Job Search Part Three: Interview Success and Getting the Offer
You’ve earned an interview. Continue to impress and join your new group.
All of the hard work you have done until now has hopefully been showcased in your cover letter and CV. Do not be disappointed if you receive interviews from only a small number of groups you contacted.
There is limited time for a busy group to bring potential candidates for a visit. Realistically, your time is also limited and you may end up in the enviable position of having to decline interviews. The purpose of this final article is to discuss the interview processes.
The first contact you receive will be a confirmation of receipt of your materials or an offer of a phone interview. This will typically be an informal conversation with the radiologist who heads recruitment and can last about 15‒45 minutes. They will generally ask questions about your background, training, and interest in the group. Before you begin that phone interview, make sure you have acquainted yourself with the group’s practice location, organization and some of the current radiologists working there — especially ones that you know or who hail from the same training program. Fortune favors the prepared mind. If the phone interview goes well, you may be offered an on-site interview.
My experience is that 3‒4 applicants will be invited for each available position, which is a higher acceptance rate than most med schools and residencies. In other words, if you have been invited to interview on location, you are very close to an offer. But preparing for the visit to your potential future group is critical. Although some radiologists pride themselves on a relaxed work environment, this is a job interview and that requires appropriate attire so prepare accordingly. However, most interviews also feature a dinner, which is much more relaxed and may even be casual. It is appropriate to ask in advance about the expected attire.
On the interview day, you will meet with many people and for only have a short time. It’s important to impress with each and every interaction. Although interviews vary and cannot be easily generalized, there are some basic recommendations that I believe can be applied in any situation.
First, be yourself. You will be spending a lot of time working with these future colleagues to foster a congenial and successful workplace. It’s important to know you are compatible. Second, it’s critical to have a list of important questions in mind that will help you later if you find yourself comparing different groups.
Finally, think long-term when considering your future with a group. Resources will be invested in getting you licensed, credentialed, and trained to work in the local health care system, and practices don’t want someone who is looking to leave after a few years. In fact, it would be to your own professional detriment to plan on leaving just around the time you should be achieving partner status.
If the desired practice is not in your current general area, you may be asked about your reasons for relocating. The group wants to know that you and your family will be happy in their specific geography. For this reason, it can be problematic even getting an interview in a place distant from your hometown or training region. Just express your genuine reasons for relocating in your interviews.
Once the visit is over, be sure to send thank you emails to everyone you met during the interview. If your interest in joining a specific group has only been reinforced by the interview, be forthright about it. This is the time when a personal connection can really make the difference and having someone who is familiar with the group call on your behalf can be beneficial. I wish you the best of luck in this stressful but rewarding process.
Ivan DeQuesada, MD, completed his neuroradiology fellowship at Emory University this summer and joined the Radiology Associates of North Texas in Fort Worth.