Physician Assistant Hiring Process: What to Know
IN A NUTSHELL:
- There are more than 130,000 certified physician assistants
- Job search can be extremely competitive
- Make sure position fits your career experience
According to an annual report(.pdf) by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, there are more than 130,000 certified physician’s assistants working across various medical specialties.
A physician assistant (PA) is a fantastic job, and if you have an interview to get one, you’ll want to make sure you do your very best to win it.
The job search can be extremely competitive, but with the proper preparation, you’ll be able to stand out in the interviewer’s mind. The primary goal is to make sure you come across even better in person than on paper.
- Make Sure You’re Interviewing For the Right Physician Assistant Career
Remember that it’s not simply about being good enough for the job, it’s about the job being good enough for you.
Some PA positions are more appropriate for those with experience looking to move from their old job to a new one. As an experienced PA, look into the expertise requirements of the job options in front of you. Ideally, you’ll land a job that takes full advantage of your particular knowledge and appreciates you for it.
On the other hand, if you’re a new graduate looking for your first PA job, you’ll want to look for jobs that are appropriate for your lack of experience. A proper PA orientation system will start you out with just a few patients and make sure you’re handling everything appropriately before pushing you to pick up a full patient load.
You’ll also want to make a point to meet the staff member who’ll be in charge of your training and performance. Having the right supervisor is a huge part of thriving at your new job, and getting it wrong can be a miserable experience for months or years.
- Eat Right: Not Too Much, Not Too Little
Once you’ve found a position that you know would fit you perfectly, it’s time to prepare to nail that interview. Your physical state lays the foundation for your mental, emotional, and social states, so make sure your body’s needs are well taken care of.
You don’t want to be distracted by hunger pangs during your interview, so make sure to eat something beforehand. At the same time, digesting a hefty meal can use up your body’s energy supplies and make you feel lethargic.
You’ll want to aim for a nice balance between being well-fed and being light on your feet. Aim to eat a moderate meal, and make sure you’ve finished eating well over an hour before your interview begins.
Of course, you’ll also want to make sure that you’re properly hydrated and that you got a good’s night sleep the night before.
- Dress Professionally
There are an infinite number of possible outfits, and the possibilities can tempt you to try something daring. But you want to stand out based on your ability and social skills, not your outfit.
Stick to a basic, professional outfit. Wear something so usual and standard that your interviewer will forget all about it. Dressing professionally shows that you understand the level of professionalism expected in this field, and avoiding ostentation shows that you want to be remembered for your mind and personality, not for any frills.
- Show Up Early
Arriving late can be a death blow to your interview chances, but that’s not the only reason it’s important to show up early.
Showing up on time would be enough if you were just worried about your interviewer viewing you as a tardy, unorganized person. The real reason you want to show up early is so that you can be relaxed as you travel to your interview, and you can settle in and relax even more once you’ve arrived.
The nerves of an interview for a job you really want can be overwhelming, so don’t forego this simple opportunity to help calm yourself as much as possible.
- Follow Interviewing Techniques
Don’t be monosyllabic but keep your answers under a minute. You want to show that you’re comfortable expanding on a topic and that you can provide more than the bare minimum. At the same time, you need to show that you’re not a conversation hog and know when it’s time to let the other person talk.
Invite the interviewer to guide you. Make them your friend! If you can’t tell if you’re answering their question the way they expect, ask them “Does this answer your question?”
- Do Your Research
Make sure you have a thorough understanding of the job you’re applying for. If you don’t bother to learn it inside and out, you can’t pretend that you want this job instead of just a job.
- Follow Up Appropriately and Effectively
Get your interviewer’s name and send a professional thank you note later on. Following up on an interview can help you stand out, show that you really want the job, and show that you’re diligent and pay attention to details.
- Know Who You’re Interviewing For
There is more to an interview than simply knowing about the position you’re interviewing for. It is important to learn about the company’s wider mission and their accomplishments. Conveying that you’re ready to participate in company culture can make you seem like you’re already part of the workplace.
- Review Common Interview Questions
Every job is different, but some interview questions are universal. Prepare your own answers to questions like:
“Tell us about yourself.”
“What kind of experience do you have?”
“Why do you want this job?”
“Why should we pick you?”
A Fantastic Industry to Work In
We hope you learned something helpful about how to handle the physician assistant job search. To learn more about credential management solutions and how Read Doc™ can help you organize all of your credentials and have them readily available at your disposal, schedule a FREE demo.