The first thing to realize is that an interview is a two-way street. While the employer has the upper hand in many respects, you are both trying to make a positive impression on each other in the hopes of finding a good match. Therefore, you shouldn’t go into an interview feeling as though you are being put under a microscope.
It is important that you understand proper interview etiquette. Remember the more prepared you are, the easier it will be for you to stand out against the competition.
When it comes to interviews, practice makes perfect. You may be a smart, hardworking candidate, but you are competing against equally intelligent, motivated candidates.
Relying solely on your credentials is not sufficient. By understanding the interview process and practicing the tips in this guide, you will have a better chance for success in your quest for your ideal physician job.
Keep in mind that interviewers are as eager to find a good match as you are. Before you sit down to an interview, take a deep breath and focus your attention on all of those things that make you a good candidate. When you are feeling confident internally, you will portray yourself as someone worth getting to know.
I Don't Know!
Know that you are going to get a question that may stump you, or cause you to stumble. Interviewers often have their one favorite tough question meant to stump you to see your response. Most physician interviewers though, greatly appreciate a physician candidate's honesty in an answer . . . the doctor that says "wow, that's a good question . . . I don't know" and then who later follows with "I would probably, etc..." This is a very good response to a tough question. The honest disclaimer is thrown out there and somewhat protects you from whatever answer you then provide.
This type of upfront openness and honesty will serve you well during the interview.
Alternatively, if you force, fake, lie, or develop erratic behavior upon receipt of a tough question, it is likely that your actions will compromise your perceived integrity, and damage your chance of getting the job. Again, be comfortable and confident in what you know; likewise, it is okay to admit that you do not know - it is actually preferred.
You have submitted your CV for a job opportunity (either directly or through a Recruiter). It is most common to have a telephone interview first before you are invited to interview in person (a site visit).
The organization contacting you will ask questions to determine if you are a potential fit for their opportunity and for their community. You will want to determine if the organization and opportunity fit your specifications before you invest the time to make a site visit.
- • When you receive a call in response to submitting your CV, ask if you can schedule a time for the telephone interview. Your recruiter can be invaluable in facilitating this.
- • Try to have the telephone interview away from work and in a quiet place where you will not be interrupted and can take notes.
- • The telephone interview will often take 30-60-90 minutes so you should be prepared with questions regarding the opportunity and community.
- • Speak slowly so you can be understood by the caller - this is particularly true if English is your second language (if you cannot be understood over the telephone, it is unlikely you'll be invited for a site visit).
- • Speak with enthusiasm and avoid a flat monotone style. Standing, more than sitting will help your level of enthusiasm.
- • If the opportunity appears to meet your specifications, let the caller know and inquire about the next steps - don't be shy!
- • If the opportunity does not meet your specifications, let the caller know the reasons it would be inappropriate to move forward.
Site Visit Arrangements and Expenses
If you are invited for a site visit, it is perfectly appropriate to ask how the travel arrangements will be handled. It is customary that the expenses are sponsored by the organization inviting you for the site visit. Consider the following:
- • If you are married or have a significant other, they may be invited as well. If so, this will help determine on the first site visit if the community will suit both of you.
- • The organization should offer to arrange your travel for the site visit or they may put you in touch with their travel agent who can issue electronic tickets if you will be flying to meet them.
- • Some organizations may ask you to buy your own airline tickets and offer to reimburse you for the cost. Please bear in mind that it may take 30-60+ days to reimburse you. If you are a "starving Resident", you should let the organization know you'd appreciate their making the arrangements and emailing the electronic tickets (after you've approved the travel itinerary).
- • Organizations inviting you for a site visit can make a rental car reservation but it is very difficult for them to pay for the rental in advance. You will need your driver's license and a credit card for the car rental. You can submit the cost with any other expenses (parking, gas, food) you incur for the site visit.
- • Be prepared to let the organization know what you would like to see during your site visit so they can create an itinerary that will allow ample time for interviewing and ample time to get to know the community.
- • If you have children, it is best to leave them at home so you can concentrate on the interview. However, if you must take your children, some organizations will sponsor the travel costs and others will expect you to pay the costs. If you are unsure, you can ask the organization about their policy.
Dress Code During the Site Visit
- • Men should wear a suit or a shirt, tie and jacket for the interview. The way your spouse or SO is dressed will also be evaluated. If you are visiting a small or rural community, be sure your spouse is not overdressed for the area.
- • Women should wear suits (skirt or pants) or conservative dresses (no prints). Wear little or no jewelry.
Negative Factors Evaluated During the Interview
- • Pay close attention to this list, which can make a difference between getting an offer and you losing your job prospect.
- • Poor personal appearance
- • Overbearing, aggressive, conceited, superiority complex
- • Inability to communicate clearly
- • Lack of courtesy, enthusiasm, passive, indifference
- • Over emphasis on money - interested only in best compensation package
- • Condemnation of past employers
- • Merely shopping around
- • Little sense of humor
- • Inability to take criticism
- • High pressure style
- • Intolerant
Interview Preparation Tips
Preparation is key to a successful interview. Here are some interview preparation tips to ensure you have a smooth interview process to land your next physician job.
- • Do your homework. Research the hospital/clinic you are interviewing with and know how you will be an asset to that facility. Not only will this allow you to ask well-educated questions throughout the interview process, knowing the general facts about the position will allow the interviewer to cover more specific areas of interest.
- • Practice makes perfect. Practice interviewing with a friend, colleague, or associate if possible. Record and listen to yourself before interviewing to eliminate the “um’s and oh’s”. The confidence and communication skills you gain in the process are worth the momentary feeling of silliness.
- • Enthusiastic Engagement. You will never know the number of non-doctor personnel that hold great influence on your successful candidacy for a position. Bottom line here is treat everyone with enthusiasm, excitement, and engagement. Look everyone in the eye, firmly shake their hand (no limp handshakes) and don't rush to look away or else risk appearing superficial or dismissive. A “warm fuzzy” candidate will get the offer.
- • Be Professional. You do not have a second chance to make a first impression. Try to develop a rapport and relate with the interviewer. Always maintain eye contact and positive body language. Do not interrupt the interviewer and listen to them very closely. Always address whomever is interviewing you as Dr./Mr./Mrs. unless they tell you otherwise.
- • TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE!!
- • Be Punctual. It is never appropriate to be late for an interview. Do not arrive on time to the interview -ARRIVE EARLY!
- • Bring a clear copy of your Curriculum Vitae, along with names, addresses and phone numbers of your references. Have your CV nearby as a reference; chances are your interviewer has it in front of them and will be asking questions about it. In addition, jot down a list of your strengths and weaknesses; employers love to ask these slightly predictable questions. Use that to your advantage and be ready with solid answers.
- • Don’t discuss salary. It’s important to remember that you should never ask about salary during your first interview. If asked what kind of offer you are looking for, your response should be, “I will consider your strongest offer.” This will prevent you from giving a figure that is too high or too low, which could take you out of the running because they can’t afford you – or generate an offer less than desired. If and when they offer you the position, you can negotiate the offer and discuss your salary.
- • Eat light when dining with interviewer and be conservative regarding alcohol. Although it is a social event, both you and your spouse are still being evaluated.
- • Close the deal. Your goal in any interview is to get an offer. If you like what you see, don’t leave the interview without letting the interviewer know you are really interested in the position.
- • Obtain business cards at the end and write a thank you note. It should be brief and tell them you enjoyed your meeting. Express interest in the position and in hearing from them soon.
Frequently Asked Interview Questions
- • Tell me about yourself.
- • Why did you choose to go into medicine?
- • Where do you see medicine moving in the next ten years?
- • Why did you choose the medical school you attended?
- • How has your residency prepared you clinically?
- • Why are you changing jobs, or why are you interested in this job?
- • Why do you want to move to this area?
- • What are your long-term goals?
- • Why do you want to work with us?
- • What will you expect for us?
- • What do you feel you can bring to the group?
- • Why did you choose (specialty)?
- • If you were to start over again, would you choose medicine for a career?
- • How many patients a day do you feel comfortable in treating?
- • What are your outside interests?
- • Why should we hire you?
Strengths and Weaknesses
- • Describe your strong points.
- • Describe your weaknesses.
- • Describe your abilities as a team player.
- • How do you describe your clinical judgment?
- • What are your strongest clinical areas? What makes you say that?
- • Describe one of your most recent clinical triumphs.
- • Describe a clinical scenario that did not go well. Quality of Service and Patient.
- • How did you resolve a major conflict with a patient?
- • What do your patients like best about you?
- • What do your patients like least about you?
- • Describe your personality (initiative, enthusiasm, stability and consistency).
- • Describe your work habits (difficulty reaching, timely reports, patient interaction, etc.).
- • How well do you communicate by phone when describing patient situations?
- • With what volume of work are you comfortable?
- • What do you feel are the most important contributions you have made to your practice, community and hospital?
- • Have you ever come before any committee of a hospital or peer review group for review or had privileges revoked or suspended?
- • Have you ever had any disciplinary actions or problems of professional competence?
- • Are you aware of any claims or investigations against you (past or present)?
- • Have you had any malpractice suits?
Questions to ask during the interview
- • What is the length of time the practice has been in existence?
- • How many patients per day will I be expected to treat?
- • How many new patients did the practice see last year?
- • What are the payor and age mixes of the practice?
- • Why are you seeking to add a physician at this time?
- • What are the long term plans for the group with regard to the number of physicians?
- • What are the current office hours?
- • What will be my call schedule?
- • What has the office overhead percentage been for the past several years?
- • Which hospitals do you cover?
- • Are there any plans for selling the practice?
- • Is there partnership potential? Is there a buy-in and over what period of time?
- • How do you attract new patients?
- • What is the length of the contract? What is the renewal process?
- How will my compensation be computed? (Years 1 through 5).
- Will relocation assistance be offered?
- How will I be evaluated?
- How many exam rooms will I be using?
- What kind of support does the practice offer, i.e., nurses, lab, x-ray, etc.
- Has the practice been profitable the past several years?
Medicus Resource Group, Inc. was established in 1996 in Little Rock, AR by it’s founder and President, Wes Sutton. Over the last several years, Medicus has placed physicians from Hawaii to Maine and all points in between. We work with all specialties and sub-specialties for any location desired.
At NO COST or obligation to you, Medicus will help you find the type of job you are looking for, in the location you prefer. Whether you are already working, or completing your residency or fellowship, let Medicus begin the process of finding you the perfect job. Tell us exactly what you are looking for then leave all the searching to us.
You have the benefit of working with one source for placement services, rather than having to field the myriad of phone calls and emails associated with "do-it-yourself" job placement plans. Let us put our national marketing tools to work for you. With our contacts in the medical profession around the country, as well as our extensive internet marketing resources, you'll have the best possible chance to find the right situation. We are networked with over 300 other recruiters across the country to greatly enhance our ability to find opportunities in the areas our candidate’s desire.