Many people think of the interview as a discrete moment in time. However, the interview really begins with your first contact with a future employer (e.g. including electronic communications with administrative staff). You want to come off as confident but humble and specifically interested in their program. Employers can often spot “phishing” emails that look generic.
Some considerations for interviews:
- Be neatly groomed with conservative dress code.
- Dress up for the initial interviews.
- Smile even if nervous. It conveys interest and enthusiasm.
- Come with good questions.
- Do your homework on the facility. Research the faculty/staff you are scheduled to meet.
- Bring something like a leather binder to write on during the interview.
- Avoid chewing gum or checking phone repeatedly during interviews.
- Put phone on silent.
- Often interviews are more a sell than the opposite. However, some interviewers using Performance Based Interviewing (PBI) techniques like the VA. If not prepared for PBI interview, it can “throw off” a candidate.
- Remember there is a time and a place for questions (CFO vs CMO vs staff physician)
- Assume you are selling your hard work and dedication not just “taking” from the employer. It is a two way street.
- Make notes after the interviews. It allows you to remember information for job selection AND thank you notes.
- Try to avoid anxiety from getting the best of you. Often this shows up in the form of too frequent contact/questions and can give the appearance of being “high maintenance.”
Emails, phone calls, letters can all be used to communicate for a position. Make sure that emails convey the proper tone and questions are addressed to the correct people (e.g. Not asking the CFO on the first interaction how close the facility is from the beach). Hand written letters can be a very powerful way to thank a prospective employer. Given the nature of snail mail, consider sending those via priority or overnight status for a greater impact. Make sure your voicemail appropriately identifies YOU and is professional. Personal emails that have odd names firstname.lastname@example.org should not be used. Make sure all of your social media is set to private settings. Google your name to see what comes up in searches. If you do not have enough positive things noted, making accounts like Linkedin public can help create positive google searches for you. Even old posts from message boards may show up!
Contracts can be intimidating and many people elect to pay a contract attorney to help them understand and negotiate although not always required. In some cases, contracts cannot be amended much (e.g. federal systems, military, state systems) and in other settings can be amended quite a bit. Usually it is wise to have a job lined up at least 3-4 months prior to the conclusion of your training. While earlier might seem better, occasionally a new job opens that otherwise would not have been an option if you accepted something too far in advance.
- Is salary and benefits guaranteed vs earned? Can use benchmarks if needed from AAMC, etc.
- Are targets attainable and reasonable?
- Is it incentive based or salaried? Practice buy in opportunities?
- What is leave? Do they have enough coverage to allow leave? Will you be slammed when others are taking leave?
- How are holidays handled?
- What is no compete? Years, facilities and distance?
- What is fine print?
- What is retirement?
- Is there an out clause? How long and how much notice?