Take the advice of the Boy Scouts, when it comes time to interview for emergency medicine jobs: Be prepared.
“The bottom line is that you have to prepare for it,” said Dr. Mark Reiter, CEO of Emergency Excellence (www.emergencyexcellence.com) and a board-certified emergency physician. “I think practice certainly helps.”
Dr. Reiter is also a faculty member at St. Luke’s Hospital in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, he heard residents talk about not knowing what to expect in job interviews. “I lead a two-hour workshop on interviewing skills,” he said. “The feedback I got from a lot of residents and colleagues was that nobody ever taught them about interviewing skills.”
Many of the questions that prospective emergency physicians can expect sound very basic:
1. Tell me about yourself. “You have to be able to answer that in a way that shows your uniqueness,” Dr. Reiter, who is also secretary-treasurer of the American Association of Emergency Medicine (www.aaem.org).
2. Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses.
3. How would others describe you?
4. Where do you see yourself in the future?
5. Do you have any areas of special interest?
6. Why are you interested in this job?
7. What would you change about yourself?
8. According to the Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association (www.emra.org), states that interviewees should be prepared when asked, “Do you have any questions?” to show that they have done some research first.
9. What is your proudest accomplishment?
10. How do you handle stress?
“Most emergency medicine job interviews are quite informal,” said Dr. Reiter. “The goal of the interview is to get a feel for your personality and how well you will fit in with that job environment and to screen for any red flags.”
On the flip side, Dr. Reiter recommends that you be prepared with a few questions of your own during the job interview:
1. Tell me about your emergency department, and then listen to what they highlight.
2. Ask what they like the most and what they like the least about their emergency department, and what they would change about it.
3. Find out what they’re looking for in a new hire.
4. Ask why the job is available. “It’s a big red flag if they have a lot of staff turnover,” said Dr. Reiter.
5. Ask how long the job has been open.
6. Ask if someone has left the job, and if so, why? You might even ask to speak with some of the people who have recently left the job. “Ask if the problem was with the emergency department or hospital leadership,” Dr. Reiter said.
7. Ask how is the relationship between the emergency department and the administration? Also, ask about the relationship between the doctors and the nurses.
8. Ask if it’s an employee or contractor position, or a partnership track position.
9. Ask how the job is evaluated and if someone has not made partner in the last five years, why not?
10. Are there clauses in the contract, restrictive covenants, and is medical malpractice paid for by the physician? “It’s a good idea to get really specific,” Dr. Reiter said.