Tips for Interviewing
This may seem like the most obvious of job interview tips, but some candidates don't give preparation the attention it deserves. Interviews are a two-way street. Not only are they an opportunity for the employer to find out about you and if you are a good candidate for the position, but they are also an opportunity for you to find out about the office and if the position will provide you with the challenge and job satisfaction you are looking for.
Think about your skills, qualifications and experience and ensure that you can talk confidently about what is written on your resume. Prepare some questions to ask at the interview. Questions concerning the details of the job and the office are appropriate, whereas salary and benefit discussions are best left until a job offer is made.
Do your homework
Find out as much as possible about the office prior to the interview. A good starting point is to look up their website and find out about the services they offer, the location of the office/s, and the names of the doctors working there.
Smart business dress is a must. Ensure you are well groomed with tidy hair, clean shoes and clothing. Do not wear too much perfume or aftershave and keep make-up and jewelry simple. Cover any tattoos appropriately.
Travel and timing
Plan your journey beforehand to ensure you arrive a few minutes early. Allow for possible travel delays. Just in case of a major hold up, make sure you have your contact's telephone number so that you can call if you suspect you will be late.
What to expect
There are many different interview styles and each interviewer will have their own style. Some interviewers will fire questions at you while others will start off with an open question such as "tell me about yourself" leaving you to do most of the talking. The majority of interviews will be somewhere between the two. Be prepared for any style of interview.
Your handshake says a lot about you and is a critical part of a professional first impression. Your handshake style gives an employer important cues about your personality and can help them form an impression about how you would perform in front of their patients. A firm handshake displays confidence, making you seem well poised and mature.
- Make sure the employer knows the benefits of employing you. It is most important to sell yourself by telling the employer details of your relevant skills and experience that you have to contribute to the office.
- Try not to monopolize the meeting – let your interviewer talk.
- Show that you have done some research.
- Don't give negative information or bad news if you are not asked for it and don't criticize previous employers or jobs. The key is to turn negative information into positive information.
The next step
Agree exactly what the next step will be, such as who will contact you to let you know if you have been successful and by when. If you are really interested in the position, make sure you tell the interviewer. Send an individual thank-you note to the person who interviewed you. An emailed note is sometimes appropriate, but a hand-written note is a bit more memorable.
Example questions you might expect
You can't prepare for every question that will come up at the interview, but you can anticipate most of them. Here are some of the deadliest questions, and ways of handling them.
- "Tell us about yourself" Prepare for the worst – a classic opener that can really throw you. Plan ahead by having a presentation statement to cover this.
- "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" If your answer doesn't ring true for you, it won't for anyone else. Talk about career plans, and what you want to learn and achieve in the future.
- "Why do you want this job?" Have a clear answer to this (even if, privately, you're not sure – you only have to decide when the job offer is in your hand).
- "What kind of person are you?" Handle questions about personality carefully. Rather than say "I'm an idea person", talk about a time when you changed things with a good idea.
- "Why did you leave your last job?" Employers will probe for reasons for job change. If you are currently out of work, they will probe this, too. Rehearse short, simple, positive "stories" to cover these points. This is not telling lies, just a simple, positive summary.
- "How will you cope in a crisis?" Have a couple of good examples of past triumphs up your sleeve.
- "How will you…" Questions are beginning to create a future which includes you – so welcome them. Describe what you would do within the office as if you are already there. Create the right picture, and the employer won't be able to imagine a future without you.
- "What would you do if … ?" Some interviewers ask fantasy questions not related to reality, but watch out for questions that are like verbal in-tray exercises. You might be asked to "sell me this pencil sharpener/paper clip" – prepare to think on your feet.
- "What are your weaknesses?" Remember that interviewers give far more weight to negative information. Talk about weaknesses that are also strengths, e.g. being demanding of your team, being a perfectionist, pushing hard to get things done, etc.
- Plan carefully. Do you know where you are going and how to get there? Who are you seeing?
- Make sure you know the name(s) of the doctor(s) in the office. Just in case he/she will be interviewing you. Practice saying the doctor's name if it is difficult to pronounce.
- There's no such thing as enough preparation for an interview. Find out everything you can about the office.
- Remember: employers buy experience. Think about what evidence of achievement you can talk about at the interview; rehearse your success stories.
- What is the doctor is looking for? What skills/qualities/experience do you have to match?
- A nice resume helps. If you need assistance creating or professionaly formating your resume, try a free site like Resumehelp.com.
- Be your own worst interview nightmare. What is the most unusual question you might have to face? When asked a question that takes you off guard, take a deep breath, pause and collect your thoughts before you talk. Practice the answer to some hard questions. Practice again. Keep your responses fairly concise.
- Be upbeat. Employers remember negative messages, so don't give them any.
- Prepare for rejection. On balance you will be rejected more times than accepted. Even if you don't get the job, you can learn a huge amount about your perceived market value. Remember – there's a job out there for you somewhere.