15 Interviewing Tips for Graduating Nephrologists

Here are 15 interviewing tips to help you make a positive first impression, get the most out of your interviews, and stand out among prospective candidates.

As you transition from fellowship, you are entering a whole new world as you start looking for jobs and securing interviews. Competition for coveted opportunities is fierce, and you will be the proverbial small fish in a big pond.

Dress professionally.

While many practices pride themselves on informality, no one ever lost out on an opportunity by wearing business attire the first time they interviewed. View this as an expression of respect for their business. Appropriate attire for subsequent interviews will be more easily determined after the first visit.

Do your homework.

Know as much about the practice beforehand as possible. U.S. Renal Care can provide you with a comprehensive practice summary to help familiarize you with both the practice details and the local community.

Come prepared.

Bring hard copies of your CV and cover letter. A good rule is to determine how many people you expect to visit with, and then multiply by two. Copies of any publications you have authored should also be handy, if you are considering academic or research positions. Prepare some questions you’d like to ask the group.

Be on time.

“On time” means five to ten minutes before your scheduled interview time. If need be, take some time to drive to the location ahead of time so you know exactly where you are going and how long it will take to get there. If circumstances cause you to be delayed, call ahead to let them know.

Relax.

During the interview try to relax and stay as calm possible. Take a moment to regroup if needed.

Be engaged.

Maintain eye contact with the interviewer. Pay attention to your body language.

Listen.

When asked a question, be sure to listen to the entire question before you answer, and pay attention – you will be embarrassed if you forget the question!

Don’t waste time.

Do not interview for jobs you are not seriously considering. It wastes your time and the employer’s. Only attend on-site interviews in locations you would consider living and where you are ready to make a decision.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Confucius

Be truthful.

The medical community for nephrology is a smaller world than you may think. Practices and physicians communicate with one another.

Identify your priorities in advance.

Consider targets for your clinical interest, call schedule, location, work-life balance, growth potential, compensation, etc. – if one category is more important than another, be honest with yourself, but remain flexible (i.e. lower base, but lighter call). The only right formula is the one that works best for your future happiness.

Be respectful.

You may interview with a physician who is several years your senior. Be mindful that his or her perspective and experience may be different than yours.

Include your spouse or significant other in the site visit.

This will allow you to assess the community as a couple, and make an informed decision together.

Evaluate the offer.

If it seems too good to be true, find out why. If an opportunity pays unusually well, there is probably a good reason (i.e. high turnover, difficult market, or reputation issues).

Ask about compensation.

This is always tough, and timing is everything. If possible, try to let the practice start the conversation. If you have to bring up the subject first, don’t do it at the beginning of the interview. Try asking at the end, “Do you have some compensation and benefit information I could review?” or “Can you tell me about the salary structure following partnership?”

Thank them and be honest.

Always follow-up with a thank you note (email is appropriate). If you interview with multiple people, send each one a thank you note if you had any personal interactions or specific questions, otherwise a group email is appropriate. If you are interested in the job, let them know in your email. If you already know the practice does not meet your needs, this is a good time to let them know right away rather than leading them on as you continue interviews elsewhere.