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Important Questions Providers Should Ask During Job Interviews

Questions Doctors & Advanced Practitioners Should Ask During a Job Interview
Antonio Diaz/123RF.com

There are many resources, including some on this site, which have questions you may be asked at an interview for determining your suitability for a position as a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. Preparation for those is essential. There is, however, another purpose for the interview that is equally important – it allows you the opportunity to determine if the position is right for you. Remember that – just before the interview. It levels the playing field and will give you a boost in confidence, and that will show in the way you present yourself.

Your questions of the interviewer will indicate your genuine interest in the position. They are a vital part of the interview. Having no questions of your own could eliminate you from consideration for the position. These questions were recommended by physicians as especially helpful for gaining insight into the workings and culture of the setting that you may consider joining. You probably won’t have the time to ask all the questions. That’s a good thing – if you establish a connection you’ll have plenty to talk about at second and third interviews. Some of these questions were unheard of not many years ago. Now, however, electronic technology has permeated healthcare. It behooves the physician, when considering a new position or practice, to rigorously evaluate the use of technology associated with the prospective system. I’ve listed the technology questions first, to draw them to your attention more effectively. You may not want to lead with them when you begin asking questions, but they are essential. Technology systems can make you look forward to or dread your day. Their use will affect virtually every part of your work – enhancing or detracting (or both) from the quality of care you provide.

Interview Questions Related to Technology

  1. Tell me about the electronic systems used in the practice/job.
  2. Does the practice choose the systems/software it uses, or does the employer (hospital/clinic/corporation) supply and require use of its choice of systems?
  3. What is the problem history, if any, of your technology?
  4. What are the drawbacks of the system(s)?
  5. Does it interface with the hospital/lab/other practices?
  6. How does your practice/job keep up with changes in technology?
  7. What are your expectations about my use of technology?
  8. Will I have time dedicated to training on the system before I start seeing patients?
  9. Do you treat patients by phone/online/facetime?
  10. Do you bill for phone calls, emails, facetime consultations?
  11. Will I be able to access the system from home?
  12. Do I have the option to not communicate electronically with patients?
  13. What’s the back-up capacity if/when the system has problems/fails?
  14. What is the plan for disaster (natural, terrorism, etc.)? [“Preparing Your Medical Practice for a Disaster,” 28 Aug 2018]
  15. Who is available, and how quickly, for tech support and training?
  16. How does the technology system affect revenue?

Traditional Interview Questions

  1. What is the history of the group? What is their philosophy?
  2. What are the short and long-range goals of the group?
  3. In what seminars or medical staff committees is the group involved?
  4. Does the group encourage CME, teaching, hospital staff, and medical society activities?
  5. Do other physicians in the area refer patients to the group? How many? What specialties?
  6. How many physicians are in the group? Is anyone retiring?
  7. Are physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and medical scribes part of the practice?
  8. How will new patient referrals be handled?
  9. How will the group help a new physician build a patient base?
  10. What is the turnover rate for physicians in the group?
  11. Is there partnership potential? After how many years?
  12. What’s the approximate buy-in? How is the buy-in structured?
  13. What assets does the practice own?
  14. What type of corporation or partnership is formed?
  15. Does the group plan to add additional physicians beyond this position?
  16. Is moonlighting permitted? Are there any restrictions on moonlighting?
  17. What is the political environment of the medical community?
  18. What will the hours be? Call schedule?
  19. What are the daily responsibilities of the position? Will there be additional administrative or managerial duties?
  20. How is the day-to-day management of the practice accomplished?
  21. Are regular staff meetings held? Do all the doctors attend?
  22. What are the group’s financial policies?
  23. How is a patient informed about financial policies? Ask for a copy of the patient information brochure.
  24. Ask to see their fee schedule. How is it determined? Is it reasonable? How often are increases made?
  25. What is the group’s payer mix? Is it predominantly Medicare?
  26. How will the new Resource Based Relative Value Scale (RBRVS) affect the group?
  27. How are outstanding patient debts collected? Is a collection agency used?
  28. How is informed consent handled? What are the moral and ethical views of the group concerning informed consent?
  29. What type of patient education is conducted?
  30. What type of marketing does the group conduct?
  31. Who pays for licensure renewal and malpractice insurance?

Note that these do not include questions about salary. Let those offering the job bring that up first. If that doesn’t happen by the end of the second interview, it may be necessary to pursue it. It may be more comfortable to address it in written communication or through a recruiter, if one is involved.


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About Faith A. Coleman, MD

Dr. Coleman is a graduate of the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, and holds a BA in journalism from UNM. She completed her family practice residency at Wm. Beaumont Hospital, Troy and Royal Oak, MI, consistently ranked among the United States Top 100 Hospitals by US News and World Report. Her experience includes faculty appointments to a family practice residency and three medical schools, as well as Director of Women's and Children's Health Promotion Programs with the NE Texas Public Health District.

Dr. Coleman is the Expert on Gifted Children for the New York Times, parenting writer for Demand Media Studios, as well as health and medical writer for several online information services. She writes professional management material for health care providers and about the personal experience of being a physician. Faith treasures most the role of mother. Her passions include the well-being and education of children and families.