Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Help with attending job interviews!

T minus 8 months until I join the real world.

I am now 4 months into my breast imaging fellowship. It's about that time I start looking for my first attending job!! As someone who went straight through in my medical training, I have no idea what a job interview truly entails. Yes, I've done plenty of interviews. I know what it's like to sell myself as a medical trainee but as for joining the real world, I have absolutely no idea.

My experience looking for a job might be a little different than some because I am geographically limited. My husband started his (first) attending job in a city 2 hours away from where I am doing fellowship. On a side note, this situation is so much better than our west coast east coast marriage while he was doing fellowship last year! As much as I am looking forward to joining the real world, I am really looking forward to our family of 3 to finally be living under the same roof!

I went on 2 interviews so far. The first one was not the same location but same group as my husband's place of work. Given that it's part of the largest managed care organization in the United States, questions outside of who I am, what I can offer were really not asked. Details of what the contract would entail, how much I would make, what my benefits were and etc. were not discussed. Mostly because I already knew the answers to these questions and the fact that I was told that there was no need to go over a contract from this place as it was standard across the United States. I came back from this interview thinking it went well and that it wasn't much different from a fellowship and residency interview. A downside to this job is that it will be a 45 minute commute to where we will most likely settle down.

The second interview I went on was a large private practice group in the city where my husband practices. It's a group of approximately 80-90 radiologists. We talked about my dual boarding in radiology and nuclear medicine. We discussed the possibility of working within my preferred subspecialties (breast imaging and nuclear medicine. We discussed the possibility of working part time, which got me really excited. I also met some of the radiologists in the group, who all seemed very nice. However, I came back after my interview most of my conversations with my attendings at work went like this.

"How was your interview?" "Good. I really liked the practice"

"What is your base salary?" "I don't know..."

"What is your retirement?" "I don't know..."

"What benefits are offered to you?" "I don't know..."

"What about maternity leave? " "I don't know..."

"Do you get paid overtime for call?" "I don't know..."

"How many years until partnership?" "I don't know..."

Basically, I felt like an idiot. And now, I am waiting to hear back from both jobs but I feel like I cannot really compare and contrast since I don't know the answers to these questions!

How do you go about asking these questions during a job interview? Do you ask right away? Do you wait until there's a proposal? Is these anything else I should be asking? Do you need a lawyer to review your contract?

Thank you in advance for your help!


  1. So I don't know if medicine interviews are the same as the rest of the world, but in normal job interviews you generally do *not* ask about salary, benefits, vacation until you actually have an offer. Then you find out and negotiate over those things. It's weird, but we are all supposed to maintain the fiction with our employers that we really want the job for it's own sake, and of course I would never be so crass as to bring money into the conversation! It makes no sense, but that's how it goes.

    So, unless jobs in medicine work differently, it's very normal to not have those conversations until you have an offer in hand.

  2. Those questions get answered closer to getting a contract.
    ALWAYS have a lawyer review your contract before signing!!! Take it from someone who did not.

  3. theres frequently a second look where you meet with an HR or finance/admin type person that goes over the nitty gritty like like benefits/pay/bonus structure. I feel like doctors want to be "Above it all" plus it's possible the colleagues might not actually know what your pay might be! if you do meet another young mom in your interviews, take that opportunity to ask candid questions about work/life balance, things like breast pumping at work etc.

    --your academic mentors now probably want to "see the grass is greener" when they're asking you what the private place pay/retirement plan is. (but they are really good questions you need answers to)

    having said that, when I interviewed for places, I did have candid admin/salary type conversations on my first interview. (but I was traveling from far, and it was not my first job out of training so more "medical director" type recruitment---so that might be different)

  4. Hi - our recruitment has a lot of great online resources to help you evaluate your offers. Check out this tip sheet for negotiating: it also links to our article on how to review a contract. Are you working with a recruiting firm? If so, ask if they are part of the NAPR (National Association of Physician Recruiters). Any candidate who works with an NAPR member firm gets a free advice from reputable employment lawyers. If you have any specific questions, email us and we'd be happy to help

  5. Congrats on this exciting time, approaching the "real world!"
    Did anyone who worked there (who wasn't directly interviewing you, per se) say something like, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to call me. Is so, then you could call, ask a few more things, but know that your conversation itself might "count" towards their thoughts about hiring you. But you could ask a few carefully crafted questions and aim to just listen to their answers.

  6. I agree with those above. Those specifics aren't discussed until you are offered a contract. Even when I was hired and knew what my base salary would be I had no idea of average bonuses - we get them quarterly and they can really boost the yearly base. Over the course of ten years the bonus quantity has varied based on the ebb and flow of business. I have excellent health plan, supplemental health plan, retirement, etc. I did not have a lawyer review, but would if I did not personally know people in the practice - I joined a local one with lots of inside contacts. Good luck!

  7. Thanks everyone for your kind advice!! Someone in HR did reach out to me once I expressed interested in signing--I ended up doing about 4 job interviews and the one I chose was a private group, lots of moms with young kids, which I took as a good sign and that seemed to provide the most flexibility (I'll be working 4 days a week as opposed to all the other options that required me to work 5) so hopefully it will all work out :) Now just need to get through 7 more months of fellowship!


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