Do you remember your first medical or career job interview?
It was Autumn 1995, and I was being interviewed for my first medical job interview. I hadn’t done much preparation, but was enthusiastic and ready to finally pursue my medical career. All seemed to be going well, until the question…. ‘Where would you rather be right now?’.
I had been attending meditation and yoga classes with a Malaysian medical student friend in the previous months. Rather than tell the Panel about my ‘elective’ to Hawai’i which was starting shortly, working for Kaiser Permanente in population health management and social prescribing, while surfing, sailing, and dancing on the beach every night – which I now realise was what they had hoped to hear about – I paused, and responded sincerely:
‘I’m very happy to be right here’
It still makes me laugh to think about this experience. I shared the story with my husband last night who said it was ‘very me to have been so existentialist and to have been ‘Too Zen’’.
I was being honest and sincere but had failed to realize the context of why the question was being asked.
What I‘ve learned from years of being interviewed and interviewing people
Interestingly, I was then successful at every job application for the next 20 years! Many of these jobs involved my interviewing applicants for a wide range of public health and clinical leadership roles. Being interviewed, and being ‘on the other side of the table’, helped me to gain insight into how interview processes and panels really work. I now use that experience to help others to ‘Shine in their interviews‘ as a career coach for medical directors, doctors leadership coach, providing career advice for medics, and public health leadership Coach and Coaching Psychologist.
‘Playing the game’
My rookie error, of failing to realise the wider context of the question, is an example of the need to ‘play the game’ in an interview.
By putting yourself in the interviewer’s shoes, and asking yourself ‘why this question is being asked’, you can be more strategic in answering your questions to ensure you are giving yourself every opportunity to secure the role.
Some recent successes!
Here are some comments from recent clients who have undertaken interview preparation coaching with me as part of their coaching programs:
‘I did it!’
‘I’ve been offered the post!’
‘Oh my goodness, I’ve got the job!’
‘I have been offered the role!’
‘I got the job!!!’
It’s so inspiring to see you all succeed – very well done to you all! I hope you gain real and lasting satisfaction and impact in your new public health and medical leadership positions!
Dr. Fiona Day is an expert Executive, Leadership & Career Coach, and Coaching Psychologist, specializing in the leadership, careers, and well-being of doctors, medical, and public health leaders. She is a former medical and public health leader, is based in the UK, and works internationally. Sign up to her email list here for free resources, news, and more. You can unsubscribe at any time.