Practical Advice for Physicians to Feel Confident in an Interview

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Preparing for a first interview can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. You want to make a good impression and build a rapport with your interviewer. How do you do this? From researching the organization and scoping out the location, to knowing what questions to ask and how to express your needs, following the advice below will have you on your way to feeling confident before you enter the interview room.

1. Do basic research of the organization, physicians on staff, and who you are interviewing with.

Before walking through the door, know what you’re walking into and who you will be speaking with. You can get an idea of the health system or practice by browsing their website or asking your peers for any insight they may have. Having an idea of the organization’s culture and who is on staff can give you a fair idea if you’d be a good fit.

2. Visit the area before your interview.

Google Maps and other GPS devices are awfully handy — delivering you straight to the front door of your destination. And while you’ll want to arrive a little early to buffer for any unforeseen delays, being able to visit the area ahead of your interview takes some pressure off and gives you a feel for the environment. If you’ll be driving, you’re able to map out the best route and determine the traveling time. If you’ll be traveling from another city or state, visiting in advance if you’re able is a good idea to help you decide if the area is right for you.

3. Know your wants and needs in a job.

Whether you’re an established physician with several years of practice, or a recent medical school graduate, you should have a solid idea of what you’re looking for in not only a job but also an employer. Think ahead about the pay, benefits, location, type of practice, setting, patient load, and practice philosophy.

4. Be honest.

While you want to meet the practical qualifications for the job, don’t walk into the interview with a “know-it-all” attitude. Be honest and transparent if the interviewer asks you something that you simply don’t know the answer to. The interviewer will respect your vulnerability and honesty. Similarly, if something in your past could be perceived negatively, don’t try to cover it up. Instead, try to portray the situation in a positive light and explain the best you can and any lessons you learned from it.

5. Talk family.

If you’re married, in a serious relationship, or have children, be open about it. Make your priorities clear so that you can understand how the job may affect your relationships. Talk about your family to not only portray your priorities but to get a feeling on how family-friendly the organization is with its staff and if that impacts your decision to work there.

6. Have a list of questions for your interviewer.

When doing your high-level research of the organization, write down some questions you have. Ask for clarification on any part of the job description that you’re unsure about. Coming prepared with a few questions lets the interviewer know you are serious about the position and you took the time to think of questions. If anything comes up during the interview that needs further clarification, don’t be afraid to ask it.

7. Ask about expectations but hold off on contract negotiations.

The initial job interview is a time to discuss expectations your employer has for you, as well as what you’d like from your employer. You can discuss benefits, hours, and even pay scales. But hold off on negotiating any points. Take notes so that should a contract be offered, you are able to negotiate any aspects that were initially discussed. 

A job interview can be a nervous time shrouded with anxiety. However, when you look at it from its most basic point, it’s simply a one-on-one discussion between two people. You want to portray your best and most honest self to your potential employer. Being polite, personable, and transparent goes a long way to leave a good impression. Show gratitude to your interviewer and ask for a business card. This information will come in handy when you send a note of appreciation, which is recommended.

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