Ace Your Interviews

Get specialty-specific tips from a radiologist on the other side of the interviewer’s desk.

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There’s no shortage of advice online about preparing for an interview. But what about radiology-specific information? At ACR 2017, attendees received advice tailored to the specialty from someone who’s interviewed many radiology candidates: Susan J. Ackerman, MD, FACR, associate professor of radiology, vice chair for clinical affairs in radiology, and division director of ultrasound at Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.


Ackerman broke down the process of preparing for an interview, hitting your mark once you’re in the room, and following up after the interview concludes.

Do Your Homework Before the Interview

Start with some research. Who will be interviewing you? Check out the hospital, clinic, or radiology practice website (and notice whether or not the radiologists appear on the site). And do a literature search on interviewers’ publications to see where their areas of interest mirror your own. Ackerman also emphasized the value in finding where your networks overlap. Radiology is a small specialty, so it’s likely that your residency director/attending/BFF from residency knows someone on the hiring board.

And just as you’re looking online for information before the interview, the hiring committee may be googling you too. “Ensure your social media platforms don’t contain information you would not want your employer to see,” said Ackerman. Give yourself some time to see what’s out there and take steps to remove anything you’d rather not come up.

Interview Like a Pro

“Be an active interviewee,” advised Ackerman. “Don’t let the interviewer control the entire conversation.” Participate in the interview beyond just responding to each question as it’s asked. Ackerman suggested coming with points you want to make about your skills and your career goals.
When you talk about past experiences, give details. “Applicants without specific examples don’t seem credible,” said Ackerman. So, for example, if you mention your involvement with quality and safety initiatives, define what types of programs you worked on and the results achieved. If you mention your interest in research, call out a few of your recent publications.

In all of your responses, find a balance between fitting in with the current culture at the practice and moving the group forward. “You want to express that not only can you meet their needs now but you will be valuable for where they are going in the future,” said Ackerman. And this can include skills outside of radiology. Practices value candidates who bring a variety of non-clinical skills to the table, including business skills, web design, computer programming, and community relations.

Finish Strong

You’re not done once you walk out the door. Ackerman emphasized the importance of following up with an email. And that email should contain more than just a thank you. It’s also a chance to reinforce your interest in the position, include any publications you mentioned, and follow up on anything that you committed to during the interview. “Do what you say you’re going to do,” said Ackerman. “Because that makes a lasting impression.”

By Lyndsee Cordes, senior managing editor

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