The One Right Way to Interview

There are many ways to approach the job interview process, but there’s only one right way…and that’s prepared. After giving and receiving my fair share of anesthesia applicant interviews there are some key components to ensure a successful interview...
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Anesthesia job interview

There are many ways to approach the anesthesia job interview process, but there’s only one right way…and that’s prepared. After giving and receiving my fair share of anesthesia applicant interviews there are some key components that I believe will not only ensure a successful interview, but also one where you stand apart. This is not meant to be an exhaustive guide or one covering common sense topics of not wearing jeans or a “Cleveland Rocks” tee shirt. Rather let’s focus on the important points, those that are helpful or simple advice that sometimes is not mentioned.

Here are your basic goals for any anesthesia job interview: show you’re smart, show you’re hard working, show you’re a team player and show that you’re likable. The majority of practices are on the smaller side. At times, you will spend more time with you colleagues than your own family. Anesthesia Directors and Chiefs want to bring in someone who “fits in well”, pleasant to work with and will get along with the staff (and surgeons) easily.

The following are tips regarding questions I have asked and received throughout the process.

Questions to be prepared for:

  • The ubiquitous “So, tell me about yourself…”
  • Why are you leaving your current position?
  • Why are you choosing this geographic location?
  • What are looking for in a practice?
  • What do you think you can add to a Department?

Questions to ask:

  • How many sites are covered (including remote and satellite locations)?
  • If care team model is present:
  • What are the coverage ratios?
  • How much autonomy is given to advanced providers?
  • What procedures are advance providers allowed to do?
  • Are coverage areas in close proximity; getting help in MRI may be difficult if the main floor is a 15 min walk away.
  • What is initiating hiring (did someone quit, is the practice growing?) The answer has implications.
  • Does everyone take equal call? You may be surprised how often there are members who either do not take call or specific call or have a specific time frame they can work. Lack of equability sometimes breeds dissent amongst the masses.
  • What are the strengths of the group/ how does it set itself apart from others?
  • Are any major changes taking place or in the works for the group (i.e. buyout, additional sites that will be added)?
  • How is the group’s relationship with the surgeons, administration, OB, etc?
  • Is the group involved in many committees; integration is critical to a group’s longevity .

There is information you may want to know but you don’t feel comfortable asking your interviewer. So direct them to other anesthesia staff members:

  • Are salaries and bonus structure transparent, equal?
  • Are hours worked/call transparent, equal?
  • How cohesive is the group, are there many social activities outside of work?
  • What is the staff turnover rate (physicians and non-physicians)?

Pearls:

  • Be wary of an anesthesia practice that does not ask you many questions about your interests and training, they may just be looking for a warm body.
  • Be wary of a practice that does not allow you to speak with or give you the contact info of other staff members; there may be a reason why.
  • Consider commute very highly.

Departing tips: Go in prepared, but relaxed. Be humble, but communicate why you are a better pick than the next candidate. Open doors, make good eye contact, and greet them with a smile.

You have this!

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