No matter who you are, interviews are stressful — at least to some degree. If you’re a new physician interviewing for your first job, interviews can be particularly nerve wracking.

There are all sorts of things you can do to prepare for an interview. With all of the books written on interview preparedness and etiquette, you could probably over-prepare for an interview, which can sometimes be worse than under-preparing for one.

The goal is to be calm, collected and informed. You don’t want to flood your brain with too much information the night before an interview, nor do you want to be unprepared.

With that in mind, today’s post will focus on pre-interview steps that you should always keep in mind. Additional resources listed at the end of the post offer further tips for putting your best foot forward.

Always Keep Your Interests in Mind

It’s easy to turn into a people pleaser during an interview, especially if you’re nervous. After all, when you’re being questioned by people of authority and you want to make a good impression, it’s natural to take on the old “teacher’s pet” role.

Be mindful of this tendency during an interview, as it has two downfalls. First of all, it may show the interviewer(s) that you’re overeager, and second, you might forget your own priorities.

Always keep in mind your values and preferred lifestyle. What’s important for you in a job? What’s important for your family? What can a hospital or organization offer you?

An interview isn’t just a chance for you to prove yourself to the hiring organization. It’s also their opportunity to show you what they’ve got.

Play Detective

Researching a potential employer before an interview is absolutely critical. Sure, it lets you learn about the hiring organization beforehand. But more importantly, it shows your interviewers that you’re prepared and serious. They will expect you to have a basic knowledge of the organization already.

Start by visiting the organization’s website. You might want to have a list of your key criteria in hand. Here are just a few things you’ll want to check out:

  • What is the size of the hospital? How many beds do they have?
  • How many employees are there?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • How do they rank against similar organizations?
  • What is their mission? Their vision? What are their values?
  • What type of population or patient mix do they serve?

Beyond their website, you can also check out outside sources. Do a quick Google search to see if the organization has been in the news lately. You can also research their reputation using these websites:

Write down interesting key facts that you might want to discuss during the interview.

Get Ready to Grill Them

All right, so you don’t want to “grill” your interviewers, per say — coming off as aggressive could leave a bad impression.

However, you should spend a good amount of time preparing a list of questions to ask during your interview. The most important part? Make sure they’re questions you’re actually interested in.

Asking questions for the sake of asking questions comes off as forced, and it wastes time.

There are dozens of questions you could ask, and you should be prepared to. However, coming up with a list of your top five “burning” questions before the interview can help you stay focused and on task.

For specific ideas about questions to ask during your physician interview, visit Stage 6 in the Adventures in Medicine guidebook, or check out the Interviewing Section in the Adventures in Medicine Resource Library. Good luck!

What have you done to successfully prepare for a physician interview?

What was your biggest interview blunder?  

Physician Career: Sponsors

Though the views expressed above are solely the writer’s, Bothwell Regional Health Center supports “The Dose with Dr. Goodhook” and is partnering with Adventures in Medicine to create an open, inspiring and insightful community for residents and physicians. Click here to learn more about ways that Bothwell Regional Health Center is making practice purposeful.