How to Prepare Yourself For the Interview
While it is important for you to perform well on an interview, there is much that can be done in advance to increase your effectiveness as a candidate. Being well prepared and informed about the interviewing process can help you focus your energy on what needs to be done and help you secure the right job. The goal of an interview is to effectively sell yourself, communicate your medical knowledge and experience, and to portray your personality as one that will fit in with the culture of the organization. The following are suggestions for making the most out of your interview.
Preparing for the Interview:
- Be Prepared – Plan Ahead! Research the prospective employer, the position, and (if possible) the people with whom you will meet with during your visit. This research will enable you to tailor your questions in order to make the most of the interview and will demonstrate your motivation to the employer. Review your work experiences and be ready to support your medical training and past career accomplishments. Have your facts ready!
- Review the daily itinerary in advance so you are mentally prepared for all your events. (If applicable: Make sure you have a confirmation on the car rental, airline itinerary and hotel reservation).
- After you’ve looked over your itinerary, inform the employer of any additional people with whom you want to meet or things you want to see (i.e. schools, real estate, and special needs).
- If your spouse or significant other will be traveling with you, determine in advance what time will be spent together, and what time will be spent apart. If there are things that your spouse would like to see while you are in your formal interview, let the employer know so that they can be incorporated into the schedule.
- Remember, this is your opportunity to determine whether or not this position is the right one for you, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. In fact, many employers judge a potential employee by the questions they ask in an interview, rather than the responses they give to the questions that are asked. Based on the homework you’ve done in advance, create a thorough list of questions to ask the employer to determine if this opportunity will be personally and professionally rewarding.
- Make sure to familiarize yourself with the location and traffic conditions beforehand, so that you will be punctual. Bring copies of your CV, list of references and any letters of recommendation you have with you to the personal interview.
During the Interview:
- Dress professionally for the interview. Remember that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Your appearance should be neat and clean, pressed and polished. Conservative business attire is appropriate. A professional appearance will portray confidence and competence.
- Be Punctual – You should arrive at least 10 minutes early to the interview. People are impressed by a candidate who arrives early.
- Make a Strong Initial Impression – maintain eye contact, be confident, smile, and hold a firm handshake.
- Never talk negatively about previous employers. Find a tactful way to explain any personality or cultural differences. Ask your questions when given the opportunity and when asked a question, answer straightforwardly and provide to the point explanations. Don’t answer questions with a simply yes or no.
- Be prepared to answer those anticipated and/or difficult questions like: “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” “Why do you think this is the right opportunity for you?”, or “Why are you looking to leave your current position?” It is wise to give these questions some consideration and be prepared with well thought out answers.
- Sell yourself – Explain what makes you the best candidate for the job. Failure to sell your abilities can cost you the offer.
- DO NOT bring up salary. Don’t worry the interviewer will bring up the proposed financial package if they haven’t already. The main thing to remember is that negotiations will run smoother if you appear cooperative vs. competitive when discussing compensation during the interview.
- “Close the Sale,” so to speak – If you are interested in pursuing the position further, clearly indicate that you want the opportunity. Your enthusiasm will impress the interviewer – Showing the level of interest can mean the difference between you being offered a formal contract, as opposed to another candidate with comparable credentials getting the offer. Find out the next step in their process and a time frame that you may expect to hear back from them. Thank the interviewer for his or her time and consideration.
- Follow Up! Send a thank you note to the key participants in the interview process the next day and follow up with a phone call after one week if you have not already heard from the recruiting agency or the employer.