PracticeLink Magazine

Summer 2017

The career development quarterly for physicians of all specialties, PracticeLink Magazine provides readers with feature articles, compensation stats, helpful job search tips—as well as recruitment ads from organizations across the U.S.

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the INTERVIEW issue summer 2017 67 how to make the most of your strengths and adjust for your weaknesses. ARE YOU ALL EARS? Perhaps you're known for being a good listener among your friends, and your patients seem to relax and readily share with you. Even so, being a good listener in an interview can be difficult. In addition to having nerves working against you, your mind may be distracted — anticipating the next question or meeting or mulling over the last topic discussed. William Silber, m .D., a gastroenterologist from Dallas, makes a dedicated effort to focus on his listening skills at an interview, and he takes it a step further by asking targeted questions to draw out the information he needs. "People won't hear you until they've been heard," Silber explains. "I want [interviewers] to tell me their situation, what they're looking for from me, so I know if I can fulfill that. People are willing to tell you what you need to know, if you give them the opportunity." To fine-tune your listening skills, brush up in everyday life; listen more attentively to co-workers, your partner, even the radio. Another useful strategy is to practice mindfulness, which teaches you to remain focused in the moment. Even with the best intentions, don't panic if your listening efforts are derailed, either due to a wandering mind or an unexpected tangent. Refocus on the speaker, perhaps paraphrasing or asking a question to zero in on the topic again. "So you're saying that… " is a good phrase to use to steer the conversation back to the original topic. DO YOU GO AFTER WHAT YOU NEED? Some people find it easy to ask questions; others proceed with caution, concerned they're being a bother or coming across as too assertive. But asking questions — even the hard ones — is an expected part of any interview. Malika Fair, m .D., assistant clinical professor and emergency medicine physician at George Washington University and senior director of health equity partnerships and programs at the Association of American Medical Colleges, recalls that when she was interviewing, she raised a question that provided valuable insight into an area important to her. "I asked them to describe their commitment to diversity," she said. "Not only did it get them to explain their commitment, but it enabled me to evaluate how comfortable the person was in answering the question. If a place looked great on paper, but the person was uncomfortable with that answer, that gave me valuable information." Fair says this input provided her with additional helpful criteria for ranking her options and determining where she'd feel most comfortable. Experts agree that you should always arrive armed with a solid bank of questions. In addition to showing that you're well prepared, having questions on hand ensures you're ready for whatever is thrown your way. DO YOU TEND TO RAMBLE? Being easy to talk to can be an asset in many walks of life, but in an interview, tread carefully — verbose responses can hinder success. 10 questions to ask at an interview, no matter your personal style Exper ts agree that you can't have too many questions ready prior to an interview. Fair recommends having a handful of questions in mind and writing down several additional questions. "Once you run out of questions, ask if they mind if you pull out your list," she says. To star t, try these questions: • Are research/teaching oppor tunities provided? • What is the general call schedule? • What provisions are made for backup or sick coverage? • What is the structure for supervision? • Do you have a formal mentoring program? • Are there any parking/transpor tation concerns in this area? • What learning oppor tunities exist? • How are employees evaluated? • How does your spouse/significant other/family like this area? • What do you like/dislike about the surrounding community? These questions are adapted from Veritas, the University of Texas School of Medicine student advising system, and used with permission. Access the originals at

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