Article Date: 9/1/2005

Interview Like a Pro
Jan Jurkus, O.D., M.B.A

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.

Interview Do's

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.

3.  Do be confident: You are an educated professional. You have a lot to offer a potential employer.

4.  Do 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.

7.  Do 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.

Interview Don'ts

1.    Don't bring up salary or benefits: This is a breach of interview etiquette. Let the interviewer broach the subject.

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?

Dr. Jurkus is a professor and contact lens residency program coordinator at the Illinois College of Optometry.


Optometric Management, Issue: September 2005