Interviewing Tips From Someone Who Just Got Hired
I spent the better part of my summer interviewing for a new job, exploring other derm offices and traveling to different cities I was considering. I was surprised by the volume of offices looking to hire a dermatology PA or NP. I had a wonderful experience searching and interviewing, and I was lucky to have many options to choose from.
I decided on Sunday morning, June 10, that I would give my notice Monday morning. After I wrote my letter of resignation, I made an iced latte and jumped on my laptop ready to find a new job. The moving company arrived Aug. 5th and I drove away from Los Angeles and started my new job in Anacortes, WA, the following week. I couldn't be happier. So if you are stuck in a rut and need a change, JOBS ARE OUT THERE! Lots of them!
Tip #1: Refresh your resume. Make sure your resume is updated with everything you have to offer. Remember, this is the first piece of information the interviewer will be reading about you. We do so much more than just patient care. Often we lead the entire back office, manage pathologies, take weekend call, organize office events, manage inventory, etc. Try to display these things nicely to demonstrate you are a team player and a leader. Have a couple of friends proofread your resume first!
Tip #2: Befriend your reps. We all know who the honey bees of medical offices are ... the drug reps. They are a wealth of knowledge for anyone looking to make a change. Reps can offer you information and inside "juice" about an office or physician you might be interested in. I emailed my favorite drug reps expressing interest in moving out of state and asked whether they had any connections.
Tip #3: Get to know professional societies. Professional societies typically have job listings and encourage their members to post their resumes. I found the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants to be particularly helpful and easy to collect information.
Tip #4: Email Mary Monroe. Mary Monroe is an expert in collecting information from physicians who are hiring and PAs who are looking for dermatology jobs. She also provides a wealth of information about contracts, negotiations, malpractice and anything else you may have a question about. Find her at http://marymonroe.squarespace.com
Tip #5: Research the physician. Prior to your interview, try to find out as much as possible about the physician you will be interviewing with. The better understanding you have of him/her and their practice, the smoother the interview will feel. For example, if you are interviewing at a MOHS practice and never experienced a MOHS day, read up on the procedure.
Most dermatologists have great websites and list the procedures and lasers they offer. Familiarize yourself with those lasers because most likely the physician is going to ask you questions about the equipment they have in their office.
Tip #6: Pick 3. Pick your top three topics of concerns and ask the physician how he or she approaches and manages those. For example, I prefer to re-excise dysplastic nevi with a few deep vicryl sutures. I have met and worked with physicians who would not let me use vicryls because of cost. They would "re-excise" a moderate dysplastic nevi with a deep shave biopsy that was similar to a melon baller, leaving the patient with a horrible scar.
I also questioned skin cancer management by asking, "If an 82-year-old patient had two SCC lesions that needed re-excision and had difficulty traveling to the office, would you excise both lesions in one appointment?"
This question was important to me because it can demonstrate greed vs. ethics. Typically, if two skin cancers are excised on the same day, we only get paid half the amount for the second lesion. Some physicians refuse to excise both on the same day. I would without a doubt excise both in the same visit for this patient because he is old and has difficulty finding transportation to our office.
Tip #7: Spend more than one day shadowing. I know it's difficult to find the time and many of us don't have flexibility, but if you can I highly encourage shadowing the practice for more than 1 day. One day isn't quite enough time to observe the front desk operations, the back office organization and various procedures.
Tip #8: Keep a journal. Note taking can be super beneficial if you are interviewing in multiple offices and cities. I used my "notes" app on the iPhone. A pro and con list for each location is a quick way to organize thoughts on the go.
Tip #9: Play in the area. You may not be relocating geographically but if you are, stay and play while you are visiting! Whether it's schools, theatres, outdoor activities, neighbors or places to grab a latte, save some time to explore. I love to cook so finding a nice grocery store was very important to me.
Tip #10: Send a thank you. No matter how you felt the interview went, send a thank you to the physician and one to the office if you spent the day with them. You never know what the future will bring and dermatology is a very connected community.
Interviewing can be a stressful scary process, but it really shouldn't be. Remember that change is good and you are going to be a valuable asset to any office. So don't settle until you find the right fit for you. Good luck.