Career Articles & Tips for Physicians

What NOT to Say in Your First Phone Interview

A hospital hiring manager or a physician recruiter calls you about the perfect position. What's next? A phone interview. No problem what could go wrong? Several things could go wrong, says physician recruiter Ali Rogerson, of New England Physician Recruitment Center in Braintree, MA. There are any number of ways to ruin your phone interview, she says. Just follow these simple steps, and that phone interview will be a complete and utter disaster:

  1. Ask right away about pay: "You can immediately mess up your phone screen by coming across as financially motivated or asking questions that come off as, 'What's in it for me?' That approach will get you dumped really fast," Ms. Rogerson says.

    Instead, she says, wait for the employer to raise the topic- questions about compensation, benefits, or call usually arise after the employer gets to know you and feels that you'd be a good fit for the position.

  2. Talk about yourself, of course: If you want to alienate and discourage the interviewer, don't follow their cues and don't give direct answers to their questions- just talk about yourself. That's a good way to get off on the wrong foot.

    "Don't start talking about yourself and go on and on. Instead, really listen to what the hiring manager or chief medical officer is asking you, and listen to what they have to say," Ms. Rogerson recommends. She also offers this insider's tip: Match the interviewer's energy level. If the interviewer is energetic and enthused, you should be, too. If the interviewer is thoughtful and deliberate, try to be the same.

  3. Don't bother to ask questions about the position, the department, or the facility: If you want to put yourself in a bad light, don't ask specific questions that convey your interest and knowledge. Such questions may be: How old is the department? How many other physicians are in the pod? Does the facility have the kind of specialty equipment you want to use?

    "Those are good, informed questions to ask during your phone interview because they show that you're genuinely interested in the position," she says. Also, prepare beforehand by checking the website to research the facility, its services, and its mission. By the same token, be prepared to answer specific questions about your work history and training.

  4. Act like it's any other phone call: If you want to make your phone call a disaster, don't consider it a formal job interview. "If you try to squeeze in the interview during a quick lunch break or in between doing rounds, you're just asking for trouble," Ms. Rogerson says.

    What you should do is set aside a full half-hour, find a quiet room, and take a minute to focus and mentally prepare beforehand, she recommends. Have notes prepared so you're ready to ask and to answer questions. Also, jot down notes of what you learn-it's easy to forget some of the details after you hang up the phone.

So, if you want to make your phone interview a total disaster, just follow these simple steps.

Then again, if you don't want to ruin your first phone interview, then be prepared, be interested, listen to what they ask and what they say, and treat the phone call like a formal job interview. This way, you'll be putting your best foot forward, instead of putting your foot in your mouth.

What NOT to Say in Your First Phone Interview