Questions Physician Candidates Should Ask During a Job Interview


Considering and preparing responses to questions that a potential medical employer may ask is an essential part of the physician interview preparation process. What is also crucial and will help distinguish you from your peers will be preparing insightful questions of your own. Some of these questions will be appropriate for both private and hospital employed positions and some will only be appropriate for one or the other. Along with a copy of your CV, make sure you keep a list of questions like these to impress at the end of your interview:

Questions to Ask Regarding the Position During Your Physician Interview

  • Why is this physician position open? (Hopefully due to growth and retirements as opposed to frequent turnover.)
  • What does a typical day look like for this position?
  • Are there job duties that lie outside the realm of clinical medicine?
  • How many patients does this position average per day and how much time are they allotted for each person?
  • How is productivity measured?
  • Is there a formal physician performance evaluation process?
  • Is there a referral system in place?
  • Is there a restrictive covenant or non-compete clause?

Asking About Call Schedule

  • Tell me about the call schedule.
  • What physicians are involved in call?
  • What will be the new physician’s weekend and night responsibilities?
  • How many hospitals are covered daily?
  • Which are covered for night call?

Learning More About Current Staff and Physicians

  • Tell me about the practicing physicians.
  • Where were they trained?
  • How long have they been with the practice?
  • Have any physicians left the practice, and if so, why?
  • How would you describe the organizational culture?

Inquiring How Management/Partners Lead the Practice

  • Tell me about the governance structure of the practice.
  • Who is managing the practice?
    • How is it being done?
  • If a private practice group, who are the partners?
  • What is the mechanism for becoming a partner?
  • What does becoming a partner mean in terms of change in duties, responsibilities, voting, or economics?
  • How many of the physicians are partners?
  • What is the buy-in to become a partner?
  • What are the biggest challenges you’re currently facing?

Learning How the Business Side is Managed

  • Tell me about the business management aspects of the practice.
  • What resources are provided by the business organization (compliance and coding programs, information systems, human resources, legal, accounting, marketing, billing and collecting, and managed care)?
  • Tell me about the costs associated with the business part of the practice.
  • What is the overhead?
    • What is the return to physician?
  • What type of equipment is available?
    • Who purchases the equipment?
  • Does the individual physician get the technical revenue?
  • Is the individual physician required to sign for or guarantee any debt?
  • Tell me about the short and long term plans for the practice.
  • If a private practice, are the members considering hospital integration?
  • If a hospital system, are they considering integration into a larger system?
  • What is the payer mix and reimbursement history of the practice?
  • Tell me about the referral patterns for the organization and how that will change/grow with a new member.
  • Are there possible future changes such as expansion or integration into a larger system?

Determining the Compensation Range for the Physician Job

  • Tip: Ask only after compensation has been brought up by the organization. Never broach compensation until they have opened the topic. This may or may not occur on the first interview.
  • Tell me about the trends in physician compensation over the last five years; Are there sources of ancillary revenues?
  • Tell me about the complete compensation package for someone with my skills in this area.
  • How the base compensation is determined (ie. charges, collections, relative value units)?
    • Are there bonus opportunities?
  • When does it change to a different formula (after a specific time or collection amount or some other way)?
  • What is the anticipated compensation for the group over the next 3 to 5 years?
  • What is the difference in compensation between senior members and new associates?
  • Who is responsible for determining compensation for the practice?
    • What mechanisms are in place to change the compensation, and can it be changed without input from individual physicians?

Exploring the Available Benefits

  • Tell me about your benefits package:
    • what does it include and not include?
    • How much vacation/CME time is allotted each year?
    • When does that increase and what is the maximum allowed?
  • What expenses are covered and not covered in my compensation (malpractice, CME expenses, licensure, publications, and certification)?
  • Tell me about the retirement plan.
  • What insurance coverage do you provide?
    • Is it for the employee only or a family plan?
  • What is your malpractice exposure and history?
    • Who is the current carrier and what are their limits?
    • What are the options in the future for non-renewal of insurance?

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