17 Medical Librarian Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a medical librarian, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Medical librarians are information professionals who work in a variety of medical settings to provide information and support to healthcare professionals and researchers. They are responsible for managing and organizing information, as well as developing and managing information systems and services.

If you are looking for a job in this field, you will likely be asked interview questions about your experience working with medical information, your knowledge of medical terminology, and your ability to find and evaluate information. You may also be asked questions about your research experience and your ability to work with others.

In this article, we will provide you with sample interview questions and answers that will help you prepare for your interview.

Are you familiar with the various types of medical literature and how to find them?

The interviewer may ask you a question like this to assess your knowledge of the medical literature and how you use it. Use examples from your experience to explain what types of literature exist, where you can find them and how you would access each type.

Example: “There are many different types of medical literature that I have encountered in my previous role as a medical librarian. Some of these include clinical trials, systematic reviews, case reports, guidelines and protocols. Each type has its own database or website where they’re available for free or at an affordable price. For example, PubMed is a database where you can find all types of medical literature, including journal articles, book chapters, abstracts and more.”

What are the most important qualities for a successful medical librarian?

This question can help interviewers determine if you have the skills and abilities to succeed in this role. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a few of your strongest qualities that make you an effective medical librarian.

Example: “I believe the most important quality for a successful medical librarian is excellent communication skills. I am able to find information quickly for my colleagues, but also communicate with them about how best to use the resources available to them. Another important quality is organization because I need to keep track of many different types of information at once. Finally, I think patience is another important quality because there are often long lines of people waiting to speak with me.”

How do you stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the medical field?

The interviewer may ask this question to see how you stay current on the latest medical developments and trends. This can help them understand your ability to keep up with new information in the field, which can be important for a medical librarian. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention specific resources or methods that you use to learn about the newest developments in medicine.

Example: “I have several subscriptions to online journals and newsletters that I regularly read. In addition, I also attend conferences and seminars where experts present their research findings. These are all great ways to learn more about the latest developments in the medical field.”

What is your experience with managing large amounts of information?

This question can help interviewers understand how you might manage the information in their library. Your answer should include a specific example of your experience with managing large amounts of information and how you did it.

Example: “In my previous role, I managed a database that contained over 10,000 articles on various medical conditions. To organize this information, I created folders for each disease or condition and then subfolders for each type of treatment. This allowed me to easily find relevant information when needed. It also helped me identify gaps in the library’s collection so I could add more information.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to help a physician find information on a controversial topic. How did you go about your research?

This question can help interviewers understand how you approach research and the information you find. Use your answer to highlight your critical thinking skills, ability to evaluate sources and willingness to challenge conventional wisdom.

Example: “In my previous role as a medical librarian, I helped physicians find information on controversial topics like vaccinations and alternative medicine. In these cases, I first researched the most recent studies that supported both sides of the argument. Then, I evaluated each study for its methodology and whether it was peer-reviewed. After this, I presented the evidence to the physician so they could make an informed decision.”

If a physician asked you about a specific book, journal or database title, could you identify it?

This question is a test of your knowledge and expertise. It also shows the interviewer how you would respond to a physician’s request for information. Use examples from your previous experience in which you helped physicians find specific resources.

Example: “In my last position, I frequently assisted doctors with finding medical journals and books that they needed for their research or patient care. One time, a doctor asked me about a book he had read years ago but couldn’t remember the title or author. After searching our database, I found the book and gave it to him so he could reference it while treating his patients.”

What would you do if you noticed that a database you use frequently was unavailable?

This question can help interviewers understand how you respond to challenges in the workplace. Use your answer to highlight your problem-solving skills and ability to adapt to change.

Example: “If I noticed that a database was unavailable, I would first try to find an alternative source of information. If there were no other databases with similar content, I would contact my supervisor or another member of the library staff to discuss what options we have for finding this information. Depending on the situation, we may be able to request access to the database from its publisher or developer. In some cases, it may be more beneficial to use a different database if it has better search functionality.”

How well do you perform under pressure?

This question can help interviewers determine how well you perform in a high-pressure environment. In medical libraries, there are often tight deadlines to meet and many tasks to complete. Employers ask this question to make sure that you have the ability to work under pressure and still produce quality results. When answering this question, try to show your interviewer that you thrive under pressure and enjoy working quickly.

Example: “In my previous role as a medical librarian, I was responsible for updating our database every day. This meant that I had to enter information into the system at least once per hour. There were times when I would be entering data while also helping patients find what they needed. During these busy times, I learned to prioritize my tasks so that I could get everything done on time.”

Do you have experience working with medical researchers?

Medical librarians often work with medical researchers to help them find the information they need. This question helps employers determine if you have experience working in this type of environment and how well you can collaborate with others. Use your answer to highlight any specific skills or experiences that make you a good fit for this role.

Example: “I worked as a research assistant at my university, where I helped professors find resources for their projects. I also assisted students who needed help finding sources for their papers. These experiences taught me how to navigate databases and search engines to find relevant information. They also gave me valuable insight into what types of resources are most helpful for different types of assignments.”

When is it appropriate to consult a physician about a patient’s medical records?

This question can help interviewers determine your understanding of the confidentiality and privacy laws that govern medical records. As a medical librarian, you should be familiar with these regulations to ensure you’re following them correctly. In your answer, explain why it is important to follow these rules and how you would do so in this position.

Example: “It is imperative that I only release patient information when authorized by the patient or their legal guardian. If there are any questions about whether I am allowed to share certain information, I always consult my supervisor or the physician who created the record. This ensures that we are not violating any privacy laws and that the person requesting the information has permission to view it.”

We want to improve our digital resources. What types of digital resources would you add to our library?

This question can help interviewers understand your knowledge of the library’s digital resources and how you would improve them. Use examples from your previous experience to explain what types of digital resources you would add to a medical library and why they’re important.

Example: “I think it’s important for libraries to have access to both print and digital resources because each type has its own benefits. In my last role, I helped create an online database that provided quick information about common illnesses and treatments. This resource was helpful for doctors who needed fast answers to patient questions but also wanted more in-depth information on specific conditions. Having both print and digital resources allows users to find the right information at the right time.”

Describe your experience with using medical terminology.

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your experience with using medical terminology and how you apply it in your work. Use examples from past projects or experiences to show the interviewer that you can use medical terminology effectively.

Example: “In my previous role, I was responsible for creating a database of patient information where I used medical terminology to describe patients’ conditions and symptoms. For example, if a patient had diabetes, I would enter their diagnosis into the system as ‘diabetes mellitus type 2.’ This helped me ensure that other healthcare professionals could find the right information about each patient when they searched the database.”

What makes you an ideal candidate for a medical librarian position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you feel you would fit into their organization. Before your interview, make a list of reasons why you are qualified for the position. Consider including any relevant experience or education that makes you an ideal candidate.

Example: “I am passionate about helping others find information they need. I have always been interested in medical research, so becoming a medical librarian is a dream job for me. I also think my communication skills are excellent, which is important when working with patients and other healthcare professionals. My organizational skills help me stay on top of tasks and ensure I meet deadlines.”

Which medical libraries do you admire the most?

This question can help an interviewer learn more about your experience and how you feel about the libraries you’ve worked in. It can also show them what kind of library they might be hiring for if you’re applying to a new medical library. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention specific things that you admire about these libraries, such as their collection size or online resources.

Example: “I have always admired the New York Public Library’s medical library because of its extensive collection of books and journals. I love being able to find so many different sources on one topic when I’m looking for information. Another library I admire is my current employer’s library because of all the online resources available. I think it’s important to have both physical and digital resources to provide patients with the best care.”

What do you think is the most important role of a medical librarian?

This question is an opportunity to show your understanding of the role of a medical librarian. It also gives you the chance to talk about what you think are important skills for this position.

Example: “I believe that the most important role of a medical librarian is to help doctors and nurses find information they need quickly and efficiently. I am always looking for ways to improve my organization, searching for new resources and creating more efficient systems for finding information. Another important role of a medical librarian is to ensure that all staff members have access to the information they need. I make sure that our library has computers available for everyone.”

How often do you update your medical library’s physical and digital resources?

This question can help interviewers understand your commitment to keeping up with the latest medical research. Your answer should show that you are dedicated to staying on top of developments in your field and how often you do so.

Example: “I subscribe to several journals, newsletters and databases that I use to stay informed about new treatments, medications and technologies. I also attend conferences and seminars where experts present their findings. In my last position, I attended a conference every quarter where I learned about the newest advances in medicine. I also subscribed to three different newsletters that provided me with updates on recent studies.”

There is a physician in the library asking for help with a patient’s records. What do you do?

This question is a great way to see how you handle conflict and prioritize your work. Your answer should show the interviewer that you are able to manage multiple tasks at once, while still providing excellent customer service.

Example: “I would first ask the physician what information they were looking for. If I could find it quickly, I would hand them the records so they can continue their treatment with the patient. If I couldn’t locate the information right away, I would tell the physician that I was searching for the information and would let them know as soon as I found it. This gives the physician peace of mind knowing that I am actively working on finding the information they need.”


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