The Physician Interview: Looking Beyond the On-Campus Meetings

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When considering a new position, physicians should evaluate the opportunity though two lenses: career and lifestyle. A good fit with both is essential for professional achievement, staving off feelings of physician burnout, and creating a happy life for yourself and your family.

In the first part of our Physician Interview series, we provided you with the tips and tools to help you have a successful on-site interview. However, meeting with the leadership team and your potential colleagues on the healthcare campus is only part of the equation. To ensure that you are considering a job opportunity that will set you up for professional success and personal happiness, also consider everything that lies outside of the facility.

Depending on your family situation, there are different considerations for you in deciding if the opportunity being presented is the right one. Ideally, as you prepared your “game plan” ahead of this process, you also took the time to layout the essential considerations for your life outside of the workplace. Let’s dive in.

Family Matters

Before arriving for your on-site interview and community tour, hopefully, you have conducted a little research. While in most cases, you can’t accomplish everything online, you can develop a pretty strong understanding of the things that will impact your family the most. Additionally, include your spouse or significant other in the community tour.

Housing Market

Clearly, finding a place to live is an important aspect of any potential move for a new job opportunity. Physicians who are preparing for an upcoming interview and community tour should research the housing/rental markets in and around the community where you would be residing. Spending time on a site such as NerdWallet.com can provide you with an understanding of how your future cost-of-living might compare to your current city. Another online resource, Realtor.com, contains detailed breakdowns of how much it costs for groceries, utilities, and other financial impacts of living in a new community.

Another factor that must be considered when scouting out a real estate market is a breakdown of the most recent and relevant crime statistics. Visiting www.city-data.com provides you with a snapshot of your potential new locality, including crime statistics, income and education levels, primary occupations, and even household sizes.

School Systems

For young families, one of the most important things to look for is the educational support system within a community. Fortunately, there are many online resources to help you gain an understanding of how school systems are performing in districts across the country. The Department of Education has a myriad of data to help parents find critical metrics on K-12 and secondary education performance. Other sites such as greatschools.org and schooldigger.com can help you dig a little deeper into the makeup and effectiveness of more than 120,000 K-12 schools across the United States.

Fun and Games

The last bit of digging before going on your physician community tour is seeing what the area can offer you and your family in terms of recreation, culture, and other activities outside of school and work. Using your favorite search engine is the easiest way to learn what a community has to offer. Use simple searches, such as:

  • [City name] event listings
  • [City name] parks and recreation
  • [City name] golf courses

Now that we have covered a few things about preparing for your community tour, let’s shift our attention to your actual time on the ground.  If you have done some homework, you already have an idea of what to expect once you are off-campus and experiencing your potential new surroundings.

Employer-sponsored Activity

Even in a competitive job market, a physician has enough job options available to allow for some discernment when weighing offers. As documented, more physicians are choosing to work in environments that are a better cultural and personal fit than working for an employer with which they do not feel aligned.

One way to measure that fit is by looking at the interview experience in total. For example, proactive employers are putting forth an effort to ensure that a physician community tour is an experience, rather than a formality. Aside from the actual interviews and meetings with potential staff and colleagues, consider whether they have an agenda that reflects your personal interests and needs.

While no one wants every minute of the off-campus visit to be pre-planned, activities relating to your individual and family situation should be evident. If you are out on a community tour that has not been tailored for you and your family, it doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker, but it is worthy of additional consideration. We learned from our recent Physician Interview Experience Survey that 82% felt the community tour had a positive influence on their decision to accept the job, so you’re in good company to expect an experience worthy of your time.

Spend Time in the Community

The competitive physician job market may add a slight element of urgency for you to decide should you be offered a position. Knowing this, making the most of your time on the visit becomes even more critical to an informed decision. And since nearly 69% of physicians only go on one on-site interview, you’ll want to be sure you’ve gathered enough information to make a wise choice.

If a realtor is accompanying you to a variety of housing developments, be sure to take enough time to explore outside the home also. Don’t hesitate to chat with a neighbor who is out watering the lawn. Or stop by the local soccer field to see the community “in action.” Even strike up a conversation with someone at the local coffee shop or the person next to you at the gas station. You might be surprised how easy it is to measure the friendliness of your neighbors. Remember, the inside of a house makes it comfortable, but it is the community that makes it a home.

Never underestimate the value of a well-coordinated interview and community tour when it comes to your ultimate satisfaction with a new position. Involving your loved ones in the process is a vital component of making a smooth transition should you accept a job offer. Smart administrators know this and will ensure that your off-campus activities are given the same consideration as your on-campus meetings. While you are meeting with administration and future colleagues, having someone take your loved one on a guided tour is often the key to closing the deal.

Establish a Strong Relationship with a Recruiter

Another way physicians can improve their due diligence is to have an established relationship with a trusted recruitment professional. A seasoned physician recruiter will have relationships with key administrators and provide you with valuable insight into the organization, the staff, and the local community. The recruiter has also toured the community and can help you fill in any holes that will aid in deciding to accept or reject a job offer.

Your recruiter can also help you identify vacancies with a healthcare organization that shares your values and meshes with your personality and skillset. Having an open and honest relationship with a trusted recruitment professional should never be underestimated in your search for the perfect practice opportunity.

Jackson Physician Search employs a team of experienced healthcare industry professionals with an established network of relationships across the country. Our recruitment professionals can help physicians identify the organizations and the vacancies that fit your individual needs and career goals. Contact our team today, and learn how we can make a difference in your physician job search.

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