Perfusion Job Interviews 101

Editor’s Note:


This is an extemporaneous essay on perfusion job interviews.

A perfusion job interview is an interesting proposition at best and quite a different animal than most job interviews that any medical professional at this level may encounter. Most of the time your resume speaks for itself, in other words what you have on paper regarding your academic achievements, your clinical skill sets, your continuing education, any sort of scholarly accomplishments such as publications, presentations, or participation in a particular study in medicine, all of those lend considerable weight to what you are presenting to the interviewer.

In this world however- it’s pretty much fluff, sugar coating, and “nice-but-not-necessary” stuff that cracks doors open, but doesn’t seal the deal so to speak.  It works if your direction is to be going to a John Hopkins/Mayo Clinic/Cleveland Clinic level institution- those are a different paradigm levels that aren’t part of this discussion.

As a perfusionist or a potential candidate to become a perfusionist and take on the responsibility that the profession entails, entry into either your first job, your second job, or tailing in to your last job interview, all categories funnel into the same ultimate responsibility: i.e. are you safe, are you consistent, and are you reliable?


“Klieder Macht Der Mensch…”

That’s an old German saying translating to “It’s Your CLOTHES that make the Person”.. ( But take caution)  🙂

I personally feel that is irrelevant in the conduct of our profession- but suggest restraint in regards to wearing an old (but very cool) leather Air Force Pilot jacket to your initial interview-

There really aren’t any does or don’ts that I can suggest when it comes to how you personally conduct yourself during the interview process. Perfusion interviews are typically multifaceted,off the cuff, and unpredictable.  In other words they may begin as a fluid introduction when you are dressed for success- and then rapidly evolve to a progression of meeting a person in scrubs- when you are dressed to the “9s” in a suit, following them to the operating room and then getting access to scrubs and changing out of that very expensive outfit that you just purchased, with your last dime, your pant pockets or purse jingling with some change that you have in your possession, left over from the parking pass you just finished paying for.

That Latte’ you took a sip of a second ago?  It’s gone the second whoever it is you are supposed to meet- shows up in a hurry.

The new reality is selecting your new scrubs (don’t UNDERsize) as you hastily look for shoe covers that will fit over those patent leather shoes – bought specifically for this interview at a grave inconvenience to the next four or five meals that you will have to forgo- in order to dress appropriately for this next chapter in your professional life.

Oh, and by the way?  Those expensive patent leather shoes, are extremely uncomfortable and slippery when covered by shoe covers and walking on an operating room floor.

The most important thing to understand, is that the job interview is already a fairly predetermined summation of whether or not you shall or shall not be hired. Unless the institution you’re applying to has a national reputation, most invitations are not extended unless the end result is fairly much assured.  (The truth be known however, desperation has many times married disparate souls.)

When I took my oral boards, the constant meme was that you are walking into this evaluation under the presumption that you have already passed. It is up to you to fail yourself.

Taking that into consideration, when I did take those boards the only thing I realized that what I absolutely needed to do, was to demonstrate some personal humility, express a willingness to accept accountability, and enunciate my personal integrity to seek answers or help if the task in front of me was beyond my bounds. To me that seems simple. It allowed me to express that yes I was confident, but I also recognized that I was capable of failing – and with that recognition that I would be proactive enough to seek assistance from my colleagues or coworkers.  It wasn’t an expression of weakness or acquiescence, just the acceptance that I could recognize my boundaries and assess my limitations, and navigate past them.

If you have passed your oral boards – then you have the prerequisite skills set up to do well in a job interview.  If they were not part of your academic process, then the point is made, albeit not puncuated.


Dark shadows

The term dark shadows is an obvious metaphor for either an inconvenient clinical background, set of circumstances, or events in your life that led you to seek employment elsewhere, away from your previous employer. Everyone has shadows. It’s how you deal with them that makes the difference. Prior negative employment experiences may encompass a range of scenarios that include: a work environment too strenuous for your physical or clinical ability, hostile coworkers, employers with agendas inconsistent to the safe practice of the conduct of perfusion, a total disconnect with either your coworkers, the hospital setting, corporate management, or something that interferes with private and personal matters that potentially represent a negative impact on you, your family, or the connection you have with your family (or lack there of).


Place Demons Here

{……………}  The space you need to confront your demons…  Get over it– BUT be honest about it 🙂


Clinical priorities

Never forget that you’re being hired for one thing and one thing only. That is patient safety, your clinical competence, and your honesty/reliability. These three things are the foundations that everything else is based on. Assuming that you meet those pre-qualifications, then everything else will fall into place. You have already spent several years establishing your personal ambition and drive to meet a certain goal, so that is a given. What people are looking for when they are looking at you, isn’t what’s on paper, but how you represent when looking into your eyes, the tone of your voice, and anything about your presentation that may give them insight as to how you will conduct yourself in their particular pool, their unique clinical environment, and basically how good of a fit they think you will be. It’s all about chemistry.


It’s not a rear view mirror

You resume is a rearview mirror, your interview is basically a MapQuest that you dialed in – that got you here to begin with. When you’re sitting down in front of total strangers, just remember one thing, you extended the initiative and they accepted your offer to be interviewed. Both parties want to walk away with a YES, unless there is a blatant NO screaming in your face or their’s.

Of course there will be questions, and there will be answers, and there will be questions related to those answers, and follow-ups that go both ways. It’s part of the process. Just don’t forget the primary thing that got you here to begin with: they already said yes when they agreed to interview you – it’s all up to you to NOT change that.


The people that didn’t Interview you…

That would be your patients.  They don’t have that choice or option.  But they do have trust.  The patients that you will encounter don’t have that luxury to review your resume- but they trust you and the institution that puts a stamp of credibility on your commitment, and your ability.

That is truly the bond that all three parties are shaking hands to when you sign on.

Good luck in your new job. You will be great 🙂