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Interview Skills Testing In Remote EEG Monitoring

The process of applying for a remote monitoring position often includes a knowledge assessment typically consisting of 15-20 questions, with a focus ranging from EEG analysis to identifying/distinguishing age related abnormalities and normal variants. The intended purpose is to assess your knowledge of terminology, reading level, and identification skill not only for adults, but also in pediatric and neonatal cases. A typical passing score of 70% is reasonable given the wide range of topics available to cover, however this raises the question: what are the right questions to ask?

On the other side of the fence, how should a candidate prepare for a test? The obvious answer is to stay on top of their skills at all times, review topics they haven’t experienced recently, and stay current with CEU’s, webinars and publications, etc. Even if you’re not actively seeking a position, ask yourself “How ready would I be for an assessment tomorrow?” Talking to your fellow technicians/readers who have taken skill assessments recently can help you narrow down your areas of study and identify focus areas. We are in an ever changing field and keeping our skills sharp is key. 

Candidates are typically screened before moving on to a skills assessment as this can be a time consuming process if the number of applications is high. Assessments can be stressful for even the most qualified of applicants. One issue is that these are often more than just general knowledge questions. They can cover interrupting adult EEG, age related normal variants, sleep stages, or neonates for example. Indeed the content of an assessment could vary greatly given a preference for broad general knowledge or more specialized experience in one or more areas. Is a skills assessment always necessary? For an EEG reader there is a clear benefit in assessing both general knowledge and specific expertise, however for many remote monitoring jobs, something as specific as knowledge of what age delta brush is seen is less important to the work required. Necessary tasks include completing routine checks to ensure compliance with billing requirements (organization), troubleshooting equipment (problem solving), and answering patient questions (communication). With this in mind, a more tailored assessment could be much more useful in identifying the potential of a prospective candidate.

Basic knowledge questions seem of limited value when interviewing someone with a current certification, though can highlight the need for a refresh. In my opinion, the inclusion of “trick questions” designed to mislead the candidate have limited value in identifying exceptional candidates, and instead can result in second-guessing and overthinking which ultimately just delays the overall process. In such cases, perhaps the focus should be more on the thought process of answering more so than the answer itself. A multiple choice question can be supplemented by asking the candidate to explain their thought process in eliminating incorrect answers. A situational based question (what would you do given…) provides an opportunity to demonstrate multiple skills.

With this in mind, a potential solution could be to have several shorter skill tests based on what the technician would specifically be doing (IM, reading, pruning, adults, peds, ICU, CMU) and have them take an appropriate subset of tests of particular relevance. Questions can then focus more on how the remote technician would handle a specific situation, for example: “your remote patient wants to end the study early, how would you handle this?” or “John Smith is having a 24hr at home ambulatory EEG and you see this in the study (a figure showing gum chewing is presented) how would you proceed?”. I believe questions of this nature would be beneficial in identifying the best candidate for a position.

Outside of the hiring process, we all experience different scenarios on a daily basis and can benefit from each other by reflecting on how someone else may handle a difficult situation. There is so much knowledge available to us online, but our colleagues are an excellent resource also. Skill tests such as these could be used to incentivize learning in addition to evaluating potential hires. Sharing our knowledge can help us all succeed!

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