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Interview Advice from NDs

You’ve had job interviews before, but this one is different: it’s your first interview as a naturopathic doctor.  While any job interview will cause jitters, this one might make you especially nervous because it is the first step to launching your new career after years of hard work in medical school.  Interviewing for a position at a practice will be unlike other interviews you have had, so we want to give you some helpful tips to ensure you impress.

Before the interview

It is vital for any interview to thoroughly research the organization you will be interviewing at.  This is even more important when interviewing for an ND position.  Find out who all of the practitioners are via their website, mutual connections, or their social media accounts.  See where they received their education and if there is any connection you can make there.  Learn what they specialize in and what the mission of their practice is.  If you don’t feel your mission and skill set are in line with that of the practice, do not interview for the position.  You want to find a good fit rather than the first job you can get.

If you do not live close to where you will be interviewing, do a dry run trip there to see how long it will take and assess the traffic.  You never want to be late, but be sure not to show up more than 10-15 minutes early.  If they have other interviews prior to yours, you do not want to be too early as this can make them feel rushed.  As you are waiting, observe the front desk interaction and get a feel for their clinical operations.  Have a friendly conversation with the reception staff if they are not busy.  The interviewers will often ask the staff what they thought of you after you leave. 

Pick out a professional outfit the night before.  You are a doctor and you should be presenting yourself as such.  The interviewers are considering you to join their practice, so they will be looking to see that you can provide a good first impression to patients. 

Be sure to rehearse answers to the commonly asked interview questions below.

  • Tell me about yourself
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why are you interested in working for us?
  • What can you contribute to this practice?
  • Why should we choose you?
  • What are you looking for in a practice?
  • Tell me about an item on your CV (know your CV well!)
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • How do you handle conflict? Pressure?
  • Describe a case as if you were in clinic that taught you something.

During the interview

As mentioned above, first impressions are very important.  The window of time for a first impression is about 7 seconds, so the person(s) interviewing you have formed this impression long before you even say anything meaningful.  Make eye contact, smile, and give a firm handshake.  Be sure to remember everyone’s name.  Dale Carnegie once said, “A person's name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”  When you use a person’s name periodically in a conversation, they will like you more.  Conversely, if you forget someone’s name, they will believe that they are unimportant to you and this will affect their impression of you negatively. 

Turn off your phone and leave it in your pocket.  If you need to do something like add a calendar appointment for a follow up interview, you can turn on your phone at that time. 

Once the interview starts, remember the answers you practiced so you can answer questions thoroughly without rambling.  Have a few good questions of your own ready to ask, but do not get into salary, benefits, or malpractice insurance until after you have been given an offer.  Ask about the next steps and timeline for finding out if you got the position.  Thank everyone before you leave, including the receptionist.

After the interview

Within 24 hours, send a handwritten thank you note to the interviewers.  Why use snail mail?  Because so few people send physical letters these days, a nice handwritten note will set you apart from everyone else!  You want to cement the positive impression you made during the interview.  If they are having a hard time deciding between final candidates, small things like a personalized thank you will help your cause. 

As a graduate of SCNM, we know you will do a great job and bring your very best.  Good luck at those interviews!