8 Questions Every Physician Should Ask in a Job Interview

If you’re looking for a new physician job with a group practice or health system, you’re probably already anticipating some questions that an interviewer, or interview panel, may ask you. Their questions may cover a range of topics—from career motivation, clinical skills and experience, to personal strengths and weaknesses, including how you handle conflict.

But are you prepared to ask them the right questions, as well?

After all, this is your prime opportunity to find out if this organization and this practice opportunity is the right fit for you. You’ll need to go beyond the job description and compensation package details to find out if this is truly the right step to take in your career.

The importance of asking good questions

Not only do you want to know more about the organization, but healthcare employers want to know that you are invested in the interview process. They expect to hear a few questions from you. They also expect that you have done your homework ahead of time.

So take the time to research the organization, including the facilities, services offered, size and composition of the staff, awards and recognitions, department specifics, etc.

If you are working with a physician recruiter at Merritt Hawkins, he or she can help provide you with a lot of the basic information. They can also share more details about the practice opportunity and the employer to make sure you understand what the organization is looking for and what this particular physician job entails.

Then you can prepare some questions that will help determine whether you and the organization would be a good fit for each other. The following can help you dig a little deeper into the factors that can affect your professional and personal fulfillment.

8 Questions to Ask During Your Physician Interview

No matter how you word the questions, the following topics should be on your list to address during the course of your physician job interview:

1. How would you describe your organizational culture?

Ask about the culture of the organization and/or department, and what makes it distinctive or special. How might other physicians describe the culture and the work environment? How does the organization support its stated values? You could also ask about the organization’s place and reputation in the surrounding community.

2. What is your organization’s vision for the future?

Where is the organization headed in the next few years? What initiatives or plans do they have in place to get there? How do they assess whether they’re making progress toward their goals?

3. What are the biggest challenges currently facing the organization?

What does the organization anticipate will be the biggest challenges in the next few years? Every health care organization has some challenges, ranging from financial or regulatory pressures to staff turnover. Their answers to these types of questions can help you get an idea of the environment you may be entering, and how the group addresses problems.

4. How does this role fit in the organization?

Ask more about this physician job, and the role of your specialty, in the organization. How does this particular job fit into the organization’s current plans and its plans for the future? Are there other groups or sites within the health system that you would be working with? What will be expected of you, and how can you best contribute to the organizational goals?

5. What is the expected workload for this position, and what support is available?
Ask questions about patient loads, support positions, work scheduling and on-call duties, if you haven’t already tracked down this information prior to your interview. You can also inquire about any wellness programs, counseling, peer support, or mental health services the organization may have to help staff avoid burnout. If you have the opportunity to meet with any of the organization’s physicians, you might ask their experiences and how they approach the issue of work–life balance.

6. What kinds of growth opportunities are available?

Ask about what kind of professional development and leadership opportunities are available for physicians. Will you be expected to serve on committees, lead any initiatives, or mentor other physicians? If so, how would that work? Is the organization investing in the latest technology and training to enhance your expertise? If it is a group practice, is there partnership potential?

7. What is your decision-making process?

Who makes the decisions in your department, and are there opportunities for you to be involved in that process? Do some tests or treatment plans need to be approved before you can move forward in a patient’s care? Along those lines, you might also inquire about the relationship between the administration and the physician staff. If you’re interviewing with a group practice, you should also prepare some questions that specifically deal with the way the practice functions, including their structure and management issues.

8. What would be included in my compensation?

Many experts suggest waiting until the interviewer brings up this topic, but you should be prepared just in case. Find out as much as you can ahead of time from your recruiter about salary, benefits, opportunities for bonuses, profit-sharing (if applicable), and student loan repayments. The best time to negotiate is generally after you are offered the position.

Final tips for your physician interview

While the candidate should let the employer drive the conversation, it is important to remember that every physician interview is a two-way street, and an opportunity for both parties to get to know each other and make a sound evaluation.

Whether this is your first interview or the final one, being prepared to ask the right questions—and listen closely to a potential employer’s responses—is just as important as being ready to answer their interview questions.

Ready to find your ideal physician job?
The career consultants at AMN Healthcare are ready to help you find the right practice opportunity to meet your professional and personal goals, and to prepare for a successful interview. CONNECT with an AMN Healthcare recruiter to learn more about our physician jobs and candidate services nationwide, including some exclusive opportunities.