25 Physician Interview Questions and Answers

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

In order to become a physician, you need to complete a rigorous process that includes a minimum of four years of undergraduate education, four years of medical school, and three to eight years of residency. After all that hard work, it’s important to make sure you’re prepared for the job interview.

The questions you’ll be asked during a physician job interview will vary depending on your specialty. However, most interviewers will want to know why you became a doctor, what motivates you, and what experience you have in the field.

To help you prepare, we’ve gathered some of the most common physician interview questions and provided sample answers.

Common Physician Interview Questions

1. Are you comfortable working with patients who have challenging conditions?

This question can help interviewers determine if you have the skills and experience to work with patients who may be experiencing challenging conditions. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a specific situation where you helped a patient overcome a difficult condition or illness.

Example: “Absolutely. I have extensive experience working with patients who have challenging conditions, and I’m confident in my ability to provide them with the best care possible. In my current role as a Physician, I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with many different types of patients, including those with complex medical histories or multiple chronic illnesses. I understand that these cases require an extra level of attention and dedication, and I am more than willing to take on this responsibility.

I also believe strongly in taking a holistic approach to patient care, which means looking at all aspects of their health – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual – when creating a treatment plan. This kind of comprehensive care is especially important for patients with challenging conditions, and I strive to ensure they receive the highest quality of care. Finally, I’m always open to learning new techniques and approaches to better serve my patients.”

2. What are your greatest strengths as a physician?

This question is an opportunity to highlight your skills and abilities as a physician. It’s also an opportunity to show the interviewer that you’re self-aware, which can be helpful in developing relationships with patients. When answering this question, it can be beneficial to think about what you enjoy most about being a doctor.

Example: “As a physician, I believe my greatest strengths are my ability to think critically and make sound clinical decisions. I have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating patients with various medical conditions. My knowledge of the latest treatments and medications allows me to provide quality care for my patients.

I am also an excellent communicator and listener. I take the time to listen to my patient’s concerns and explain their condition and treatment options clearly. This helps build trust between myself and my patients, which is essential for providing quality care.

In addition, I am highly organized and efficient. I understand that time is of the essence when it comes to providing care, so I strive to be as efficient as possible while still delivering high-quality care. I am able to prioritize tasks and manage multiple cases at once without compromising on quality.”

3. How would you describe your ideal patient?

This question can help the interviewer understand your approach to treating patients. It also helps them determine if you would be a good fit for their practice and patient population. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe a specific type of person or group that you enjoy working with most.

Example: “My ideal patient is someone who is open to learning and willing to work with me to achieve their health goals. They should be motivated, engaged in the process, and have a positive attitude towards their care. I believe that an effective doctor-patient relationship requires mutual respect and trust, so it’s important that my patients are able to communicate openly and honestly with me.

I also value the importance of preventative care, so I look for patients who understand the benefits of taking proactive steps to maintain their health. This includes participating in regular checkups, following through on recommended treatments, and making lifestyle changes when necessary. Finally, I strive to provide compassionate care to all of my patients, regardless of their background or circumstances.”

4. What is your process for establishing trust with a new patient?

Trust is an important part of the physician-patient relationship. Employers ask this question to make sure you understand how important trust is and that you have a process for establishing it with your patients. In your answer, explain what steps you take to build trust with new patients. Explain that you want them to feel comfortable talking to you about their health concerns.

Example: “Establishing trust with a new patient is of utmost importance in my practice. I believe that it starts with creating an open and honest dialogue between myself and the patient. This includes taking time to listen to their concerns, answering any questions they may have, and providing clear explanations about diagnosis and treatment options. I also strive to create a safe environment where patients feel comfortable discussing sensitive issues.

I also make sure to keep up-to-date on the latest medical advancements and treatments so that I can provide evidence-based care for my patients. Finally, I always ensure that I am available to answer questions or address concerns quickly and efficiently. By following these steps, I am confident that I can build strong relationships with my patients and help them achieve better health outcomes.”

5. Provide an example of a time when you had to deliver bad news to a patient or patient’s family.

This question is a great way to assess your communication skills and ability to handle difficult situations. When answering this question, it can be helpful to provide an example of how you handled the situation successfully while also highlighting your empathy and compassion for patients and their families.

Example: “Delivering bad news to a patient or their family is one of the most difficult tasks I have ever had to do as a physician. One particular instance that stands out in my mind was when I had to inform a patient’s family that their loved one was not going to recover from their illness.

I took extra care to ensure that I was compassionate and understanding throughout the process. I started by explaining the situation in detail, so they could understand what was happening and why it was happening. Then, I allowed them to ask questions and provided answers to the best of my ability. Finally, I offered resources for additional support and guidance during this difficult time.”

6. If a patient was resistant to your treatment plan, how would you handle the situation?

This question can help interviewers understand how you handle conflict and challenges. It’s important to show that you’re willing to take the time to listen to patients’ concerns, address their questions and find solutions together.

Example: “I understand that it can be difficult when a patient is resistant to my treatment plan. In these situations, I always make sure to take the time to listen to their concerns and try to understand where they are coming from. Once I have done this, I explain why I believe my proposed treatment plan is the best course of action for them. I also provide education about the benefits of the treatment plan so that they can make an informed decision. If the patient still does not agree with the treatment plan, I work with them to find a compromise that meets both our needs. This could include exploring alternative treatments or adjusting the timeline of the treatment plan. Ultimately, I strive to ensure that the patient feels heard and respected while also providing quality care.”

7. What would you do if you suspected a colleague was practicing outside of the law?

This question is a test of your ethics and integrity. It’s important to be honest in your answer, but you also want to show that you can work with others to resolve the situation.

Example: “If I suspected a colleague was practicing outside of the law, I would first take the time to investigate the situation and gather evidence. I understand that it is important to handle these matters with care and discretion in order to protect both the patient and the physician involved. If I found sufficient evidence to support my suspicions, I would then report the incident to the appropriate authorities. As a professional Physician, I believe it is my duty to ensure that all healthcare professionals are following the laws and regulations set forth by our governing bodies.”

8. How well do you handle stress? Can you provide an example from your previous job?

Stress is a common problem for physicians, and employers want to make sure you can handle it well. They may ask this question to see how you respond to stress and what your methods are for managing it. In your answer, try to show that you have strategies for handling stress and that you’re aware of the challenges of being a physician.

Example: “I am very well-equipped to handle stress in a professional setting. In my previous job, I was responsible for managing a team of physicians and ensuring that all patients received the highest quality care. This often required me to take on multiple tasks at once and manage difficult situations with grace and poise.

For example, when we experienced an influx of new patients due to a natural disaster, I had to quickly adjust our workflow to accommodate the additional demand. Despite the pressure, I was able to remain calm and organized throughout the process. I delegated tasks to other members of the team, communicated effectively with staff, and ensured that all patients were seen in a timely manner.”

9. Do you have experience working with patients who speak a different language?

If you’re applying for a position in an area with a large immigrant population, the interviewer may ask this question to see if you have experience working with patients who don’t speak English. In your answer, explain how you’ve handled this situation in the past and what steps you took to ensure that you were able to communicate effectively with all of your patients.

Example: “Yes, I do have experience working with patients who speak a different language. During my residency program at [Name of Hospital], I had the opportunity to work with many patients from diverse backgrounds and cultures. I was able to effectively communicate with them by using medical interpreters when needed. In addition, I also took courses in Spanish and French during my undergraduate studies which gave me a basic understanding of those languages. This allowed me to better understand the needs of my patients and provide more effective care. I am confident that my skillset and experience will be an asset to your team.”

10. When was the last time you updated your skills and knowledge? What did you learn?

This question is a great way to show your dedication to continuing education. It also shows the interviewer that you are open to learning new things and improving yourself. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention something specific that you learned or a skill you improved upon.

Example: “I am constantly striving to stay up-to-date with the latest medical advancements and best practices. In the past year, I have taken several courses to update my skills and knowledge. For example, I recently completed a course on the latest advances in cardiac care. This course provided me with an understanding of the newest treatments for heart conditions, as well as how to use new technology to diagnose and treat patients.

Additionally, I attend conferences regularly to stay informed about the most current research and trends in medicine. At these conferences, I learn from experts in the field and gain valuable insights into the latest developments in healthcare. Finally, I read extensively to keep abreast of the latest news and information in the medical world.”

11. We want to improve our outreach to local communities. What strategies would you use to attract new patients?

This question can help interviewers understand your marketing and outreach strategies. Use examples from previous experiences to highlight how you’ve attracted new patients in the past.

Example: “I believe that the key to successful outreach is engaging with local communities in meaningful ways. To attract new patients, I would focus on building relationships and trust within the community. This could include hosting health fairs or seminars, providing free screenings and consultations, and partnering with other organizations to provide educational resources.

Additionally, I would use digital marketing strategies such as creating a website, utilizing social media platforms, and running targeted campaigns. These tools can help spread awareness about our services and reach potential patients who may not have heard of us otherwise. Finally, I would make sure we are offering competitive pricing and discounts for those who need it most. By taking these steps, I am confident that we can successfully increase our patient base.”

12. Describe your process for reviewing a deceased patient’s records to determine the cause of death.

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your ability to work independently and make decisions. Use your answer to highlight your critical thinking skills, attention to detail and ability to communicate clearly with others.

Example: “When reviewing a deceased patient’s records to determine the cause of death, I take a comprehensive approach. First, I review all available medical records, including laboratory results, imaging studies, and any other relevant documents. Then, I assess the patient’s history and current condition, taking into account their age, gender, lifestyle, and any underlying health conditions. Finally, I use my expertise as a physician to identify any potential causes of death that could have been missed in the initial assessment.

I also consult with colleagues when necessary to gain additional insight or confirm my findings. This helps ensure that I am making an accurate diagnosis and providing the best care possible for the patient. Ultimately, my goal is to provide a thorough analysis of the patient’s records and arrive at a definitive conclusion regarding the cause of death.”

13. What makes you stand out from other physicians?

This question is a great way for the interviewer to learn more about your unique qualities and how they can benefit their organization. When answering this question, it’s important to highlight your skills that are relevant to the position you’re applying for.

Example: “I believe my experience and qualifications make me stand out from other physicians. I have been practicing medicine for over 10 years, with a focus on providing excellent patient care. During this time, I have developed strong relationships with patients and colleagues alike. My expertise in diagnosing and treating complex medical conditions is well-known among my peers. In addition to my clinical skills, I am also highly organized and efficient when it comes to managing patient records and keeping up with the latest advances in medical technology. Finally, I am passionate about continuing education and staying current on best practices in the field of medicine. This ensures that I can provide the highest quality of care possible.”

14. Which medical software programs are you familiar with?

This question is a great way to see how much experience you have with medical software programs. It’s important for physicians to be familiar with the latest technology, so employers want to know that you’re up-to-date on your knowledge of these systems. When answering this question, list any software programs you’ve used in previous positions and explain what they do.

Example: “I am familiar with a variety of medical software programs, including Electronic Medical Records (EMR) systems such as Epic and Cerner. I have extensive experience in using these systems to document patient visits, order tests and medications, and review lab results. I also have experience in utilizing practice management software such as Allscripts and Athenahealth for scheduling appointments, tracking billing information, and managing patient records. Finally, I am proficient in the use of telemedicine platforms such as and Zoom for remote consultations.”

15. What do you think is the most important part of maintaining a patient’s confidentiality?

This question is a great way to assess how well you understand the importance of patient confidentiality. It also shows that the interviewer wants to know if you can keep information private and safe. Your answer should show that you respect your patients’ privacy and will take steps to ensure their information remains confidential at all times.

Example: “Maintaining a patient’s confidentiality is one of the most important aspects of being a physician. It is essential to ensure that all information about a patient’s medical history, diagnosis, and treatment plan remain private and secure. As a physician, I understand the importance of protecting my patients from potential harm or embarrassment due to their personal health information being shared with others without their consent.

I believe the most important part of maintaining a patient’s confidentiality is having an open dialogue with them about what information they are comfortable sharing and how it will be used. This includes discussing any potential risks associated with disclosing certain information, as well as outlining the steps taken to protect their privacy. Furthermore, I always strive to keep up-to-date on the latest regulations regarding patient confidentiality so that I can provide the best care possible while also adhering to legal requirements.”

16. How often do you perform physical exams on your patients?

Interviewers may ask this question to learn more about your medical skills and how you interact with patients. They want to know if you have experience performing physical exams, as well as the frequency of when you do so. In your answer, explain whether or not you’ve performed a physical exam before and what type of results you achieved.

Example: “I believe that physical exams are an important part of patient care, so I perform them on all my patients at least once a year. During the exam, I assess their overall health and look for any potential issues or signs of disease. I also use this time to discuss lifestyle changes they can make to improve their health. Depending on the patient’s age and medical history, I may recommend more frequent physicals. For example, if a patient has a family history of heart disease, I might suggest having a physical every six months. In addition, I am always available to answer questions and provide advice between visits as needed.”

17. There is a new treatment for a disease you’ve been treating patients for. How would you handle the situation?

This question is a great way to assess your critical thinking skills and how you would handle a challenging situation. When answering this question, it can be helpful to think of a time when you had to make an important decision that impacted the lives of many people.

Example: “I understand the importance of staying up to date on new treatments and advances in medicine. When a new treatment for a disease I’ve been treating patients for is released, my first step would be to research it thoroughly. This includes reading any relevant studies or articles that have been published about the new treatment, as well as consulting with colleagues who may have more experience with the treatment.

Once I feel confident in my understanding of the new treatment, I would then discuss it with my patients. I believe it’s important to involve them in their own care decisions, so I would explain the potential benefits and risks associated with the new treatment and help them make an informed decision. If they decide to pursue the new treatment, I would ensure that they are monitored closely throughout the process and provide support if needed.”

18. What strategies do you use to ensure accuracy in your diagnoses?

This question can help the interviewer determine your attention to detail and how you ensure that you’re providing accurate information to patients. Use examples from past experiences where you’ve used strategies to confirm diagnoses or other important medical information.

Example: “When diagnosing a patient, accuracy is of the utmost importance. To ensure I am making accurate diagnoses, I use several strategies. First and foremost, I take a thorough medical history from each patient to get an understanding of their symptoms and any potential underlying conditions. This helps me narrow down possible causes for the presenting issue.

I also make sure to stay up-to-date on current research and treatments in my field. This allows me to be aware of new developments that may impact my diagnosis or treatment plan. Finally, I always consult with colleagues when necessary. By discussing cases with other physicians, I can gain additional insight into the situation and arrive at a more informed conclusion.”

19. How would you handle a difficult patient who refuses treatment?

This question can help interviewers assess your interpersonal skills and ability to manage challenging situations. In your answer, try to highlight your communication and conflict resolution skills. You can also include a specific example from your experience if you have one.

Example: “When it comes to handling difficult patients who refuse treatment, I believe in taking a compassionate and understanding approach. First, I would take the time to listen to their concerns and try to understand why they are refusing treatment. This could be due to fear or lack of trust in the medical system, so it is important to create an environment where they feel heard and respected.

Once I have listened to their concerns, I will explain the importance of the recommended treatment plan and how it can help improve their health. I will also provide them with additional resources such as support groups or online information that can help them better understand their condition and the available treatments. Finally, I will work with them to come up with an alternative solution that meets both their needs and the requirements of the medical team.

By taking this approach, I am able to build a strong relationship with my patient and ensure that they receive the best possible care.”

20. Describe a time when you successfully diagnosed a complex medical condition.

This question is a great way to show your problem-solving skills and ability to work with patients who have complex medical conditions. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe the steps you took to diagnose the condition and how you helped the patient.

Example: “I was recently presented with a patient who had been experiencing severe abdominal pain for several weeks. After conducting an initial physical exam and reviewing the patient’s medical history, I suspected that they might have Crohn’s disease. To confirm my suspicions, I ordered additional tests such as blood work and imaging scans to further investigate the cause of their symptoms.

The results confirmed that the patient did indeed have Crohn’s disease. I then worked closely with the patient to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that included lifestyle modifications, medications, and dietary changes. My diagnosis and treatment plan were successful in reducing the patient’s symptoms and improving their overall quality of life. This experience demonstrated my ability to accurately diagnose complex medical conditions and provide effective treatments.”

21. Are you comfortable working with advanced medical technologies such as MRI and CAT scans?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your comfort level with using advanced medical technologies. This can be an important skill for physicians, as they often need to use these tools in their work. In your answer, try to show that you are comfortable working with these technologies and have experience doing so.

Example: “Absolutely. I have extensive experience working with advanced medical technologies such as MRI and CAT scans. During my residency, I was trained on the latest imaging equipment and techniques, and I am confident in my ability to use these tools effectively.

I also understand the importance of staying up-to-date with new developments in medical technology, so I make a point of reading industry journals and attending conferences whenever possible. This ensures that I’m always aware of the latest advancements in the field and can apply them to my practice when appropriate.”

22. What methods do you use to stay up-to-date on new medical research and treatments?

This question can help the interviewer learn more about your dedication to your career and how you apply new information to your practice. You can answer this question by mentioning a few resources that you use to stay up-to-date on medical research, such as journals or online databases.

Example: “Staying up-to-date on new medical research and treatments is an important part of my job as a physician. I make sure to stay informed by reading the latest medical journals, attending conferences and seminars, and networking with other professionals in the field.

I also use online resources such as webinars and podcasts to keep abreast of the newest developments in medicine. This helps me stay current on the most effective treatments for different conditions and diseases. Finally, I am always open to learning from colleagues and mentors who have more experience than I do. By having conversations and exchanging ideas, I can learn about the best practices in the industry.”

23. When was the last time you had to make an ethical decision regarding a patient’s care?

Ethical decisions are a part of being a physician. An interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your decision-making process and how you handle these situations. When answering, it can be helpful to provide an example that shows the steps you take when making ethical decisions.

Example: “Recently, I had to make an ethical decision regarding a patient’s care. The patient was an elderly woman who had been admitted for pneumonia and dehydration. After several days of treatment, her condition improved significantly but she still required oxygen support. Her family wanted to take her home against medical advice, which posed a risk to the patient’s health.

I discussed the situation with the patient and her family, explaining the risks associated with leaving the hospital without completing her course of treatment. After careful consideration, we decided that it was in the best interest of the patient to remain in the hospital until she was strong enough to go home safely. This allowed us to ensure that she received the necessary follow-up care and monitoring.

Making ethical decisions is part of my job as a physician, and I take this responsibility very seriously. It’s important to me that I always put the needs of my patients first, while also considering their wishes and those of their families.”

24. How do you handle disagreements between yourself and other healthcare professionals?

As a physician, you may work with other healthcare professionals to provide the best care for your patients. Employers ask this question to learn more about how you collaborate with others and solve problems. In your answer, explain that it’s important to be respectful of everyone involved in a situation. Explain that you would try to understand their perspective and find a solution that works for everyone.

Example: “I understand that disagreements between healthcare professionals can arise due to the complexity of medical care. When I find myself in a disagreement with another professional, I take a step back and assess the situation objectively. I try to identify any areas where we may have different perspectives or interpretations of the same information. Once I have identified those areas, I will discuss them openly and respectfully with the other professional. My goal is always to come to an agreement that takes into account both our perspectives and provides the best possible outcome for the patient.

In addition, I am also open to seeking out advice from colleagues when needed. I believe it’s important to collaborate with others and draw on their expertise to ensure the best possible care for our patients. Ultimately, I strive to maintain a positive working relationship with my colleagues while ensuring that the highest quality of care is provided to our patients.”

25. Describe a time when you gave a presentation about a medical issue to a group of people.

This question can help an interviewer learn more about your communication skills and how you interact with others. It can also show them that you are comfortable speaking in front of a group. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention the topic you discussed and what kind of feedback you received from the audience.

Example: “I recently gave a presentation to a group of medical professionals about the importance of early diagnosis and treatment for certain types of cancer. I began by discussing the current state of research on the topic, then went into detail about how early detection can lead to better outcomes for patients. I also discussed the potential benefits of preventative measures such as regular screenings and lifestyle changes. Finally, I concluded with an overview of the resources available to help people make informed decisions about their health.”


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