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Physicians, APs: Be Positive in Job Interviews

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As we near the end of this blog series on ways you can screw up a job interview, courtesy of contributing writer Alesia Benedict over at Salary.com., we arrive at a point of fact that should be viewed more as a cardinal rule of personal and professional conduct than anything else.

Another way to screw up a job interview is to speak ill of former employers and colleagues.

Consider this scenario: You were miserable at your last job. You couldn’t stand the CEO or administrator. You thought the other physicians were hacks. You resented the pull advanced practitioners had. Or you, as an advanced practitioner, resented the entrenched foothold the physicians had. You thought the culture was miserable, the leadership decisions awful, and the quality of care in the toilet.

And that’s why you want out. And that’s why you’re sitting in this job interview. And you feel so strongly about this that you unspool this spiel on your potential future employer when they ask you why you’re seeking a new position.

Benedict has one word to say about this decision you’ve made: “Don’t!”

Don’t badmouth anything or anyone in your last or current position. Don’t be negative. Don’t be frustrated. Don’t be miserable. Just don’t.

This not only puts the potential future employer in an awkward position, especially since they’re only hearing your side, but it also puts you in an awkward position, because you’ve decided to gossip about the past instead of focusing on the future.

Benedict writes the following: “It can be tempting to bring up negative attributes about employers or coworkers, but this is not the time to identify that as your reason for leaving. Focus on more positive reasons for leaving which might include a need to reach your full potential or to seek out new opportunities for growth.”

In other words, resist the negative in favor of relentless positivity about your career, about your past experiences, and about your anticipated future with this employer and this organization. The last thing you want a potential employer to think is that you could possibly be a toxic presence within the organizational culture and someone who is always complaining and never satisfied.

As physicians and advanced practitioners who are looking for jobs, how do you foster a positive veneer, even if you’re coming from a bad situation? How do you resist talking ill of your former or current job in favor of talking positively about the possibilities of your future with the hiring organization?

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