Standing Out in an Interview Part One: Body Language, Attitude, and Engagement

November 17, 2021
In the first part of AOAExcel's four-part Standing Out in an Interview Series, learn how doctors of optometry can use body language, attitude, and engagement to shine when interviewing for a position in a practice. Check back next week for Standing Out in an Interview Part Two: Hiring OD Pet Peeves.
Woman in blazer with resume in front of her shaking hands across a table with a man in a blazer, indicating a job interview.

A hiring interview serves as an opportunity for an OD to show a hiring manager how they would fit into the practice and help the practice grow, and for the OD to ask questions to determine whether the practice fits their career goals. Both experienced ODs and recent graduates often find the interview process a bit intimidating, but there are plenty of steps they can take to prepare and stand out when the interview day comes. For this four-part series on standing out in a hiring interview, AOAExcel spoke with some practice owners who recently hired optometrists within their practices about what makes a candidate stand out in a hiring interview.

Body Language & Attitude

Once the day of the interview arrives there are a few things optometrists need to be conscious of to shine during the interview. For example, once the interview has begun, body language and attitude are key factors in making a positive impression on a hiring practice owner.

  • “Attitude and desire to learn are significant,” says Dr. David Jaco of Kentucky. “Show that you’re willing to accept changes and challenges, take on leadership roles, and make the practice better.”
  • “Be conscious of your body language and show that you are enthused,” suggests Dr. Ryan Powell of Missouri.
  • Powell also reminds interviewees that, “outside events like coffee, lunches, and dinners that a candidate may be invited to are part of the interview, too. Do not drop your professionalism.”

Stay Engaged by Asking Questions

Many new ODs forget that the interview is not only an opportunity for the hiring OD to assess a candidate’s compatibility with the practice, but it is also an opportunity for the candidate to determine if the practice is a good fit for their life and career goals. Hiring ODs expect interviewees to have questions about the practice, and these questions can help indicate to hiring optometrists how engaged an interviewee is with the hiring process. Some questions that hiring ODs find significant are:

  • “Ask about the types of technology used in the practice and what the practice’s emphasis are,” suggests Dr. Jaco.
  • Jason Wilson of Mississippi recommends getting a sense of the practice’s history and trajectory. “Ask where the practice was three years ago and where the practice owner expects it to be three years from now. Get an idea of the practice owner’s goals and how you can help achieve those goals.”
  • “Ask about the philosophy of the practice and the practice culture,” says Dr. Mason Smith of South Carolina. “Ask how the support staff are utilized on a daily basis.”
  • TeShawna Sutton of Kentucky also emphasizes focusing some questions on the staff. “Find out what you can about the staff. Have they been around a long time? If possible, it can be helpful to talk to the staff directly, as they’ll know what it is like to work with the hiring doctor.”

Trying to determine an appropriate salary range for your area? Review local listings within the AOAExcel Career Center to get a sense of compensation packages in your targeted location.

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