Interview Like a Pro

You've done your research, studied the practice, and put yourself in the hiring doctor's shoes. You've even practiced presenting your unique selling points and answering difficult questions in a mock interview. Now it's time for the real thing.

Let’s face it, interviewing can be stressful — no matter how prepared you are. Often it’s your one chance to impress and convince the hiring doctors that you’re the right person to join their team. Here are three things you can do to increase your chances of landing the ideal position.

1. Make a Great First Impression

Appearance. Look your best. While your friends might like your tattoos and pierced tongue, a prospective employer might have other thoughts.

Timeliness. A candidate who shows up late might be perceived as having difficulty arriving to work on time or maintaining a patient schedule.

Confidence. Smile, shake hands with a firm grip and establish eye contact. Watch out for nonverbal communication, such as excessively talking with your hands. Sit forward in the chair, avoid slouching, and don’t cross your arms in a negative position.

Be polite and professional. Using slang may be fine when hanging with your buddies, but not during an interview.

No cell phones. Leave your phone in the car or at the very least turn it off.

Come prepared. You may be asked to fill out a long application when you get to the interview. Come equipped with all the information you could possibly need concerning employment history, your previous addresses, dates of military service (if applicable), education, etc.

Know thyself. It might sound obvious, but make sure you know your resume inside and out. It’s incredibly embarrassing to be asked specifics about a project you boasted about on your resume and respond with a blank stare. Even if someone helped you write your resume, you definitely should be the expert on you.

2. Show Interest in the Position

Listen carefully. Communication is a two-way street and that holds true for interviews. While the hiring doctor will ask the majority of questions, he or she will expect a dialogue with you. Concentrate on truly communicating with the interviewer. It’s a good idea to ask the doctor to describe the position and duties to you early in the interview so that you can apply your background, skills and accomplishments to the specific position where appropriate.

Here are some questions that will help you learn more about the position, the practice and whether it’s a good fit for you:

  • What type of person would be successful in this position?
  • How would you describe a typical workday in your practice?
  • What are the biggest challenges your office is facing and how could I help you overcome them?
  • Once I’m hired, how will my performance be evaluated and how often?
  • What type of training is available for this position?
  • What specifically from my resume attracted you to me as a candidate for this position?
  • How would you describe your management style?
  • What can your practice offer me that others can’t?

Stay positive, enthusiastic and don’t ramble. Avoid making negative comments about any previous positions, employers, or even your school and professors. Before replying to any questions, stay calm and relaxed. Take a few moments to compose an answer in your head, and then speak clearly, slowly and succinctly.

Above all, be yourself and answer questions truthfully and frankly. Avoid reciting what’s on your resume. Instead, emphasize problems you solved and contributions you made in previous positions.

Take notes. Taking notes during an interview keeps your hands busy so they don’t become distracting and is a great way to capture important information you can use to your advantage in a follow-up “Thank You” letter.

3. Before You Leave the Interview

Don’t hide your interest in the position. Let the doctor know you truly want the position. You might say something like, “I’m very impressed with your practice and your philosophy of care. I’m confident I would do an excellent job in the position you’ve described. Is there anything else I can provide that would further convince you that I’m the best candidate for the position?”

It’s okay to ask about the selection process and when a decision will be made. But don’t ask about salary and benefits during the initial interview. You may be asked to do a second interview at some point. During the second interview, the doctor will often follow up on your earlier responses to questions so be prepared to elaborate a bit but don’t embellish your answers. During the second interview is the time to discuss salary, benefits and a start date.

Don’t be surprised if you’re asked to take a skills test during the second interview, either. Here again, don’t panic and just answer the questions honestly.  

Watch for my blog later this month about what you should do once the interview is over.

For more information about preparing for the interview, see Get Ready for Your Interview-Part 1 and Get Ready for Your Interview-Part 2.

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