How to Master Healthcare Job Interview Questions

Interviewing for a new position or move up in a company can be scary and nerve-wracking, especially in a competitive industry like healthcare. That’s why preparing for your next interview is essential. For jobseekers to perform their best and more effectively answer trickier questions, they need to take the time to research the company, the position, who the hiring manager is, and the people giving the interview. During the interview, you can also certainly point to your resume, cover letter, and CV to highlight your specific qualifications for the job. It is also important to not compromise your boundaries or sense of self in the interview. The best candidates are honest about their needs and provide genuine answers that outshine ones that are calculated and forced. If you respond in a way that you think they want to hear – you may be hired and dissatisfied as you did not provide your honest response. To help you better prepare here are some common healthcare interview questions, as well as some tips for how best to answer them: 

Basic Healthcare Interview Questions 

No two job interviews are ever the same, especially in the healthcare industry. However, there are a few fundamental questions that you can expect to be asked. Here are 7 common healthcare interview questions and the best way to answer them: 

1. Tell Us About Yourself 

This question is a common first question during any healthcare job interview, so be prepared to go into your meeting with a great answer. The interviewer is trying to get a better understanding of who you are, your experience, and if you would fit comfortably into their organization. When answering this question try to focus on your education, training, certificates, your professional experience, and previous jobs, and your passion for healthcare. Do not be afraid to reference your resume and cover letter. In addition, if you feel comfortableprovide some personal items – just keep clear of controversial areas such as politics.  

2. Why Did you Choose to Work in Healthcare?  

The healthcare industry is all about patient care, heck it’s even in the name “healthCARE”. Usually, when a healthcare professional asks this question, they are looking for an answer that reaffirms that you will have the best interest of a patient in mind. The best answers to this question usually include some sort of emotional story. Don’t be afraid of tugging on the heartstrings of whoever is interviewing you. If you did your homework and know the mission/vision of the company and you share similar values, then highlight this as well.
 

3. Why Are You Interested in This Position?  

This is a fairly common question during any healthcare job interview. Before your interview make sure you take the time to better get to know the people and organization you want to work for. Research the company, practice, or hospital system you are applying to, so you can try to understand and speak to their culture. Get to know their history, their core values, and their mission statement. These can all be great sources of information when figuring out what your interviewers will be looking for in their ideal candidate. Then be sure to weave all this information into your answer and also just be honest about what really made you interested in the job.
 

4. What is Your Greatest Strength? 

Here the employer is trying to gleam what would make you an asset to their team. Be sure to thoroughly examine the job description and see if there are any particular skills they are looking for. Do not ever lie, but you can tailor your answer to your strengths that you think would be useful for the position. Here are usually some amazing strengths to highlight in the field of medicine: 

  • Your bedside manner  patient-centered approach  
  • Quick thinking 
  • Critical decision making 
  • Ability to collaborate in a team environment/team player. 
  • Leadership 
  • If your role does not include direct patient care – how do you see your ability (strength) impacting this in the role. 
     

5. What is Your Biggest Weakness? 

We are all humans with flawsthere’s no use hiding it. The key here is to be honest without being too honest about your flaws. Also, try to avoid cliches like “I care too much”; they will just lead to eye rolls. Instead, focus on what you want to improve professionally this year and then talk about your plan for executing that goal. Think of this question in a slightly different way – what are your opportunities, your areas for improvement. 
 

6. What Are Your Long-Term Career Goals? 

This question is testing how ambitious you are. Most interviewers during a healthcare job interview are also wanting to make sure that you are not going to jump ship and instead stick around for a while. Talk about where you see yourself in 5,10,20 years and what you like to do to improve your professional development. Most interviewers are interested in the here and now – 5 years at max.  Also, be sure to touch on how you think you can grow into more meaningful positions with the place you’re interviewing at.  

 

7. What Do You See as the Future of Healthcare? 

The world of healthcare is constantly changing and evolving. It is important to stay on top of new procedures and technologies so you can ensure patients receive the best possible care. Before your next interview spend some time reading up on what’s new in your specific field. This will give you some useful resources to reference when answering this question. 
 

Healthcare Management Interview Questions 

When you are interviewing for a leadership position, the questions can become even more challenging. They will be looking for reasons to believe that you can lead a team and improve their overall performance. Here are five of the most common healthcare management interview questions:  

 1. What Qualifies You For a Management Position?  

The best way to answer this question is usually to reference your education and experience. If you have earned a Master’s degree, such as a Masters’s in Health Services Administration talk about what you learned during your program. Help the hiring manager to understand how what you learned in a classroom environment is going to improve their performance. Also, do not forget to talk about your earlier professional experiences and what you learned from them. Make sure you have a few notable examples of how you effectively lead a team. If you can provide metrics from the example the great – lead a team that provided input to change our scheduling process to better meet the needs of our patients. 
 

2. Tell Me About a Time You Coached or Mentored Someone 

Great leaders don’t just tell people what to do; they motivate and inspire others. Hiring managers want to know that you will be able to not only work with others but also improve the people you are responsible for. The best answer to this healthcare management interview question is to tell a story about problems someone was experiencing and then illustrate how you helped them to improve. Another example can be if you mentored someone on developing a professional development that then saw them move up in the company. 
 

3. How Would You Ensure The Organization is Up to Date on Safety and Current Medical Practices?  

This is really a two-part question. The first part deals with how you would learn about these updates yourself. Try to talk about industry journals and publications you may read or medical conferences that you think are relevant. The second part of your answer should then deal with the best way to distribute that information to your team.  

 

4. How Would You Handle a Difficult Employee?  

Again, this is another great opportunity to tell a story if you can. Talk about what made the employee difficult and then discuss how you address the situation. 
 

5. How Would You Evaluate Staff Performance?  

For this healthcare interview question begin by talking about what you think makes for a good employee. Think about some performance indicators that you could use for all employees. Next, discuss how you would go about communicating that to an employee and work to fix any areas that need improvement.  A key here is understanding that evaluation should be based on an agreed-upon expectation
 

Performance Based Interview (PBI) Questions 

Performance-based healthcare interview questions (PBI) can sometimes be the toughest part of any interview to tackle. With these questions, the interviewer is trying to gain a better understanding of how you would handle stressful and demanding situations. Here are a few common performance-based healthcare interview questions:   

  1. Can You Tell Me About a Time You Had to Handle Conflict Between Peers? 
  1. Can You Tell Me About a Stressful Situation You’ve Recently Been In?  
  1. Can You Provide an Example of How You’ve Handled a Recent Difficult Decision? 
  1. Tell Me About a Time You’ve Worked with a Difficult Patient. 
  1. Tell Me About a Time You Failed. 

 

Now the best way to answer questions like this is to tell a specific story. Avoid generalizations and focus on a specific situation. Next, give some background information and describe the problem. Next focus on the actions you took to resolve the situation. Lastly, don’t forget to talk about what happened after you took those actions.  

 

Top 7 Best Practices in Healthcare Management

Becoming a leader in the healthcare industry takes effective communication, continued education, decision-making, workforce organization, networking, anticipating challenges, and using technology and technological advancements to your advantage. It takes truly productive and adaptable leadership if you are going to climb the ranks.   There is a direct connection between quality and quantifiable healthcare practices and effective leadership. Your approach in making an impact on your staff, individual patients, and your relationships with other healthcare professionals, is so important in leading your organization and others to success. Some examples of effective leadership would be providing opportunities and resources to improve your organization’s safety, innovation in medical research, building key relationships with other fields like those in pharmacy or a family physician, removing barriers, and you could offer leadership development seminars. What makes an effective leader in each sector of healthcare will differ based on your specialty, however, there are certain best practices in healthcare management that all great leaders exemplify. Below we will outline the top 7 traits for effective leadership in healthcare   

1. BE CURIOUS 

Just because something has always been done a certain way, it does not mean that is the most effective way to carry out a task. Be curious and try to be innovative and more efficient with your tools, your people, and their skill sets. Being inquisitive, as a leader, opens up for great participation and unique ideas from your team members that are on the frontlines of what you are trying to implement. One of the most important roles of an effective healthcare executive is the ability to ask those tough questions of all parties involved and avoid making assumptions. Asking questions can also encourage team members to participate and share ideas. 

2. DATA IS KING 

One of the most effective ways to change assumptions and measure performance is to measure and track everything. Data is your friend and one of the most cost-effective ways of growing and nurturing your team and patient care. Many healthcare organizations already qualify and quantify vast amounts of data sets. Use that information to analyze performance and measure outcomes. You may find that what you thought of as a problem is merely a symptom of a bigger issue and that improvements have to start in another area. Measuring performance also makes it possible to identify people with high performance so they can be recognized; similarly, you will be able to spot people who may be struggling so they can receive more training. 

3. SET EXPECTATIONS 

Leadership in healthcare often means being specific about their challenges, desired solutions, decision-making processes, expectations, improvements to strategies and processes, and understanding the vision of business development. Specific expectations like how much time should be set aside for patient interaction and counseling or making sure that each intake file has the required documents in it before the patient can be seen are precise, measurable actions. This makes for often seamless implementation and healthy work culture. 

4. LEAD BY EXAMPLE 

In order to be more effective, healthcare managers should always base their actions on their words. Just like in parenting, your employees and competitors are watching you and learning from you. You are the driving force for the company, providing sound direction and motivation to get the job done.   The healthcare environment itself is constantly changing and more involved than most other industries, and that fact presents a challenge for healthcare leaders today. Many organizations are expecting more to be done with technology and fewer humans and keeping up is a struggle. However, not with the right healthcare manager and employee team. More effective healthcare leadership can help any department flourish even during challenging times. 

5. DEDICATION TO SELF IMPROVEMENT 

The only constant in healthcare is change. You need to make sure that you are staying on top of the current trends and innovations in your medical fieldso, you can ensure your patients receive the best care possible or your employees understand the importance of self-improvement which impacts the patient care they provide. Leadership in healthcare means continually learning about new medical procedures and ways to improve your staff and organization’s efficiency. Effective healthcare managers work to further their education and provide opportunities for their employees to do the same. Leadership development courses, seminars, conferences, and online classes are all great opportunities for effective healthcare leaders and their staff to improve themselves. Plus, they are amazing professional networking opportunities for everyone from your nursing staff to your physicians to share information and learn from their colleagues. By establishing these different opportunities, you instill trust and loyalty is not only your employees but also your patients. Self-leadership is just as important as the leadership of others – taking this into consideration, leaders who understand this process can lead by example each and every day. 

6. BE ADAPTABLE 

As we have learned through the COVID-19 pandemic, our ability to lead has to adapt to the circumstances at hand. Even prior to the pandemic, those who have been in healthcare have to adapt to the digital age of healthcare. From charting to telehealth, you, as a healthcare leader are in an environment that is rapidly changing. You have to be able to provide sound decision-making and evolve in every scenario and recognize that there are multiple (right) ways of doing things. Patient-centered care demands adaptability. 

7. COMMUNICATE 

No matter the relationship, communication is key in order to be effective as a healthcare manager. Strong leadership in healthcare means you have to be able to communicate with a variety of personalities and in different modes of communication. For example, you need to be able to present information in a way others can grasp the informationwrite effective emails to your entire staff, donors, investors, partners..etc..While being responsive in a timely manner. As we have learned this year, we have to be able to adapt and be able to host compelling Zoom conferences or appointments with patients. You also have to communicate efficiently with your patients and their family members. Learning how to specifically communicate with each branch of healthcare will take a lot of patience and practice.