Your Guide to the Anesthesia Job Interview: The Phone Screening

Congratulations! Your anesthesia CV caught the attention of the leadership team and they are ready to interview you for the anesthesia job. Lets get started and prepare you to for the anesthesia job you deserve.
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Anesthesia Job Phone Interview

Congratulations! Your anesthesia CV caught the attention of the leadership team and they are ready to interview you for the anesthesia job. You are one more step closer to your goal and now it’s time to close the deal. Whether it’s your first time interviewing or your fifth, we have you covered. We will walk you through the interview process, give you tips on what to do and what to avoid, and how to close strongly. Let’s get started and prepare you to for the anesthesia job you deserve.

The First Anesthesia Interview

The first interview? How many anesthesia interviews are there? The answer varies based on the anesthesia organization. Some practices will just set up an on-site interview. National organizations are more likely to schedule a phone screening. You should expect the minimum of one, and possibly two, phone screening interviews before an invitation for an on-site interview is offered.

So why even conduct a phone screening? Why not just have an in-person interview? Well, it is really to the benefit of both the anesthesia practice and yourself. Anesthesia interviews are a large investment of time and money for both parties. The anesthesia leadership team will block time from clinicals to conduct the interview, they may organize a dinner for you to meet other members of the group in a social environment and, in some circumstances, pay for the interview expenses including travel and lodging. On your side, it might require taking a day off from work and paying for all expenses. This phone interview allows both parties to get a feel for whether this is an opportunity worth pursuing.

The first interview can be with the anesthesia recruiter. They will coordinate a time with you for the phone call. Their responsibility is to create an initial interview report that will be delivered to the anesthesia medical director or chief anesthetist. The anesthesia recruiter will also call the leadership team and recap your phone call. Experienced anesthesia recruiters have conducted many of the these phone screenings and will provide their professional opinion of whether or not you are an appropriate candidate to the leadership of the practice. Ultimately, it will be up to the discretion of the site leadership to determine what the next step is for your interview.

Anesthesia Pro Tip

Anesthesia recruiters are the face of the company assisting you through the complete hiring process along with the credentialing team. They are extremely friendly and there to help you. So when they call, relax. It is just a friendly conversation to get to know you.

What can you expect for this anesthesia phone interview? We have a sample of commonly asked questions by the anesthesia recruiters:

  • Your availability to start?
  • Why are you motivated to make a change in anesthesia jobs?
  • Why are you considering a job in this location?
  • What type of cases are you looking to do? Cardiac? OB? Vascular? General?
  • What type of shifts are you comfortable working? Nights? Weekends? Call?
  • Previous or pending malpractice or disciplinary issues?
  • What would colleagues say about you?
  • What would patients say about you?
  • Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult colleague or patient and how you handled it?
  • Are you interested in leadership roles down the line? Or joining a hospital committee?

Phone Interview Tips

  • Find a quiet place without distractions for the phone call.
  • Stay relaxed.
  • Listen closely and pause before answering to collect your thoughts.
  • Speak slowly and clearly.
  • Smile like the person conducting the interview is there in the room, they will hear it in your voice!

Anesthesia Site Leadership Phone Call

Your first call can be with site leadership or they will contact you after you have spoken to the anesthesia recruiter. This is the anesthesia phone call that will lead to you being offered an invitation for a site visit because you are going to crush it. This interview will have similarities to the questions that are asked by the anesthesia recruiter but will focus more on anesthesia and past work and life experiences. They are trying to gauge your experience level but, of more importance, whether you will fit the culture of the practice.

Here are some potential questions:

  • Tell me about a time you identified a problem and developed a solution?
  • Tell me about your ideal anesthesia practice? What types of shifts and cases would be involved and the type of colleagues you would want to work with?
  • Based on your experiences, what job did you like the most and why?
  • If you were not doing anesthesia what would your job be?
  • Tell me something that will make you stand out so I will remember you?

Interview Pro Tip

This a great question for you to solidify why they need to meet you in person! A variation of this question is “Tell me about yourself.” So stay away from generic answers and provide an example that demonstrates your character and uniqueness.


The following examples are excerpts from actual anesthesia interviews.

Avoid:

  • I am a hard worker.
  • I was top of my class.
  • Patients say I am the best provider they have ever had.
  • I have never missed a day of work.
  • I have wanted to provide anesthesia since I was a kid.

Examples to emulate:

  • I started walking. I realized I was obese and if I kept going down this path I was in trouble. So I walked. I started walking every night after dinner and then I walked every chance I had. I slowly changed my diet and I kept walking. I walked off over 60 pounds.
  • I was a pilot before I decided to pursue a career in anesthesia. I flew airplanes for fun and helicopters commercially in the mountains of the Northwest landing on logging roads, the side of mountains, and in stream beds. Anesthesia was an easy chose because of the similarities I saw with flying. It provided the training to develop a flight plan, assess information from flight instruments and react appropriately, develop situational awareness and communicate efficiently and accurately.
  • After anesthesia training I learned to play the marimba. Imagine a xylophone with a set of wooden bars across the top but pipes below them to amplify the sound. Now I play with a jazz band on the weekends at different gigs throughout the area.

We mentioned earlier this is also an opportunity for you to get a feel of whether this is the type of anesthesia practice you would like to join. Prepare questions that are important to you because this is your chance to interview the interviewer. Pay attention to subtle cues about the culture of the practice when they are talking, take notes and ask yourself if this is a place you would want to practice one day. It is alright if your answer is “I do not know.” As long as it is not a resounding “No!” you will be able to develop a better idea once you spend time at the facility during the onsite anesthesia interview.

What to Expect Next

At the end of the phone call, they will go over what is next in the interview process. There are a few possibilities to anticipate. They may have other candidates they are interviewing and will not make a decision until they have talked to everyone. If this is the case, ask when you might expect to be contacted. A second scenario, they may need to talk with the anesthesia recruiter to recap and someone will be contacting you within forty-eight hours about their decision. Most likely because you were prepared and impressed them, they are going to end the phone call with inviting you for an on-site interview!

Now you have them just where you want them. They are intrigued and thinking you might be the next great addition to their anesthesia practice. It is time to start preparing for the on-site interview to prove them right.

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