Looking for your first job? Start the interview process the right way

Insider tips for the new physician

Paula S. Katz | May 2, 2015

If you’re looking for your first job, here are insider tips from placement consultants who talked to MedCareerGuide:

Be smart when evaluating the opportunity. First determine if this job is in a location where you and your family, if you have one, want to live. Next ask if the job will use the clinical skills you have and provide the opportunity to do the procedures you want to do. If having a mentor is important to you, ask if the job organization provides one.

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Know who’s interviewing you. It’s often a senior physician from another generation (likely a Baby Boomer), says Regina Levison, vice president, client development, Jordan Search Consultants, St. Louis. “They’ll be looking for work ethic and mobility,” she says, a possible disconnect for young physicians who haven’t thought about putting down roots.

Be honest with yourself. If you can tell during the interview that this job doesn’t mesh well with what you want, recognize it’s not the right job even if it’s an ideal location or comes with a big paycheck. Otherwise you can end up unhappy in a new position, says Tommy Bohannon, divisional vice president, Merritt Hawkins, Irving, Texas. “These physicians usually want to change immediately because they didn’t end up with what they thought they would,” he says.

Be flexible. Even though it may be a buyer’s market in your specialty, be flexible to keep your options open, especially if a job is checking most of your boxes, advises Steve Look, executive vice president of recruiting, The Medicus Firm, Dallas. “Don’t go in and say, ‘I won’t work more than one weekend per month … or ‘I won’t see Medicaid patients’ or ‘I’ll only do this type of surgery,’” he says. Instead, show a willingness to cooperate with the job’s needs. “Everyone wants a team player,” he says.

Be realistic. It’s normal to expect a bonus, relocation, and maybe even loan repayment as well as salary. But academic and small rural positions often can’t compete in terms of salary ranges. If you have decided where you want to be and what you want to do, know the trade-offs.

Open your e-mail. You may be inundated with job opportunities, but you’ll never know if you don’t open the e-mail.

Any more questions? Ask your recruiter.


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