A physician phone interview seems much less intimidating than an in-person interview. If your palms are sweaty, you don’t have to worry about shaking hands. Dressing up isn’t necessary, and you don’t have to worry about maintaining eye contact.

However, many people make the mistake of not taking the physician phone interview seriously enough. Aside from an email or an introduction at a job fair, the phone interview is the first opportunity you’ll have to make a direct impression with a potential employer.

Above all, you need to be prepared, confident and engaged. You should also know that there are a few things that can make or break your phone interview.

Below are several key tips that will help you make the most of your physician phone interview.

1) Take Some Time to Research the Hospital or Group Before Your Physician Phone Interview

If you’ve applied for several positions, it can be easy to get confused when you’re contacted for interviews. One of the most important things to show during a phone interview is that you’re interested in the particular organization — not just any old job you can come by.

Once you have a phone interview scheduled, take some time to read up on the organization. Learn about its history, its values and its mission. Write down at least three questions that are specifically tailored for that organization.

2) Prepare Informed Answers for Potential Questions

Though physician phone interviews aren’t as intensive or thorough as in-person interviews, you will be asked several questions, and should be prepared to answer them eloquently.

Common questions include:

-What is your ideal practice setting and why?

-Highlight a challenging experience from medical school, internship or residency. How did you handle this challenge?

-What are your expectations regarding your work or work environment?

These are just a few example questions. To see more, visit the Interviewing Stage in the Adventures in Medicine Online Resource Library.

3) Prepare Specific Questions Before Your Physician Phone Interview

It can be easy to take a “winging it” approach to a phone interview. Basic interview etiquette states that you need to be prepared with questions to ask your potential employer. This shows genuine interest, intent and engagement.

Whatever you do, don’t wait until you’re on the phone to think of questions — your mind will certainly go blank. While it’s OK for questions to come up naturally, you should always have several prepared and written down in front of you. You can ask about satisfaction among medical staff, the relationship between administration and staff or work-life balance initiatives.

The possibilities are endless, so ask about things that genuinely interest you. For more ideas, see this worksheet on physician phone interview questions.

4) Know that Physician Compensation is a Sensitive Subject

Of course you want to know about salary potential… that’s probably one of the biggest questions on your mind.

However, it’s usually a no-no to talk about compensation during your first phone interview. It implies that you’re more interested in making money than becoming a part of the organization.

At times, it can be OK to discuss it, but use your best judgment. Asking, “Can you tell me how the compensation is structured?” is more appropriate than asking, “What can I expect to earn?”

Usually, it’s in your best interest to avoid this question during a phone interview unless your interviewer is the first to bring it up.

Do you advice for handling a physician phone interview well?     


Though the views expressed above are solely the writer’s, Blanchard Valley Health 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 Blanchard Valley Health is making practice purposeful.