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Conducting an Effective Candidate Interview

Q: I have a candidate who is interested in my practice.  How can I conduct the most effective interview to entice this physician to join my practice?

A: Today, physicians are in such demand that it isn’t unusual for them to have several interviews planned along with yours.  It is important to make your practice opportunity stand out. 

Many groups fail to invite the candidate for a thorough site visit.  Instead, they have the candidate simply “drop” by the practice for a quick meeting.  In order for a physician to make a decision to join your group, it will be crucial for you to sell them on your practice, the hospital you are affiliated with and your community.

The biggest mistake that groups make is having the candidate visit without their spouse.  It is important to sell the spouse on your community and to validate that they will be able to find the amenities in your community that they desire.  The best rule of thumb is to “relive” the candidate’s life in your community.  If the spouse has a career, be absolutely sure they will be able to secure employment in your community.

Physicians and their families are going to go where they feel the most welcome and where their needs will be met.  Physicians are going to join a practice when they feel the partners in that practice have the same values as they do and where they feel they can build a thriving practice.

Assign someone from your practice to be the point person for the visiting candidate.  Be sure to ask the candidate and spouse what they want to get out of their visit and gear their itineraries around their responses. 

Here is a checklist of issues to cover with the candidate during the office visit:

  • Explain why the position is available.
  • Discuss the backgrounds of each of the partners.
  • Discuss use of mid-levels and supervisory responsibilities.
  • Explain the call schedule.
  • Explain what procedures are performed.  What equipment is available?
  • Explain referral patterns.
  • Explain what ancillary services are offered on site.
  • Discuss the number of outpatient visits per week.  Types of outpatient visits.
  • Discuss the number of surgeries per week.  Types of surgeries.
  • Discuss the average inpatient census?
  • Explain the office staffing and how long they have been with the practice.
  • Explain the collection rate and fee schedule.
  • What is the payer mix?
  • Will they receive monthly financial reports?
  • What is the office layout?  How many exam and procedure rooms?
  • Show them their office space.
  • What are the office hours?
  • Explain their employment arrangement.
  • Is partnership an option?  When and what are details of partnership?
  • Explain any bonus program and benefits.

Make arrangements to take the candidate on a hospital tour.  Arrange a meeting with the hospital CEO or an administrator and the chief-of-staff or specialty department chair.  A luncheon with other physicians in your specialty is also key.

The spouse itinerary should include spending time with an area realtor who can conduct a tour of the community.  A luncheon with spouses from the group is a very effective way for the visiting spouse to obtain key information about schools and activities in the community.

Holding a dinner event at one of the partner’s homes is a nice way to welcome the candidate and spouse.  Keep the number of attendees to a minimum to allow them to enough time to speak with everyone.

Pay attention to small details of the candidate’s visit.  If they will be staying in a local hotel, send a basket to their room with a welcoming note, beverages and snacks.  Add children’s videos and age appropriate snacks for their children.  If they are from out-of-state, a basket full of Made in Indiana goodies or an Indiana  made item is nice.

At the close of the candidate’s visit, it is important to sit down with them and their spouse and ask how they feel about your opportunity and the community. Be sure you know where the candidate is in their interview process.  Ask them if they have any other offers out and where your opportunity falls in line with the others.  If your group decides to extend an offer to the candidate, be sure you provide them with a draft employment agreement before they leave and that they understand your contract terms. 

For best results, make your practice opportunity stand out by planning a thorough interview, presenting your contract and welcoming the candidate and their spouse.  A well planned and executed interview will ensure continued negotiations after the visit.

Deb Collier, Director, Opportunities in Medicine in Indiana.

The author is the Director, Online Physician Recruiting for OMI, the only Indiana state specific physician recruitment service.  Visit today to register and view available physician practice opportunities.  Or call us today at 800-479-1666 to speak with us about posting your physician jobs.




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