Your Guide to the Anesthesia Job Interview: The Onsite Interview

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Anesthesia Job Interview

Anticipation of an anesthesia job interview can be nerve-racking and exciting. When am I supposed to be there? Where am I supposed to meet them? How should I dress? How will I do?

You are going to do great! As an anesthesia clinician you have received the proper training to handle a wide variety of different situations. Now we’re going to give you the proper preparation heading into your anesthesia interview so you can handle it with confidence.

This is a continuation of our first article “Your Guide To The Anesthesia Job Interview: The Phone Screening”, and we highly recommend you read it also if you have not done so already. It provides details of the first part of the anesthesia interview process which can include one or more phone screenings from an anesthesia recruiter or the anesthesia leadership of the practice. In addition, we provided sample questions that can be asked during the call so you can prepare answers. Although we placed these questions under the phone screening article, they could be asked during the on-site anesthesia interview. So give them a quick look over again when getting ready for the site visit.

Travel Reimbursement

You have been invited for the on-site interview for the anesthesia job. The anesthesia recruiter will make sure to provide an itinerary with the date, time, address, where to meet the Medical Director or Chief Anesthetist in the hospital along with any other additional information. This is also the time to discuss if your travel and lodging expenses for the interview will be reimbursed if it has not been offered already. Having them paid should not be expected for every job interview, however casually asking about it never hurts especially when they say “Yes.”

Consider phrasing the question these ways to increase your chance of persuading them to pay for your travel and lodging.

  • I was curious if the travel and lodging expenses for the anesthesia interview will be reimbursed?
    Or for the students out there:
  • I was wondering, since I am student living off of cost of living loans, are travel and lodging expenses paid to help get me to the interview?

If they so “no” that is alright because the big picture is to be hired and not have an all-inclusive paid trip.

If your expenses will be reimbursed please keep a few things in mind. The anesthesia group may take care of all the bookings for transportation and hotel so you will not have to worry about any of the logistics. However, they might have you manage the bookings and pay any up-front cost, and then they will reimburse you after completing an expense report with receipts. This is the beginning of a new relationship so do not abuse their generosity.

Communication, Communication, Communication

Communication skills are always evaluated during an interview and demonstrating these proactive communications is always a bonus.

  • Two days before the interview, touch base with the anesthesia recruiter and confirm that interview is still on for the designated date and time.
  • Flight delays, a broken-down car, traffic accidents, sickness and any other unforeseen circumstance that can cause you to be late or miss your interview should be communicated immediately to the anesthesia recruiter.
  • Once you are at the facility, if the person you are supposed to meet has not shown up at the designated location within ten minutes, call the anesthesia recruiter or the person you are to meet. Let them know you are there and are curious if you are in the right spot. Sometimes the Medical Director or Chief Anesthetist are caught up in a medical emergency and are delayed. Maybe, you are in the wrong location. We even heard from one Medical Director admitting that he had such a busy morning he forgot he had an interview with a candidate. The Medical Director received a call from the anesthesia recruiter telling them the applicant had been waiting for thirty minutes!

Anesthesia Interview Expert Tip
Do not let your phone be a disturbance during the interview. Place it on silent and turn off vibrate. Even on vibrate someone can hear your phone in a bag or sitting on a hard surface. If you really cannot help looking at it, turn it off!

Interview Day

The night before your anesthesia interview there are few things you will want to do such as laying your clothes out and ensuring there are no wrinkles. Go over directions to the hospital if you are driving. Ensure you have copies of your resume ready along with a pen and pad to take notes. Get a good night’s sleep and double-check your alarm is set.

That morning, eat something for breakfast before you head out. Even if you never eat breakfast, eat something. You need to have your blood sugar at its best so you are alert and responsive. Stay away from food that leaves a strong odor like garlic. You do not want that fragrance to be the first impression when you meet the Medical Director.

Unforeseen delays can ruin your interview. Being late for an interview is not a good start and mentally it can throw you off. We recommend you try to arrive about 15 minutes early. This gives you ample time to figure out where you are going and time to collect your thoughts so you are in the right mindset.

Anesthesia Interview Expert Tip

  • Greet everyone you meet politely and pleasantly with a smile.
  • Shake hands firmly and make eye contact when speaking and being spoken to.
  • Be attentive and look interested.
  • At the end of your conversations with someone tell them “It was a pleasure to meet you.”

Anesthesia Interview Expert Tip

  • Greet everyone you meet politely and pleasantly with a smile.
  • Shake hands firmly and make eye contact when speaking and being spoken to.
  • Be attentive and look interested.
  • At the end of your conversations with someone tell them “It was a pleasure to meet you.”

Game Time

The interview will take place in the medical director’s office or another quiet office space. The sequence of who is conducting the interview is different if you are an anesthesiologist or anesthetist.

  • Anesthesiologists will meet first with the Medical Director.
  • Anesthetists will meet with either the Chief Anesthetist or the Medical Director first and sometimes in conjunction.
    And depending on the institution you might meet with several different department heads or anesthesia staff members individually.

The interview is not a one-way street of them asking questions and you answering. You will also be asking questions. It shows the anesthesia leadership you are engaged and, more importantly for yourself, you are interviewing them. You need to know that this is the anesthesia group you would like to join. Before the interview, you need to decide what is important for you to commit to an anesthesia practice. Make a list and then create questions based on it.

There will be a point towards the end of the interview where they will ask if you have any questions. Do not wait until then to unload all your questions. Try to work some of your own into the interview after you have answered a question or if you feel they are part of the natural flow of the conversation.


As an example: “… and that is how I promoted teamwork with my current group. Actually, while we are on the topic. Could you tell me a little bit about the teamwork within the group?”

Let’s go for a walk

It is time to change into scrubs and tour the facility. You will have a chance to see the operations side of the facility. Pay attention to the workflow, how the perioperative team interacts, even the demeanor of the patients and their families. It all paints a portrait of the facility.

Take advantage of talking and asking questions to everyone you meet. Ideally, at some stage you will have an opportunity to speak with many of the anesthesia providers in the group privately without leadership lurking over their shoulder. You will able to hear the thoughts they have about their practice. Ask them what they like about the job and what they do not like. Pay attention to subtle cues about the culture. These are your potential team members so you want to see if they are the type of people you want to have your back.

Closing the Interview

Time to finish strongly.

  1. Show your appreciation for them taking the time to meet with you and answer all your questions.
  2. Recap the aspects of the practice you thought were interesting or great.
    “I thought it was amazing how everyone mentioned that it is the people they work with that make it the best part of the job. That is the type of group I envision myself working with.”
  3. Ask if there is anything else you can answer for them.
    “Are there any last questions you have for me that I can answer?”
  4. Find out the next step of the process.
    This is critical information for you. You need to know the process so you are not anxiously waiting by the phone.
  5. One last thank-you as you leave.

Almost there.

Make sure to send a Thank You email after the interview and you are done!

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