How prepared are you for a nonclinical job interview?

Border

Nervous interviewee

Last week I received this voicemail from one of my physician clients,

“Heather, I just had to give you an update. The recruiter called me for an impromptu interview and I swear to God, half of her questions were the ones you had asked me in the mock interview. I felt really well prepared and was offered an in-person interview. Thank you so much for the help!”

Long story short, she ended up rocking the rest of her interviews and was offered a position within the week. All this was accomplished by my client who had been afraid to interview because her last interviews were years ago for a clinical position.

Her success was not luck.  She prepared well and avoided these common interview mistakes I’m going to share with you. I want you to rock your interviews and land that great job!

Avoid these 9 common nonclinical interview mistakes

1. Leaving interview prep to the last minute

At least 50% of your interview prep should be done before ever applying to a job. This is to avoid scrambling when a recruiter calls. You want to practice answering the most common interview questions ahead of time. Then, when you are scheduled for formal interviews, you have time to research your interviewers and fine-tune your answers. Here is a list of common interview questions.

2. Assuming the first phone call is an informal chat

Often the first call is to make sure you meet the basic qualifications and understand the job. However, the person could ask you anything, such as, Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What do you know about our company? Why do you want to leave your job? Treat every call as if it is the BIGGIE and be ready for any type of question.

3. Failing to research the company and the interviewers 

You want to scour the company website. Read the mission statement. Find out what they value. Gain a sense of the culture. Ask for your interview itinerary so you can research the individuals on LinkedIn and the company website. Look for press releases and anything interesting about your interviewers and the company.

4. Not preparing short vignettes to illustrate your answers

Short vignettes (< 1 minute) that show how you handled different situations are perfect for answering behavioral questions. You will be creating memorable pictures in your interviewer’s mind and making an emotional connection. Instead of going, “Blah, blah, blah,” tell a relevant short story and be memorable.

5. Not doing mock interviews

It’s one thing to practice answering a question in your head. It’s another thing to say it out loud to someone else. Give a friend a list of questions and do some mock interviews. Record the interviews on your phone. Listen for filler words such as “um,” “uh,” or “so.” The recordings will give you valuable feedback and the practice will boost your confidence.

6. Doing a cursory review of the job description

One of my clients had an interviewer go over the job description line by line to test his understanding. It was an incredibly detailed job description with lots of bullet points and confusing language, but fortunately we had gone over every line in advance. Make sure you understand the job duties and any unfamiliar terms and lingo. Be able to talk about any gaps you might have in the qualifications and how you can address them.

7. Not trying to speak with a current or former employee

Through networking in Facebook groups, LinkedIn, and other avenues, you may be able to find a current or former employee who is willing to speak with you. Sometimes a current employee can directly forward your resume to the right person. Getting an insider perspective is not always possible, but it’s worth the effort if you can find a good source.

8. Forgetting to have questions prepared to ASK the interviewer

The interview is a two-way street. Yes, you are being evaluated, but the interview is also an opportunity for you to ask questions. Prepare questions in advance that will help you determine if this is the right job for you.

9. Failing to follow up promptly

Within 24 hours after an interview, even the first informal one, make sure to send a thank-you email to each person you spoke with. This is a great opportunity to briefly highlight something specific about the person or the conversation that was memorable, inspiring, or attracted you to the position.

Interview prep can be a game changer. Anyone can learn to interview well. Give yourself the competitive advantage and be the one with an offer in hand.

In two weeks, the third blog in this three-part series, Negotiating your employment contract, will be out. Here it is!

If you missed the first one, Do I need a CV or a resume for a nonclinical job? you can read it here.

Please feel free to share your own interview tips in the comments below.

Here’s to your interview success!

Heather

Latest Posts

Find what you're looking for:

Heather Fork

2 Comments

  1. John Jurica on February 14, 2019 at 9:47 pm

    Excellent interview prep! I believe that following these pointer’s will put you ahead of 95% of your “competition.”

  2. Heather Fork on February 14, 2019 at 10:04 pm

    Thanks so much John! I am sure you have done a good number of interviews yourself, as well as being the interviewer for other physicians seeking leadership roles.

Leave a Comment





Doctors-Crossing-Physicians-Insider-Guide (1)

GetThe Physician's Insider Guide

15 of the most common FAQs on physician career transition

Sign up below to get the resource to jump-start your career transformation! You will also receive the latest blogs and updates from Heather.

Tim O

The coaching I have had with you has been life changing."

You helped me find the courage to seek out leadership positions and become a medical director as well as a physician advisor. I am grateful we crossed paths and am a different person because of it. You have inspired me to "believe" in spite of my inner skeptic. I consider you one of my most important mentors and am proud to also call you a friend. This says a lot given the apprehension I felt when I took a chance with our first coaching session. Even though I have already made a successful transition, I still value your ongoing mentorship and can enthusiastically attest that the value of your services is tremendous!

- Tim Owolabi, MD

Family Medicine
Lynette Charity

“I was at a crossroads in my medical career. I asked myself, "Do I stay or do I go?" 

I met Heather at the SEAK conference. She and I revisited this question.  Did I want to quit being medicine completely? She helped me to identify my needs, wants, and my vision for my FUTURE, not just in medicine, but in life!!!

She was able to listen to my "ramblings" about becoming a stand-up comic, lounge singer and voice-over actor and translate them into action steps.  I chose to become a composite of all of these. Now I am a more confident, healthier, happier person. I credit this in its entirety to the tutelage I have received and continue to receive from Heather.  She cares. She listens. She was there for ME.  She will be there for YOU!

- Lynette Charity, MD

Anesthesiologist
Gail Miller

“I am forever grateful to Heather for helping me to recognize, I am more than just my M.D." 

Heather helped me understand that I am more than just a doctor and that my experiences in clinical medicine are valuable in so many arenas.  As a result I realized that there are other ways to use my background, still be able to help people and continue to challenge myself and grow.  To that end I discovered coaching - specifically health coaching.  I am on my journey becoming a health coach and truly loving it!

- Gail Miller, MD

OB/Gyn physician
Steve

“Thank you, Heather, for helping me transform my career, my faith and my life."

What started out as an initial thirty-minute consultation call turned into an amazing four-year journey that transformed my life, personally, spiritually and professionally. 

Heather helped me to discover my passions...by doing so, I discovered I still had a calling for medicine but it now came from a place of truth...

Today...my wife and I are opening our first concierge medicine clinic in a community we love. I’m actually excited to have the opportunity to practice medicine the way I believe it’s meant to be, with a focus on the doctor-patient relationship and an emphasis on faith. I know if I had not reached out to Dr. Fork, my life would not be where it is at today.

- Steve Lapke, MD

Papillion, NE
Sue Zimmermann

“Heather gave me the confidence to create a new livelihood by following my heart."

She is incredibly knowledgeable about the range of careers available to physicians and provided me with advice and connections which I would not have found on my own.  From the start she encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and try different things.  I was laid off unexpectedly in early 2017, and Heather gave me the confidence to create a new livelihood by following my heart and making decisions based on trust, not fear.  Now I am enjoying working part-time in a clinical setting in addition to teaching and writing.

- Sue Zimmermann, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon
Devki Patel

After months of struggling to find a non-clinical career that matched my values and passion, I stumbled upon Heather's website which truly changed my life."

Heather's insightful and personalized approach to career coaching made me think outside the box since she took the time to evaluate my personality, values, interests, and preferred lifestyle.

Through her encouragement, practical advice, and professional connections, I was able to find a non-clinical position at a state Medicaid agency that aligned with my passion for population health and serving low-income communities. In addition to her coaching sessions, Heather has built a community of like-minded physicians through her blog, and I feel honored to recommend her to friends and colleagues who seek to make positive changes in their professional and personal lives.

- Devki Patel, MD

Pathologist
Jay Macregor

Working with Heather ultimately helped me leave my job in corporate healthcare and find a path that was much more fulfilling."

My career was going reasonably well but I couldn’t shake this nagging feeling I could do better; or at least find a better long-term career fit.  

I was able to find a surgery job that better aligned with my goals and professional interests.  Additionally, Heather helped me start a consulting business which has allowed me to pursue a true passion: helping medical students, residents, and attendings surgeons navigate the challenges of high-stakes standardized exams.    

If you are reading this as a “Type A” surgeon who doesn’t think coaching is for you, I would encourage you to give Heather a shot.  I’m very glad I did!

- Jay MacGregor, MD

Colorectal Surgeon

“I gained the confidence in myself to develop an action plan that blended the best parts of my experiences and interests into a cohesive career." 

Through our work, I learned to trust myself to make good decisions for my own future – something I hadn’t realized I was struggling with because as an emergency physician, I make life-changing decisions with patients every day. 

By feeding my creativity and interests in other realms of my professional life, I’ve found renewed compassion for my patients and myself, making every shift an opportunity to actually care for people. Thank you Heather. I really couldn’t have made these changes without your help!

- Liz McMurtry, DO

Emergency Medicine Physician
Amie

The simple truth is - Heather Fork totally helped me change my life."

I never would have had the courage to make the changes I’ve made without her unwavering support, wealth of knowledge and commitment. 

When I first started working with Heather, I was downtrodden...I’d been practicing medicine for 20+ years and yet had never quite found my place.  During the first year I worked with Heather, I left the practice I’d been working at, and recreated an entirely new professional purpose.

I’m now an executive and leadership coach, a university professor, and a Brené Brown Daring Way facilitator, and I have never looked back.  I love what I am doing more than at any other time in my professional life and I credit Heather with seeing in me what I was never able to see in myself, until now.

Don’t hesitate, don’t doubt yourself, schedule your time with Heather as soon as possible- she can help you reconnect to your purpose and reinvent your life.

- Amie Langbein, DO

Family Physician
Untitled design

"After 30 years in academic medicine, I wanted a career change but had no idea where to start. Medicine was all I knew."

I signed up for coaching with Heather and it transformed my life. She helped me get clear on what I wanted my life to look like. We reviewed my skills, values, and strengths. She instilled hope in me that change IS possible after 50 years! 

The outcome is that I have created a life I love! I practice endocrinology part-time and own a life coaching business! Coaching with Heather is one of the best investments I have made in my life. 

- Karen Barnard, MBBCh, MPH

Endocrinologist and Life Coach