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interviewing skills

5 Job Interview Tips from the Movie “Step Brothers”

Posted on Mon, Aug 03, 2015
5 Job Interview Tips from the Movie “Step Brothers”

The job interview process can be stressful for both physicians coming out of residency and more seasoned clinicians with years of experience.

It’s important to remember that the interviewing process is a two-way street: the medical group wants to learn if you’ll be a good fit for its culture and if your clinical skills are appropriate for the position, while you want to ensure the position will provide the practice environment, support, leadership opportunities and compensation that you need in the right location. A lot of information must be shared for those decisions to be made.

There’s a classic scene in the movie Step Brothers when Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly have been told by their parents that they have to get jobs. Mom and Dad have pulled some strings to get the “boys” interviews, so it should be a slam dunk to secure employment. Well, it wouldn’t be a comedy if all went smoothly!

So how can the founders of “Prestige Worldwide” help you improve your interviewing skills? Here are a few tips.

  • Learn how to pronounce the names of the people you are meeting. Ferrell’s character had trouble saying “Pam,” the hiring manager’s name. While this is an extreme exaggeration, the United States is very diverse; don’t let a complicated name trip you up. Ask the person setting up the interview how to pronounce names, or offer a quick apology when attempting to pronounce a complex name: “Thank you for meeting with me, Dr. Golapichally. I hope that I’m pronouncing your name correctly.”
  • Don’t ask the interviewer inappropriate questions. The film’s step brothers ask the interviewer how much he makes, then asks him to rank the attractiveness of female celebrities vs. his wife. Clearly a no-no. Personal questions and any questions about religion and politics are better left unasked.
  • Provide a list of professional references who can provide concrete feedback about your work history. Ferrell lists his step-brother Dale Doback (who’s also in the interview!) and Jesus as references. You’ll want to be a bit more selective. Include appropriate contacts from previous places of employment and from hospitals where you’ve held admitting privileges. You also may want to include instructors or mentors from your residency or fellowship program, if you’ve completed the program in the last 4 or 5 years.
  • If asked, share constructive weaknesses about yourself. The boys choose to share with the interviewer weaknesses that are unprofessional and terrible attributes in a potential candidate: “I am no good before 11 a.m. … I have a weakness for sweets … we are slow learners and we’re not particularly good listeners.” When you provide a “weakness,” be sure to also include how you are overcoming that weakness: “I can be forgetful when the ED is busy, so I always carry a small notebook to jot down reminders, or use the voice record feature on my phone to record a quick note.”
  • Don’t talk over the interviewer. This is sound advice in general, not just when interviewing for a position. Ferrell and Reilly talk over Pam, eventually becoming verbally abusive. Again, this is an extreme example, but the interviewer should be the one who’s controlling the conversation. Be engaged, but respectful.

EmCare is a leading physician services organization with nearly 600 locations at hospitals from coast to coast. If you are a highly skilled clinician focused in any of the following five specialties — emergency medicine, hospital medicine, acute care surgery, anesthesiology, radiology/teleradiology — visit for more information.

Jim McMillin is EmCare's National Director of Recruiting.