Preparation is the Key for Internal Medicine Physician Interviews Sep 5

By Sterling Medical Staff

Years of education, medical school, and medical residency do not necessarily prepare internal medical physicians for an interview for a highly desired job.  Getting rest, presenting a professional appearance, and organized preparation will assist the successful internal medicine physician, to obtain the job that he or she wants.  That preparation includes researching the targeted practice, anticipating possible interview questions and preparing well thought out answers.

According to Dr. Patrick C. Algire, of the American College of Physicians (ACP), in the online article “Tips for the First Interview”, how the interviewer perceives your professional appearance is a key to gaining that position.  Dr. Algire lists common sense tips to the internal medicine physician candidate that might be taken for granted, but are still necessary.  To make the best impression on an interviewer, do not bring a backpack, avoid too much fragrance or after shave, and wear a clean, pressed suit, and polished shoes.

There are typical interview questions to anticipate, like:  “What are your weaknesses, and how do you overcome them?” “How do you standout from your peers? “Tell me one thing at which you are best?” ”Why did you choose to train in internal medicine?” “What are your strengths? “How do you handle conflict?” Dr. Algire suggests that answers should be sincere and insightful rather than safe, and to avoid trying to guess what the interviewer might agree with.

During the interview, asking poignant insightful questions will not only reveal more about the practice and the job itself, but will reveal a candidate’s excitement and interest in the practice, and the position.  Prepare these questions in advance and bring the list to the interview.

Dr. Algire suggests, “You may wish to gather information about practice philosophy, a typical working day, anticipated responsibilities, medical student and resident teaching, and opportunities for practice growth. You may wish to learn about your expected role in the practice…”  The interview can provide a candidate with key information about the opportunity and the practice.  Information about the practice and the people that work there can make it easier to make a decision if an offer is made.

An interviewee should try to remain focused.  Be respectful and pay attention to the interviewer.  Even though questions and answers may have been anticipated and planned for, listen to the exact wording of the question and answer it as it was phrased.  Avoid discussing salary unless the interviewer brings up the subject.  This is something that can be discussed in subsequent interviews.

For interviews taking place in a new area, it is okay to ask about “housing costs, school systems, cultural activities, and entertainment.”  A short tour might be informative.  Dr. Algire suggests asking to include a spouse when and if a second interview occurs.


  1. Patrick C. Alguire, MD, FACP