Behavioral interview questions for physicians: 4 success tips

January 17th, 2018 4 Min read Behavioral interview questions for physicians: 4 success tips Blog
In the world of the ever-evolving healthcare landscape and HCAHPS scores, healthcare facilities have to take special care when interviewing a potential candidate. They're ultimately searching for the doctor who will represent the facility’s best interests, uphold their reputation, deliver top-notch healthcare to their patients, and quickly become a cohesive member of their team of other healthcare professionals. They also have to ensure they achieve and maintain positive patient satisfaction scores, which ultimately affects their bottom line. No longer are interviews simply a way to see if the prospect is professionally qualified. They’re also probing to find out what you’re like as a person and how you’d fit in with their culture. Our goal is to help you nail your interview and land your ideal job, and are hoping the following sample will help you improve your chances for success.

So in addition to prepping for the usual questions:

  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • Describe your experience and skills.
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?

You may see behavioral and cultural questions like these:

  • What are the work/life balance issues that are important to you? How do you maintain the balance?
  • What kinds of people do you work best with? Worst with?
  • If you weren’t a doctor, what would you be?

CompHealth - behavioral interview questions for physicians - image of provider on bicycle exploring a new town on assignment

Bring creativity to the interview

Facilities are now looking to hire healthcare professionals who are innovative and bring with them new ideas, problem-solving skills, and different perspectives, rather than those who will toe the line. Workplace culture has become critical to a facility’s success and sustainability, and the hiring process has become the first line of defense in maintaining culture. Your interviewers are now the gatekeepers. So it goes without saying – preparation for your interview is of the utmost importance. Here are four success tips you can use to master behavioral interview questions for physicians.

1. Research the facility and area where you’re interviewing

Learn about the history, culture, and leadership. This will help you prepare to answer any questions on why and how you’ll be an asset to them. What does the organizational culture need and support? Dr. Robert Kuramoto, Assistant Medical Director at the Christie Clinic in Champaign, Illinois, stresses this.
“Call and request a packet of information on the [facility] where you’ll be interviewing. And, of course, there’s always the tried and true method of asking someone who already works there,” he says.

2. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse

Now that you’re up to speed on the evolution of interviewing and the importance of cultural fit, you can be prepared to answer some of the not-so-standard questions:
  • Why did you choose [your specialty] as a profession, or why did you become a doctor?
  • What do you see as the future of healthcare?
  • What’s your biggest career mistake or failure?
  • How do you interact positively with support staff?
  • Describe a time when you were wrong.
  • What types of patients are difficult, and why?
  • If you weren’t a doctor, what would you have become?
  • Tell me about an interesting patient.

3. Prepare two cases to discuss

Be ready to discuss one that you found interesting, and one in which something went wrong. Lewis Lin, CEO of Impact Interview in Seattle, says “Never underestimate the power of the story.”

4. Formulate your answers in the S.A.R. format

Describe the situation in detail, what action did you take, and what was the result? Staying up-to-date in the marketplace is key to finding and securing your just-right job. Being aware of the new landscape in the culture-focused healthcare world will ensure your success, and by following the above four steps, you’ll be able to showcase yourself on your CV as a candidate who will seamlessly join their team, you’ll nail the behavioral interview questions, and land your perfect job. This post was originally titled 10 Behavioral Interview Questions for Physicians, but in this updated version, we included 11 and focused more on the success strategy behind the questions. If you’re serious about your job search, make sure to do your homework and come prepared to answer these kinds of behavioral questions. For more interview tips, click here. Or if you are ready to nail that interview explore our physician job board for open positions today.


Jennifer Hunter

Jennifer Hunter

Jen Hunter has been a marketing writer for over 20 years. She enjoys telling the stories of healthcare providers and sharing new, relevant, and the most up-to-date information on the healthcare front. Jen lives in Salt Lake City, UT, with her husband, two kids, and their Golden Retriever. She enjoys all things outdoors-y, but most of all she loves being in the Wasatch mountains.

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