Candidate Interview Tips

Candidate Interview Tips

Below are some tips that we recommend to candidates who interview with Pinnacle Health Group. Some of these guidelines may seem obvious, but it’s always good to review them. Our clients strive to make the interview as comfortable as possible. Many try to make the visit about 70% social and 30% business. It is easy to let your guard down in social settings. Don’t. Remember, the entire visit is an interview.

Our goal is to put you in control and in a position where you can choose to accept or not accept an offer. Many physicians feel that if they are asked to interview, they are guaranteed an offer. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. By observing the following tips, you will increase your chances of being offered the position and thereby being in a position of choice.

Before the Interview

  • Before scheduling an interview, research the medical organization diligently until you feel comfortable with your decision to interview. In addition, you should fully understand the requirements and responsibilities of the opportunity
  • Prepare your questions ahead of time. Review them with your recruiter who may be able to answer some of them prior to the interview.
  • Practice answering common interview questions and be prepared to discuss some personal matters. Consult the recruiter who met with the administrative and medical staff. The recruiter can help you understand exactly what they are looking for and what is important to them. Well thought out answers will go a long way in impressing the interviewer.
  • If you will be bringing documents relevant to your interview, make sure they are well organized and neatly arranged in a portfolio or briefcase. It is a good idea to bring extra copies of your curriculum vitae.
  • Practice good hygiene. This includes proper bathing and deodorizing; clean and manicured fingernails; crisp, clean, stain-free clothing and shoes; fresh breath and clean teeth.
  • Remember that moderation is key. This includes your use of cosmetics, jewelry, and dress. Wear conservative business attire. Don’t use strong perfumes or colognes; if your patients wouldn’t appreciate it, then chances are the interviewer won’t either.
  • Arrive early, but not too early. Normally, arriving five to ten minutes ahead of time is good.
  • Usually you will bring your family, but don’t bring your pets to the interview since others could be allergic
    or terrified of them.
  • Always turn off your cell phones, pagers, and other electronic devices that may interrupt the interview.
  • Get proper rest the night before so you are alert and in a positive frame of mind.

During the Interview

  • When you meet your interviewers face-to-face, be sure to smile at them and offer a firm handshake. Promptly introduce yourself and verbally express pleasure by saying something like, “it’s very nice to meet you.”
  • Take notes, smile, and show sincere interest. Ask questions. This shows interest. (Exception — stay away from the compensation conversation until the end, or discuss this with your recruiter after the interview).
  • Stay on schedule. The employer has gone to great lengths to put together a detailed itinerary, and it is rude to reschedule the itinerary or to be late to the various events that are scheduled for you. If circumstances are out of your control, call your recruiter so arrangements can be made with the employer.
    Sell yourself. Show how your skills and background will help the employer solve their problems.
  • Explain any background issues honestly and with confidence. It is important to discuss with your recruiter the best way to present any potential negatives.
  • Don’t be confrontational or argue with the employer about anything on the interview. If there appears to be inconsistencies between what your recruiter presented and what the employer presented, make sure you discuss this with your recruiter after the interview has been completed. You don’t want to leave the interview in a negative light, especially if the inconsistency could be easily resolved.
  • Display good manners and use positive body language. Avoid any potentially offensive behavior that interrupts the interview such as making telephone calls.
  • Do not put on an act but be sincere and polite. Non-verbal communication means a lot in an interview.
  • A good rule of thumb is to base your actions on the interviewer’s actions, following suit with casual or format behavior. However, you must remember to always maintain a courteous and professional demeanor.
  • Make sure your spouse (if present) is not too aggressive or controlling of the interview. For instance, if the interviewer asks you a question, be sure you are the one answering the question and not your spouse.
  • Do not show nervousness; try to be relaxed, but not too relaxed. We wouldn’t want you pouring out of your chair. Likewise, be confident without appearing arrogant.
  • When taking your seat, take the one that is closest to the interviewer but be sure not to invade your interviewer’s personal space.
  • Use good posture and do not slouch or fidget. If you can, lean a little forward in your seat to show you are interested in what the interviewer is saying.
  • If you are not sure where to put your hands, place them comfortably in your lap. Do not cross your arms as this can suggest a negative attitude.
  • Keep good eye contact at all times, but avoid staring at the interviewer. Failure to maintain adequate eye contact could make them believe you are hiding something.
  • Do not eat, drink, chew gum, or smoke during the interview. However, if you are engaging in a mealtime interview or the interviewer offers you a beverage, it is acceptable.
  • During mealtime interviews, be sure to follow proper etiquette such as putting your napkin in your lap, chewing with your mouth closed, and keeping your elbows off the table. Also, avoid ordering messy foods, bad-breath foods, alcohol, and items that are too costly. Don’t order alcohol unless your host orders first. Then, if you do choose to drink alcohol, do so responsibly. Remember, this is an interview.
  • Let the interviewers pay for the meal and remember to thank them.
  • Do not bring up salary or benefits unless the interviewer does so first. This can be a potentially disastrous move that can put the interview in jeopardy.
  • Recruitment firms are excellent third party mediators that can help iron out these intricacies. If an offer is made, don’t negotiate the offer on site. You want to end the interview on a positive note and remain in a position of control.

  • Remember to state your interest in the opportunity before you leave. Interviewers may evaluate several physicians who all qualify for the job, and a good way of standing out from the rest is to express proper enthusiasm for the opportunity. In a majority of cases, the candidate who shows the most interest is the
    first one to receive a contract.

After the Interview

  • Send a thank you letter to each interviewer immediately after the interview. This gesture keeps you in their minds. You may email your message, but be sure to keep it professional by not including emoticons or using improper and/or abbreviated shorthand English.
  • Do not expect them to give you a contract on the first visit. You may have two or more interviews before a contract is offered.
  • Be patient and work with the recruiter. It may take up to a week to get feedback. After a week has passed, you may send a follow-up letter (one per interviewer) to ensure that your candidacy did not fall through the cracks.

Closing Advice

While the interviewers are evaluating you, you, in turn, need to evaluate whether the position is right for you. Be sure you tour the facilities where you would work, as well as the community and town. Do you share a common rapport with those you would work with? Is there mutual respect and honesty? How does your family feel about it?


Contact us today to learn more.

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