Five things residents should know about the hiring process

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Landing a job can be tough, even for a highly trained young professional. An article published  online April 4 by the Journal of the American College of Radiology offered five important insights about the job application process for graduating radiation oncology residents.

The Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology (ARRO), which has conducted surveys of radiation oncology residents for decades, found in 2011 that residents needed to better understand the process involved with securing postresidency employment. Lead author Malcolm D. Mattes, MD, of the New York Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn, and colleagues surveyed practicing physicians from academic and private practices to identify factors that are important to practicing physicians when hiring graduating residents.

ARRO’s three-part electronic survey was distributed to all academic chairs, program directors, and radiation oncologists in the U.S. Of the 1,671 candidates who received the survey, 206 physicians returned complete responses. Based upon their analysis, Mattes and colleagues suggested the following about the job application process:

  1. The first half of postgraduate year four is the best time for radiologists to start networking. Postgraduate year five is the most appropriate time to begin reaching out to practices in the pursuit of employment.
  2. The most common time to start interviewing is four to nine months prior to the job start date. About 84 percent of participants interviewed less than or equal to six candidates per available position.
  3. The following key factors are important to physicians when evaluating prospective candidates: work ethic, personality, interview impression, experience in intensity-modulated radiation therapy and flexibility.
  4. Factors thought to be the most important to candidates were: a collegial environment, emphasis on best patient care, quality of equipment, physics, dosimetry, quality assurance, quality of the support staff and facility, and a multidisciplinary approach to patient care.
  5. Academic physicians value research-related factors higher than those in private practice. Physicians in private practice rated business-related factors with more importance.

Mattes and colleagues hoped their results will provide residents with a comprehensive tool to assist them in evaluating and applying for employment opportunities.