Physician Job Interview Guide: How to Ask the Right Questions
Knowing what to ask in an interview can make all the difference. Make the most out of your physician job interview with tips from a seasoned recruiter.
July 29, 2021
Know What to Expect in a Physician Job Interview
Whether you’re joining a small medical group or a larger health system, building a successful physician practice takes immense time and energy. This makes finding the right long-term fit — a place where you can plant roots — especially important.
Sheila Sampatacos, senior recruiter with Provider Solutions & Development (PS&D), is passionate about helping physicians and advanced practice clinicians find roles where they will be fulfilled and happy, on and off the job. She knows from personal experience how important her work can be.
“Years ago, I watched a loved one move in and out of the wrong physician job at least three times before he found the right position,” Sheila says. “Looking back, I think he got burnt out, because he wasn’t somewhere that filled his bucket.”
Sheila sees herself as a matchmaker — aligning doctors’ personalities to the culture where they will work. She says doctors should bring this mindset into their physician job interview.
“When you’re interviewing for a physician job, you’ll want to come prepared to answer many questions,” Sheila says. “But you should also come prepared with questions of your own. The fact is, you are interviewing a prospective employer as much as they are interviewing you.”
Under the white coat, you are a human being. A potential employer should want to learn as much as they can about you and your wants and needs.
Knowing what to expect in a physician job interview can help you to find the perfect fit.
Get Interview-Ready By:
Doing Some Deep Thinking. Consider who you are and where you thrive. Are you introverted or extroverted? Do you like large hospital systems or would you prefer a work environment with a family feel?
Knowing Who You Want to Serve. Think about your ideal patient population. What does that look like in terms of diversity, socio-economic status, age, payor mix and medical complications?
Understanding Your Strengths and Weaknesses. For example, if you’ve been practicing for a while and you know you have a problem with closing charts, then look for a place where you’ll have administrative help.
What To Ask In a Physician Job Interview
When interviewing, you’ll want to learn about the job itself and some of the contractual basics, Sheila says. More specific contract details, like compensation, bonuses and non-compete clauses, may be better left for discussion later in the process. '
“Prepare your list of questions in advance and make sure each one gets answered,” Sheila says. “If you are interviewing for multiple jobs, create a spreadsheet to compare the answers you receive from each prospective employer.”
Specific questions to ask include:
- Where is this position located?
- What is the hospital/clinic size?
- Why is this position open?
- What is the culture like?
- How is the retention of clinic support staff?
- What is the patient population?
- Where will my referrals come from?
- What does marketing look like for me as a new physician? How will I be successful in growing my practice?
- How do you connect your Primary Care providers with specialists? Do they round together? Are they integrated?
- Are there opportunities for professional growth?
- What will my schedule look like?
- What is the contract length?
- What kind of malpractice coverage do you offer?
Tailor Your Questions to Your Needs
You may have a unique circumstance or specific requirement that could influence your job search. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want or need during the interview process.
Flexibility was a priority for working mom and physician Dr. Dina Vaynberg. She felt unsupported in her previous role and began searching for something new just before the pandemic hit the U.S. in early 2020. Her advice:
“Make sure you can have a flexible schedule, speak up and ask about that in your interviews. Prioritize what’s important.”
Providence Cardiologist Dr. Jason Bensch says that the questions you ask can help you protect yourself from accepting a role that’s sure to lead to burnout.
“Ask the people interviewing you when they went on their last vacation and where they went. If they say they can’t remember, that’s a red flag,” Dr. Bensch says.
Physician Job Interview Questions the Right Employer Will Ask
Whether you are talking to a recruiter or you’ve moved on to the next step in the interview process, there are key questions the right employer will ask. In fact, Sheila says, not hearing these questions at some point in the process should raise a red flag.
Look for the following job interview questions:
- What are you currently doing?
- Why are you looking for something new?
- What is your ideal work situation?
- What is your ideal patient population?
- Who are your ideal coworkers or colleagues?
- What kind of work-life balance are you seeking?
“There will always be physician jobs,” Sheila says. “Don’t get wooed by the person who’s throwing the most money at you.
“If you get an offer, make sure it aligns with what’s most important to you. If you know what you want to do and that opportunity isn’t presenting itself, contact a recruiter or other connection to get your foot in the door.”
At Provider Solutions & Development, we offer holistic, personalized career guidance to help you find the right fit the first time. Reach out today to get started.