Job interviews give employers the opportunity to find the best of the best. They want to see if you are a good fit for the current position, which is why interview questions can be rather difficult. You will likely be asked routine questions such as ‘where do you see yourself in 5 years’ and some specific questions regarding your skills and capabilities of performing the job you are interviewing for. Generally speaking, the ideal healthcare candidate is someone who has strong clinical skills, someone who is able to communicate and empathize with both colleagues and patients, someone who is always prepared to handle difficult situations should they arise, and someone who can thrive in a team-friendly environment.
First things first, here are a few standard job interview questions that you might encounter:
- Why did you decide to go into medicine?
- Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
- Can you tell me a little more about your skills and experience in medicine?
- What are your short-term and long-term goals?
- How do you handle working under pressure? Can you handle working under pressure?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 years?
Here are a few questions that are commonly asked during a job interview and how you should consider answering them appropriately to display your experiences and expertise as a healthcare professional in the best possible manner:
Why did you choose (your speciality) as a profession?
This is a very specific question and it is tailored in a way to receive a personalized response. The bottom line is that the employer wants to know what drove you to pursue a career in medicine and why you choose that specific medical specialty. Consider sharing a personal story that will include both your human, caring nature and your clinical skills.
Why should I hire you?
This question is asked 99% of the time. The employer wants to know why you think you're the right candidate for the position. You should answer him or her in a way that will set you apart from the other candidates. Of course, while you may not know the skills and expertise of the other candidates, you can present yourself in a strong light. Provide examples that will highlight your strengths and that will show the employer what you can contribute to their organization.
Describe a stressful situation that you were once faced with and how you handled it.
In every line of work, there are times when stressful situations come up, such as a disagreement with a colleague. However, when answering this question, it is important that you choose the right situation. In other words, you should describe a stressful situation that you handled like a true professional. The employer wants to know how you handle conflict because after all, working in a fast-paced environment such as a medical practice or hospital, you are bound to come across unavoidable disagreements and stress. Describe the situation, describe what your task was and what action you took, as well as the end (positive) result.
What is the greatest mistake that you have made in your medical career?
When it comes to weaknesses for a job interview, this is possibly the most feared question of them all. It has ‘weakness’ written all over it and you have to answer about making a personal mistake in medicine. The reality of this question is that the employer knows that not everyone is perfect and that nothing is predictable in healthcare. So, when asking this question, it is important to remember a few things. Avoid placing the blame on other individual and do not talk badly about your previous employer. Instead, focus on how you grew from that particular experience. Here is an example - “I learned the hard way about how to manage night shifts about five years ago. I was so used to managing day shifts that I realized there was a whole culture of the night shift that I was unfamiliar with. On top of that, the hours were killing me. But I paid attention to my more seasoned colleagues and did some real soul-searching about how I could better handle managing the job. My first six months were tough, but after I made a few key adjustments, I great to really like that job at that time,” said Lewis Lin, chief executive officer of Impact Interview.
Where do you think the future of healthcare is headed?
The world of medicine is constantly changing. The employer wants to know that you are up to date on the latest medical news and tools. He or she wants to know that you are an innovative individual who can bring creative ideas to the table. Emphasize your skills and expertise and show how they have helped you to grow and to stay ahead of the latest medical trends.
When it comes to interviewing for a job position, the key is to always be prepared. You want to come off as a professional who can handle anything thrown your way – both the good and the bad. Consider rehearsing your responses to questions that are commonly answered (such as the ones above). Moreover, your job interview attire should be appropriate for the environment (business vs. business casual) and it should make a good first impression.
Anyone should always be prepped with questions before a job interview, and doctors are no different. A job interview also gives you the opportunity to find out whether the medical practice or hospital is the right place for you. Will you be working longer hours? Will you be receiving income and benefits that suit your needs and lifestyle? The more questions you pose, the better you will be able to decipher both expectations and company culture. The following are some of the most common questions that you should consider asking to show your genuine interest in the job position and the organization as a whole.
- What are the daily responsibilities of the job position?
- Can you tell me a little bit more about this practice/hospital and why you have this opening?
- What can I expect my schedule to look like?
- How are the call schedules and weekend schedules organized?
- How many patients can I expect to see on a daily basis?
- Are there any specific clinical skills that are relevant for this particular job position?
- What does the day-to-day management of this practice/hospital look like?
- What do current employees enjoy most about their work?
- How are patients educated on their health?
- How are patient referrals handled?
- What type of system is used for patient charts?
- What are this practice’s/hospital’s short-term and long-term goals?
- How can I help to meet this practice’s/hospital’s goals?
- What is this practice’s/hospital’s plan for the next 5 years?
- How are decisions made within a team? How are leaders of a team selected?
- Do staff members socialize outside of the practice/hospital?
- What are the prospects for promotion in this particular job?
- Have previous employees been successful in progressing in this job position?
- Will I be encouraged to participate seminars and medical conferences?
- How can I exceed your expectations?
“Having a good understanding of what you’re getting into will help you plan ahead and balance all other priorities in your life. If you feel that you aren’t getting accurate answers during the interview, don’t hesitate to reach out to other doctors working at the medical facility. Ask them what they wish they knew before starting their job. See what frustrates them the most and what they like most about their position. The most important thing when taking a job is to have as much information as possible. This helps prevent the possibility of burnout and sets you up for a fulfilling and successful experience,” wrote Ryan Grant, a neurosurgery resident and co-founder of Nomad Health.