🇩🇪 For doctors: Tips for job interviews for doctors in Germany

• Introduction

In this article, we write tips for the job interview. In another article, we explained general information how the interview works:

• Show that you speak good German

This is the most important goal of the interview. Some doctors have C1 certificates but they can barley speak German. Their application emails and motivatioanl letters are written by native speakers or their German teachers and do not reflect their real German level. Hospitals know about such a possible discrepancy/difference because of experience with other foreign doctrors!

So, it is not important if you can do good operations! If you do not speak at least a good level of German, then you chances are bad. Plus, they consider it a kind of lying if they discovered that you application is something and the reality is something else.

A German head of department once told a colleague of mine that some applications contain excellent German, as if Goethe* himself wrote the application. But in the interview, he asks the doctors to introduce themselves and they say: “Wie bitte?” (🇺🇸 what please) 😂

*Goehte is the most famous German poet of all times

Again, this is the main goal of the job interview. So, we hope that you learnt a lot of German. But, we have a good news. You can give an impression that you speak German better than your actual level. How? There are questions that are almost always asked in the job interviews. Write the answers in German and let your German teacher or German friend correct them for you. Try rehearsing the answers in front of a mirror or with a friend. This way, you will give, especially at the beginning of the intervew a very good impression, because the first question is almost always that you introduce yourself. 🥳🥳🥳 More about these questions in the next point.

• Prepare the answers to the common questions in the interviews

We explained why and what are the questions in this article:

🇩🇪 Most common interview questions for doctors in Germany

• Show that you are a good human being and a team player

No, they will not do a medical exam in the interview. Even medical questions are asked rarely. They want a doctor who fits in the team, is friendly with the patients and the nurses/other occupational groups in the hospital and does the normal work in the wards (🇩🇪 die Stationsarbeit). So, be friendly and show how you are a good human being!

• Find out what the hospital is searching for in the candidates

If you know the goals of someone, then you can easily adjust your answers and CV to show him/her that you are the person they are looking for! With this in mind, then your first step in preparation for a job interview is to know exactly what for a doctor the hospital is searching for. Read the job ad (🇩🇪 die Stellenanzeige) very good. Moreover, you can read about the head of the departments and what is his main wprk interest and what he researched about (if he did research). Furthermore, you can read in the news what is written about the hosptial and the department. Last but not least, search what doctors posted about this hospital or this department in Facebook groups (like ours).


What could be the hospitals searching for?

• Are they searching for someone who remains there for a few years?

Then try to show them that you are interested in learning in the hospital everyrthing for the residency. Mentioning that you have a family and children is also a good point. With family, it is not easy to find a place to live in, find schools for the children and children do not like leaving their friends behind them. So, you can mention all of this.

Sometimes, the hospitals search for doctors who will only work for one year (for example, to do the psychiatry year or neurology year).

• Are they searching for someone with experience?

Then try to show what you did until know. Preferrably with employees letters (Arbeitszeugnisse) already sent with your application. Talk in the job interview about relevant job experience or medical events that you took part in.

• Do you have debts or need to support your family?

Mention that because (1) they could possibly sympathize with you and more importantly (2) tell them that you want to do many shifts so as to earn more money.

Small story (you can skip it):
In a hopsital I worked in, most residents did not want to do the shifts; although they were relatively easy at night and very good paid. I liked to do a lot of them as I am I am single and my motto was always “The empty hand will be filled by the devil” 😂. Iwas too a beginner and saw it both as a chance to earn money and “learn by doing”. Once, the head of the department asked me to do an extra shift. I immediately accepted. I added: “I can get myself a new car!” I was just joking; I always had non-fancy cars. One day later, they mentioned in the meeting room that I will be doing the night shift. The head of department laughed and said in a law voice, but not law enough so that I cannot hear him: “Let him do the shift, he needs a new car”. 😂 I told the story to a wise friend of mine and he told me: “That was your mistake! Never ever say that you want to happily do the exta shift! Tell them, you need to think about it… You need to check your plans on the weekend… You will do it for the sake of the head of department… They will value you more!”. The summary, those who do a lot of shifts are loved a lot where they work! Mention that you want to do a lot of shifts.

• Smile a lot

There is a lot of research that shows that a person smiling in a photo gives the impression to be a much nicer person as compared to a photo of him not smiling, although he is having the same hair cut and the same clothes. “The power of smile”. Show how nice you are. It helps!

• Be nice to everyone

As we explained in our other article, residents could help the heads of departments in evaluating the candidates. Moreover, the secretaries too and the nurses do sometimes actively (without being asked!) tell the head of department what they think of you.

Some true stories:

• A doctor want to go to a job interview and in front of his hotel, he found a car stuck in snow. Without being asked, he helped the driver cleaning his car. This driver was later on in the job interview. He was the head of the department! I do not know how real this story is, but this could theoretically happen. A similar story happened with me. I was asked in my first ever job interview in Germany why I want to be a psychiatrist. My CV was empty of any experience working in the psychiatry. So, it was a good question actually. I told them how I am interested in it and how I did research related to it, but it did not seem enough. So, I mentioned next how I attended the yearly conference of the German Psychiatry Associatin a few weeks before that. The head of the department was astonished: “In Berlin?” I said yes. “I was there too. Where did you stay?” He asked. I told him the name of the hotel. His apartment was like 500 meters away from my hotel 😂 He found it to be funny and the question about my interest for the psychiatry ended. By the way, if you want to be a psychiatrist, I recommend his very big hospital in North Rhine-Westfalia with almost 400 beds (only psychiatry). You can work with Berufserlubnis. You can ask him in the job interview if this story of me is true🙂.

• A Jordanin doctor flew from one US state to another one. Sitting beside him was an old woman. He talked during the flight with her. At the end, they discovered that she knew the head of department where he was applying. “I will tell him how a great person you are and that he should hire you!” She told him at the end.

• This happend with me. I wan in an interview and before it, in a short Hospitation (🇺🇸 training) a senior physician (🇩🇪 Oberarzt) took me with him in his round. The specilist and the resident did not understand an acronym in an echo finding 🤨. A three-word-acronym that ends with T and after it, there was a number and the word “Sekunden” (🇺🇸 seconds) beside this number. They googld the acronym and did not find what the acronym mean. So I told them, just add “time” to your search keywords. I explained, T is certainly “time” because there are seconds written after that. The resident did that and the acronym came out immediately 🥳 The specialist said in a serious face and as quick as Google: “Consider that you have the job!”

• The interview is not only the interview itself!

Before and after the job interview, people will be monitoring you.

Real story:

In one job interview, after it finished, the head of the department told the candidate a very simple sentence in German: “🇩🇪 Sie können draußen warten. Bitte machen Sie die Tür zu” (🇺🇸 You can wait outside. Please the close the door). The doctor left the room and did not close the door! Immediately, the head of deaprtment stopped him, told him to come back to the room and asked what he told him. The candidate said that he was told to wait outside 😂 The head of department then asked him if he said something else. He said “No!”. I think that candidate got a “no” too to his job application! 😂

• Ask in our main Facebook groups and the groups for the specialty about the hospital

You can ask about how the hospital is, what is it like to work there and if the other doctors recommend the hospital. Sometimes, the hospitals are bad and you will save yourself a lot of time, money and effort if you knew this in advance. You can post your questions on Facebook anonymously. In Telegram, you can let a friend ask for you. Links to all groups.

• Invest a few hours watching videos about tips and tricks for job interviews

Link to YouTube search results for “Vorstellungsgespräch Ärzte“.

• This article was written with the help from Mr. Teddy Kabel, admin of the largest English group for foreign doctors in Germany. Vielen Dank 🙂

Want to learn more? Questions?
Join JETZT (🇺🇸 now) all of our groups & ask what you like
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