That’s especially true for newly-minted physicians, who don’t have a professional reputation behind them, other than medical school and residencies, where distinguishing yourself from other applicants is tough.
Don’t Be Nervous.
The first thing to understand is that the interview is not a hostile process. The people who are interviewing you want to hire you. Recruiting and screening candidates is an expensive and time-consuming process for them, and they’d much rather hire a qualified candidate and be done with it.
Given the nationwide doctor shortage, once you get an interview with most large employers, you should have an excellent chance of getting an employment offer – unless you talk yourself out of it.
They are concerned about more than your medical qualifications.
They know you can pass your boards and clearly they have confidence in your medical school and training or they would not be hiring doctors from there and you wouldn’t be in the interview. At this point, they are more concerned about cultural fit.
Will you be able to get along with the other physicians? Do you have bedside manner? Will you represent the hospital or clinic well to patients, visitors and vendors? Or will you generate a steady stream of bad Yelp reviews for the place? (This wasn’t an issue a few years ago. It’s a big deal now.)
Are your personal goals aligned with that of the organization? If they hire you, and have you bond with a whole bunch of patients, they don’t want to lose you in six months because you always wanted to live near the beach, two states away! That’s not good for the partners/shareholders and not good for the patients. If your personal goals aren’t aligned with the prospective employer, the best thing to do is be honest and apply to places where you’re going to stay.
Is your personal conduct above reproach? You may think it is, but what does your Facebook page say about you? If all your photos are of you and your med school buddies drinking up a storm, that’s not going to generate a vote of confidence – and may be a deal killer.
What Can You Do To Boost Your Chances?
Emphasize interpersonal skills. Come prepared to discuss your personal skills. Point to leadership positions, community involvement and positions of responsibility in religious organizations, sports teams, arts, public health – anything that shows you can function as a member of a team and even build and lead teams.
Expect to be asked about your weaknesses. Hopefully your weaknesses aren’t in medical skills or in personal skills. But whatever they are, be honest and forthright about them – and spin the question right back around at what you’re doing about it.
For example, “I’m terrified of public speaking, so I joined Toastmasters and that really helped me get good at it!
Whatever weakness you have, own it, but be prepared to transition immediately to what you’re doing to improve yourself.
Prepare your elevator speech. Everyone should have one. An ‘elevator’ speech is the speech you have prepared in case you get in an elevator with someone who can really make your career. You have one minute to make the case. “Tell me why we should hire you.” Go.
Have some intelligent questions to ask. Just as they’re trying to verify that you’re a good fit for them, you need to make sure they’re a good fit for you. Come prepared for the interview with some specific questions to ask about the company. It could be about a recent news article, or a program or initiative unique to the organization.
Dress like you want the job. Look like you care. Pay special attention to your shoes and watch. Old-school interviewers still look for a nice shine on men’s shoes and a sharp watch, if you wear one (lots of people don’t, of course, thanks to Smartphones.)
Look yourself up and down in the mirror before walking in. Do your shirt buttons, tie, zipper line, and the leading edge of your belt buckle all match up? Is your tie distracting? Do your shoes and belt match?
Ladies, is anything about what you’re wearing distracting from your qualifications and professionalism? Does everything fit? Does your skirt cover your thighs when you sit down? Did you get the cat hair off your dark blouse? Does your blouse show too much cleavage? Even if you have to lean across the desk for a pen?
Be cagey with salary requirements. He who commits first loses. Chances are they already have a rough figure or range in mind. Your goal is to try to convince them that you belong at the top of that range. It’s usually fine to hold out for more information and say, “I’m thinking more in terms of total compensation, and a good cultural fit than in strict salary terms, because I want to be here for a long time.” Then follow it up with “what is the range you’ve historically paid for this position?”
If they have a range, then you can ask, “what would someone at the upper end of that range look like?”
If they tell you, and it’s you and you can prove it, you should be able to wrap things up pretty quickly. If not, then go for something in the middle of the range.
If they offer you something at the bottom of the range, ask what you can do to get to the middle of the range in six months.
Pro-tip: Try not to talk salary until you have had a chance to sell your value to the employer. You are much better off talking salary when you know they want you.
About Doctor Disability
Doctor Disability Insurance, Inc. is an innovative, one-stop service that makes disability insurance shopping quick, affordable, and easy to understand. Physicians save time and money by comparing plans and prices from multiple insurance companies. The site provides free quotes from leading names in the disability insurance industry along with friendly and knowledgeable customer support. The best values in the insurance industry are located in one place and are available any time doctors are ready, including late at night and on weekends.
Based in San Clemente, California, President and CEO Charles Krugh is a Certified Financial Planner with more than 15 years of experience working with people in the medical industry.
Call us toll free at 866-899-7318 to speak to one of our disability insurance professionals.