Ah, the age-old interview questions.
“Where do you see yourself in five years?” “Tell me about a time when you failed to reach your goals and how you responded.” “What do you consider to be your strengths? What are your weaknesses?”
And these are only a few of the questions you should ask when you’re interviewing for a job.
Truth is, many people view job interviews as one-way streets, opportunities for hospital hiring managers to evaluate physician candidates based on a list of pre-determined criteria.
But it’s equally true that job interviews are opportunities for physicians to to evaluate prospective employers based on a list of predetermined criteria selected to ensure that the culture, commitment of colleagues and community align with career goals and professional values.
Yes, the job interview is actually a two-way street, and whether or not you continue down the path to employment should, in part, depend on these three things every physician should look for during an interview:
Communication is critically important in a hospital. It affects everything from the efficacy of treatment plans to the efficiency of healthcare teams to patient and physician satisfaction.
If you’re in an interview and notice issues with the interpersonal interactions of employees, beware!
Great hospitals are filled with employees who demonstrate compassion and respect with one another, their patients and the patients families. They have good energy. People interact with one another in friendly and supportive ways. They are authentic.
If you find yourself uncomfortable with the way people communicate with one another during a job interview, it could be a symptom of a work culture that’s less than ideal.
There are certain things that simply cannot be compromised in a healthcare setting–and organization is one of them.
As a physician, you have a better chance of achieving the best possible outcomes for patients when you work in an environment that is organized. Meetings start on time. Meeting participants are all on the same page, working off the same agenda and understanding of the meeting’s purpose.
If the interview starts late, it’s a bad sign (although there could be legitimate reasons for tardiness). If participants are not prepared, it’s a bad sign. If the interview process feels like a long walk in the dark woods, it’s a bad sign.
High-achieving organizations are highly organized. You want to work for an organization that is highly organized.
Physicians work hard to help their patients live better. But who is working to ensure physicians do the same?
In a perfect world, it will be your employer.
The battle for work-life balance has been raging in the healthcare industry for decades. Doctors simply work too much, put off caring for themselves, and often can’t escape their profession–even when they’re “off.”
The best healthcare systems believe in work-life balance. They offer ample vacation days, generous continuing medical education allowances, tuition, and travel expenses related to attending CME programs and understand that physicians need time away in order to avoid burnout.
Ask about all of these physician benefits during your interview, then watch closely to see how the interviewers respond.
Do they bristle at the idea of self-care, or do they seem interested in your well-being?
You know which response you want to see.
Job interviews are two-way streets. Make sure you are evaluating the interviewers and organization as much as they are you. It’s one way to make sure you take the right career path.
Learn more about opportunities at Elliot Health System–an organization that values communication, organization and balance.
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