Article Date: 9/1/2013

Dot Your I’s and Cross Your T’s When it Comes to Interviewing

Dot Your I’s and Cross Your T’s When it Comes to Interviewing

By Gina M. Wesley OD, MS, FAAO

images Dr. Wesley practices at Complete Eye Care of Medina, which she opened in 2008. She was honored as Minnesota’s Optometrist of The Year in 2011. You can reach her at drwesley@cecofmedina.com.

I enjoy the privilege of working with optometry students — many have shadowed me, emailed me for advice and even interviewed with me for a position, and I can’t stress enough how important it is to stand out during the interview process. There are more optometry graduates than ever searching for jobs. You’re not only competing for jobs amongst your fellow peers, but also other ODs who have experience and may be seeking new positions. Here are some tips on interviewing with finesse.

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Dress appropriately. I know you may have taken a somewhat casual approach in clinic (depending on the location and type of externship you had), but you have to up the dress code a notch when interviewing. Don’t wear anything revealing, ladies, and that goes for shoes, too. No one wants to see all of your toes, no matter how cute those strappy sandals may be. Guys, wear a suit and tie — yes, a tie. What you wear shows the level of respect you have for your interviewer. I once had a candidate show up in jeans and he was politely asked to leave within the first 5 minutes of our meeting.

Answer questions thoroughly. When asked a question, no matter how expected or unexpected it may be, be sure to answer it completely. Be prepared to confidently discuss yourself and describe how your skills will set you apart from your competition. Most interviewers know you’re qualified. What’s important to them is if you will fill a niche in their clinic that’s not currently being served or how you’ll help take their pratice to the next level. When I was interviewing as a fourthyear student, I created and presented a plan to show how I would bring new patients into the office and how my efforts would pay for my salary and eventually create increased profits. I was offered a job on the spot.

Do your homework. Research the places where you’re interviewing. Know something about them, so you can provide a personal touch when referencing items in your cover letter. Yes, you need a cover letter when submitting your resume, and each cover letter should be specifically tailored to suit the role for which you’re applying. Nothing says, “I don’t care” like a generic cover letter. In the interview, be sure to ask questions pertaining to the clinic. This shows you’ve done your homework and you have an interest in the practice’s overall workings. Don’t be afraid to make suggestions as to how you can fit into the practice. You may present an idea they haven’t considered, which could open up the door to new employment.

For the new generation. I’ve seen an alarming trend where younger ODs are bringing family members to their interviews. Nothing says, “I’m not prepared for this job and its responsibilities” like having mom in the waiting area while you interview. If you need a ride, have your friend or family member wait in the car. Again, I’ve had candidates strike out because their moms made a polite plea for their child at the end of the interview.

Last things last. Don’t, and I repeat DON’T forget to write a thank you note — email doesn’t count. I’ve stopped considering candidates who don’t follow up after an interview. Based on the overall mission of my clinic, that lost little detail is a deal-breaker for me. At the very least, it shows an element of caring and truly is the polite thing to do.

Hopefully these tips have brought a few things to mind that are a bit out of the ordinary when it comes to interview success. Be prepared, put your best foot forward, and remember — it’s all in the details. nOD



Optometric Management, Volume: , Issue: September 2013, page(s): S-5