Once you find an opportunity you’re interested in and you’re on site for an interview, it’s definitely cause for excitement. But you’re not at the finish line yet. Before you sign an offer, and ideally before you start thinking about money, you want to investigate whether this opportunity is the right fit for you, for your professional goals, and for your approach to work. The best way to get this clarity is to ask questions.
The in-house recruiter for the organization where you are interviewing will be one of your best allies. He or she will be responsible for communicating with you, providing abundant information about the opportunity, and lining up interviews with multiple team members during your on site visit. Make the most of your relationship with in-house recruiters by asking as many questions as possible. You can also talk to the practice administrator, physicians currently employed by the practice, and the organization’s leadership.
Not sure what you need to know, or how to phrase your questions? Read on for questions to pose when evaluating a job opportunity and why these questions are important as you consider offers on the table.
“How is this practice run?”
Rather, this is an umbrella question that encompasses a number of more specific questions about how the practice operates and the support staff available to help each day run smoothly. Consider asking more granular questions for the practice administrator such as, “Is there enough clinical staff to support me?” or “What support staff do you have in place?”
“Can I speak with every physician in the practice?”
If you are considering joining a smaller practice, it may be in your best interest to speak with every physician in the practice you’re considering—whether on the phone, in person, or both. Being prevented from speaking with any physician could be a red flag.
“How would you describe the culture here?”
When you speak with other physicians currently employed by the practice, you should ask questions about the culture of the organization. More casually, ask questions that will inform your understanding of, How we do things around here. Ask questions such as, “How happy are you with the practice?” or “Do you feel you can trust the administration?” and “How long have you been here?”
“What are some of the organization’s policies?”
You’ll definitely want to know about policies governing things like overtime and moonlighting at the hospital or clinic. Some places don’t offer moonlighting… and if it’s not in your contract, you can’t modify it. Ask in advance of drawing up a contract. Of course, you’ll also want to ask: “How often will I receive feedback, and from whom?”
“Is this a growth position, or is this job available because a physician left?”
If the opportunity is a replacement of a previous physician, find out why that physician left. If this is a newly-created position, talk with one of the leaders of the organization—the CEO, president or vice president—to get a feel for their plans for the system. Questions could include: “Where do you see the organization heading?” and “Are there any challenges that accompany this growth?” If you feel like you are really clicking with the organization and the people you’re meeting, ask for a forecast: “What kind of opportunities for career growth might there be, three years down the line?”