Behavioral interview questions for physician recruiters

January 30th, 2024 5 Min read Behavioral interview questions for physician recruiters Blog

Healthcare facilities need physicians who can adapt to their cultural values, enhance their community reputation, manage conflict, and take a human-centered approach to patient care. Recruiters are in an ideal position to screen for these qualities using behavioral physician interview questions.

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Ask these behavioral questions during physician interviews

Unlike interview questions that ask about education or work history, open-ended behavioral questions prompt the candidate to talk about their reactions to specific situations in the workplace. These might include patient connection, real-world problem-solving, or conflict resolution with patients, peers, or managers.

Tip to use behavioral interview questions to screen physician candidates

Here are examples of effective behavioral questions for physician interviews:

Handling stress and preventing burnout

  • Describe a time when you demonstrated coping skills in a stressful situation.
  • Using a real-life example, what is your approach to managing conflict with an upset patient or staff member?
  • Tell me about a time you successfully handled a difficult situation with a supervisor.
  • How do you respond when you have to conform to a policy you disagree with?

Self and social awareness

  • How would you address an error or miscommunication by one of your support staff?
  • Using a real-life example, how do you present complex information or instructions to patients?
  • What interests you about this position? The answer can reveal the candidate’s understanding of the role, knowledge of the facility, and awareness of the community and local lifestyle.

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Cultural and community mindset

  • Talk about a situation where you anticipated a problem and developed preventive measures.
  • Tell me about a recent strategy you used to connect with your employer’s local community. What worked and what didn’t work?
  • Describe your ideal workplace culture. The answer can reveal whether your prospect is a team player and how well their values align with the employer’s norms and cultural values.
Photo of female physician shaking hands with a recruiter during interview

General employment insights

  • There are gaps or frequent job changes on your CV. Walk me through what happened. It’s not uncommon for physicians, especially those who work locums, to have a few gaps between jobs. Still, it is a concern if they have a rocky history without a reasonable explanation.
  • Why are you leaving your current employer? Watch out for candidates who trash-talk their current employer or patients, seem focused on a significant pay increase, or seek something your position doesn’t offer.
  • What are your salary expectations? Some physicians are wary of showing their cards too early in the negotiation process. Talking in ranges can help you determine whether there’s room for agreement before you move on to contract negotiation.

Not all these questions will be appropriate for every interview, but it’s good practice to have a couple of them ready, even for brief screening interviews. This will help you identify candidates with the best potential to build positive connections with patients and staff.

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Tim McDonnell

Tim McDonnell is a content developer at CompHealth and loves bringing people together with stories that make a difference. After hours, Tim is a book, movie, and music enthusiast and will seize just about any opportunity to travel.

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