The “Beyond the Practice” Series has been created to give you an insight and advantage into the professional side of anesthesia through interviews conducted with leaders in the industry. In this interview, Senior Clinical Recruiter for TeamHealth Anesthesia, Ariana Chestna, shares with you valuable advice for job seekers.
BagMask: What expert advice can you share to help the candidate make a great impression on an anesthesia recruiter?
Ariana: Starting with a clear and concise CV is extremely helpful. You do not want to be insensitive and tell someone their CV is too long with five pages of publications. It’s more important to highlight a skill set and where you have trained. We look for a CV that has no gaps in work history.
It’s nice to have a cover letter or a memo if applying online. Personal touches are huge. It’s nice to know why you might be looking at this job. Just like you would be talking to a friend. You just wouldn’t send a friend an email that said “Please tell me the salary for this position?” and just sign your name.
What’s interesting is that in the last, I’d say two years, a lot of the medical staff offices require CVs to be in month/year format, with start and end date for all education and for any work experience. So that’s actually something that we’re looking for or ask to be edited in the earlier stages of our process now.
I think that even if you have a CV that you’ve tried to put together, if no one has guided you or shown you what a good template looks like, send it to your recruiter and ask them what they’re thinking. We’ve seen a good amount of them and we know what we’re looking for, and we know what the medical staff office looks for down the road. I think leveraging people like me is a good thing.
A candidate should ask all the right questions too. It takes a few minutes to get on the internet and do some research on the company or the facility. Just so you can be prepared and help create some questions from there.
Also, don’t be afraid to share with your recruiter, and even the medical director or chief anesthetist you might be interviewing with, all the good things you have done and what you are hoping to do. It’s in everyone’s best interest to know as much as possible about you in the interview process.
BagMask: What’s your favorite question to ask a candidate?
Ariana: I like to ask random questions, funny things that might throw them for a loop. But I love to ask people why they got into anesthesia, because no two candidates ever have the same answer.
It usually breaks the ice a little bit, allows you to see a little bit of the personal side of someone. I feel like we come across some really introverted people, but when you get them talking about the right thing, they kind of go on and on.
I also like to ask them, “What’s something that you thought was going to be a huge challenge and how did you get through it?…Something that you can look back and think, “Wow, I accomplished this and I never thought I could do it.”– I usually try to make them feel good about themselves and learn more about them too. I try not to get too crazy and throw them off and make them too embarrassed.
BagMask: Do you have any great stories about candidates that sort of left you scratching your head, like “Did this really happen?”
Ariana: I have had some very interesting post-interview conversations about receipts that I’m sent for reimbursement. It is sometimes the funniest thing – and it really tells you a lot about a person, too.
I remember a few years back, I had a candidate that sent me his receipts. Typically, employers reimburse for one flight, two nights in a hotel, and two days rental car. That’s it. We don’t reimburse for food or anything like that.
This person had upgraded his seat to first class, he upgraded his hotel room, he shared a very expensive dinner for him and his wife that included fancy champagne, and it was like six courses worth of meals. Then they stopped at a gas station on the way home or later on that night, and they purchased $50 worth of snacks!
I’ve got to tell you, it was just the strangest thing. I almost thought I was being punk’d because I’m like, would you really do that to your future employer? He didn’t even have an offer at this point. So you’ve got to wonder, what kind of a person spends thousands of dollars on this interview, expects us to reimburse it and they do not even know if they are going to be offered a job?
BagMask: The last one I’ve have for you is the most important question – what is your hope for all the anesthesia job seekers out there?
Ariana: I hope that you find a place where you feel like it’s truly a family and that you can grow professionally. I feel like everyone is always – in the world right now, in this day and age – looking for the next best thing. What we’re finding is that the grass isn’t always greener.
So I hope that what matters most to a candidate, you stick to that, first and foremost. You need to know that you’re happy day in and day out, and that you have your goals set and that you find a group or an employer and a team that cares about you and that invests in you as you invest in them.
I hope that’s clear and that people consider that in making decisions for a first job, second job, third job. Always remember that it’s important to keep in mind what’s going on around you, too. Care about your co-workers like you care about your friends.
It’s a job and it’s a career, but I think it’s a passion. I hope that everyone who gets into this field and stays in anesthesia stays passionate and certainly loves what they do.
Senior Clinical Recruiter
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