How to make an impression during an optometric phone interview

April 11, 2022
AOAExcel talks with Chelsea Page of Covenant Physician Partners to gain a recruiter's perspective on how ODs can impress during a phone interview.
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When applying for a new position, a doctor of optometry will likely have a phone interview in the early stages of the process.  A phone interview is often used to verify basic information and to see if the candidate meets the minimum criteria before moving to the next step.  A candidate may have to do one or two phone interviews before advancing to an in-person interview with the hiring manager.  What are some good tips that ODs can use for their phone interviews?  We talked with Chelsea Page, Manager of Physician & APP Recruitment for Covenant Physician Partners, to offer advice.

Page stresses the importance of being prepared.  “Whether your first call is with a recruiter or hiring party, it’s important to show preparedness by reviewing the job description and researching the organization” says Page.  “Provide examples of how your past training and/or experience match the criteria for the role and how your unique skill set may contribute positively to the team. Also be ready to discuss your key accomplishments, professional goals, and any questions relating to the information provided on your resume.”

With the current popularity of platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, some calls may require you to be on camera for a video call.  For those interviews, Page offers this advice about what to wear and the background in your video. “Dress for the role that you want, clinic or business attire is appropriate but consider attire slightly more elevated than your everyday practice attire.”  She adds “Be mindful of surroundings and presentation. Do a test run for your audio and video to eliminate chances of technical difficulties or distractions during your meeting.”

ODs often want to know what things they should avoid during phone interviews.  Page warns to be careful regarding the topic of salary.  “Avoid fixating on compensation in the earlier stages. Although compensation is important, allow yourself time to assess all monetary and non-monetary benefits and explore incentives that could be negotiated.”  Page continues “Often recruiters will want to work with both the candidate and hiring parties to align. Hiring parties may also be opened to negotiating components at later stages. Build rapport over the course of your interviews and give yourself the opportunity to choose a position, rather than eliminate employment opportunities prior to an offer stage.”

Page advises to keep it positive.  “It’s best to avoid sharing overly negative feedback surrounding your current or past employer, training programs, or colleagues. This often reflects worse for the candidate.”  She notes “Leave your recruiter and hiring party with a positive impression with honest and optimistic reflections on past events and future goals.”

Towards the end of the interview, candidates will typically have time to ask questions of their own.  Page discussed how recruiters look at those follow-up questions.  “Follow up questions show engagement and greater interest in the position. We recommend at least 3-5 questions at each interview stage.”  She added “Recruiters and hiring parties want to place the right candidate in right role and often we learn about what most interests’ candidates not through their answers but through their questions.”

Lastly, be sure to follow up after your interview.  Page stresses the importance of contacting the person you spoke with.  “Sending a quick thank you message within 24 hours speaks volumes for professionalism” she emphasizes.  “For status updates regarding the position, we recommend a communication cadence each week. Regular communication often sets you apart and shows your willingness to contribute positively to a team.”

The AOAExcel Career Center is a great resource for ODs seeking career advice.  ODs can conveniently look for optometry positions in one location at the job board.  Employers can get their open positions directly in front of thousands of ODs; AOA members receive special pricing for job listings.

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