Five Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make in Your Functional Medicine Job Interview

Lisa McDonald 06/24/2019 How to Find a Job, Recent News, Job Seekers

Functional Medicine Job Interview

Through the many interviews I’ve conducted over the last 10 years of recruiting in Integrative and Functional Medicine, I continue to see these five mistakes that candidates make. When it comes to interviewing in this field, the way you present yourself and the impression you make during the interview have a big impact on whether or not the hiring manager feels you’re a fit for their medical practice. Here are the five mistakes you don’t want to make at your next Functional Medicine job interview.

1.) Not Researching the Employer/Not Doing the Research

When I ask candidates why they’re interested in a certain position, they should be able to explain why this position and practice is aligned with how they want to practice medicine. They should be able to discuss what they will bring to the practice, and how the opportunity will allow them to continue their own professional growth. They need to be able to explain how their education and skills would be of value to the practice, as well as identify key things they can contribute to this specific organization. If they haven’t taken the time to review the practice and do their research, I don’t feel like they are really vested in exploring this opportunity to the fullest. Being prepared for an interview shows initiative, which is a critical skill set to have within this field. 

First impressions are lasting impressions, so make sure you do your due diligence preparing for your interview and doing your research. Click here to read one of my previous blog posts for more tips on being prepared for your Functional and Integrative Medicine job interview. 

2.) Not Prepared to Share Your Career Story

One of the biggest mistakes that I consistently see is when candidates miss out on the opportunity to comprehensively present themselves to their interviewer with a compelling story that highlights their path and the circumstances that led them to Integrative and Functional Medicine, and how that relates to them being the perfect candidate for this opportunity. This story is called your career story, and as outlined in our previous blog post, crafting a compelling career story for your Functional Medicine job interview is crucial. The essence of your entire interview revolves around your career story. Providing an accurate, succinct, and compelling history of your path to Integrative and Functional Medicine is so important. However, I’ve found that many candidates are unprepared for this aspect of the interview and end up rambling or not conveying the type of information that is best suited to this situation. Especially in this field of medicine, explaining how you came to the decision to practice personalized, patient-centered medicine and what initiative you took to get there is something that your interviewer is definitely interested in knowing. 

I’d like to add that some thought needs to be given to your career history even if you’re not interviewing for a job. There is power in reflecting upon our personal career history and looking at the stepping stones that led us to where we are. We can better determine the next steps when we reflect on the past and learn from where we’ve been. It helps us to determine where we don’t want to be, and where we will be our best self. 

You can learn more about crafting a compelling career story here

3.) Negative Talk

Refrain from saying negative things about co-workers and employers. Just frame your reason for wanting to leave in a way that relates to your career goal, professional development, and life purpose. I’ve seen interviews take a nose dive because the candidate started to focus on the toxic environment they were in, and it was difficult to redirect them from complaining toward a positive, engaging conversation in which they could showcase the qualities that made them a great fit for the job. I realize that many candidates are leaving a conventional setting where patients are getting sicker, and they are faced with unrealistic expectations for seeing a large number of patients each day. But that can be briefly explained and then have the focus switch to what they are looking for in a new job and what they have to offer instead. Once immersed in negative talk, it’s tough to pull out and it reflects negatively on you. It’s also important to show how well you can work with others and respond to conflicts in the workplace, rather than getting sucked into them. If candidates bad-mouth employers or co-workers in an interview, it doesn’t successfully convey their ability to overcome challenges in the workplace.

4.) Not Keeping the Focus on Integrative and Functional Medicine Education

When interviewing for an Integrative and Functional Medicine job, understanding the importance of relating answers to this particular field is crucial, especially when it comes to your education. As mentioned in a previous blog post outlining the four resume mistakes to avoid, if you want to gain the attention of the hiring manager in the Integrative and Functional Medicine realm, make sure to include in your resume your education within the field in a manner that is easy to identify. Don’t hide your education deep in your resume or at the bottom. Getting an education specifically in this field sets you apart and shows your dedication to working in patient-centered care. A hiring manager will always give you a closer look when they see evidence of this.

In addition to previous educational pursuits, it’s also important to outline what continuing education you plan on participating in to further your growth in the field. I often have to dig to find out what initiative candidates have taken to acquire their Functional Medicine education and how they continue to learn and stay abreast of the latest research (listening to podcasts, reading books, etc.).

5.) Not Conveying Initiative

Quality of initiative will always be at the top of my list when it comes to Integrative and Functional Medicine job seekers. As mentioned in this previous blog post, initiative shows ambition, which is very attractive to potential employers. Therefore, it’s important to illustrate and convey this during the interview process. If you’re in a conventional setting wanting to get out, you should be prepared to give examples of how you implement your Functional Medicine knowledge in your current practice. Even though you may be limited in time and scope of what you can do, any initiative you take says a lot about your dedication to practicing this medicine. It’s important to start where you are. Once empowered with life-changing information about Functional Medicine, it’s possible to play a significant role in transforming health, right in your own backyard. 

If you are currently practicing in the field, make sure you’re also ready to share how you are doing that and the successful outcomes you’re having. Be prepared to discuss how you came to the decision to practice in the field, what education you have obtained, how you are currently taking a patient-centered, whole-person approach to care, and what setting you would envision being the perfect fit for you. When I ask, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” there should be some mention of the Integrative and Functional Medicine setting you see yourself in. 

This sort of experience is valued in this field, and it sets you apart from other candidates.

By sharing these experiences and suggestions with you, it is my hope that you’re able to secure the Integrative and Functional Medicine job that you’ve had your eye on. Your ideal job within the Integrative and Functional Medicine realm is out there. Let us help you identify it and secure it. We offer bi-monthly email notifications with the latest job opportunities and career tips in the field of Integrative and Functional Medicine. Sign up here for our monthly jobs announcement eBlast and newsletter.