How-To Guide for Physician Executives Preparing for a Video Interview
Preparing for a physician executive interview via video can seem daunting, but implementing the following suggestions from members Grant Cooper’s experienced leadership team will help make a video interview a success. Below, Grant Cooper partners Carrie Hackett and Ed Stout share their top tips for physician executive video interview preparation.
Software — The first step in physician executive interview preparation is to make sure you have the right software on your computer or laptop. Avoid using a smartphone. While smartphones have come a long way, the ideal device for a video interview is still a desktop computer or laptop with up-to-date software installed. “They must try the software before the interview to make sure they’re completely comfortable with how it works,” Stout said. “Nothing is more embarrassing than your software not connecting during the interview.”
Check the device camera to make sure it is functioning properly and ensure that the microphone works. Double-check everything at least a half hour before the scheduled interview to make sure it continues to work. Candidates should choose a space with a good internet connection and be mindful of other potential IT issues. “If a candidate plans to do the interview at work, there may be firewalls or other IT protections in place that make a video interview difficult or impossible. Make sure it’s tested where you plan to do the interview. It might work in one location, but not another,” Stout said.
Even with advanced planning, issues can arise. Have a plan for what to do if the video is disconnected and if the connection is disrupted more than once. Typically, the plan is for one party to call the other. “One disconnection might be OK, but it gets distracting if there is more than one, and candidates are better off switching to a phone interview at that point,” Stout said. Hackett added that candidates to be aware of any delays in technology to ensure that candidates are not talking over the interviewer.
Background, Lighting — Check the background where you plan to do the interview. “Have someone you trust look at the background and make sure there is nothing distracting, and be aware that everything the camera can see, the interviewer will see,” Stout reminded candidates. Check the lighting. While you don’t want a space so bright that the interviewer cannot see your face, candidates also should avoid a dim space that casts shadows. Be mindful of jewelry, watches or other objects that may catch the light during the interview.
Executive video interview tips focus on your appearance as well as software. A physician executive interview demands a high level of professionalism.
Attire — “Healthcare tends to be a conservative space,” Hackett shared. “Interviewers will expect a coat and tie or suit, even during a video interview. If the interview team has a bad first impression, the candidate will not be advancing to an on-site or in-person interview.”
Eye Contact — While it might feel awkward, eye contact with the camera is important in a video interview. Make sure your camera points at your face/upper body and that you are in focus. Try to make the camera eye level. Stout has found that candidates are tempted to look at the screen when the camera is somewhere else entirely. “Make a conscious effort to look into the camera,” he noted. And don’t put the camera too close to your face or to your side. A profile view can distract the interviewers.
Advanced technical preparation will not go far if candidates are not prepared for the conversation they will be having with the interviewer or hiring team. “When I prepare candidates for a video interview, I prepare them as I would for an in-person interview, because often, the initial video interview will determine if they move forward to an onsite visit,” Hackett highlighted.
Complete some research about the organization before the interview. Candidates should understand the position, environment/culture of the company, goals and objectives of the role, and leadership attributes they bring to the table. Candidates also should have prepared answers for background questions and should spend some time thinking about answers for more in-depth questions they anticipate. Having clear motivations for pursuing the role is important. Interviewers appreciate if candidates have a question or two about the role/company or what would make a candidate successful in the position. It is OK to have some written notes, but do not write answers to questions and read them verbatim. Use your notes as a talking point checklist.
Hackett recommended setting aside two hours for a video interview, which includes a half hour before the interview to ensure there are no technical problems and get settled, and about an hour for the interview, with a few extra minutes tacked on in case the interview runs long.
About the Partners
Carrie Hackett, RN, BSN, President and Managing Partner: Following a successful career as Nurse Manager for one of the nation’s largest obstetrics services, Carrie Hackett has achieved a national reputation for excellence in healthcare executive search. Carrie brings more than 25 years of experience to Grant Cooper. She has earned sterling client-evaluated quality ratings for hundreds of executive positions across the nation.
Ed Stout, MBA, Managing Partner: Ed Stout’s healthcare client service spans more than a decade. As a consultant at McKinsey & Company, Ed led teams that served nationally recognized integrated delivery systems as well as large for profit and not-for-profit providers. In 2008, Ed co-founded the McKinsey Hospital Institute (now Objective Health), a technology-enabled consulting solution for hospitals within McKinsey. Ed grew the team to nearly 40 employees and led all product development and client service.
About Grant Cooper
Grant Cooper is a retained executive search firm working principally in healthcare to identify and recruit superior executive talent for our clients. Boutique in size, but not in scope, Grant Cooper’s collective partnership applies more than a century of hard-won executive search expertise to its search engagements.