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Physicians and APs: Research a Potential Employer before the Interview

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Here’s a part of the job interview that can’t be emphasized enough: the importance of researching the organization.

Before any film or TV show is filmed, there’s a process called pre-production. Usually this entails casting the production, scheduling filming, scouting for locations, etc. Pre-production is important so the actual production goes off smoothly and efficiently.

Consider the research stage of an interview to be your pre-production phase where you not only prep for the interview by going over your answers to questions that may be asked, but you also get to know the organization interviewing you.

It’s easy to imagine how this could be one of the most overlooked stages of interview prep. After all, isn’t the interview about them getting to know you? How much do you really need to know about an organization prior to the interview? Won’t you find out everything you need to know when you get there? Isn’t the way you present yourself more influential than how much you know about an organization that may not even hire you?

According to an article at The New England Journal of Medicine CareerCenter by Dr. Robert Kuramoto, assistant medical director at Christie Clinic in Champaign, Ill., “Research on the place where you potentially will be working is imperative. Never walk into an interview without doing your homework. Find out as much as possible about the hospital or practice.”

How do you go about obtaining this information? The Internet, of course, but Kuramoto points out that “most hospitals and practices will send you a packet of information prior to your interview.” And if they don’t, they probably will if you ask for one. He also recommends talking with a current employee of the organization if possible.

There are several good reasons for researching an organization prior to an interview, but the way in which the research can inform how you answer interview questions is a main one.

“How can you answer the inevitable ‘What can you offer us?’ if you don’t know exactly what it is they do and how they do it?” Kuramoto asks. “Find out how the organization is structured and if they have affiliations with other hospitals and health systems and medical schools. What is the ratio of primary care physicians to specialists on staff? Be ready to put your research to work for you. You need to show how your skills match existing programs, but also should be able to illustrate how your skill set and expertise might add something their current program is lacking.”

As physicians and advanced practitioners looking for jobs, how do you prepare for an interview? How much research do you do into a particular organization? How has this pre-interview research prepared you for certain questions in the past?

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