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.
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. We all tend to put our game faces on in interviews. I always assume people are holding stuff back. Not in a dishonest way. It’s more like we send in a representative of our best self who wants to please the interviewer by telling them what we think they want to hear. It’s the interviewer’s job to try and get to the real you.
It’s important to note that most interviews during the COVID-19 pandemic, and likely for some time to come, will not be conducted in person. Instead of a faceless phone interview, I strongly recommend using a video conferencing application, such as Zoom, Facetime or Microsoft Teams. Visual clues will help you and the candidate better understand one another during the interview. Plus, it is valuable these days to know that the candidate is comfortable and can communicate clearly using video tools.
Here are some questions I use to help me get to know candidates once they’ve made the initial cut. I’ve also included a little explanation of what I hope to learn from the answer to each.
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.
Looking for additional ways to attract the best and brightest? Check out these 5 tips for effective radiologist recruiting and hiring.