that? Is there a system in place to tell you if you’re meeting expectations? If so, how often should you expect that feedback? You may not want to get into a situation where the only feedback you ever get is in the first  90 days.
  • Does your staff run out of work? If so, how often does that happen? I would beware of companies where this answer is “often.” It may be a sign that they have over-hired. Remember, if you work on production-based pay, then you generally won’t get paid for those times when there is no work available. You should also ask if you are required to stay on the system and keep checking for work if you run out. If that answer is yes, then ask whether that time is somehow compensated. In some states, if you are required to be on the system and available, the employer may be required to compensate you for your time.
  • How is compensation calculated and can I verify it? This is such an important question, and don’t accept an answer that says “we pay xxx cents per line.” Okay, what’s a line? And can you verify the count? Is that line 50 characters, 65, 70, or even 80? Does it include headers and footers (not very often anymore by the way)? How about spaces, or is it a VBC (verifiable black character)? Not having this information means you really can’t make an informed decision and could end up costing you income. As an example, I took a report and counted it, both with spaces (Company A) and without (Company B). With spaces, it’s 64 lines, without spaces it comes out to 54 lines. Now let’s suppose for a minute that Company A offers $0.09 per line and Company B offers $0.10 per line. If all you hear is the line rate, you will be tempted to go with Company B. However, on our imaginary report, Company A would have paid $5.73 and Company B, $5.45. Now suppose you transcribe 25 reports/day that are an average of the same line rate as the one I counted. Over a year, you would make $1,860 more at Company A, even though they have a lower line rate! If all other things are equal, Company A is a better option. Make informed decisions, it matters!

In any job search, it’s important to remember that an interview is a two-way process. The recruiter is interviewing to see if you are a good fit, AND you should be interviewing the company to see if  it is a good fit for you. Be sure you have all of the information necessary to make a good decision.

What did I miss? What other questions have you found important in your interview process?

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Filed under: Challenges in Medical TranscriptionProfessional Development

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