Are you sabotaging your chances at a promotion or job search? Maybe you’re limiting or disqualifying yourself without realizing it. I always recommend reaching out directly to the folks who are in a position to advance your career, but proceed mindfully to avoid these very common mistakes!

In this episode of The Career Rx we’ll discuss:

  • How to talk about expectations of that new role
  • Discussing salary, compensation, perks, and negotiables
  • How you might be restricting yourself too much in your search

Today we’re going to be talking about three huge job application mistakes that physicians (or anyone) sometimes make even with the best intentions. These are loaded topics – when and how you should inquire about the daily expectations and duties of a role, discussing salary and benefits, and how narrowing your search requirements might be leading to missed opportunities.

By the end of this episode, you’ll know how to better prepare yourself to avoid these three red flag situations you might be making before or during an interview.

In this Episode:

[1:00] Most of these mistakes are made even with the best intentions
[3:00] Accidentally broadcasting what you don’t know – a quick way to get eliminated!
[6:15] Worried salary expectations won’t match, and don’t want to waste your time (or theirs)?
[10:20] Location, location, location – don’t ‘overfilter’ your search
[14:35] Knowing the right times for the right questions

Links and Resources:

Episode 73 – Facts and Myths About Physician Recruiters



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Thanks for joining me on this episode of The Career Rx!

TRANSCRIPT: Episode 76 – Three Huge Job Search Mistakes Physicians Make (But You Don’t Have To!)

Hey there, I’m Marjorie Stiegler and you’re listening to The Career Rx Podcast, where we tackle the important things they don’t teach you in medical school. Like how to treat your career, like the business, it really is, with strategies to accelerate the kind of success that you want, because you deserve a career you love, and a career that loves you back. Are you ready? Let’s get into it.

Hey, there, today, we’re going to be talking about three huge job application mistakes that physicians sometimes make, or really that that anybody sometimes makes. These are some do’s and some don’ts that I’m going to cover with you. Because people with all of the very best of intentions, are shooting themselves in the foot and preventing themselves from getting opportunities that they otherwise could. And before we get into those things, I do want to acknowledge that people do this, I think out of the best intentions, they do it because they don’t want to waste anyone’s time, they don’t want to waste their own time. And they don’t want to waste the time of the people who would be reviewing them or interviewing them or potentially making them a job offer.

So I get that I’ve respected I think it’s, it’s, it’s well intended, as I said, but some of these mistakes, people are just doing them either at the wrong time or with the wrong person. So let’s get into that. I hope that this will help you to have a different approach to how you find out the information that you need to be sure that you’re not wasting time, but that you also keep maximizing your opportunities for success.

Okay, first thing to not do when you’re applying for a job, particularly if you’re interested in a leadership role that’s more senior to what you do today, or that you’re interested in transitioning into a slightly different industry or a different type of role. Do not ask basic questions about the duties of the role. Now, this might sound counterintuitive, because of course, you do want to ask questions. And when you’re in an interview, you’re going to want to have some thoughtful questions. But be very careful about the kinds of questions that you ask if what you’re asking are about basic duties, the fundamental core parts of what that job is, what you’re really doing is broadcasting that you don’t understand the job, or maybe that you don’t understand the industry.

And so especially if this is a new move for you, that’s the last thing that you’d like to broadcast, people will know that you don’t have that prior direct experience, they’re gonna know that anyway, from your resume. And most people are happy to teach you and train you, they’re always ready to teach and train and develop the right candidate. But they also want to see some initiative, they want to know that you have done as much as you can to understand the industry or the type of role that you’re pursuing. So you’ve done your homework in advance.

So it’s not that you shouldn’t ask those questions, but you shouldn’t be asking them at the interview or of the hiring manager. That’s a bad time, you shouldn’t be asking these questions of your network. And ideally, you should be doing it well in advance of your opportunity to have a screening conversation or an interview conversation. Or maybe even if you’ve come to know somebody personally or through a connection, that person is a hiring manager for a job you want to apply for. Again, it’s great to reach out, I think it’s always important to have those kind of connections and to let them know you’re interested. But this is definitely not the time to ask questions about very basic duties.

One example that comes really readily to mind for me, anyway, is when I’ve heard somebody asking about an MSL role, the medical science liaison role, and asking if that role requires travel. To me, this reflects just a fundamental lack of understanding about what the MSL role is, it’s an entirely field based role. It’s entirely travel, and might be relatively local travel around your state or to a couple of states, like a limited geography. But it is almost exclusively traveling to physicians and other healthcare professionals in their offices or the places of their convenience. And it’s also traveling to academic congresses and meetings and things like that. So and to ask whether travel is required shows this is a fundamental lack of understanding about the role.

The reason that this is so important. It’s not what it might sound like, which is, you know, are you revealing a certain amount of ignorance, it is helpful to show that you’re industrious and motivated, you’ve done your homework. So that’s the one thing that you do want to reflect. But the other thing that’s so important is no one wants to take the risk to hire you into a role that you might not like. So when you really reveal that you don’t know very much about the industry or the role you’re applying for. What you’re also doing is just sort of putting a big red flag on yourself that says, I’m kind of a risky person to offer this job to, because if you offer it to me and I accept it, and then I get into it, and then I don’t like it.

Then I’m going to bail, right and then you’re going to be left having to hire again, that’s always in the back of the mind, of the person who’s doing the hiring, especially when someone is coming from a different industry are really moving up in leadership such that the day to day job is considerably different, as always, on their minds. And really, really important to mitigate that risk by doing your homework well in advance and asking other people, but not the hiring manager or the people who are interviewing you for the role about basic fundamental duties.

Okay, another don’t another huge mistake not to do, do not ask about salary or compensation. This, I think, everybody probably knows this. But just in case, I mean, I still see people do it. I’ve even had people do this to me, you know, don’t ask the hiring manager or anybody that you’re interviewing with, about salary or compensation until you are actually with an offer in hand and having a negotiation about that. Now, again, I know this is because you don’t want to waste your time, right? Why would you want to spend the time to beef up your resume, and submit it and apply and go through interviews, only to find really, that the offer on the table is just well outside the range that you’d be willing to accept? I totally get it.

But what you should be doing, again, is doing your homework with other people in the industry, again, ideally in advance of interviewing for that job, so that you’re not asking the hiring manager. And you’re not asking the person that you’re interviewing with, what the salary might be. But instead, you’re asking other people who work in similar functions, what their salary ranges are, or that of their peers. I mean, there’s a lot of ways as you’re networking along to learn this, and then based on the size of the company, the job title, and the industry, in general, if you’ve done this networking properly, you should have a pretty good idea of what that salary range is at least enough to know whether it’s something that’s in the ballpark that you can say yes to or that you can negotiate from. But absolutely a big, big No, no.

And the reason for this, again, is not because the salary is secret, but it is a little bit off putting. And the reason that it’s off putting is because that’s not why you know, your, your boss is not looking for the cheapest person to hire, or your potential future boss, right. They don’t hire people based on how inexpensive those people will be to hire. And similarly, they don’t want to hire someone who’s taking a job based solely on the money. Everybody gets, you’ve got to be able to pay your bills. But you know, the person who’s thinking about hiring you is really looking for your skills and your aptitude and you’re fit right in your passion behind the job. And that’s what you should be looking at too, right?

Because that’s how you know, you’ll like the job, you’ll do well at the job, you’ll stay in the job, you’ll advance. And these are the things that are much, much more important than that base salary. Also, in most industries, salaries are based on a band and a range. So they can really vary pretty widely. And it will depend upon your experience and how you sell and negotiate yourself. So when you ask about it, you’re, you’re unlikely to get and really the informed answer because it’s too early, right, a person hasn’t had a chance to thoroughly consider you and think about what they would offer you in an individualized way based on the skills that you communicate during your job interview.

So again, I get that a lot of people don’t want to bother to apply, because they feel like that would be a waste of time. But I am telling you that you should find out this information in advance so that you can decide whether or not you want to apply. And that once you’re in there, you want to just go ahead and get an offer on the table. And quite a bit of that will be able to be negotiated. But more than money really look for that. That cultural fit, skills, aptitudes and things that you’ll enjoy doing. That’s what they want to hire you for. And that’s what you should also be seeking.

By the way, if you check out Episode 73 of this podcast, facts and myths about physician recruiters, that’s another great way to find out salary benchmarking, I mean, you can always talk to a recruiter about that. They’ll be happy to tell you what the industry standards are, they’ll be happy to discuss with you and your experience or lack thereof where you might fall into that kind of compensation and salary band. So it’s always a great idea to develop relationships with recruiters. So again, really important.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t find this stuff out. I’m just saying you shouldn’t ask the person who’s in a position to influence the hiring or progressing of your application whether or not you’re going to be getting an interview. You shouldn’t be asking them that question at that time. You should be waiting until there’s an offer on the table or you should be finding out in advance by doing your homework with others in the industry or with a recruiter.

Okay, third major, major mistake that I’ll see a lot of people do when they’re applying for new job. And I really recommend that you do not do is don’t limit your search or your consideration based on things that are frankly negotiable. A lot of people will ask, you know, what, what types of roles, they’ll or they’ll filter or sort of, they’ll pursue only roles that are specifically mentioning their specialty by training, you’ve probably heard me talk about this before, or they’ll only pursue roles, you know, or they’ll exclude themselves from roles based on, you know, imagining that they might need to have current board certification or active licensure and in the US, and maybe they don’t, or again, on things that are remote, for example.

I say don’t do that, unless it is a completely spelled out in the job description, that it is a fully remote position, or that it is, you know, requires a certain amount of travel or that it absolutely requires relocation, right, if they’re very, very clear, you must have a current license, you must be currently board certified. If those things are extremely clear, they’re spelled out, they’re described as a requirement in the job post, then that might influence whether or not you choose to apply anyway.

Alright, if they’re very, very clear that that’s mandatory, then yes, it might be a waste of your time, but what a lot of people are doing is they’re just there, they’re filtering based on assumptions. So unless they see that remote is okay. They’re excluding that from their search, or unless they see something that says, you know, licensure necessary or something like that, you’re not going to see these, that type of language very often.

And so I would say, Don’t limit yourself based on something that may well be negotiable. Go ahead and apply for the job, get the role first, and then figure out if something is a deal breaker. As you know, if you’ve listened to this podcast before, almost all job descriptions are aspirational. To some degree, they’re written in a way that really describes that perfect unicorn, the professional that the hiring manager would love to have, but they know full well that they’re likely to hire someone who doesn’t have all of them, and maybe doesn’t even have most of them. This is just a way to begin to kind of screen and have a conversation to give the applicant some idea of what they’re going to be doing, and what their skills ought to be. And to have that interview conversation. So again, don’t limit yourself based on some of those things, especially if it’s based on an assumption.

And also, I would not recommend reaching out to get clarity on those things first, in the same way. So let’s say you do know the hiring manager or you have a way to get in touch with the hiring manager, but you haven’t applied yet. They haven’t had a chance to see your resume yet. They haven’t had a chance to interview you yet. They don’t know anything about you, and they’re not necessarily invested in your candidacy, you would not want to reach out to them and say, you know, Hey, is this position fully remote?

Or hey, you know, my board certification lapsed, is that mandatory? If you do that, you’re likely to get a result that will eliminate you because they don’t know anything else about you. And so they’re thinking, Well, I mean, I like to have a person in the office. So no, it’s not intended to be fully remote. But in point of fact, their company may have made a lot of hires, especially in the past couple of years, that weren’t intended to be remote, but are remote because the person that they wanted to hire doesn’t want to relocate. And in that case, you’ve sort of negotiated yourself out of even being considered.

So again, it is important to find those things out, it’s important to apply for jobs for which you will be a match and that you know, your credentials will satisfy the requirements, the absolute requirements. It’s important to understand the salary and the compensation, it’s important to understand the duties and the job if we go back to the first two. And it’s important to get clear on whether or not you have the requirements for the role. But I would say do not ask these things of the hiring manager or anybody on that interview team. These are questions to be determined beforehand, by your network, or at the time of the offer to be negotiated.

Otherwise huge, huge job application mistakes that are limiting lots and lots of potential opportunities, because they’re giving off the wrong vibe well intended, but not making a compelling case to that person who’s thinking about hiring you. It’s just the wrong questions to the wrong person at the wrong time.

So I hope you’ll keep these things in mind and I hope that you’ll put this podcast to Good work today. By starting to really dig into your network, build your network and start to ask people who can inform you about some of these things before you have the opportunity to make an impression on a hiring manager. That’s a wrap for this episode. Bye for now.

Please be sure to leave me a review on Apple and don’t forget to send me your questions so I can answer them and give you a shout out on a future episode.

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