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The Interview from the Client Perspective (Part II)

By: Eryn Sorensen, AKF Group

Speakers: Tony LaCroix-Dalluhn, RN, MSN, NE-BC – Abbott Northwestern Hospital; Alex Young – MSP Commercial; Susan Farr – Ebenezer

The interview is a crucial step in the proposal process, but what does the client really value and deem important for their project? How is that value received during an interview? Tony LaCroix-Dalluhn, Alex Young, and Susan Farr were a part of a panel discussing those values and how to best position your firm to win in an interview setting.

Each panel member stressed the importance of 1) demonstrating the concept of added value, 2) displaying expertise and thought leadership and 3) showing practicality and not just functionality. All three panelists, as clients, want to be able to understand how your firm is able to demonstrate added value to the proposed project. Also be sure to customize your recommendations based on what you know about the project.

Audience members posed the question: “How do firms stand out in an interview, specifically healthcare?” The panelists highlighted key points to mention during an interview: be knowledgable in healthcare rules and regulations, show project experience with industry standards, display familiarity with the space and demonstrate ways to customize that space. The firm that wins a project will typically have a specific skill set from working in an active healthcare facility and will know the rules and regulations that govern that facility.

On the opposing side, “what should our firms stay away from during an interview?” Tom said to stay away from beginning your interview with the statement: “We are so excited to propose on this project.” This phrase is unnecessary and overused so “tell us something we don’t know.”

Alex mentioned that there is a fine line between the number of people who are brought to an interview and the time that is allotted for the interview; make sure to have balance between the two.

Susan stated that bringing the wrong people to the interview and not the actual staff members who will be on-site that have the representative experience is something that shows up as a negative in the interview from the client perspective. Each panelist said they want to know who the actual leaders and “thinkers” of the project are going to be.  

Whether you are a well-known firm within the healthcare market or are trying to build a strong portfolio, being fully prepared for an interview will give your firm the best ability to make your case for a project. Before an interview, the panelists encourage staying in front of the client on all levels. This shows differentiation for the firms that make the effort. “Don’t sit around trying to look and sound like the competition – find out what differentiates your firm.”

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