Top 10 Interviewing Tips for Physicians

5 minute read

5 minute read

Around this time each year, we post our top 10 tips for Interviewing as a way to educate and help residents and fellows improve in this critical area of transitioning from training to practice. These interviewing tips, along with a professional CV, will help you to land the perfect position for you.

  1. Change your thinking: this is not simply a chance for the group to interview you—it’s also a chance for you to assess the practice. Hopefully you’ve thought about your ideal job description. Now you can compare your ideal job with the opportunity for which you’re interviewing.
  2. Differentiate yourself: This is most often a marketing term which is appropriate in this case. Your goal is to make an impact and stand out among the rest of the potential hires. Think through how to present yourself as a person with unique accomplishments, skills, interests, and experiences so as not to simply be another one in the group of doctors being considered for a position.
  3. Tell the truth...always: This should go without saying, but you might be surprised how often it happens! Avoid exaggerating even a little on the details of your history to make them sound better. It’s easy to fact check your C.V., so resist the temptation.
  4. Do your research: Never walk into an interview without doing your homework. Find out as much as possible about the hospital or practice. You should normally receive a packet containing information about the position; if you don’t receive one, call and request it. Find out how the organization is structured and if they have affiliations with other hospitals and health systems. Doing this research will help you to illustrate to the practice how your skill set and expertise might add something their current program is lacking.
  5. Be prepared to talk about yourself: This may seem obvious, but many people struggle to speak about themselves. Practice before your interview to ensure that your responses reflect your professionalism. If you need to, write out answers to sample interview questions to rehearse out loud.
  6. Dress to impress: A conservative business suit is ideal for all job candidates. Don’t forget to make sure that the suit is nicely pressed and paired with polished shoes and accessories. Do forget about wearing perfume or cologne, and keep jewelry to a minimum.
  7. Record to compare: You may have several offers and you will need the ability to compare/contrast them effectively in case their offers are similar. The best practice is to pre-populate a notepad (paper or electronic) with questions or topics you want to learn about before the meeting. After the meeting, once you are back in your car, fill in the sections with as much information as you can remember. If you do this process the same with each interview, you will have a much easier time deciding between the offers.
  8. Prepare to answer common questions: Some sample questions include:
    1. “Why did you choose your area of specialty?”
    2. “What are your strengths/weaknesses?”
    3. “What do you want to do with your career?”
    4. “What relevant experience do you have?”
    5. “Do you have specific areas of interest?”
    6. “What courses/ rotations interested you most during medical school or residency? Least? Why?”
    7. “What could you bring to the hospital/ clinic that others could not?”
    8. “Where do you see yourself in 5/ 10 years?”
  9. Prepare to ask relevant questions: Learn everything you can about the employer and ask pertinent questions that might affect your decision to join. Remember that this is a mutual interview, as you want to gather as much information as possible in order to decide if joining this practice if offered a position is the right choice for you. Some sample questions include:
    1. “Is there a group mission statement?”
    2. “How would you describe the culture of this group?”
    3. “How does the compensation formula work?”
    4. “What physician behaviors is this formula intended to motivate?”
    5. “What is the process that you use to bring a new physician on board (training, mentoring, coaching, etc.)”
    6. “How does this group make decisions?”
    7. “What is currently the biggest challenge to this group? And what do you see as the biggest challenge in the next 5 years?”
  10. Send a thank-you note after the interview: Thank yous may seem a bit old-fashioned, but a handwritten note is still the gold standard for expressing gratitude for the opportunity to meet with a potential employer. If they will be making the decision before a handwritten note can arrive, an email thank you may be an acceptable temporary substitute. Whichever form the initial thank you takes, it’s a great way to invite further communication.

Please let us know if you have any questions about interviewing. We've helped thousands of residents and fellows each year make a more successful transition from training to practice and would love to help you in any way we can.

For more in-depth information on evaluating the best position for you, check out our webinar tonight! There our founder and his guest experts will be discussing the top job search tips for physicians.