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The Successful Interview

An Overview For Physicians

The objective of an onsite interview is to provide you with an opportunity to evaluate a practice. However, you too are being evaluated. This is a two-way process. Typically, many candidates are interviewed for each position, just as you will probably review many practice options before making a decision. There is competition on both sides.


It is assumed you have already determined, through telephone interviews and your own research, a general interest in the practice and location. You will also have already established that the practice's compensation package is consistent with your own financial requirements.


With careful thought and preparation, you can maximize your chances for success. EVALUATE your strengths and weaknesses and be prepared in advance to answer questions which an interviewer may ask, covering such subjects as:

  • The extent of your medical education, training and experience.

  • Your goals, expectations and interests. And why.

  • The needs and interests of your spouse/s.o. and/or children.

  • Your level of interest in the opportunity presented.

  • Your references and recommendations.

  • Your compensation expectations, now and in the longer term.

  • Your most significant accomplishments.

  • Why you are the best candidate for the job.

  • Be prepared to explain any malpractice suits or disciplines.
Take a LIST with you of questions you intend to ask. You will want to determine through questioning, and observation, whether a practice affords the best possible opportunity for you. This kind of planning will help you cover the same material at each interview, providing a basis for comparison. Some probing questions you might ask are:
  • Why is this opportunity available? If a replacement, why did the other physician leave?

  • Are there any unusual policies or practices in this group?

  • Describe a day-in-the-life of a doctor in this practice.

  • Ask specific questions about the number of patients you're expected to see per day, the number of cases you can expect in your specialty, call coverage, etc.

  • Ask for data which confirms the need for your specialty in this community.

  • Please describe for me your ideal candidate?

  • What are the group's/hospital's plans for the future? What about growth?

  • Do research on what physicians in your specialty are paid in that city and be prepared to discuss compensation. You should already have established that the group's general compensation package is consistent with your needs, but get more details. There will be an established hiring range that may even be lower than what you are currently making. The key number that you need to assess is the future income potential. Also ask about bonus plans, incentives, benefits, retirement plans, and partnership buyin (if applicable).

  • What's it like to live in this community? What do you like about living here?

  • When do you plan to decide on a candidate?

The Interview

Through the interaction that takes place during your interview, the interviewer will be searching out your strong and weak points and evaluating your qualifications, skills, poise, intellectual qualities and attitude.

If there is one truth in the employment process in any industry, it's that 9 times out of 10 hiring authorities will choose personality over mere credentials. You can be the most accomplished physician on the planet, but if you don't work well with others there will be missed opportunities. One who has a pleasing personality and "plays well with others" will attract patients and the trust and cooperation of colleagues. This point cannot be emphasized enough.

Knowing that you are qualified to fill a job is not enough. No matter how good you are, or how great the demand for your skills, you cannot assume you are a shoe-in for the job. You must always put your best foot forward. You must sell yourself.

Interviewing Tips

Dress for business. This is always appropriate and is expected. A shirt and tie for men; a skirt or pantsuit for ladies. Gentlemen can always remove their tie later if an informal situation calls for it.

  • Be punctual. Call if you are running unavoidably late.

  • Leave the children at home or in the motel with a sitter. Do not nurse your baby when interviewing with the hospital CEO (yes, it's happened!).

  • Greet the interviewer with his or her name. Offer a firm handshake. Look people in the eye.

  • Listen carefully.

  • Avoid yes or no answers to questions. Engage --- answer questions fully.

  • Avoid controversial subjects such as politics or religion.

  • Avoid making derogatory comments about past colleagues.

  • If asked for your compensation requirements, be sure you are not overstating what might be possible. As stated earlier, you should have a general idea about what the group is offering prior to the interview.

  • If at the end of the day you think you want the position, express your interest enthusiastically.

  • Thank the interviewer for the time and consideration extended to you.

After the Interview

When you get home, follow-up with a brief personal letter, or email, expressing your appreciation and level of interest. This is a sound business practice and is professional courtesy. If there are previously agreed upon expenses for which you need reimbursement, include the receipts with your letter. If the job has been offered to you and you feel it's not a match, now is a good time to say so.

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  The Interview
  Interviewing Tips
  After the Interview
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"EVALUATE your strengths and weaknesses..."

" Take a LIST with you of questions you intend to ask."

"9 times out of 10 hiring authorities will choose personality over mere credentials."

"Follow-up with a brief personal letter, or email, expressing your appreciation and level of interest."
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