Hi everyone! My name is Ariella Coombs and I'm working with Longwood University to showcase employers so you can learn more about them. In this episode of “Hiring Intelligence,” I’m chatting with Emily Connor, a recruiter from Parallon, which is a healthcare business & operational services provider based in Nashville, Tennessee. We're going to talk with her about her company, what it's like to work there, and how to land an opportunity there.

Ariella: Let’s get started by learning more about you, how you got into this role, and what your company is like.

Emily: Sure, of course! I was a Longwood ‘12 graduate. I was a Communications Studies major and was in Alpha Sigma Alpha. Loved the college - absolutely wonderful experience. Once I left, I really still didn’t know what I wanted to do so I went to the Outer Banks for about two years, taught English in China, and then landed in recruiting. It was a great transition for a Communication major to work in the HR field, and I just fell in love with [recruiting] because it’s a way to help people.

[I joined Parallon] about a year ago. We basically do all of the revenue cycle services for hospitals. We are a subsidiarity of Hospital Corporation of America. We basically pull out those business services so that the clinical staff [at hospitals] (the nurses and doctors) can really focus on the care of the patients. So, we’re in every piece of the business that’s not clinical basically.

Ariella: Awesome! So, based on your experience, what do you think draws candidates to your organization specifically?

Emily: So I have no idea this was even an option. I never really thought about healthcare as an option. When I think of healthcare, I think of either insurance companies or doctors and nurses. So, it’s kind of cool because it’s a unique industry that’s a whole other subset of healthcare. I really think that this is a great field for anyone who’s looking to build their business skills and knowledge, and kind of translate [that knowledge] into something that’s ever-evolving and growing. Healthcare in general isn’t going anywhere, it’s only getting bigger. We’re actually acquiring new hospitals all the time. . . . it’s been great!

Ariella: Now, what kinds of qualities do you guys look for in terms of candidates and employees? I know culture is such a big thing in companies these days, and it’s important to bring in the right person come in. So, do you guys look for specific qualities or characteristics?

Emily: For internships specifically, what we’re looking for is just the ability to soak in information and really grow. Like I said, this isn’t an industry that’s really well-known. So, just being able to be a sponge and take in all the information you learn in the 10 weeks of our internship is something we definitely look for. Your leadership skills, the on-campus organizations you’re involved in -- what have you been doing and what have you been learning from those, and how can you really apply that in the real world in our business? You know, you may not come in knowing anything about this business and that’s certainly fine. The want to grow and the want to really dive in and immerse yourself into what we do is definitely something that we’re looking for as well.

Our internship is really designed to help the student put something on his/her resume that’s beneficial [in addition to helping out] our department. So, not just doing little tasks here and there. We really want the intern to go away having that experience. . . . so it’s really awesome in terms of project-based internships. We’re looking for someone who’s got those general technical skills and can take what they’ve learned in school and apply it to an internship.

Ariella: Can you tell us a little bit more about how that internship works?

Emily: Sure! So, it’s a 10-week project-based internship and we have several different areas. The first one is Patient Services. It’s not working directly with patients necessarily but it’s working with departments that are patient-facing or handling calls from patients or insurance information from patients. So, [that type of role is a good fit for] that person who’s into marketing, communications, PR - anyone who’s looking to engage.

The other internship is our Revenue Cycle internship, and that’s kind of more so dealing with the money side of things. So, how do we bring the money in? What are we doing to contact the insurance companies? And all of the little things in between that. So, we’re looking for finance, economics, and business majors.

All of our internships are leading into our Manager-in-Training program, which is a feeder program for managers in training. We’re looking for future leaders for our company. When I said we’re looking for those leadership skills, we’re going to look for that early on as well as throughout the program to kind of build on those skills and hopefully come back in the future. We also have some operational internships. I know one of the students from Longwood last year joined us in an IT internship. So we have some of those internships as well but our main focus is that 10-week project-based internship in Revenue Cycle and Patient Services. And really anyone in any major can join.

Ariella: That sounds like a great program to put interns through! So, how many people do you see go through that program and end up working for your company?

Emily: So, I got here about a year ago and we’ve really kind of revamped everything, [and went from] three interns when I got here to nine this past year. I know for a fact that two offers have gone out for full-time employment. One is going to be a Financial Analyst and the other is going to be a Manager-in-Training, and we’re in the process of working up an offer for an IT candidate from this past year as well. So about a third of them are already re-engaged and we’re ready to go ahead and move forward with them. Of course, all internship programs are set but we do stand by that and follow that, and we’re really looking for people to join us in the future from the internship.

Ariella: Well, it sounds like you guys are really invested in growing not only your team but also your talent [by] putting them through that program and developing them. Do you have any other programs like that that you’d like to mention?

Emily: Sure! The internship program has really evolved since I’ve gotten here, and it’s really become more of a focus. So, some of the things we do during the 10 weeks [include] personal and professional development opportunities, leadership building skills, and there’s a lot of [face-to-face] with our leadership in general. Our executive team is extremely invested in this program because they know what the results can be. So are all of our directors and all of our managers. A lot of the interns last year had one-on-one meetings, they had lunches, they had just a lot of time with our leadership, which I think helped them understand that we’re not here to just say “Hey, come do an internship for 10 weeks” and that we’re here to say “Hey, we really want you. We’re invested in you.” And, [when it comes to] the personal and professional development opportunities, one of the other things we do is kind of a preview into the other departments. So, getting kind of the full scope view of what’s out there and what we do and learning what’s out there for you in the future as well, So, all of those things kind of come together to build a great program.

Ariella: That sounds amazing - I love it. So, what else do you guys care about as a company?

Emily: So our values are accountability, service, learning. We’re a subsidiary of HCA, and actually, just recently, HCA donated about a million dollars to hurricane relief efforts. So, we’re constantly doing those types of things. We actually just sent a team out to help with hurricane clean up. So, those are more at the higher level of HCA. Locally, we do all kinds of things. We do Christmas things, we do back-to-school drives, we do Breast Cancer Awareness Month - all kinds of things like that as far as involvement goes. As far as [other] things that are important to us, continuous learning. Yesterday, I attended a business writing course to brush up on my professional development skills and that was open to anyone in the company.

Ariella: It sounds like you guys are very community-focused, and it’s awesome that they invest in their employees. What else do you think people like to brag about as employees of your company?

Emily: I think teamwork is a huge thing. Working within departments, there are different little sections that all work together, but I think when we all come together, that’s something that people definitely talk about. We’re a collaborative environment. In addition, we’re a jeans/casual dress all the time type of environment. So that’s something that everyone here likes, especially the young folks. Each department does its own things to keep people engaged like potlucks, football parties, or holiday gatherings. That’s specific to each department, though. But overall, those are some things that we do and we definitely try to keep people engaged.

Ariella: Alright, so here’s the big question, so if someone were to apply for an internship or for an entry-level job with you guys, what advice would you share?

Emily: I would say that entry-level [jobs] and internships are completely different. Entry-level, we’re really looking for people who have that knowledge and background in healthcare. So, those are going to be a little bit more geared toward that side of things. Regarding that internship side of things, really just that want to grow and really just engage and grow with the company as well, personally and professionally. The only advice I can really say is just be yourself. That’s something I tell everyone that I talk to. Definitely be prepared, go in knowing the company and what [it does] so you can really go in and make the best decision for yourself.

Ariella: Well, it sounds like your company is a great place to work and grow as a professional, especially since you care about being involved in the community and growing your skill sets. Before we wrap things up, is there anything else you’d like to share?

Emily: Sure! So, if you’re interested in our internship program, you can log onto our website. It’s just parallon.com/careers and just type in “internship,” and those will come up. Feel free to reach out to me via email or on LinkedIn, it’s just Emily C. on LinkedIn.


Interested in learning more? For more information on Parallon head over to www.parallon.com.

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