If you’re prepping for an interview with a new facility, you might be thinking of all of the questions your interviewers will ask about your experience and potential fit on their team as a clinician. It’s smart to prepare to field a lot of questions—but don’t forget to ask yours! Asking questions not only shows that you’re truly interested in the opportunity, but gives you a chance to gather information and find out if it feels like a good match.
What should you be sure to ask? Here’s what we recommend.
Get to Know the Practice
You’ll want to do some research on the facility you’re interviewing with beforehand, but don’t be afraid to ask the fundamentals about the practice and the personnel during your initial site interview. Start by covering the basics:
- How many physicians are currently in the group?
- How many advanced practitioners?
- What specialists are affiliated with the facility?
- If I were hired, would I be working with experienced clinicians who can answer questions and discuss treatment plans or a diagnosis?
- Are all the physicians in the group board certified?
At this point, you can move on to deeper questions about the practice and your potential colleagues, exploring their mission and path forward to see whether that maps with your professional vision.
- Why is the practice hiring? When did the last physician leave the practice and why?
- What are the long-term goals of the group?
- What competition is there from other providers in the area?
- What can you share about the practice’s values and culture?
- What qualities are important to you in a clinician joining the practice?
- What skill set or training would most benefit the group?
- What advancement opportunities are available?
- Does the group have an affiliation with an academic institution?
- Is there an opportunity to teach residents or medical students?
- Are the members of the group active in the community?
Ask About the Day-to-Day
In addition to knowing the day/time/location schedule for the position, you’ll want to fully understand what’s expected of the role every day—from call coverage and anticipated workload to additional obligations.
- Will I have to work evenings or weekends? If so, how often?
- Will I be working out of one location or multiple?
- What is the average number of patients seen per day/shift?
- What is the average wait time to schedule a new patient appointment?
- How are after hour calls handled?
- Is there an established hospitalist program?
- Will I have to cover hours in the Emergency Medicine Department?
- Are there community, committee, teaching or research obligations I should be aware of?
Could You See Yourself Living There?
If a job opportunity could mean relocating, it’s always smart to do some research on the community. What does the cost of living look like there? How about unemployment and crime rates? What is the climate like? During your interview with a new facility, you might also ask:
- What do you most enjoy about living here?
- Where do the majority of clinicians live in the community?
- What are the area’s attractions? Recreational and cultural venues?
- How is the economy? Who are the major employers, outside of the hospital/facility?
Questions About the Opportunity Package
We highly recommend that job applicants wait for the prospective employer to bring up money, benefits, partnerships and similar topics, or to wait until the interview process is well underway. When the time is right, questions to ask about the opportunity package include:
- Is there a partnership or stockholder option? What is the timing and how is that structured for new hires?
- Does the position offer CME time and allowance?
- Is there a loan repayment program?
- What is included in the benefit package for clinicians?
- Does the health and dental include my family members?
- What is the vacation and sick time policy for incoming physicians, NPs and APs?
- Is there a retirement, profit sharing or 401K program? Is there a matching program?
- Does the practice cover my malpractice expenses? Who is responsible for tail coverage?
- Does the opportunity provide a relocation package?
The timing of the financial package usually is initiated by the practice following a site interview and reference check. Compensation offerings are based in part by the practice’s structure, geographic location and incentives along with consideration about your experience level, specialty and skill set. The facility should be open to your request for information and provide clear answers to all of your questions.
During Your Interview…
Your interview isn’t just about what you hear. You should also pay attention to what you see and how it makes you feel. During your time on site, take note of the appearance of the facility—the grounds, office entrance, reception/front desk, patient waiting areas, interior office, nurses’ station, exam rooms, employee lounge, bathrooms, conference room, lab, x-ray and other interior rooms. Ask yourself the following:
- Do the facility grounds appear cared for? Is there litter or debris near the entrance?
- When you first enter, does it feel welcoming? Professional?
- Does the waiting room feel comfortable? What can you hear from the waiting room? What can you see?
- How are the patients treated? Respectfully? Politely?
- Does the office area appear clean and well organized?
- Are support and nursing staff dressed professionally?
- Do you feel as though the office is successful and well run?
Some Helpful Reminders
Interviewing is exciting. It’s your chance to learn about new opportunities, to share what you have to offer and to think about the future. Stay focused and positive, and keep these final tips in mind for initial site interviews:
- Confirm your scheduled time prior to your interview. Make sure you have accurate directions along with contact names and numbers.
- Run through potential questions and answers in preparation for your meeting.
- Dress professionally and appropriately for an interview (i.e., business attire).
- Bring a few clean drafts of your CV along with professional references.
- Arrive on time, and be polite to everyone you encounter.
- Conduct yourself as an intelligent, confident professional without displaying arrogance.
- Reserve opportunity package questions including compensation for a future conversation.
- Embrace an enthusiastic attitude about the opportunity.
- Relax and be yourself!