Think you found the perfect job? Make sure you ask the right questions

What questions physicians should ask during their first interview for a position

Paula S. Katz | April 29, 2015

When the interviewer asks if you have any questions, you draw a blank. Although you’ve been listening and paying attention, if you have no questions to ask, employers are going to interpret that silence as disinterest and aloofness, says Tommy Bohannon, divisional vice president, Merritt Hawkins, Irving, Texas.

“Your goal is to get an offer,” he says. “Act enthused, ask questions. Show that you’re eager to explore the opportunity.”

Getting answers to your key questions is also critical for you to make an informed decision about the job. If you leave without that information—remembering that compensation discussions are usually discussed later in the process—that means you didn’t ask about it, says Steve Look, executive vice president of recruiting, The Medicus Firm, Dallas. He recommends preparing a list of questions before or on your way to the interview. It’s OK to bring them out during the interview, he says.

Before you start your list, do your homework, Mr. Look says. Find out if the hospital or group has growth initiatives or has been involved in or is planning any mergers or acquisitions. At a minimum, do a Google search so the employer knows you’re interested enough to come in prepared.

Avoid starting with questions about money and vacation—that turns employers off. Instead, here are the kinds of questions employers want to hear, according to the consultants who talked to MCG:

  • Can you describe the culture of your group?
  • What are your group’s directives, values and philosophies?
  • What does a normal day look like? A normal week?
  • How many patients should I expect to see in a day?
  • Who am I reporting to?
  • What are the practice’s referral patterns?
  • What is competition like in the area?
  • Where do you see the organization going in the next three to five years?
  • What’s your plan to market me as your new doctor? (For instance, where are you expected to build the practice?)
  • Can I go out and talk to community organizations to get referrals?
  • What EMR do you use?

Can you ever ask too many questions? The answer is yes, says Regina Levison, vice president, client development, Jordan Search Consultants, St. Louis. “That may indicate you’re not listening or understanding what’s being said,” she explains.

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