Five Things You Should Never Say in an Interview

Kyle Claussen

Interviews are about letting the practice know why you are the right physician for their group and that your skills and personality are a good fit. Much like interviewing for a residency or fellowship spot, you want to present yourself in the most positive and professional way possible. This is especially true for positions in major metropolitan areas and renowned health centers where competition is high.

While it is true that you should always remain honest in your discussions, it is possible for you to divulge more than you need to. Here are five things you should avoid saying in an interview:

1. You are willing to do anything

Beyond potentially setting yourself up with an impossible call schedule and heavy administrative burdens, coming off as desperate for a job immediately undermines your leverage. As a physician, you are most likely going to have several offers, so even if this is the job you are really excited about, it is best to approach the interview tactfully.

Remaining reserved and stating exactly what you are looking for in a practice is key to maintaining your leverage all the way through your acceptance and contractual proceedings. Make a precise list of the roles you are willing to take on and then do not say or do more than you have to do to secure a job.

2. Criticizing your training program/former employer

If you are interviewing for your first job out of training, then most of your answers to interview questions are going to reflect your time in training. Much of that experience has been influenced by your attending physicians, program administrators, and other residents. If you are unlucky, you have probably encountered some less than pleasant attending physicians or difficult administrators.

Even if you still have negative feelings towards your program or individuals within it, do not vent your personal frustrations during your interview. This will make you seem unprofessional and may make your interviewer wonder if you would speak negatively about their organization in the event you move on.

Instead, focus on challenges or limitations you overcame during training and spin it positively. The same goes for a previous job if you are now looking to move to a new practice.

3. Disclosing salary demands too early

Get the hiring manager or recruiter to disclose the salary range first before you reveal your ideal range. You may price yourself out of the position if you ask for a number too high or be taken advantage of if you offer too low of a number. It is crucial that you conduct your own research about salaries for your specialty and region before ever starting the interview process.

Also, jumping to the topic of salary too quickly can make you seem too focused on the money and not the job itself. Try to get to the topic a little later in the interview, or let an attorney handle the compensation discussion during contract negotiations that come after the interview.

4. Admitting your uncertainty

Every physician that interviews for a new position is going to have some level of uncertainty about the job throughout the hiring process. There is no way to actually know whether you will enjoy practicing in a new organization until you actually do it. It is natural to feel uncertain, but do not talk about this in your interview. You should approach the interview interested and actively listen and ask questions.

If you find that you are not interested in the practice at some point in the hiring process, it is fine to tell them you would like to be removed from consideration. Just make sure that you give the organization fair consideration when interviewing and before you make any definite decisions.

5. Lumping your achievements together

You have probably accomplished some pretty incredible things over the course of your training, whether it be solving a rare case or contributing to field-altering research. You have also completed many of the basic duties that physicians-in-training or practicing physicians perform on a daily basis.

Do not let those unique experiences and distinguishing accomplishments get lost among the typical activities of being a doctor. Be prepared to speak in-depth about your role in these projects and cases and relate those roles to the role you will be taking on at their organization.

For example, if you are in orthopedics and you have contributed to research for a new tendon regeneration technique, talk about the parts of the project for which you were responsible, whether you contributed new insights and how you got interested in the first place. This will really stand out relative to other more common duties, such as reducing a fracture or splinting.

A Fine Line

It is crucial that you keep your leverage in tact from the start of the hiring process all the way through contract negotiations. Saying too much in an interview can result in the end of your consideration for a job, or worse yet, leave you stuck in a job with burdensome administrative tasks or low compensation. You have to walk a fine line during interviews, and professional help can really boost your chances of getting your ideal job.

If you need assistance from experts in your job search, interviews, or contract negotiations, reach out to Resolve today so we can get you on track to a successful career.

    • By checking the box below, I acknowledge that I agree to Resolve's terms of service.

      I Agree