How To Make An Amazing First Impression For Your Next Medical Job Application

First impressions count. Take a quick look at the image above. Which person would you prefer to employ?

The one on the left, or on the right? Of course, they are the same person, but you’ve made an instant judgement based purely on appearance. You have no other information to work with.

It’s often the same in during the job application process. There are a number of ‘touchpoints’ during the job application that you have the opportunity to make an impression on someone. As parts of the process are often managed by different people, each stage is as important as the next. You should consider the whole application as an assessment process – from the time you send the application to the moment you sign the contract. Whether you’re applying for a position as an obstetrician, a general practitioner for a FIFO position, an endorsed enrolled nurse, or something else, the same rules apply.

The written application and CV

If this is your first introduction to the employer, the first impression is largely going to come from the format and content of your application. Naturally, you need to make sure your CV is the best it can be. On top of that, your cover letter, email or response to criteria must be formatted correctly, and free of spelling mistakes, grammar problems, or issues with syntax. Stay away from the whacky font, colours, and creative formatting.

The invitation to interview

The next stage is often a call or email to invite you to an interview. Often, this call will come from an admin person, an HR officer, or a medical recruiter. At this point, you’re already being interviewed. It may not be obvious, but your response, the questions you ask, and how much confidence you display during this call may influence how you are received at the interview. This is not the time to discuss remuneration, ask for directions (we live in the golden age of Google Maps, so figure it out yourself), or to ask what to wear. Most importantly, accept whatever interview time they propose, unless doing so would result in you not meeting a current work responsibility (like being the only person who can do a particular procedure at that very time). Otherwise, organise for a colleague to cover, and you can reciprocate later.

The interview

This is where visual impressions count. Each interviewer is going to step into the room with inherent biases, and there’s nothing you can do about that. However, you can follow some basic tips to make a great visual impression:

  • Dress appropriately for the interview (look in the mirror before you go in)
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Give a firm handshake (to everyone in the room)
  • Smile (naturally, don’t fake it)
  • Maintain good posture
  • Employ active listening, and engage
  • Avoid fidgeting, touching your hair or face, or using too many hand gestures

On top of that is what you say:

  • Make sure you know about the organisation (Google is your friend)
  • Don’t dwell on negative employment experiences, or criticise anyone
  • Do not bring up remuneration
  • Remember the names of the interviewers, and address them by name. Use professional courtesies where relevant (e.g. Dr/Prof)
  • Build rapport, but don’t be overfamiliar


Post-interview communication (successful or not successful) 

It is at this point that you have either got the job, or not.

If you have been successful, you’re probably going to be speaking with the hiring manager, or your next boss. This is a great opportunity to thank them for the interview, and to ask what they need from you at this point. Remember, you haven’t got the job until the ink is on the dotted line! So, pay attention to what you say and do at this point.

It’s not too different if you have not been successful. Be polite, thank them for the experience, and move on. It’s not your time to tell them what you really thought of their interview!

Be mindful of these tips for your next application, and you’ll have an edge over the competition.

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