8 Questions Every Physician Should Ask in a Job Interview
April 16, 2018
By Jennifer Larson, contributor
If you’re looking for a new physician job with
a group practice or health system, you’re probably already anticipating some
questions that an interviewer, or interview panel, may ask you.
But are you prepared to ask them the right
questions, as well?
they’ll ask you
The most common questions posed to physician
candidates will cover a range of topics—from career motivation, clinical skills
and experience, to personal strengths and weaknesses, including how you handle
Recruiters report that behavioral interviewing
and questions that evaluate emotional intelligence are becoming a larger
part of the physician interview process.
In essence, interviewers want to know: “Why
should we hire you, and what will you bring to our team or practice?”
And they have a right to be concerned.
Patient outcomes, practice reputation and team
dynamics are hanging in the balance. Health care employers need to be extremely
careful that they “hire well.”
Yet physician candidates need to be just as
careful as they evaluate each job opportunity.
you should ask potential employers or partners
Employers also want to know that you are
invested in the interview process and expect to hear a few questions from you.
And you’ll want to be sure that this specific job is a good fit at this point
in your career.
As the physician job candidate, you should
prepare some thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer(s)--and anyone else
you meet at the organization who may contribute to the hiring process, or is
part of the clinical team.
So, do your homework ahead of time. Get some
basic information about the organization, including size and location, the
services it offers, the size and composition of the staff, etc.
If you are working with a physician recruiter at Merritt Hawkins,
he or she can help provide a lot of the basic information. They can also share
more about the job posting and the employer to make sure you understand what
the organization is looking for and what this particular physician job entails.
Then you should prepare some questions that
will help determine whether you and the organization will be a good fit for
Questions to Ask During Your Physician Interview
No matter how you word the questions, the
following topics should be on your list to address during the course of your
How would you describe your
Ask about the culture of the organization
and/or department, and what makes it distinctive or special. How might other
physicians describe the culture? You could also ask about the organization’s
place and reputation in the surrounding community.
What is your organization’s vision for the future?
Where is the organization headed in the next
few years? What initiatives or plans do they have in place to get there? How do
they assess whether they’re making progress toward their goals?
What is your decision-making
Who makes the decisions, and are there
opportunities for you to be involved in that process? Along those lines, you
might also inquire about the relationship between the administration and the
What are the biggest challenges
currently facing the organization?
What do you anticipate will be the biggest
challenges in the next few years? Every health care organization has some
challenges. Their answers to these types of questions can help you get an idea
of the environment you may be entering, and how the group addresses problems.
What is my role and how does it
fit in the organization?
Ask more about this physician job, and the
role of your specialty, in the organization. How does this particular job fit
into the organization’s current plans and its plans for the future? What will be
expected of you? How will you be reviewed or assessed?
What kinds of opportunities are
available for physicians?
Ask about what kind of professional
development and leadership opportunities are available for physicians. Will you
be required to serve on committees, lead any initiatives, or mentor other
physicians? If so, how would that work? If it is a group practice, is there
What would be included in my
Many experts suggest waiting until the interviewer
brings up this topic, but you should be prepared just in case. Find out as much
as you can ahead of time from your recruiter about salary, benefits,
opportunities for bonuses, profit-sharing (if applicable), and student loan
repayments. If you are offered the position, that is generally the best time to
How do you support physician
wellness amid daily demands?
Ask questions about patient loads, support
positions, work scheduling and on-call duties, if you haven’t already tracked
down this information prior to your interview. If you have the opportunity to
meet with any of the organization’s physicians, you might ask their experiences
and how they approach the issue of work-life balance.
If you’re interviewing with a group practice,
you should also prepare some questions that specifically deal with the way the
practice functions, including their structure and management issues. You might
also inquire about relationships or affiliations the organization has with
other practices and hospitals in the community.
While the candidate should let the employer
drive the conversation, it is important to remember that every physician
interview is a two-way street, and an opportunity for both parties to get to
know each other and make a sound evaluation.
Being prepared to ask the right questions--and
listen closely to a potential employer’s responses--is just as important as
being ready to answer their interview questions.
blogs and resources:
How to Ace the Interview
How to Assess a Medical Practice Opportunity
Physician Compensation and Surveys Data
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