Critical Questions to Ask Your Potential Employer

Koushik Shaw, MD

Disclosures

July 12, 2019

What is the time frame for your decision? This question tells the employer you're interested in the job.

Accepting an Interview

It's tempting to accept every interview you're offered, but traveling to interview sites—especially those far afield—is time-consuming. Don't accept an interview offer unless you've done your research and believe the opportunity is worthwhile. At this point in your job search, you should have a good idea of the type of practice, location, and income level you're looking for. Still, although you might have a solid preference, it's worthwhile to interview at up to four institutions before making your final decision.

In addition to giving you a backup in case your top choice falls through, multiple interviews help you compare opportunities. Face-to-face, on-site visits give you insights that you can't get through Internet searches, emails, and phone conversations. You might even be surprised at how an interview changes your preferences.

One note: It's OK to cancel upcoming job interviews if you land your preferred job early on.

Scheduling the Interview

The need to set aside time for these visits is one of the reasons it's advisable to start your job search early. Schedule your interviews as close together as possible—over an approximately 2-month period—so that you can negotiate with prospective employers at roughly the same time. Having to put off a decision on a job offer from one employer while you wait for your last interview to be completed can put you in a bind.

The interviewer will pay for your—and possibly your spouse's—airfare and hotel room. Accept the accommodations that are offered, rather than asking for special arrangements. Plan on spending a full day on site, including one or more interviews, a tour of the facility, and some time to explore the area. You might even want to spend an extra day to independently interview local doctors about the job, talk with a local realtor, and check out schools.

Having to put off a decision on a job offer from one employer while you wait for your last interview to be completed can put you in a bind.

Book a rental car; have a reliable GPS; and plan to arrive at the interview site half an hour before the stated time, in case something goes wrong.

If you pass the initial interview, the employer will probably bring you back for a second interview.

Editor's Note: This article was adapted and updated from the Physician Business Academy course "Finding the Right Physician Job" by Koushik Shaw, MD. Additional reporting by Gail G. Weiss.

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