You will hear us say this over and over again: “Interviews are not a one way street.” This is as much about you learning about the anesthesia practice as them evaluating you. You are about to spend a significant amount of your time at this potentially new job and you need to know the burning questions: is this the place where I can grow, be happy, feel supported, or whatever is important to you in a career. There are key ways to finding out these answers.
First off, ask questions. I know this is easier said than done. Some people are naturally hesitant to ask questions. Add that to the fact that someone is interviewing for an anesthesia job, they do not want to come off as pushy or ask something that will reflect negatively on them. You might want to ask the question, but you just don’t know how to tease out the information.
So how do you go about this?
Make a list
Before your first anesthesia phone screening or interview write down a list of questions. It seems simple, but it’s effective. You can build it up over the course of a couple days as things pop into your mind. Just seeing a question can help spur other ideas you want to ask. It also makes for a great reference aid. So have it out when you do the phone screening and bring it when you go for the on-site anesthesia interview.
Consider separating your questions into different categories based on who is the best person to answer them:
- Anesthesia Recruiter: Benefits such as PTO, health insurance, malpractice, retirement, anesthesia group size, how long has the current leadership been in place, CME, salary.
- Anesthesia Leadership (Medical Director or Chief Anesthetist): Scheduling, opportunities for overtime, how are holidays covered, types of cases, how is vacation picked, how long have individual providers been with the group, the culture of the group, what are the challenges the group deals with.
- Providers in the group: are breaks given, do you get out on time at the end of your shift, how is communication and transparency within the group, what do you like best about the group, what needs improvement.
These are just some examples to help guide you. Do not worry if some of your questions seem they could fall into all of the categories. Ask everyone and compare the answers.
Remember to leave space on your paper for writing down their answers!
The art of asking a question
Just like the art of practicing anesthesia, there is an art to asking questions without sounding rude or aggressive. Some questions just need a direct approach. How are holidays covered? Can you describe the benefits package? Others need a touch of subtlety. Or sometimes you are not sure how to bring up the question you want to ask. We have two great leads that will change the way you ask questions
1. I was curious … I was curious if you could tell me about some of the challenges the group faces?
2. I was wondering … I was wondering how you maintain a culture of teamwork within the group?
They change the tone of the question to genuine interest and are received more warmly. You will find people are more open to answer a question when posed this way. Try those two little phrases out over the next few days. We think you’ll like it.
Following these simple tips will help you open a two-way street of exchanging information. Not only do asking questions help you with your decision, they have a significant positive effect on your anesthesia interview. It shows the anesthesia leadership that you are prepared, engaged and the perfect fit to their practice.