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4 Ways to Prepare to Ask and Answer Job Interview Questions

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Everything about a job interview is intense. In a previous post, we listed five simple ways in which you could prepare yourself for a job interview. This time around, we give you four ways to prepare yourself to ask and answer job-interview questions.

Our list was inspired and paraphrased from an article on the American College of Physicians website by Cynthia Smith, MD, FACP, director of clinical program development.

1. Research the organization interviewing you.

Your research could begin by browsing their website or doing a simple Google search. Peruse any news articles that may have been posted, look at every section of the website, watch videos that have been uploaded, etc. If the information is available to you, read it, watch it, and understand it. Know affiliations. Know the names of the providers who could be colleagues. Etc. Etc.

As you conduct your research, no doubt you’ll have questions about the organization. Which leads us to our second tip…

2. Write down any questions you may have so you can ask them during the interview.

”I see Quahog Hospital just announced its plan to expand the emergency room. How long will this project take? How will it be an improvement on your current ER services? How will the expansion impact this position?”

“I was looking at the website, and I noticed that you recently added telemedicine to your services. How far along in the process is the development of this program? What kind of training are you providing for your clinicians on the technology?”

You get the idea. You could also ask about the surrounding community and the practice or hospital’s relationship with it.

The point is, this is your chance to really shape your future and know what you’re getting yourself (and your family) into.

“Despite the fact you may be very-well informed about the practice from previous phone conversations, internet research, correspondence, and personal knowledge, asking intelligent questions denotes interest and enthusiasm,” Smith writes.

3. Think through your answers in advance. Many interview questions are common, regardless of the person being interviewed. You can prepare for these.

Smith believes preparing answers to common interview questions will “[i]ncrease the aura of confidence about you…” Therefore, “[a]nticipate inquiries like ‘Why do you want to join our practice? What makes you think you'll fit in here? What experience have you had in...? Where do you see yourself in five years? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?’”

4. Yes! Be prepared to talk about your weaknesses.

It’s almost a given that they will ask about your weaknesses. Smith advises that you “be honest and select a real weakness you have, but be prepared to discuss your plan to overcome the weakness. Remember everyone has areas of strength and weakness and being able to identify and address weak areas is an essential skill for a clinician.”

As physicians and advanced practitioners who are looking for jobs, what are some other ways in which you prepare to ask and answer interview questions? Have you ever been caught off-guard by an interview question? What was the question, and how did you handle it?

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