Emergency Medicine Job Interview Tips

Interviewing for a new emergency physician job can be intimidating at first, but there are job interview tips that can help you prepare.

Dr. Mark Reiter MD MBA, the Secretary-Treasurer of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine and Director of Medical Student Education at the St. Luke’s Hospital Emergency Medicine Residency in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, has job interview advice for future emergency physicians.

For starters, some of the interview questions and answers may be reversed: with you asking the questions.

“It’s helpful to ask the interviewer how they ended up at that particular hospital,” Dr. Reiter said. “It’s good to learn about their decision-making process.”

Other questions that Dr. Reiter recommended those interviewing for emergency medicine jobs should ask include:

  • What would you change about your hospital?
  • What do you like most and what do you like least about this particular hospital?
  • What are you looking for in a new hire?
  • Why is this job open and how long has it been open? (“If the job is open because of growth, that’s good,” Dr. Reiter said. “If it’s because a lot of people leave, that’s a problem.”)

It’s also important to learn about the relationship between the emergency department and the hospital administration. “In 2011, it’s become pretty complicated,” said Dr. Reiter. “If the hospital leadership is forceful, it can make your job much easier and much more pleasant. An unsupportive administration can make it a difficult place to work.”

And don’t just plan to sit and talk with the director. When you schedule the emergency medicine jobs interview, make sure that you spend time in the emergency department talking to as many people as possible. “Talk to several staff members, to nurses,” said Dr. Reiter. He suggests that you request to spend some time in the emergency room after the interview, or if it’s a busy time, if you can make a follow-up visit to talk with staff when they have time. “Most people are receptive to that,” he said.

For the first interview, Dr. Reiter said that it’s best to stick to broader themes and save the intricate details-such as pay-for follow-up interviews or once a job offer has been made.

“Ask about staff satisfaction, the ability to provide quality patient care, about financial and political equity,” he said. “Does each emergency physician have a voice in the decisions that affect their job?”

Finally, appearances matter and Dr. Reiter’s job interview advice is to dress formally. “I wouldn’t ask ahead of time what is appropriate to wear,” he said. “Just put on a suit and tie [or the equivalent for women] even though you might be dressed more conservatively than the person interviewing you. I don’t think it harms your prospects by dressing too formally.”