With more states issuing shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of COVID-19, healthcare administrators are working tirelessly to procure personal protective equipment for their providers and medical devices to save the lives of their patients. They are also focused on keeping up with a myriad of other essential responsibilities required to keep hospitals running effectively during these challenging times and, for many, that includes reviewing their staffing planning goals.
As a physician recruitment firm, we are finding that several healthcare organizations are continuing to recruit and fill physician vacancies. Because 50,000 physicians are expected to relocate for a new position before the end of 2020, interviewing, site visits, and job offers continue, albeit there are some noticeable differences to the traditional process.
If you’re seeking a new opportunity, keep applying for positions that interest you and read on to learn what you may expect as the new “temporary” normal.
Video Interviewing Takes Precedence
Virtual interviews are frequently used in many other industries to conduct the initial screening, to interview candidates who will work remotely, and to interview out-of-town candidates in lieu of travel. With air travel drastically reduced, and social distancing practiced everywhere, video interviews are becoming more prevalent throughout the physician hiring process. Here are a few tips to consider when preparing for your video interview:
- Choose a Location. With stricter shelter-in-place orders more common than not, chances are that you will be doing the video interview from your home. If you don’t have a home office, choose a room that is well-lit and one where you won’t be interrupted. It is also best to avoid having a lot of clutter visible in the background.
- Test your Setup. Even if you are familiar with video conferencing technology, always do a test run with a friend or family member. This is to make sure your internet connection is stable, your webcam produces a clear picture, and your audio is working clearly. Have a light source in front of you rather than behind you and put your computer/webcam at eye level for the best video.
- Dress for an Interview. Treat the video interview as you would a face-to-face meeting. You wouldn’t wear workout clothes for an in-person interview, so don’t do it for a video interview. Wearing a suit or other professional attire will project your professionalism and also subconsciously put you in an interview frame of mind.
- Close Unnecessary Tabs. Before the scheduled video call, shut down any tabs or programs on your laptop that aren’t needed for the interview, especially social media and email. Your interviewer will see if you are distracted and working on other things during the meeting.
- Turn Off the Cellphone. At a minimum, keep your cell phone on silent mode, but preferably turn it off altogether to avoid the potential for distraction.
- Be Prepared. In a typical interview environment, you would walk in with your CV, a pen, and a pad to write on. Have those same essentials available during your video interview. Jot down any questions that come up and have your CV available for reference.
- Act Naturally. One of the most widely accepted interview tips is to maintain natural eye contact with your interviewer. That shouldn’t change with a video interview. Maintain eye contact, nod, and smile as you normally would to demonstrate engagement. Looking off into space or continually turning your eyes toward something off-camera is not a good look. Also, if you typically talk with hand gestures, don’t try to depress your natural way of communicating. Be yourself, and your personality will come across as authentic.
Conduct Your Own Virtual Community Site Visit
While the projection models show that we’re going to be dealing with COVID-19 for the near foreseeable future, there’s no way to know precisely when stay-at-home orders will be lifted, travel will resume, and life will return to normal. Physicians who are actively pursuing a new career opportunity are often looking at jobs from one coast to the other. Moving your family is a very real part of the job-hunting consideration process, so finding new ways to narrow down your options is important when a traditional community site visit isn’t viable.
In addition, assessing cultural fit with the organization and its people is vital to long-term employment. You might not be able to shake hands – or even tap elbows or bump feet – but you can still meet your colleagues and staff before accepting an offer. Here are some suggestions:
- Video Site Visit. Typically, the site visit is an opportunity for physicians to get a first-hand look at the facility and to meet potential colleagues. Now, you may be invited to a video conference to meet your fellow physicians, members of the board, and even some of your staff. Much like when you were the video interviewee, this may be your best chance to assess the different personalities on the team and determine if you are finding a good cultural fit. Plan your questions ahead of time and interview everyone you can about the organization.
- Community Information. With travel mostly prohibited, you can do investigative work online to learn as much as possible about the community, including school systems, religious centers, sports teams, entertainment options, and anything else that is important to you and your family’s happiness and well-being. Your potential new employer will likely have someone assigned to “show you around,” but now it will be a virtual experience. Instead of being there in person, they will probably point you to online resources and give you telephone and email information for important local contacts, so you get your questions answered from the comfort of home. An excellent resource to find out about crime, schools, and even weather for any community in the United States is www.city-data.com. Travel and tourism websites are also great options and many feature drone video footage to give you a bird’s eye view of the area. It may take a leap of faith to consider accepting an offer in a community unseen, yet physicians and other adventurous executives do it every day.
- Real Estate. If you are planning to buy a house in your new location, you may end up doing a lot of the preliminary work online anyway. This might include interviewing real estate agents via phone or video and doing virtual tours of houses on Zillow or other real estate websites. Just like it would be if you were there in person, finding a good real estate agent is going to be the key to a successful house hunting experience.
It goes without saying that much of life feels upside down right now for everyone. At Jackson Physician Search, we’re here to support you by continuing to work day and night to help facilitate your next career opportunity, while also assisting hospitals and healthcare organizations with staffing their facilities. As our new “temporary” normal continues to take shape, we’re here to guide you through the interview and job selection process. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns you may have – together, we will get through this. You can also review our commitment to you during the COVID-19 crisis by clicking here.
If you are looking for a physician job search partner, contact a Jackson Physician Search recruitment professional.
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