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3 Ways to Make a Smashing First Impression on a Job Interview

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According to an article by Gail Garfinkel Weiss, MSW, over at Medscape, the first impression you make on a job interview can mean everything. If the first impression is poor, the uphill climb to getting that new position becomes steeper and more daunting.

Here are three ways, based on Garfinkel Weiss’ discussions with industry experts, on how to make a smashing first impression:

1. The first impression begins as soon as you park your car, if not a little bit sooner.

Depending on the facility or organization with which you’ve applied, before you even step foot in the hospital you may engage with people who know your interviewer or will be consulted by your interviewer.

Consider this: If it’s a small town and you stop for breakfast before the interview, the server who takes your order might know the hospital’s CEO. He or she might even be related.

Also: That guy you just cut off in traffic as you were turning on to the street where the hospital is located? You never know who he is. Does he work at the hospital? Does he interact with the boss?

These may seem like extreme examples, but the point is, you never know when you’ve ventured onto their turf who is part of the staff or acquainted with the staff and who is not. Be on your best behavior at all times.

2. Treat everyone you meet before, during, and after the interview as an equal.

It’s true that the receptionist, nurse, administrative assistant, etc., won’t ultimately determine your chances of being hired.

Or is it?

According to one expert Garfinkel Weiss interviewed, “The receptionist, the nurse, the person you checked in with are part of the interview process, because their feedback reaches the physicians and other decision-makers in the practice. Some practices send out an evaluation to everyone who had contact with an applicant.”

3. When you greet the interviewer, give them a firm handshake, make eye contact, and use their name.

A “limp-fish” handshake will never be the stuff that great first impressions are made of. Looking down, up, to the side, and everywhere but the eyes will also detract from that impression. And not using the name of the interviewer and frankly, any other person at the organization will only make you seem detached and disinterested.

“Perception equals reality during job interviews,” Garfinkel Weiss writes. Job candidates have been known to be “eliminated because they were too quiet or shy, raising the interviewer's concern about how they would interact with patients.”

According to the expert, “They just weren't conversational, and during an interview you're demonstrating not just your medical skills but how you interact with other people.”

As physicians and advanced practitioners who are looking for jobs, how do you strive to make a good first impression on a job interview?

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