The interview process for optometrists and ophthalmologists can be a stressful experience. You are walking into an unfamiliar setting to speak with a practice owner you do not know about a position that has been described but is still lacking some very important details.
Don’t worry. It’s like this for every job candidate. In every industry.
One of the most important things to keep in mind is the opportunity the interview process affords you. Practice owners can only learn so much through a resume or CV, references and online research. Being selected for an interview is your chance to articulate your personal passion for the industry. The interview is also an opportunity to build a personal rapport with the practice owner by preparing answers ahead of time to some of the questions he or she may ask. This gives you the opportunity to focus on putting your best foot forward and nailing this interview!
What to expect, when you’re expecting (an interview.)
The practice owner called you for a reason. Presumably, they liked the content of your resume and wanted the opportunity to get to know you better. Not just professionally, but personally. Should you land the position, you’ll both be spending a great deal of time together and it’s important for you both to understand if that would be a good fit.
- Personal questions/discussion points may include:
- Tell me about yourself.
- What made you choose ophthalmology?
- Describe your strengths and weaknesses.
- What sets you apart from the other candidates?
- What has been your biggest challenge in life and how did you overcome it?
“Why?” questions are a great way to learn about a candidate’s past and evaluate their future. “Why?” questions can also be extremely open-ended, which means that, if you’re not prepared to answer them, you may be stammering to come up with an answer or rambling with no clear point. In either case, this is not the best impression to leave. Practice the answers to these “Why?” questions, and you’ll be ready to provide articulate answers that will impress the interviewer.
- “Why?” questions may include:
- Why do you want to work here? In the interview world, this is a slow pitch delivered right down the middle. Be prepared to hit it out of the park by referencing specific observations about the practice. This demonstrates that you have done your homework and researched the practice.
- Why should we hire you?
- Why are you switching jobs?
Finally, interviewers will want to thoroughly analyze your skillset to be sure you will deliver optimal care and keep the practice out of harm. Rehearsing your answers to these questions ahead of time will allow you to answer succinctly and confidently.
- Skills questions may include:
- What would your current employer say that you do well? In what areas would he/she say that you needed to improve?
- What was your average production at that office?
- What are your clinical strengths?
- What CE courses have you taken recently?
- What journals do you read?
- In what areas do you have interest in further training?
Inevitably, job interviews end with one final question: “Do you have any questions for us?” Having questions ready will demonstrate that you have thoughtfully prepared for this interview. Plus, accepting a job is a long-term commitment, for you and for the practice. It’s important that you fully understand, and are clear on, the job parameters before accepting a position and signing an agreement.
- Questions for the interviewer may include:
- What medical philosophies do you practice? (Conservative vs. aggressive surgeon)
- Can you describe your patient base?
- Do you have a marketing strategy, or are you largely dependent on referrals?
- What kind of equipment is in use?
- What about your practice are you most proud of?
- Where do you see the practice in five or ten years?
What skills are you hoping a new associate can bring to the practice?