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Charlotte H. Smith M.D. University of Washington Seattle. Acing the Interview: Landing the Job You Want. Disclosures:. Charlotte H. Smith M.D. has no relevant financial disclosures. Our Objectives:. Prepare for a successful first interview

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Charlotte h smith m d university of washington seattle

Charlotte H. Smith M.D.

University of Washington


Acing the Interview:Landing the Job You Want



  • Charlotte H. Smith M.D. has no relevant financial disclosures.

Our objectives

Our Objectives:

  • Prepare for a successful first interview

  • To be aware of the types of interviews & strategies for each type of interview

  • To maximize your position as an attractive candidate

  • To use the interview process to determine if a position is a ‘good fit’

  • To position yourself for optimal negotiations related to salary and benefits offered.

Interviews residency vs job

Interviews: Residency vs. Job

  • CV rules are similar.

  • Letters of recommendation strategies are different.

  • JOB interviews are different than Residency or Medical School interviews.

  • Strategies for engagement and preparation are different.

Acing the interview entails 4 p s

Acing the interview, entails 4 ‘P’s

  • Preparation

  • Practice

  • Presentation

  • Polish

Goals of a job interview

Goals of a job interview:

  • Applicant:

    • To find out if you like THEM

  • Employer:

    • To find out if they like YOU

  • Both:

    • To see if it’s a GOOD FIT (and if it is, to move towards CLOSING THE DEAL!)

What are the most common interviewing mistakes

What are the most common interviewing mistakes?

  • Not being prepared.

  • Not presenting the right image.

  • Not sharing the right information.

  • Sharing the wrong information.

  • Not asking the right questions.

  • Asking in the wrong sequence.

  • Not following through afterwards.



  • MOST IMPORTANT aspect of a successful interview.

  • Before agreeing to or scheduling an interview, do your homework.

  • Why?

    • To save yourself & the potential employer, TIME, MONEY & GRIEF!

Put yourself in the potential employer s situation

Put yourself in the potential employer’s situation….

  • If hiring because they are TOO BUSY:

    • they don’t have a lot of time to spare.

  • If they are in a desirable location or practice:

    • they may have LOTS of candidates applying.

  • If they are NOT in desirable location/practice,

    • they are probably spending LOTS of money on a headhunter/ recruitment agency.

  • ALL medical practices are under time and money constraints in today’s healthcare environment.

You will want to be strategic about which interviews you agree to

You will want to BE STRATEGIC about which interviews you agree to:

  • Travel costs (if you are paying)

  • Time away

  • Massive confusion when trying to compare practices and opportunities

Before you agree to an interview

Before you agree to an interview:

  • Do your research to be sure it is an opportunity you are really interested in.

  • Consider:

    • Is it a location where you want to live?

    • Is it something you want to do?

    • Is it a practice situation that is desirable?

    • Will it work for your family/S.O.’s needs?

Find out as much as you can

Find out as much as you can…

  • Community (cost of living, environment, schools, etc.)

  • Business environment (types of industry, etc.)

  • Healthcare environment (physician supply, liability issues, rate of uninsured, etc.)

  • Medical Community (hospital networks, number of physicians, insurance plans)

  • The Group/Practice you are looking at!

Group espionage

Group ‘Espionage’

  • Physicians in the practice (reputation, how many, how long in the group, specialty areas, reputation, etc.)

  • Location(s) of the practice (hospital/ group affiliations, geographic presence, etc.)

  • How busy is the group?

  • Areas of expertise (inpatient, outpatient, niche areas)

How do you find out this information

HOW do you find out this information?

  • Internet:

    • Google the group (see if they have a website)

    • Google each physician in the group

    • Chamber of commerce for the city

    • AAPMR (or specialty society) website (where they trained)

    • AMA website

    • Medical Board for that state (demographic info, where trained, when graduated, etc.)

How do you find out this information1

HOW do you find out this information?

  • Networking (MOST important for PMR):

    • Your residency program (Chairman, Program Director, faculty, former residents)

    • Alumni (AAPMR: physician search or state PMR societies to find out where they trained)

    • Friends (who live in that community)

    • Chat groups/list serves/ networking sites

    • Professional meetings

Networking strategies

Networking strategies:

Professional meetings-

  • Attend a lecture by a physician in the city/ practice you are interested in.

  • Balance between being inquisitive vs. annoying

  • STRATEGY: ‘compliment, question, pitch’

    “I’m looking for opportunities in (city), do you know anyone that I should contact?”

How do you find out this information2

HOW do you find out this information?

3. Call the County Medical Society

  • Speak with the Executive Director or President of the medical society.

  • Tell them you are a young physician who is considering coming to town to practice (who will be joining their association as a member)

  • Ask them who they think is best in the area you are interested in.

  • Write or call that physician (Be sure to name drop.)

How do you find out this information3

HOW do you find out this information?

  • Call local hospitals/ rehabilitation facilities.

  • Go to their websites (to see who is the Medical Director, Chief of Staff and CEO)

  • Call their Admissions Office and ask to speak to their Director.

  • Use same strategy as for county medical society.

  • Ask for a tour of the facility (to see how full they are & to gather information.)

How do you find out this information4

HOW do you find out this information?

  • Call the practice to see:

  • How long it takes to get a new appointment.

  • What insurance they accept.

  • If the physicians do only outpatient or also inpatient work.

  • Can they mail you a brochure or new patient packet?

Getting the interview

Getting the Interview:

Once you’ve researched the position, you’re in a good position to:

  • Write a cover letter of interest and mail it with your vita

  • Contact the practice

  • Arrange a meeting (if a formal interview is not offered or there isn’t a position advertised.)

Communicating by cv

Communicating by CV:

  • Creates a first impression.

  • Should be tailored to the position you are applying for (academic vs. pvt. practice)

  • Letter of interest- distinguishes you from other applicants.

  • References should be chosen to get you an interview:

    • Connections (former alum, etc.)

    • Area of expertise

You got the interview

You GOT the interview…

  • What does it look like?

    • Telephone interview

    • Serial interview

    • Group interview

    • Informal interview

  • What are the differences in each of these??

  • How do you prepare for each of these?

The telephone interview

The Telephone Interview

  • Increasingly common (especially as a first step, screening tool) & important.

  • Test of spontaneity & getting a ‘feel’ for the personality of the applicant.

  • Advantages:

    • Less stressful

  • Challenges:

    • Having impact (without visual connection)

    • Not being distracted

Telephone interview strategies

Telephone Interview Strategies:

  • Try to schedule a time to talk (if at all possible)

  • If you are on a cell phone, ask if you can call right back on a land line.

  • Go to a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted or distracted.

  • Have your notes, questions, CV & cover letter available

  • Take the call standing up & use gestures.

The serial interview

The Serial Interview

  • Itinerary may or may not be given to you.

  • Meet with multiple people individually throughout the day

  • Decision may be made by consensus

  • Opportunities:

    • Get different perspectives

    • Get different pieces of information

    • You have multiple opportunities to ‘dazzle them’ or recover from mistakes.

  • Challenges:

    • Fatigue

    • Staying fresh

Serial interview strategies

Serial Interview STRATEGIES:

  • Be consistent and tell the same story (possibly with different emphasis)

  • Ask questions that are appropriate to each person.

  • Treat each person as if they are the most important person involved in the decision making process.

The group interview

The Group Interview

  • Solo applicant interviewed by multiple individuals (3-20) at the same time.

  • Opportunity:

    • You get to observe the group dynamics.

    • You should be able to get all of your questions answered.

  • Challenges:

    • Not letting nervousness adversely impact your interview.

    • Connecting with each person individually.

Group interview strategies

Group Interview STRATEGIES

  • Ask for a list of who will be in the group + their position/title (ahead of time if possible)

  • Ask for them to introduce themselves at the beginning (write down/ check off their name & position)

  • Make eye contact with each person as they are introduced and as they speak.

  • Be mindful of your facial expression and body language.

The informal interview

The Informal Interview

  • Occurs when you ‘bump into’ someone (at a conference, meeting or in a hospital)

  • Informal interviews are just as important as formal interviews.

  • Why?

    • Only ONE chance to make a FIRST impression.

    • Impressions are made with every encounter.

    • PRESENTATION is critical at every point.

Preparation for all types of interviews what to have with you

Preparation for ALL types of interviews: What to have with you

  • Make a ‘cheat sheet’ with:

    • Names of physicians/ staff

    • What you know about that practice.

  • Prepare Questions

    • So you don’t forget to ask anything.

    • So you have something to fall back on.

  • Bring extra copies of your CV with you to the interview

Preparing for the interview

Preparing for the interview:

  • Anticipate questions that you will be asked

  • Prepare questions that you’d like to ask

  • Be able to articulate your good points using the Value Added Concept.

What questions should you ask

What Questions Should You Ask?

  • Your questions should reflect well on you.

  • You should ask questions at the right time.

  • Your questions should be directed to the correct person.

  • Recognize that they may not be able to answer your questions immediately.

Resources salary benefits benchmarks

Resources: Salary & Benefits benchmarks

  • MGMA Physician Compensation & Production Survey (

  • AMGA Medical Group Compensation & Financial Survey (


  • Merritt, Hawkins & Associates -(

  • Cejka Search (

  • Medical Economics (

The value added concept

The ‘Value Added Concept’

  • What value will you add to their practice (beyond your clinical skills)?

  • What can you contribute that will help their practice grow & thrive?

  • Examples:

    • EMR/ Website development experience

    • Ability to speak Spanish/ other languages

    • Being well known/ connected in a community (i.e. ability to generate referrals)

How to communicate on paper or via the internet

How to Communicate on Paper or via the Internet:

  • Your CV, letters & emails create a first impression.

  • Always convey a professional image:

    • No misspellings/ grammatical errors

    • High quality paper.

    • Signed in black ink.

    • No text abbreviations (‘2’ for too, ‘gr8’, etc.)

    • Avoid being too casual.

Your internet presentation

Your Internet Presentation

  • ‘Research’ yourself:

    • Google yourself

    • Review your Facebook & other profiles.

  • Make sure that you don’t have anything posted that projects less than a professional opinion.

What to share

What to Share?

  • You want to share information about yourself that reflects positively on you.

    • Why you would be a good addition to the group.

    • Your training/ experience

    • Your personality/character

    • ‘Added Value’ you bring to the group

  • Try to achieve a balance between:

    • your positive traits; and

    • praising others (your residency program/mentors, the group, etc.)

What not to share

What NOT to share?

  • NEVER speak badly about

    • Your residency program

    • Your faculty

    • Previous jobs

    • Anyone…….

  • Don’t get into your personal issues/ struggles

Polish the final touches

Polish: The final touches

  • Be appreciative of everyone’s time

  • THANK them

    • in person (at the time of the interview)

    • in writing (mail within 24 hrs)

  • Ask for business cards from each person you met with.

  • Write down pertinent details (what you learned), impressions and unresolved issues immediately when you get into your car

The thank you letter if your interested in the position

The Thank You Letter: If your interested in the position

  • First paragraph: express appreciation for the opportunity to meet with them

  • 2nd paragraph: Reiterate interest in the position and why you think it would be a good fit.

  • 3rd paragraph: Promise to call in a few days to see if the group has reached a decision and/or to see what the next steps will be.

  • Include your contact information in the letter.

What if you don t want the job

What if you DON’T WANT the Job?

  • Write a thank you letter expressing appreciation for their time.

  • If you know the opportunity wasn’t right for you, let them know as soon as possible (You don’t need to go into details why.)

  • Try to make a decision within 2 weeks.

Phases of closing the deal

Phases of closing the deal:

  • Phase 1: Find out the group’s needs & expectations

  • Phase 2: Match these needs & expectations with

    your willingness & abilities to meet the


  • Phase 3: See what the group is able to offer

  • Phase 4: Negotiate the offer to the best of your


  • Phase 5: Evaluate the final offer to see if it fits your

    short & long term goals. Decide to accept,

    reject or re-negotiate.

Final instructions

Final Instructions:

  • If you don’t find a job by June 30th, don’t panic (because you may be even more marketable after that………)

  • If you get a job you HATE, you can always CHANGE (and most physicians DO)

  • Don’t forget to have FUN (because this is what you’ve been working for……)



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