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4 Questions to Ask as You Prepare for a Job Interview

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An article over at Medscape, which was compiled by Gail Garfinkel Weiss, MSW, collects the insights of several healthcare experts who offer specific ways in which physicians can “shoot themselves in the foot” on a job interview.

This advice also applies to advanced practitioners and any other medical professionals who are looking for jobs. In the following post, we’ll zero in on a topic that we’ve discussed before on this blog, yet is one that deserves another look: preparing for the interview.

When you don’t get a job that you desperately wanted and you’re reflecting on what you could have done better, ask yourself the following four questions:

1. Did I prepare enough?

Yes, it’s tempting to assume that all you have to do is peruse the job description and show up on time for the interview.

But will that approach truly inform your questions and answers in a specific way to that job opening or will they come off as generic and detached?

2. Did I research “the history, expectations, culture, and leadership of the facility”?

Have you gone beyond the organization’s website and explored news sites and other “databases to see if the organization participates in research or education and if it has received any grants and is affiliated with other prominent institutions, so you’ll be able to discuss and inquire about those efforts”?

3. Did you rehearse how you’ll answer common interview questions?

These questions include: “Why do you want to join our practice? What makes you think you'll fit in here? What experience have you had in [a research project that the practice is pursuing or an ancillary service that the practice expects to add]?”

4. Did you thoroughly consider all possible answers to two questions in particular: “What are your strengths?” and “What are your weaknesses?”

Most people, one expert in the article said, follow “the traditional, but somewhat hackneyed approach” of turning “the weakness into a strength.” This often results in “unimaginative,” evasive answers, such as “I’m never satisfied with my medical knowledge, so I am constantly reading.”

But, the article suggests, what if you responded with a definite weakness, one that would make you look bad, then followed up by explaining how you’re growing in that area.

“I’m short-tempered when stressed, and now I exercise during my lunch hour to reduce my stress and control my emotions.”

Sure, the expert admits, it’s “riskier, but more interesting and insightful than a watered-down reply.”

As physicians and advanced practitioners who are looking for jobs, what are some other ways in which you can prepare for a job interview?

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