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Journal of ASPR - Winter 2013 - It’s interview day!
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A day in the life of a physician recruiter

It’s interview day!

By Christopher Kashnig, Dean Clinic, Madison, WI

Even though I have been recruiting for 25 years and have monitored hundreds of physician interviews, each was unique and has its own special memories. Here is a review of an interview day from years ago that seemed at first to go so well.

5:15 a.m.: My alarm goes off. No early jogging today. I have to pick up my candidate at 6:30 and take him to the hospital for his 7 a.m. interview. I have my normal breakfast that consists of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with OJ. I leave for the candidate’s hotel which is 30 minutes away, at 6 a.m.

6:30 a.m.: Pick the candidate up. He is on time, so I like him already. I drive him to the hospital.

7 a.m.: For our internal medicine interviews, each candidate is asked to present a case for discussion. After the presentation, the division chief explains to me that the candidate didn’t present a traditional case, but rather a lecture on his favorite topic. Apparently, I didn’t explain this well enough for him. My bad…I make a mental note to do a better job for the next interview. Maybe I should attend these case conferences, so I know what is going on?

8 a.m.: At this point, the candidate meets a different member of the internal medicine department every 30 minutes. There is always at least one internist who is out of the office on any given day. I use his office and review my emails. I check on the interview every 30 minutes to see that our physicians are showing up on time. Smooth sailing so far. I like our chances.

10:30 a.m.: I meet with the candidate for an hour; 30 minutes to review our fringe benefits package and 30 minutes to review our compensation program. Smooth sailing, although the candidate has more questions than normal about our short and long term disability policies. I make a mental note regarding that.

11:30 a.m.: It’s time for a hospital tour. One of the hospital managers on the medical floor has agreed to give the candidate a hospital tour. She is late, so I provide small talk with the candidate.

Noon: Two of the physicians agree to take the candidate to lunch. There is a nice Greek restaurant just two blocks away. They agree to walk, but it is raining and no one has an umbrella. Of course, I have one and lend it to them. At least one of the three people is going to get wet. While the physicians are dining, I grab a sandwich at the hospital bistro and return a few phone calls.

1:30 p.m.: Time for the afternoon interviews…again one every 30 minutes. The first interviewer is on time, but the lunch bunch is late. The interviewer can’t find his copy of the candidate’s CV, but of course, I have an extra one in my briefcase. The lunch bunch arrives at 1:40. These interviews are scheduled to continue until 3:30. Everyone is 10-15 minutes late, so we actually finish around 4 p.m.

4 p.m.: A local real estate agent takes the candidate and his wife around town for a community tour. He tells me later that the physician and wife have already selected a neighborhood to live in.

6:30 p.m.: Dinner at a restaurant that is located in the hotel where the candidate and his wife are staying. We have a private room reserved. Three of our physicians and one advanced practitioner attend. Apparently the dinner goes well. They stay until 9 p.m. By the way, at 6:15 one of the docs called me on the cell phone. She left the itinerary at the office and can’t recall where the dinner will be…

This interview took place on a Friday. As we agreed, I call the candidate the following Wednesday to get his feedback on the interview. He is very excited and wants to know if we can make him an offer by Friday (two days later). I assure him that is impossible. The candidate is cranky.

By Friday, the evaluations from our internists have been returned and they are generally good, but not outstanding. We have another candidate who could interview and the department wants to bring her in for a visit. I call the candidate and explain that the group plans to interview another candidate. Given the timing, we are unable to make a decision for at least another month. The candidate tells me that he has to make a decision now on a very good offer. I encourage him to take it. He is still cranky. As it turns out, he doesn’t take the offer. We interview the next candidate, but it doesn’t work out. Ultimately, we hire neither candidate.

Back to the drawing board! While not typical, this kind of interview day happens to us all. A physician recruiter has to be prepared for the unexpected. A physician recruiter also has to understand that even with the best made plans, there are issues totally out of one’s control.

Journal of ASPR - Winter 2013

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