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Interviewing Tips

The Telephone Interview

The initial contact between the physician and the hiring facility is extremely important. The interview process usually begins with a telephone conversation between the applicant and a person responsible for making hiring decisions for the facility. The telephone interview should be scheduled at a time when neither party will be interrupted. This time of introduction gives the person representing the facility the opportunity to discuss specifically what the job entails and while the physician relays his/her specific requirements, each determines whether to continue further discussions.

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The Site Visit

If mutual interest exists, a site visit is arranged. Interview expenses including airfare, car rental, food and lodging are usually covered by the hiring facility. The physician may choose to make arrangements him/herself and receive a reimbursement check from the facility. Either way, payment details should be worked out before any arrangements are made.During the site visit the physician will interview with the administrative and/or clinical personnel, meet the other physicians and staff, tour the facilities and the community.

Preparing For Site Visit

Your prospective employer will be giving much time and attention planning for your site visit. You should also spend adequate time preparing. Following are suggestions for making the most out of your site visit.

  • Decide if your spouse or significant other will be traveling with you. If yes, determine whether it is appropriate to spend the interview time together, apart or some of each.
  • Involve your spouse and/or significant person(s) in your life in the search process. Determine together where you want to practice and what is important to you in finding the right practice.
  • Review the itinerary in advance so you will be mentally prepared for your daily events.
  • After you have looked over your itinerary, alert the employer to any additional people you want to meet or things you want to see.
  • Find out the practice's reputation in the community.

Questions To Ask

Before you venture to your first on-site interview, create a thorough list of questions to ask. Typically, location and practice details are going to be the primary considerations; therefore it may be useful to divide your questions into categories.

The Practice

  • What kind of practice is it?
  • Are there academic affiliations?
  • Is the office location convenient for both doctors and patients?
  • Will I be seeing patients at other clinic locations?
  • What is the age, size, and condition of the office?
  • What can you tell me about the support staff?
  • Who manages the office on a day-to-day basis?
  • How many nights and weekends would I be on call?
  • Are the cross covering physicians compatible?
  • Is there a genuine need for another physician in my specialty?
  • Are the physicians in the practice currently accepting new patients?
  • What is the waiting time for new patient appointments?
  • Are there adequate specialists in the area to take referrals?
  • If I'm a specialist, are there adequate primary-care physicians to send referrals?
  • How long does it take to get licensed in this state?
  • What are the ages of my partners?
  • How do they get along in the work place?
  • What are their work styles?
  • Is there a group philosophy?
  • What is the income potential?
  • How long would it take me to get there?
  • What are the buy-in arrangements?
  • When would I get an equity position?
  • How much would it cost? How would I pay?

The Location

  • What is the size of the community?
  • What are the local economic conditions and rates of unemployment and inflation?
  • Is the area attracting new business?
  • What are the demographics?
  • Is the local population increasing or decreasing?
  • Is there a medical school in the area?
  • Where will I be conducting my research and CME?
  • What can you tell me about the climate?
  • Is the area prone to any natural disasters?
  • Are there cultural amenities for my family to enjoy?
  • How do the schools rank compared to the rest of the state? Nation?
  • Are private schools available? Colleges? Universities?
  • Is there public transportation available?
  • What kind of health-care services are available locally?
  • Do the local churches or temples fill my needs?
  • What is the average cost of the type and size of house I am looking for?

The Offer

At the end of the site visit, one of four things will happen.

  1. An official offer will be made (see Negotiation Strategies).
  2. All of the staff who met with the candidate will determine whether an official offer should be made.
  3. A second site visit will be scheduled. Expect to take your spouse/ significant other on this visit.
  4. The client will proceed interviewing alternative candidates.
Generally this stage of the interviewing process goes slow, so be patient. If the position is the ideal one for you, it will be well worth the wait.

The Physician Recruiter

How do you determine whether to utilize the services of a recruiting agency? When contacted by a physician recruiter, determine credibility by asking the following questions:

  • What is the firm's background?

  • Is the firm affiliated with any professional organizations in their field?

  • What is the recruiter's background?

  • How long has he/she been in the recruiting field?

  • How long has he/she been with this employer?

  • Does the firm work on a contingency or retained basis?

  • What kind of physician opportunities does the firm represent?

During the initial conversation with the recruiter, expect to disclose professional information including medical experience, educational background, certification and state licensure, as well personal information such as salary expectations and relocation preferences. Be as specific as possible about WHERE you wish to practice, WHAT you're looking for in a position, and if you have any absolute needs for yourself, spouse or children.

Once you have thoroughly questioned the recruiter and he/she has interviewed you, you need to trust your instincts. Keep in mind that a recruiter's main focus is to make that "perfect match" for the physician and the client represented. The key is to always have open communication at all times during the interview process.

Interviewing Tips

When preparing for a site visit with a prospective employer, keep the following pointers in mind. They will aid you in mentally preparing for the interview.

  • Get a Good Night's Sleep - This will help you be mentally prepared to interview.
  • Be Prepared - Find out everything you can about your prospective place of employment
  • Dress for Success - Suit, tie, the works!
  • Be Punctual - People are impressed by a candidate who arrives early.
  • Make a Strong Initial Impression - Smile, firm handshake, maintain eye contact, address the interviewer by name.
  • Be courteous -Do not talk negatively about previous employers. Also, hold your questions until an appropriate time.
  • Be Confident - Head up, shoulders back.
  • Give specific examples - Explain what makes you the best candidate for the job.
  • "Close The Sale" so to speak - At the end of the interview, clearly indicate your level of interest in the position.
  • Follow-Up - Send a thank you note the next day. Follow-up by phone after one week if you have not already heard from the recruiting agency or the employer.

As previously mentioned, this stage of the interviewing process goes slow.

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