Office Hours: A Northern Health Recruiter Takes Your Questions

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On January 15th, TalentEgg hosted Office Hours with Northern Health! Office Hours is an hour-long live chat with representatives from top employers for TalentEgg members. Recruiter Steven Prins was on hand to answer questions about hatching a career with Northern Health.

Steven helped our audience identify the right healthcare roles for their background and experience, offered tips on standing out in the application process and more!

If you missed the live event, you can read the complete transcript below.

Elias (TalentEgg): Welcome to Office Hours, TalentEgg-ers! My name is Elias and I’ll be moderating today’s chat.

Our eggs-pert guest today is Steven Prins, Northern Health Recruiter!

Over the next hour, you can ask Steven your questions about career opportunities at Northern Health, learn how to stand out to Northern Health recruiters and get tips for successfully hatching your healthcare career. You can start submitting your questions now.

Steven, could you please tell the audience a bit about yourself and what you do at Northern Health?

Steven Prins (Northern Health): Hi, I’m Steven Prins, Recruiter with the Northern Health Authority of BC. I have been working in recruitment for four years and one year in Health Care. Ask away!

Elias (TalentEgg): Thanks, Steven! Let’s kick things off with a question that was submitted by a student in advance: Mark, a student at McGill University, asks: “Are the people who fit in best at Northern Health all similar? What are some traits of the most successful people in roles at Northern Health?”

Steven Prins (Northern Health): Northern Health is geographically the size of France with many different communities that are very different. However, we all hold one thing in common, our health care professionals get to work to the full scope of their practice and subsequently very resourceful. We make do with what we have and provide the best care with the tools given. We call it the Northern Way of Care.

Raye: Your profile says that over seven thousand people work in Northern Health’s hospitals, units, etc. Can you tell me more about the different workspaces at Northern Health?

Steven Prins (Northern Health): Great question Raye! Some of our facilities include full-scale hospitals, but we also make use of small health centres in our smaller communities. The smaller centres are amazing places to start a career with Northern Health as they offer chances to work in every aspect of a career. If something comes through the door it will be up to you to work on it!

Guest: I was interested to learn that 70% of Northern Health professionals are recent grads. Assuming that many of these grads have yet to have years of working experience under their belt, what makes one applicant stand out from another?

Steven Prins (Northern Health): One of the most powerful things a grad can do to differentiate themselves to us is to clearly state their intention to relocate to our health authority. If they show that they have clearly researched our communities and the Northern Way of Caring the candidate will easily stand above the applicant pool.

Elias (TalentEgg): Egg-cellent! Let’s hear from another student who submitted a question in advance: Mahnoor, a BASc graduate from Ryerson University, asks: “What kind of opportunities are available for a public health graduate (BASc) like myself with a background of experience in community health?”

Steven Prins (Northern Health): Each community in Northern Health employs Public Health Officers who are responsible for a variety of tasks encompassed by your education. Northern Health prides itself on its model of community-based care and our public health officers are key to that initiative!

Guest: Do you have any insight into the process for someone educated in their profession in Ontario or other provinces transferring their work to BC? For example, how would the licensing process work and how long might that take?

Steven Prins (Northern Health): Depending on the licensure – it can be a matter of a simple phone call and fee. Or it could be a matter of testing and exams with your specific professional standards body.

Elias (TalentEgg): Great! Here’s another question that was submitted in advance: Kathryn, a Nursing student, asks: “Does Northern Health do any recruiting or outreach? How do I get involved – and can I get an in-person interview through such an event?”

Steven Prins (Northern Health): Northern Health usually attends career fairs and conferences all over Canada. Usually two a month, stay tuned to our Twitter and Facebook to see where we will be next. If we’re in your neck of the woods come see me at my booth and we can chat! Also, we always bring one of our hiring managers with us and depending on the event you can talk directly with your potential new boss!

YYZ1988: I’ve seen a lot of photos of the great outdoors! When it comes to off-work activities, can a novice like me keep up, or does it help to be pretty outdoorsy to start?

Steven Prins (Northern Health): NOT AT ALL! The great thing about Northern BC is the things to do inside and out! If you’re outdoorsy you are obviously covered! However, there are thriving communities for many indoor activities and clubs that one can easily find! If you’re not sure where, ask the community, they love their health care professionals and will always ensure you have something to do!

Guest: I see that you have mentioned the employment of Public Health Officers. Are those certified health inspectors belonging to CIPHI or are they trained specifically for the positions at Northern Health?

Steven Prins (Northern Health): CIPHI members are obviously preferred, however, all candidates are considered. If you can state an understanding of public health in small communities it can really differentiates yourself.

Elias (TalentEgg): Egg-ceptional! Let’s hear from another student who submitted a question in advance: Shabdit S., a Kinesiology student at the University of Waterloo, asks: “I’m currently pursuing a pathway towards physiotherapy. What kinds of challenges did current PTs who work for Northern Health encounter or find most difficult while transitioning to work in smaller communities? Thanks!”

Steven Prins (Northern Health): The most difficult thing I have heard is that most PTs are not prepared for the total scale of care they are expected to provide. Quite often they are the be-all and end-all of care for physiotherapy in their communities. At first glance it can be intimidating but overall it’s a great experience as you can work to the FULL scope of your practice and become a very well rounded PT in a few years with us.

ericaW: I’m pretty close with my family and friends, is it easy to stay in touch and get back to visit them? do most people?

Steven Prins (Northern Health): Some of our communities are eligible for Northern Living Allowances through the Provincial and Federal Government. Included in some of those are allowances for plane flights to your home town! So yes! It can be very easy to stay connected. I know several of our employees who do this. Great question!

Elias (TalentEgg): Absolutely! Great questions, TalentEgg-ers! Here’s another question that was submitted in advance: Sarah, a Nursing student at Queen’s University, asks: “I’m still a student and I’m hoping to land a job before I graduate rather than having an awkward transition phase or unemployment. What can I do before graduating to improve my standing?”

Steven Prins (Northern Health): When you look at our job postings also do a quick Google of the community where the posting is located. Do your research and really understand if you’re ready for a move like that. Clearly communicate your intention to work in (insert community here) on your resume and cover letter and you can be certain of a call from one of our managers!

Guest: I graduated last year with a Bachelor of Health Management degree. I do not have enough professional experience yet. I worked as medical office receptionist before. What are some positions that I could apply for? And also, what’s the hiring process like for someone outside of NWT? I’m in Ontario.

Steven Prins (Northern Health): Great question! The Northern Health Authority of British Columbia requires our Unit Clerks to have a basic designation that can be easily obtained from any University. A few years as a Unit Clerk would certainly allow you to be a healthy candidate in any management role. Great question!

Kathy J.: What’s the most memorable or impressive application/interview you’ve seen and why?

Steven Prins (Northern Health): The best application was from a candidate who was looking at a job in one of communities. They had actually taken a trip to our town, met the mayor, interviewed staff members in the hospital and clearly stated in their application why they would love to live and work in that town. It was very heart-warming and encouraging and that applicant has become a citizen of respect in that community.

twitterfan: I love your photo caption contests on Twitter, they’re great! Any tips? 🙂

Steven Prins (Northern Health): Show us that you love your career and you love the healthcare profession! The more creative the better!

FMotya: Can you tell me about – or do you know – any students who have participated in the Employed Student Nurse program (ESN)? How did it go for them?

Steven Prins (Northern Health): We have a cohort of ESNs every year. Numerous students are hired back in full-time positions.

Jane LeDuc: What advice would you give a current student hoping to hatch (egg-pun!) a healthcare career?

Steven Prins (Northern Health): Look deep into your motivations about what gets you out of bed in the morning. If making people’s lives better is what you want, make it clear in your applications. It really sticks in a person’s mind when they see that passion!

Samantha: What kinds of learning and skilll-building can you do at Northern Health? And outside of work?

Steven Prins (Northern Health): Amazing question. We here at Northern Health are big about growing our own. We regularly help and assist our employees with their education through sabbatical leaves and financial help for their education. We recently sent several nurses to a university hospital for OR training. Another great training perk at Northern Health is that you get to work to the full scope of your profession, if something comes through the door quite often it’s you and your team who has to deal with it. You won’t be doing the same thing every day!

Elias (TalentEgg): Fantastic! This seems like a great time for our poll!

What are you hoping to learn from Northern Health today?

● Application and interview tips for Northern Health (25%)
● What makes Northern Health a great place to work (13%)
● How to stand out when applying to Northern Health (44%)
● How Northern Health supports career growth (19%)

Elias (TalentEgg): Here’s another question that was submitted in advance: Jessica, a Master’s degree in Public Health holder from Lakehead University, asks: “I have a Master’s degree in public health and an undergrad in psychology and gerontology. Where should I be looking to begin my career in “healthcare” when I don’t hold any certifications/registrations in an allied health care profession?”

Steven Prins (Northern Health): We have recently transitioned to a rapid response model for our public health program. Consequently, the organization required for all the staffing is a big task. People with your education and skill set would be appreciated so I would look at any Public Health Administration or Logistics roles.

Nori. M: It seems as though there is a strong emphasis on community-candidate fit and integration in the application process, what might your recommendations be on balancing the ‘soft skills’ (interpersonal, motivational and personal development) with the ‘hard’ experience-based skills on an application?

Steven Prins (Northern Health): Spend more time in your application on how you would fit in the community and on your potential new team. We see our patients in the grocery stores and quite often you will become a public figure. We love it when our applicants make it know they want to be a part of our communities.

Elias (TalentEgg): That’s all the time we have for questions today. Thanks for participating in Office Hours! And of course, a big thank-you to Steven for taking the time to answer everyone’s questions. Do you have any final comments, Steven?

Steven Prins (Northern Health): Thank you everyone! Please get in contact with us at our recruitment line on our website if you have any questions!

Elias (TalentEgg): Eggs-traordinary! Be sure to check out this video on TalentEgg, which features several recent grads who chose to start their careers with Northern Health: http://talentegg.ca/incubator/2013/12/05/scenes-career-northern-health/

To learn more about Northern Health, visit their profile on TalentEgg (http://talentegg.ca/employer/northern-health/) and be sure to follow them on Twitter (@Northern_Health: https://twitter.com/Northern_Health) for insider info.

Thanks again for joining us today, TalentEgg-ers! Keep your eyes on our Twitter (@TalentEgg) and Facebook (facebook.com/TalentEgg) for upcoming Office Hours events!

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About the author

Elias Da Silva-Powell is a Content, Marketing and Community Specialist at TalentEgg, as well as a two-time graduate of Queen's University. An avid bow-titan, he has been trying to bring whimsical neck wear back into the mainstream since 2008. He's around on Twitter: @EDSPowell and you can check out his profile on LinkedIn, and even G+.