20 Médecins Sans Frontières Interview Questions and Answers

Prepare for the types of questions you are likely to be asked when interviewing for a position at Médecins Sans Frontières.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is a leading international medical humanitarian organization, providing emergency medical aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, healthcare exclusion, and natural or man-made disasters.

When applying for a job with MSF, you can expect to be asked a range of questions about your medical experience, your ability to work in difficult and often dangerous environments, and your commitment to the humanitarian principles of MSF.

In this article, we will provide a list of sample questions that you may be asked in an interview for a position with MSF, along with advice on how to answer them.

Médecins Sans Frontières Interview Process

The interview process at Médecins Sans Frontières can vary depending on the position you are applying for. However, most positions will require at least one written assessment and one or more interviews. The interviews can be conducted in person or over the phone, and may last anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. The written assessments usually take place before the interviews, and may include questions about your skills, experience, and interest in the role you are applying for.

1. Are you comfortable working in a remote area?

MSF often works in remote areas, so the interviewer wants to make sure you’re comfortable with this. If you have experience working in a remote area, mention it and explain why you were able to do your job effectively. If you don’t have experience working in a remote area, talk about how you would adapt to this situation.

Example: “I’ve worked in several remote areas before, including an island off the coast of South America where I was the only doctor for over 1,000 people. I’m used to being far away from civilization, but I also know that having access to modern technology is important when treating patients. I can set up Wi-Fi hotspots or satellite connections if needed.”

2. What are your availability and preference for work schedule?

MSF is a non-profit organization that operates on limited resources. As such, it needs to ensure its employees are available for work and can adjust their schedules as needed. Your answer should show your flexibility in terms of availability and willingness to work long hours when necessary.

Example: “I am willing to work any shift or overtime if needed. I understand the nature of this job means we may have to work odd hours at short notice. However, I would prefer to work during normal business hours so I can spend time with my family after work.”

3. How would you deal with an angry colleague?

This question can help interviewers assess your interpersonal skills and ability to work with a team. When answering, it can be helpful to mention how you would use your communication skills to resolve the situation.

Example: “I have worked in healthcare for many years, so I’ve encountered my fair share of angry colleagues. In these situations, I try to listen to what they are saying and understand their concerns. Then, I offer solutions or compromises that may help them feel better about the situation. If they still seem upset, I will ask if we can meet again later to discuss the issue further.”

4. Tell me about a time that you had to make a difficult decision, how did you approach it?

This question can help the interviewer get a better idea of how you make decisions and what your thought process is. It can also show them that you have experience making tough choices, which can be important in this role.

Example: “When I was working as an emergency room nurse, we had to decide whether or not to treat a patient who came into the ER with a gunshot wound. The patient didn’t have any identification on him, so we couldn’t call his family for consent. We decided to treat him because he was still alive when he arrived at the hospital, but we made sure to document our decision-making process.”

5. What is the most challenging part of fundraising?

Interviewers may ask this question to learn more about your fundraising experience and how you overcame challenges. To answer, think of a time when you had to overcome a challenge in your fundraising efforts.

Example: “The most challenging part of fundraising is asking for money from people who are already giving so much. I have found that the best way to overcome this challenge is by being honest with donors about what their money will be used for. For example, if someone asks me why they should donate to Médecins Sans Frontières instead of another organization, I explain that we use our funds efficiently and effectively.”

6. Why do you want to join Médecins Sans Frontières?

This question is an opportunity to show your passion for the organization and its mission. When answering, it can be helpful to refer to specific aspects of Médecins Sans Frontières that you admire or find interesting.

Example: “I have always admired Médecins Sans Frontières’ commitment to providing medical care in areas where people are most vulnerable. I am passionate about helping others, especially those who need urgent medical attention. In my previous role as a nurse, I saw how much good MSF does in the world, so I would love to join this team and help make a difference.”

7. What is the most important thing to remember when coordinating projects?

This question is an opportunity to show your knowledge of MSF’s mission and how you can contribute to the organization. Your answer should include a specific example from your experience that shows your ability to work with others, communicate effectively and manage projects.

Example: “The most important thing when coordinating projects for Médecins Sans Frontières is to remember that we are all working toward the same goal—to provide medical care to those who need it most. I have found that by keeping this in mind, it makes it easier to collaborate with my team members and other organizations.”

8. What motivates you?

This question can help the interviewer get to know you better and understand what drives your passion for this career. Your answer should reflect your personal values, such as helping others or making a difference in the world.

Example: “I am motivated by my desire to make a positive impact on the lives of others. I want to be able to provide medical care to people who need it most, especially those who are suffering from illness or injury. I also find great satisfaction in being part of an organization that is dedicated to providing aid to those in need.”

9. What made you choose this career path?

This question can help the interviewer get to know you better and understand why you chose this career. It’s important to be honest in your answer, but it can also be helpful to include a specific example of how you were inspired by someone or something to pursue this career path.

Example: “I’ve always been interested in helping others, so I knew that medicine was the right career for me. When I was younger, my family took a trip to Africa where we volunteered at an orphanage. Seeing all those children who had lost their parents made me realize that I wanted to become a doctor so I could help people like them.”

10. Describe a goal you set at work and what you did to achieve it.

This question helps the interviewer understand your work ethic and how you apply it to achieve goals. Use examples from previous jobs that show you’re a motivated employee who’s willing to put in extra effort to succeed.

Example: “At my last job, I was tasked with finding new ways to increase our patient base. After researching different marketing strategies, I decided to create an online presence for our practice by creating a website and social media accounts. This helped us reach more people and attract new patients.”

11. Do you speak any other languages besides English?

MSF is an international organization, and they may ask this question to see if you can communicate with their staff members in other countries. If you speak another language besides English, let the interviewer know which languages you speak and how it might help you succeed in this role.

Example: “I do speak Spanish fluently, and I am currently learning French. I think my ability to speak multiple languages would be a valuable asset to MSF because it could allow me to communicate more effectively with your team members around the world.”

12. What was one project that you worked on that didn’t meet expectations?

This question can help the interviewer understand how you respond to challenges and learn from your mistakes. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a time when you learned something new or developed a skill that helped you in future projects.

Example: “In my first year as an emergency medical technician, I was working on a team of two other EMTs. We were called to transport a patient who had been involved in a car accident. The patient was unconscious and bleeding heavily from their head wound. One of my colleagues began treating the patient while I prepared the ambulance for transport. However, once we got into the ambulance, I realized that I hadn’t attached the oxygen tank to the backboard.

I immediately told my colleague what I had forgotten and asked them to wait until I could attach the tank. They agreed, but by the time I finished attaching the tank, they had already started driving to the hospital. I knew that if I didn’t get in the ambulance right away, the patient would lose more blood. So, I jumped into the back of the ambulance and assisted with the rest of the treatment. My mistake delayed us getting to the hospital, but because I acted quickly, the patient survived.”

13. Where do you see yourself in five years?

This question is a common one in interviews, and it’s important to be honest. Médecins Sans Frontières wants to know that you’re committed to the organization and its mission. Your answer should show that you have goals for your career and are willing to work hard to achieve them.

Example: “I see myself working with Médecins Sans Frontières as an emergency medical technician. I’ve always wanted to help people who need urgent care, and this job would allow me to do just that. In five years, I hope to have earned my certification as an EMT and worked my way up to paramedic.”

14. Give us an example of a time when you had to handle multiple tasks simultaneously.

This question is an opportunity to show your ability to multitask and prioritize tasks. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe a specific situation in which you had multiple assignments or projects that required your attention at the same time.

Example: “In my current role as a nurse practitioner, I often have several patients who need care at the same time. For example, recently I was caring for two patients with different symptoms of the flu. One patient needed immediate treatment while the other could wait until after I treated the first patient. I prioritized the patient who needed immediate care and then moved on to the second patient.”

15. What does quality mean to you?

This question helps the interviewer understand your definition of quality and how you apply it to your work. Use examples from your experience that show how you define quality, what factors into your assessment of a project’s quality and how you ensure quality in your work.

Example: “Quality means meeting or exceeding expectations for a product or service. In my last role as an emergency room nurse, I was responsible for ensuring all patients received high-quality care. To do this, I developed a system where I assessed each patient’s needs and ensured they were met by providing them with the right treatment at the right time. This helped me develop my ability to assess situations quickly and make decisions based on available resources.”

16. Have you ever worked outside of your home country? If so, tell us about your experience.

This question is an opportunity to show the interviewer that you are open-minded and willing to travel. It also gives them a chance to learn about your previous experience if you don’t have much.

Example: “I’ve worked in several countries outside of my home country, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. I enjoy traveling and learning about other cultures, so this has been a great part of my career. In fact, it’s inspired me to pursue a degree in international relations.”

17. What is your management style?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you would be a good fit for their organization. Médecins Sans Frontières is an international humanitarian medical aid organization that relies on its staff to work as part of a team and make decisions in emergency situations.

Example: “I believe my management style is collaborative, but I also know when it’s time to take charge. In my last position, I was working with a group of nurses who were having trouble getting along. They were all highly qualified professionals, so I knew they could handle any task I gave them. However, I needed to find a way to get them communicating better and supporting each other more.”

18. When have you been able to improve upon the design or functionality of a product?

This question can help the interviewer understand your problem-solving skills and ability to work in a team. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a specific product or service you’ve worked on that was successful because of your contributions.

Example: “In my last position as an engineer for a software company, I helped redesign our customer support system. The previous system wasn’t very efficient, so we had to create a new one from scratch. We started by researching other systems that were similar to ours and then created a prototype based on those models. After testing the prototype with customers, we made some adjustments and implemented the final version.”

19. What qualities should one look for in a good fundraiser?

The interviewer will want to know that you understand the importance of fundraising and how it helps MSF provide medical care in crisis situations.

Example: “A good fundraiser should be able to communicate effectively with a wide range of people, from those who are very wealthy to those who have little money to give. They should also be creative when coming up with new ways to raise funds for their organization. I’ve been involved in several fundraisers at my current job, including one where we held a bake sale and another where we sold handmade jewelry.”

20. Can you describe a situation where you were successful in raising funds?

This question is an opportunity to show your communication skills and ability to persuade others. It’s important that you are honest in your answer, as the interviewer will likely want to know more about this situation if it was successful.

Example: “I have experience with fundraising through social media campaigns. In my last position, I helped create a campaign for our hospital that raised $10,000 in one month. We used Facebook ads to target people who were interested in donating to healthcare organizations. The ad we created was compelling enough to get people to click on it and donate.”


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