Whether you’re interviewing for your first or fifth maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) job, the process can be daunting. We’ve compiled 11 tips from the New England Journal of Medicine, American College of Physicians, PracticeMatch and the experts at Pediatrix® Medical Group to help you succeed.
Before the interview
Research the practice or facility. Read about the organization’s mission statement, history, leadership team and latest news. Learn more about the practice’s location and the patients they serve. Find out how the organization is structured and if they have affiliations with other hospitals, health systems and medical schools. The hospital or practice may send you a packet of information before the interview. If you don’t receive anything, request an agenda and, if possible, the names and contact information for each person with whom you will be interviewing.
Be prepared to answer questions. Make a list of some commonly asked interview questions and think about how you’ll answer them. Here are a few to get you started:
- Why do you want to join this practice?
- What is your experience in MFM?
- Are you interested in a leadership role?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
Be ready to explain your qualifications, expertise and strengths. Also, be prepared to answer questions about your CV, particularly any gaps in training or job history or changes in residency programs. Your interviewer is looking for someone who will be a positive reflection on the practice, so avoid polarizing subjects such as religion and politics. Instead, focus on topics that showcase your skillset and ability to do this job. Save personal conversations about your family and hobbies for a later interview.
Be prepared to ask questions. You want to make sure that this opportunity is a good fit for your skills and goals, and one way to do that is to ask questions during the interview. And, asking intelligent questions will help project interest and enthusiasm. Ask questions to learn more about:
- Practice culture, philosophy and structure.
- A typical day as an MFM in the practice.
- Responsibilities of the role beyond patient care.
- Teaching and growth opportunities.
- Projected practice growth and expansion.
- Number of staff, including physicians and advanced practice providers.
- Amount of turnover and average length of employment.
- Patient demographics.
- Quality of life in the region.
- Employment opportunities in the area for your spouse.
- Nearby schools if you have children.
Tread lightly when asking about salary. Some experts say to wait until the second interview to ask about salary and benefits, while others say it’s OK to broach the subject at the end of the first interview. The first interview is not the time to negotiate, but here are some questions you may want to ask during the interview process:
- What is the compensation package?
- What is my future earning potential?
- What are the benefits and perks of the position?
- How will my performance be measured and rewarded?
Day of the interview
Dress appropriately. Dress in a manner that exudes confidence and professionalism. Aim to look put together and serious, and avoid using overpowering perfumes or colognes. Your appearance sends a message to the interviewers about you, so make sure you’re sending the one you want to convey.
Plan your travel schedule. Never schedule an interview after you have been on call. You want to arrive rested and on time. New towns and hospitals can be difficult to navigate, so leave plenty of time to get to the interview promptly. Map the route and research where to park prior to your interview if you are driving. If you’re flying or using public transportation, confirm your travel arrangements with the recruiter’s coordinator and make sure you allow extra time for unexpected delays or traffic.
Bring your spouse if he or she has been invited. Your first job after residency will likely require a move. Employers know your spouse will play a key role in your decision-making process and may want to include him or her in the interview. However, this is your interview, so be prepared to do most of the talking.
Pack a few essentials. Make sure you have what you need during the interview. For example, bring a pen and pad to write down important information you learn during the interview or jot down questions that come up. Also, bring extra copies of your CV, reference letters and any other documents you were asked to bring.
Focus. Before starting the interview, turn off your cell phone or pager, or switch them to silent mode. Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake, maintain eye contact and use the interviewer’s name as appropriate during the interview. Memorize the names of other physicians or staff you meet during the interview process.
Discuss next steps. Before leaving the interview location, be sure you clearly understand follow-up steps. For example, if you have a deadline to make a decision or if you’re weighing another offer, communicate that information directly to the hiring manager. Will you contact them if you remain interested, or will they contact you? How and when will this happen?
After the interview
Send a thank-you note. Experts say emailing a brief note soon after returning home from the interview shows you care about the position -- and the practice. Take time to get the correct titles and spellings of the names of the people you’ve met, and let them know you are available to provide any additional information they may need.