Hire the right radiologists, and your practice will position itself for long term success. But, before extending an offer, how do you ensure that an individual candidate will thrive within your organization?
Each practice is different when it comes to specializations, culture, goals, strategies and client mix. Likewise, each candidate is different with regard to education, experience, personality and motivations. Interviews give leadership the opportunity to sort out which candidates are the right fit for them.
Over the past 25-plus years I’ve interviewed hundreds of radiologists. Here are 7 of my most effective interview questions and a few lessons-learned on the interview process, starting with a recent addition.
Embrace virtual interviews
With the growth of telemedicine, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, physicians are increasingly interacting with patients and with one another in real time via online video conferencing. Whether to promote safe social distancing or to leverage telehealth efficiencies, tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams are permanent, growing elements of the medical landscape. A virtual interview gives the hiring practice an opportunity to observe how well the candidate can communicate remotely and demonstrates to the candidate that the hiring practice has the tech savvy to keep pace with change.
Be responsive and move decisively
In diagnostic imaging, radiologists know prompt attention and effective communication can be the difference between life and death. If a candidate perceives an interview process to be too lengthy or to lack urgency, it reflects poorly on that practice’s ability to provide the environment radiologists need to do their jobs effectively.
Get to know the real candidate
In the preliminary rounds, before interviews, curricula vitae are reviewed, contacts are made, and unqualified or uninterested candidates are eliminated. Now the playoffs begin. Candidates have already been determined to have an appropriate level of education, training and experience—whether you’re recruiting a generalist fresh out of residency or a senior neuroradiologist—and have expressed interest in the position.
It’s time to get to know the real candidate. People tend to put on their game faces in interviews. Often, they hold stuff back. Not in a dishonest way. It’s more like they send in a representative of their best self who wants to please the interviewer by telling them what they think they want to hear. It’s the interviewer’s job to try and get to know the real person.
7 interview questions that can help uncover the best radiologist for your organization
Following are some questions that will help interviewers get to know candidates better, along with a brief explanation of what might be learned from their responses.
1. Why are you considering leaving (or why did you leave) your current practice?
The answer should help reveal the candidate’s motivations. Are they hoping to relocate closer to family, friends or personal interests? Or do they feel as if their current practice does not provide the support they need to be the best radiologist they can be? Perhaps they’re just shopping for better compensation.
2. Why do you feel our practice may be a good fit for you?
What I really want to know is, “How interested are you in our practice?” If the candidate has done their homework, they should be able to describe specific aspects of your practice – size, specialties, clients served, institutional affiliations, your mission and vision, etc. – and use them to frame their answer as to what is attractive to them.
3. How would referring physicians describe working with you? Give me an example of a difficult encounter you had with a referring physician. How did you resolve it?
Good relationships with referring physicians are essential to the health of every practice. Granted, the candidate may be a little biased in their response. But you’d be surprised how easy it is to see through someone who simply dances around an answer to this question, versus someone who provides an honest response and can articulate how they approach relationship challenges. This is also something that may be verified later through colleague referrals.
4. How would support staff at your current practice describe your management style?
How effectively a radiologist works with those around them impacts everyone’s productivity. Again, the candidate may be biased in responding. However, look for clues as to whether their approach is authoritative or collaborative, prescriptive or laissez-faire. Then assess how the candidate’s style aligns with your own practice culture. Your assessment in also something you may verify through colleagues.
5. What are your long term career goals?
It’s critical to understand if the candidate’s expectations align with the opportunity being offered. If you’re offering a partnership track, and the candidate isn’t interested in getting involved with strategic planning and business decisions, this may not make a good match.
6. Describe your approach to CME. What goals do you have for CME over the next 5 years?
This provides a picture of where the candidate views themself on their journey as a radiologist. Are they content to use CME to maintain their current skill set, or driven to leverage CME to expand expertise into new modalities or specialty areas?
7. What inspired you to pursue radiology? How has your experience lived up to expectations?
A bit of a softball question, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Every radiologist has a story about how they were personally drawn to the discipline. In answering, the candidate has an opportunity to reveal their personality, while providing the interviewer a sense of what that person may be like as a coworker.
Ultimately, the interview benefits both sides. It’s not about selling your practice on a given candidate, or selling the candidate on your practice. It’s about learning together whether or not the practice and the candidate are a good match, and moving forward from there.
For additional best practices, check out this blog from vRad’s VP of Human Resources, Michelle Torkelson, 5 Tips for More Effective Radiologist Recruiting and Hiring.