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How to Prepare for a Physician Interview: Questions to Ask and Expect

Nearly three out of four physicians are employed by a hospital, health system or corporate entity. If you are considering your next career opportunity, some solid interview preparation will help you make a well informed decision.

The healthcare landscape has shifted dramatically in recent years, and 74% of physicians are now employees rather than practice owners, according to a study sponsored by the Physicians’ Advocacy Institute.

If you find yourself looking for your next career opportunity, preparation is key to nailing the interview. You should have answers prepared for the most commonly anticipated questions by your potential employer. Furthermore, you can distinguish yourself from other candidates by asking insightful questions that display your interest in the role and the organization.

Here are some recommended questions, according to physician recruiting firms, for which you should have prepared answers.

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Questions to expect from the hiring organization

TopicContext
About you personally

Most interviews start with the “get to know you” questions. You’ll likely be asked to share some information about yourself such as your interests and hobbies, why you chose medicine and why you chose your specialty.

If you have a public social media account, be prepared they may have viewed it prior to the interview.

About your practice style

You may be asked how much time you spend with your patients, the rapport and relationship you build with your patients, your practice philosophy and your attitude on complementary medicine. They may ask about your interest in clinical trials and new technology.

The interviewer may have looked up your reviews on sites like Healthgrades, Yelp and others.

About your interest in the role and the organization

The interviewer will likely ask why you are interested in the role and what drew you to it and the organization as a whole. Prepare a thoughtful answer to this.

They may also ask about your plans to live in the community long-term and your spouse or partner’s connection to the community.

About your strengths and weaknesses

You may be asked what unique skills or traits you could bring to the practice and the organization. If you have an interest in IT, process improvement, quality evaluations, etc, that will be of interest to the hiring manager.

Some interviewers may ask behavioral questions about how you handle conflict. They may ask you to share examples of difficult cases you’ve worked on, or how you’ve dealt with conflict in the past and how it was resolved. 

Questions to ask the hiring manager about the position

TopicContext
Position

Find out why the position is open. You’ll want to get a sense of how frequent the turnover is, or if the opening is due to a retirement and/or practice growth.

Ask about a typical day. Find out the average daily patient load, and whether there are productivity targets. Assess whether non-clinical duties are expected. 

Ask about performance evaluations, review cycles and whether there is a non-compete clause. 

Call scheduleAsk about the schedule, frequency, hospital coverage, holiday rotations, and how seniority plays into the call schedule.
Current staff and physicians

You’ll want to get a feel for the organizational culture. Ask what the average tenure is of the physicians on staff and where they went to med school or were in residency. Inquire about recent departures and the reasons behind them.  

If this organization offers partnership, ask how many physicians are partners and what the partner track looks like.

Business operations

This is your opportunity to ask about the mundane but important aspects of a medical practice. Ask about their EHR system and other major IT systems. Find out what their payer mix is, and inquire about overhead and costs. 

If the practice is owned by a health system or venture capital firm, find out what is entailed in that relationship and how that ownership affects the day to day practice.

Compensation

Many experts suggest you should never be the first one to bring up money. In fact, compensation may not be addressed in an initial interview. 

Once the subject is broached, you can ask about compensation philosophy which will help you understand salary potential. It might also give you clues as to where there may be negotiation levers.

Ask whether base compensation is determined by a specific metric such as charges, collections or relative value units. Find out about the bonus structure and the formula that drives it.

Benefits

Benefits are an important part of the compensation package which should not be overlooked. Ask about the following:

  • signing bonus
  • relocation assistance
  • educational loan forgiveness
  • health insurance
  • malpractice coverage
  • retirement and 401k
  • disability and other benefits

    Many people find interviews to be stressful. However, with the proper preparation, you can go into your next interview with confidence. A solid interview will help you make a fully informed decision on your next employment opportunity.

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    1. Questions Physician Candidates Should Ask During a Job Interview. https://stjohnjobs.com/blog/questions-physicians-should-ask-during-job-interview/
    2. 8 Questions Every Physician Should Ask During a Job Interview. https://www.merritthawkins.com/news-and-insights/blog/8-questions-every-physician-should-ask-in-a-job-interview/
    3. Interview Preparation: Questions to Expect. https://www.practicematch.com/physicians/career-resources/interview-preparation/questions-to-expect.cfm
    4. COVID-19’s Impact On Acquisitions of Physician Practices and Physician Employment 2019-2021. http://www.physiciansadvocacyinstitute.org/

    THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.