Interview Like a Pro
Jan Jurkus, O.D.,
QUESTION: I'm a fourth-year student,
and I'm starting to interview for positions. How can I present myself in the best
light during interviews?
ANSWER: It's natural to feel nervous
as you start interviewing for a career position. Here are some simple do's and don'ts
that should help you overcome the jitters and present as a true professional.
1. Do use the interviewer's name:
This establishes a personal connection.
2. Do stay focused:
When asked a question, stay on topic. Don't ramble.
be confident: You are an educated professional. You have a lot to offer a potential
use examples: If you can provide an example of how you solved a problem either
a clinical challenge or a management or personnel issue you'll give the interviewer
important insight into your skills as a doctor and as a manager.
5. Do be genuine:
If you don't have an answer or are unsure, be honest.
6. Do focus on your
value to the employer: Are you particularly skilled in a certain area? Discuss
how this aptitude will benefit the practice in time saved, increased revenue, patient
satisfaction and referrals.
thank the interviewer: A personal thank-you as you leave the interview and a follow-up
note a day or two later shows your appreciation.
1. Don't bring up salary or
benefits: This is a breach of interview etiquette. Let the interviewer broach the
2. Don't be negative
about past employers or your school: You may come across as overly critical or difficult.
3. Don't give the
impression you're shopping around: You're probably not the only candidate interviewing.
Treat every interview as the most important one.
4. Don't appear aggressive:
Can you easily assimilate into a practice? Crossing the line from assertive to aggressive
could hinder your chances.
Take a few minutes to review these
guidelines before you head for your next interview. You have the knowledge and skill,
so why not project a polished, professional image?
Jurkus is a professor and contact lens residency program coordinator at the Illinois College of Optometry.
Optometric Management, Issue: September 2005