After years of clinical training, many orthopaedic residents and fellows face an equally daunting task—finding the right job. Because job seekers may be focused on issues such as salary and location, they often give little thought to the interview itself. Fortunately, one of the easiest ways to help ensure success is for candidates to picture themselves on the other side of the table, according to Douglas W. Lundy, MD, vice president of Resurgens Orthopaedics, Atlanta.
“Flip the table and imagine yourself as the recruiter,” he told audience members at the Young Practitioners Forum held during the Orthopaedic Trauma Association Annual Meeting. “In a lot of ways, you’re both actually looking for the same thing.”
To prove his point, Dr. Lundy provided the following facts about interviewing with an orthopaedic group practice during his presentation, “The View from the Other Side of the Table: What an Employer Looks for During an Interview.”
Fact 1: Groups want to hire talented surgeons and compensate them fairly.
Many orthopaedic groups are looking for talented young surgeons. To attract the best candidates, groups will provide fair compensation and work with new recruits to ensure their success.
Fact 2: Special deals cause problems.
Beware of special deals. Groups that carve out such deals (eg, paying stipends for on-call coverage or treating the uninsured) often find that they backfire. If the details ever become known, special deals can cause animosity among physicians within the group. “Most surgeons think that their situation is special and they deserve a ‘special deal,’” said Dr. Lundy.
Fact 3: Groups are looking for compatible, long-term hires.
It is very expensive for a group to recruit an orthopaedic surgeon only to lose him or her within a couple of years. Once an interviewee has made the cut, practices look for compatibility—is the new addition going to be a good fit with the group? The reason younger surgeons may be asked to leave a practice after just a year or two may not be because they can’t turn screws in broken bones, but because they can’t get along with people.
Fact 4: Honesty is important.
“You gain absolutely nothing by not being truthful during the interview process,” said Dr. Lundy. Open communication builds trust; holding things back turns negotiating into an adversarial relationship.
Fact 5: Flexibility is key.
New hires often want to get every-thing in writing, but that rarely happens. Groups can’t provide everything in writing because there are some things they can’t control or haven’t even thought about. New hires need to be flexible and trust the group to meet their needs as their clinical volume increases. It is in the group’s best interest for members to be successful.
Fact 6: Groups like candidates with leadership aspirations.
Leadership in medicine, and orthopaedics specifically, is lacking. It can be very difficult to get doctors involved in leadership activities, despite the many opportunities. Discussing different options, such as volunteering for committees or helping out with administrative tasks, during the interview process will make a favorable impression.
Dr. Lundy also cautioned job candidates against concentrating solely on salary, and stressed using common sense when looking to join a group practice.
“Going for the quick money doesn’t always work,” he said. “Remember, there is only a finite amount of cash in the system, so if a group offers to pay you a huge bonus up front, it’s probably going to come off on the back end.”
Dr. Lundy added, “If the partners look happy, the place seems right, and the deal seems fair, then it probably is to a large extent. Recognize, however, that a certain amount of cognitive dissonance will always be involved, because this is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make.”
Maureen Leahy is assistant managing editor of AAOS Now. She can be reached at email@example.com
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