Congratulations! You’ve secured an interview with the fellowship program or employer you’ve had your eye on for a while. You’ve met their technical requirements, but now you have to ensure you stand out from the pack to land that coveted position.
Setting yourself apart is possible, but it requires some work on your end, Fred Lee, MD, professor of radiology and biomedical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said at RSNA 2015.
“You need to be able to tell your story in two to three minutes,” he said. “Tell a bit about your background and who you are. What makes you unique?”
Once you perfect your personal story, there are many other ways you can prepare and optimize the time you have with a potential employer.
What Interviewers Look For
In addition to someone with strong radiological skills, employers are looking for someone who can integrate easily with their department or practice, Lee said. They’re looking for someone whose personality will fit the office culture – someone with whom they can be friends.
“Watch out for offices that have a flock mentality, though,” he said. “You want a workplace that still offers diversity of thought and background.”
Before the Interview: There are several things you can do to prepare yourself well for an interview, he said.
• Google yourself: Potential employers frequently search online for information about interviewees. Take the time to remove any potentially embarrassing pictures or posts from social media accounts. A negative online impression can cost you a job.
• Cover Letter: A good cover letter frequently makes the difference in whether you earn a face-to-face interview. Make yours interesting and unique in an effort to hook a potential interviewers’ attention. Be sure to put references at the bottom of your cover letter.
• Prepare: In addition to practicing your personal story, Lee said, research the company with which you’re interviewing. Learn about their programs and current practitioners. Don’t over-flatter the interviewer, however, because such behavior can sometimes backfire.
• Eat Breakfast: Don’t skip breakfast the morning before the interview, but be sure what you eat is healthy, Lee said.
“Do not eat a slacker breakfast. If you eat a high-sugar meal, you will crash 90 minutes later,” he said. “I tell people to eat like you’ll be running a marathon.”
During the Interview: Great interviewers will prepare questions to ask you ahead of time, but many won’t. Regardless of how well the interview is prepared, he said, try to include some personal experience information in each answer. For example, if an interviewer asks you about how you would handle a conflict between two colleagues, bring up a time when you had to intervene in such a situation.
After the Interview: Always send a thank you note, Lee said. Whether you opt for snail mail or e-mail, make the note personal to that particular interviewer. Try to connect strongly enough with one person in the office during the interview process so he or she can be an advocate for you in any hiring discussions.
There are also other small ways you can maximize the interview time you spend with a potential employer, Lee said.
• Be conscious of putting your best foot forward
• Stay positive at all times
• Don’t speak badly of any colleagues or current employers
• Offer up information, don’t make an interview pull details out of you