Tips for Landing Your First Job as an Emergency Physician

Emergency physicians are in high demand. In fact, there are approximately twice as many jobs as there are physicians to fill them. As a recent graduate, your extensive training and youthful enthusiasm makes you a hot commodity.

Just because you are a well-trained physician, though, doesn’t mean you are an expert job-seeker. Many emergency physicians who enter the process unprepared come to regret their first choice of employer out of residency, leading a significant percentage to embark on another job search all over again after a few years on the job.

Meanwhile, knowing they are in such high demand, many young physicians don’t take the time to fix relatively easy gaps in their experience as a job-seeker, and may inadvertently disqualify themselves from jobs which should have been theirs for the taking.

As someone who has interviewed many candidates to join our physician-led team of acute care providers, here are some recommendations I can offer for candidates to find a position that aligns with their professional goals and patient care philosophy:

Do your homework

Review the company’s website in detail Look at its listing on Glassdoor, where current and former employees can write reviews. Research who will interview you and read any articles that they’ve written. Further, find a way to mention this during your interview. “I really enjoyed your blog post on ‘The Shift’ about observation medicine. Can you tell me more about that?” In addition, research your own internet presence, and modify any red flags, before they’re seen by your potential employer.

Look good on paper

There is more than one way to present your CV, and there are an infinite number of ways to mess it up. In addition to showcasing your training and expertise, your curriculum vitae should demonstrate an attention to detail, a key quality for any emergency physician. Have someone proofread your CV for grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Prepare for difficult questions

Many companies, including USACS, utilize behavioral interviewing to understand the candidate better. Although there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers, prepare your responses carefully. Be able to explain why each negative experience was also a learning opportunity. In turn, ask difficult questions to your interviewer. If you’re anxious about compensation or scheduling, express those concerns and expect substantive answers.

Be personable

Interviewers, by law, cannot ask you about your marital status, family or religion. Really, it’s none of their business and has no bearing on your actual qualifications. That said, physician interviewers would much rather swap stories about their kids or hobbies than talk about 401(k) contributions.

Sharing some personal details will help your interviewer determine whether or not you will be a cultural fit within the company. Don’t be afraid to redirect conversation back to you. This is your time to shine. Refocus on your skills and the matter at hand.

Look the part

Your personality should stand out. Your attire should not. Professional dress demonstrates your ability to play the role of polished, capable physician. Consider getting a tailored suit. Polished your shoes. Make sure your belt matches. You’ll have plenty of time after you land the job to show your sense of style.

Find the right fit

Choose the company that fits you and your needs. Work with a group of welcoming providers who view you as a valuable addition to their team. If you value your autonomy as a provider, be sure to choose a company where you’ll be involved in top-level decision making. Although compensation is key, don’t be swayed by a large signing bonus. Before accepting any position, you should feel confident that the company will position you for long-term success.