Before You Begin:
Physicians of all specialties are in demand and there will be no shortage of opportunities. However, it makes all the difference in the world for you to find the right fit. As you begin your career search, take some time to consider these questions:
- What are the top 2 or 3 factors or values that will guide you on whether to pursue or accept a position? (Lifestyle, Flexibility, Location/Community, Group Culture, Benefits, Salary, Patient Population, Loan Repayments, etc.)
- Taking in to consideration your personality and personal goals, what “mode of practice” would be the best fit for you long term? (Small group, medium group, large group, solo practitioner, government employed, hospital based or academic practice, etc.)
- How invested do you want to be in the responsibilities of the practice? Do you want to be employed, work as a partner or own your own small business?
Practices will spend tens of thousands of dollars to prepare for and recruit a physician, so finding the right fit for you and for them is incredibly important.
- Is this opportunity a match for my career goals? Which things can you live without that might be best described as items for your wish list?
- Is my spouse in agreement with pursuing this opportunity?
- Can I see myself in this practice circumstance long term?
- Before you commit to an onsite interview, have all of your initial preliminary questions been answered? Are you comfortable with the answers?
- Schedule at least one video conference with the physician leader of the group.
Practices will spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to meet with you personally. Their goals are to continue evaluating and assessing your fit for their practice. This is your chance to see if you are a match for their practice as well and the right place for your family.
- Make sure you show up with your goals and priorities written down.
- Meet the key group partners in the practice and informal settings; both one-on-one and in a larger groups.
- If you’ll need medical staff privileges, meet the hospital CEO, Chief of Staff, talk with medical staff office and nursing staff.
- Meet with some physicians outside your group and specialty.
- Tour the community with a knowledgeable real estate agent; one that will educate you on the community.
- Visit the local supermarkets, police departments, churches and schools to find out for firsthand what the community is really like.
- Explore the community and neighborhoods to get a feel for the area. Go have a coffee or snack at a local café to take it all in.
- If you have children, investigate the schools. Talk with anyone in town that will give you their impressions of the educational as well as extra-curricular opportunities available for your children.
- Take pictures or a video to help you recall the impressions of the community.
- Prepare a list of questions beforehand so you can focus on the responses to your questions, and not be distracted thinking of the next question you’ll ask.
- First impressions are very important. Take some time on your personal grooming and appearance to project a professional image.
- Make sure you are on time to all of your meetings.
- Maintain a good, confident attitude, keeping eye contact with everyone you meet. Don’t forget to smile; it’s infectious.
- Bring additional copies of your curriculum vitae and professional references. This will keep the interview process moving smoothly in the event one of the people you meet does not have these documents. This will also give a favorable impression of you as a thorough individual.
- Be prepared to discuss your current and past practices. Avoid any negative comments regarding current or past associates. In your explanations, be succinct and concise.
- Avoid promoting your own agenda. Focus on getting the job first. People will be evaluating your clinical skills as well as your personality.
- You will probably be asked about your salary expectations. DON’T give a number when asked; instead confidently state that you are extremely interested in the opportunity and look forward to evaluating their strongest offer.
- During the onsite interview re-verify all the information you have about the opportunity to insure you fully understand the entire situation.
- If you are a match for the practice, it is normal to receive a written offer with a contract at the conclusion of your visit or within 48 hours. There may be a time frame given for you to respond.
- Following the interview, on your way out of town, try and talk yourself out of accepting the position. If you can do this before you get home, then maybe this is not the right opportunity for you. If you cannot talk yourself out of accepting the position, then this is may be the right position for you.
- Do not wait too long to make your decision. If you are interested in this opportunity, be assured that others will be too. Other candidates will be visiting before and after you, and may accept the offer while you are still trying to decide.
- Remember, you are unlikely to find 100% of what you are looking for in any opportunity. If you find 80% or more in an opportunity, you should seriously consider it.
Are you aware of these four loan repayment programs?
- Riverside County Medical Association (RCMA): Riverside County Medical Association’s Medical Scholarship Programs, organized under the Riverside County Physicians Memorial Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization, were established to assist residents and early career physicians repay medical education loans. Awardees must commit to practice in the County of Riverside for 5 years.
- Steven M. Thompson Physician Corps Loan Repayment Program: This state of California loan repayment program encourages recently licensed physicians and surgeons to practice in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) and Primary Care Shortage Areas (PCSA) in California. The program repays up to $105,000 in educational loans in exchange for full-time service for a minimum of three (3) years.
- CalHealthcares Loan Repayment Program: CalHealthCares administers loan repayment on educational debt for California physicians who provide care to Medi-Cal patients, which represent one-third of Californians and half of the state’s children. Eligible physicians can apply for up to $300,000 in loan repayment in exchange for a five-year (5) service obligation.
- Faculty Loan Repayment Program: The Faculty Loan Repayment Program provides loan repayment to individuals who have an interest in pursuing a career as a faculty member in a health professions school. Program applicants must be from a disadvantaged background, have an eligible health professions degree or certificate, and have an employment commitment as a faculty member at an approved health professions institution for a minimum of two-years.