If you’re a physician who is looking to explore career opportunities to advance your medical practice, you should know that there are a lot of challenges involved when it comes to getting hired in the medical field. While preparing an impressive resume and a persuasive cover letter can get your foot in the door with your prestigious institution of choice, securing your coveted position lies heavily on how well you do during the job interview. It is during this stage of the hiring process that you must be able to impress the interview panel with your skills and experience as a physician.
The challenge in answering interview questions is not just about being able to highlight your abilities, experience and accomplishments. It is in how you answer inquiries as to why you would make an excellent addition to the hospital’s existing roster of medical professionals. You must also be able to respond adequately to specific questions about how you work as a doctor, allowing the hiring panel to determine whether you would be able to fulfill the technical aspects of the job and fit well with existing members of the hospital’s community.
To help you prepare for your next physician job interview, here are ten (10) common interview questions for physicians and how to answer them.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO BECOME A DOCTOR?
This is one of the most common questions asked to physicians during interviews. The medical profession is held in high regard by many and it is perceived as a noble career path. However, some also see it as a lucrative livelihood. Employers want to hire physicians who regard the profession as the former. Interview panels at hospitals do not enjoy hearing doctors say that they’ve joined the profession for the money. A satisfactory answer would be to say earnestly that you desire to help other people by dedicating yourself to preserving human life.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR FIELD OF SPECIALTY?
There are various specialties in the medical profession and potential employers are generally interested in understanding why you gravitated toward your particular field of specialty. It pays to be sincere but keep in mind that the element of caring for and preserving a patient’s life must be the very core of your response. You should also highlight your scientific curiosity about the field and what you wish to contribute to it through your medical practice and research.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS?
Nobody enjoys a braggart but if you’re asked about your achievements, you should not hide them. Detailing awards and scholarships that you have received and seminars/conferences that you have attended is not only to subtly suggest that you’re an exceptional doctor. It is to emphasize your serious dedication to the profession.
WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES AS A DOCTOR?
There is no such thing as a perfect employee in any line of work. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and if you’re asked about them, you should never lie. Mention your work ethic and your amiable traits, but also disclose a few tasks that may be a bit difficult for you. The point is to stress that even you have weaknesses, but your strengths and your determination to rise above your limitations outweigh them.
WHY SHOULD OUR HOSPITAL HIRE YOU?
Hospitals look for talented doctors that could work well with others and serve patients well. Their medical team must also preserve the hospital’s goodwill and support its policies. You must take note of all three when coming up with the answer for why you are the perfect fit for the available position. Be careful about overselling yourself. You must be realistic with your motives and what you can bring into the fold.
WHY ARE YOU LEAVING YOUR CURRENT JOB?
Truthfulness and tact is key in answering this question. You should always detail the reasons for looking for work outside of your current employment in a positive context. You may want to find new challenges or seek career advancement. You may also reveal that you wish to work for a more secure organization with better benefits. While answering the question, it pays to refocus the inquiry by highlighting why the available position you’re applying for can provide what was lacking in your previous job. But take particular care not to talk badly about a current/previous employer.
WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT OUR HOSPITAL?
This is a typical hospital interview question that is asked by interviewers to gauge how much you have researched about the job you’re applying for and the hospital you want to work in. In order to answer this question, you have to study the hospital’s history including its current rules and regulations. You should also be familiar with its policies and highlight some of its remarkable achievements.
HOW DO YOU HANDLE EMERGENCIES?
This question is among those that apply specifically to physicians and you should anticipate that a few of these will be asked by the hiring panel during the job interview process. Unlike other interview questions, this one is more objective so you must respond to this question correctly by leaning on your knowledge. Your response should always indicate that the priority during emergency situations is to save the patient’s life. You must also stress that you will fulfill all your duties and make all the necessary arrangements if specialists are needed to tend to the patient. If the police are involved, it will also be your responsibility to inform them of developments regarding the patient while taking particular care not to breach any doctor patient confidentiality agreements.
HOW DO YOU PREVENT COMMITTING MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?
Like the previous interview question, this one is also specific to physicians. When answering questions like this one, you must stress how serious and dedicated you are when treating your patients. This means having extensive knowledge of the patient’s condition which you will learn along the way through patient communication and the processes of conducting examinations. You must also mention that in cases where you are uncertain how to proceed with treatment, you are always mindful to consult with other doctors and even refer the patients to specialists outside your field if necessary.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF FIVE TO TEN YEARS?
Once again, your best foot forward is honesty. It is fair for you and the employer to be both informed of your plans with your career in the future. It is even acceptable to answer that you’re still not too sure of where you will be a decade from now if you really don’t know yet.
WHAT ARE YOUR SALARY EXPECTATIONS?
It’s best that you don’t talk about your salary expectations during an interview. However, if you are asked about it, you must be cautious in providing a specific figure. If you ask for an amount that’s too high, you might be eliminated from consideration altogether. If the number is too low, you might give the impression that your talents are not of sufficient value. If it cannot be avoided, the best possible answer to this question is to respond that you are looking to receive a competitive salary that matches your expertise, experience and anticipated workload.
During your next physician job interview, make an effort to be the one who directs the conversation by being a little bit specific with your answers. To succeed in doing this, you must be confident. And you should be. After all, you dedicated many years of your life to becoming a physician. Be proud of what you have achieved without forgetting that your main motivation as a medical professional is to treat patients and save lives.