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Effective Questions for Interviewing Physicians

50 Effective Questions for Interviewing Physicians
Ed Sweetman/123RF.com

Whether you are a Physician Recruiter, an Administrator, or in Human Resources, finding the right physicians for your hospital or medical practice is the biggest key to its success. As reimbursement becomes more closely tied to value-based care and outcomes, hiring providers that have both excellent clinical skills and the ability to build strong patient relationships is crucial.

This can be especially challenging in today’s healthcare landscape, with increasing physician shortages. In addition, finding a candidate with the right qualifications and experience is only half of the battle. When recruiting providers, it is not only necessary to have a strong understanding of what is important to your community, medical group, and the culture of your organization, but also what is most important to the candidate.

Asking the right questions will help guide you in gaining a deeper understanding about the physician, his or her personality, interests, motivations, and whether he or she might be a good fit for your organization. Good listening skills will help you uncover an enormous amount of information. In a recruiter’s quest to jump to the next question, one can often miss out on relevant information. Always let your candidates finish their thoughts before jumping to the next question. A successful call is one where the candidate speaks much more than the recruiter.

Keep in mind this is a marathon and not a sprint. You are building a long-term relationship with someone who is making a life-changing decision. Take your time to do the research and homework necessary to ensure you have the right candidate for the job. In recruitment, there will always be an element of the unknown; however, by asking the right questions and carefully evaluating the providers’ answers, you will increase your odds of success. Below are 50 helpful questions for interviewing physician candidates:

Professional Open-Ended Questions Include:

1)    Tell me about your background?

2)    Why did you choose to go into medicine?

3)    Why did you choose the medical school you attended?

4)    Why did you choose your specialty?

5)    What do you like most about (Your Speciality)?

6)    What do you like least about (Your Speciality)?

7)    Are there any specific areas of medicine you are most passionate about?

8)    What type of patients do you treat? Ideally, what kind of patients would you like to treat?

9)    Do you have any unique or special skills others in your field may not offer?

10)    What are some of your professional objectives or goals?

11)    Professionally, what do you consider to be your main strengths/challenges?

12)    What do you know about our practice/hospital and why are you interested in this opportunity?

13)    What does a day look like in your current practice? What is your current patient volume? Ideally, what is the number of patients per day that you are most comfortable seeing?

14)    What is your ideal practice setting and why?

15)    In your current position, how is productivity measured?

16)    What would you consider to be your most challenging case, and how did you handle it?

17)    How would you describe your relationship with your surgical or office staff?

18)    Describe some of your work habits.

19)    Why are you leaving your current position?

20)    How do you typically keep current in your medical training?

21)    Have you ever come before any committee or peer review group or had your privileges revoked or suspended?

22)    Have you ever had any disciplinary actions or problems of professional competence?

23)    Have you ever had any malpractice suits?

24)    What other practices/hospitals are you considering at this time?

25)    What are your salary expectations?

26)    When would you be able to start?

27)    Are you willing to travel if necessary?

28)    Are you willing to work extra hours or occasional weekends if necessary?

29)    Can you provide a list of professional references?

30)    Do you have any questions for me?

Personal Open-Ended Questions:

31)    What attracted you to this area or community?

32)    How does your spouse/significant other or children feel about living in this community?

33)    What are your some of your interests outside of medicine?

34)    Where would you like to be and what you be like to be doing in 3-5 years?

35)     What would make a near perfect working situation for you?

Behavioural Open-Ended Questions:

36)    Can you provide an example where you disagreed with an administrator or colleague and how you resolved the issue?

37)    What do you feel are the most important contributions you have made to your practice, community, and hospital?

38)    How do you present complicated information to your patients?

39)    How do you gain your patients’ trust?

40)    How would your patients describe you?

41)    What do your patients like most about you?

42)    What do your patients like the least about you?

43)    How would you handle a patient that challenges your professional opinion with information they found online?

44)    Can you describe a time when you had to treat a very difficult or upset patient?

45)    Can you provide an example when you were asked to follow a policy that you disagreed with?

46)    How do you handle or resolve issues that come up between your staff members?

47)    Describe a time when you have worked in a team effectively.

48)    Can you provide an example when you have been the head of a medical group or taken the lead on a project?

49)    What motivates you to succeed?

50)    Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventive measures.

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About Anne Carrie

Anne Carrie holds an MBA in Healthcare Management and a BS in Marketing. Her experience includes over 10 years of healthcare marketing, administration, recruiting, and business development. She has over 4 years of healthcare writing, copywriting, and editing experience for Hospitals, Medical Practices, and Medical/Healthcare companies. Her work has been published in Becker's Hospital Review, Medical Practice Insider, Physicians Practice, DenistryIQ, HealthITOutcomes, and other healthcare related publications.