Interview

17 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.

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: “Yes, I am comfortable working with patients who have challenging conditions. In my previous role as a pediatrician, I worked with many families who had children with special needs. One family I worked with had a child with autism, and they were looking for ways to improve their son’s quality of life. Together, we developed a treatment plan that included behavioral therapy and medication. The family was very happy with the results.”

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: “My greatest strengths as a physician are my communication skills and my ability to empathize with patients. I find that these two skills help me build strong relationships with my patients and their families. This helps me communicate effectively when explaining diagnoses or treatment plans and can make patients feel more comfortable during medical procedures.”

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 motivated to make positive changes in their life. I find that when people are willing to work hard, they often have great success in treatment. I like to focus on helping my patients develop healthy habits so they can avoid future health issues. I believe that prevention is always better than treatment.”

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: “I believe that trust is essential in any doctor-patient relationship. I start by introducing myself to my patient and shaking their hand. This shows them that I am friendly and approachable. Next, I listen carefully to everything they tell me about their medical history. I also encourage them to ask questions so we can get to know each other better. By taking these initial steps, I hope to show my patients that I care about them as people.”

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: “When I was working in my previous hospital, I had a patient who was pregnant with twins. She came into the emergency room complaining of severe abdominal pain. After running some tests, we discovered that one of her babies had died inside of her womb. We informed her family members and then brought her back into the examination room where she could have privacy. I sat down next to her and held her hand as she cried. I told her that I understood how hard this must be for her and that I would do everything I could to help her through this process.”

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 would first make sure I understood why they were resistant to my treatment plan. Sometimes it’s because of a misunderstanding or miscommunication, so I’d ask them to explain what they didn’t understand about the treatment. If there was something else they wanted from me as their physician, I’d do everything in my power to accommodate them. For example, if they wanted more time with me during appointments, I would try to rearrange my schedule to give them more one-on-one time.”

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: “I would first try to speak with them privately about my concerns. If they were uncooperative or if I felt it was an urgent matter, I would report my colleague to our hospital administrator. In this case, I would make sure to document all interactions with my colleague so there was evidence of my claims.”

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 think stress is something all physicians face, but I also know there are ways to manage it. For me, one way is to take time for myself during my shift. If I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I’ll step out of the room for a few minutes to collect my thoughts. Another thing I do is talk with other doctors about their experiences. It’s helpful to hear from others who are going through similar situations.”

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: “I worked at my previous hospital for two years where we had a lot of Spanish-speaking patients. I learned some basic phrases in Spanish so that I could greet them when they arrived and let them know that I was there to help them. I also made sure to always have a translator on hand during appointments so that I could get as much information from the patient as possible.”

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 recently took an online course on how to better communicate with patients who have anxiety. I found that many of my patients were experiencing anxiety, but they weren’t always comfortable talking about it. The class helped me learn techniques for helping these patients feel more at ease when speaking with me.”

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 would start by creating a social media presence for our practice, as well as an online newsletter that I could send out monthly or bi-monthly. I’d also create a blog where I could share information about common illnesses and treatments. This strategy has helped me attract new patients in the past because it’s easy for people to find us online. They can learn more about our services without having to make a phone call.”

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, I first look for any abnormalities in the patient’s vital signs or symptoms that could indicate an underlying cause of death. If there are no red flags, I then review the medical history to see if there were any preexisting conditions that could have contributed to their death. Finally, I examine the most recent test results to determine whether anything has changed since the last exam. This process helps me ensure that I am not missing any important information that could help me understand why the patient died.”

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 ability to communicate with patients in an empathetic manner makes me stand out from other physicians. I always make sure to listen carefully to what my patients have to say and try to understand their concerns. This helps me create treatment plans that address all of their needs and provide them with the best care possible.”

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’m very familiar with Meditech, which I used at my last job. This program allows doctors to access patient information from anywhere, making it easy to keep track of their progress. Another system I’m comfortable using is Epic, which I learned about during my residency. The hospital where I worked implemented this system, so I had to learn how to use it.”

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: “I think it’s important for physicians to maintain strict confidentiality with their patients. I would never share any information about my patients without their permission, even with other medical professionals. I believe this is an essential part of being a good physician because it allows patients to feel comfortable sharing personal information with me. This helps me provide better care and treatment options for them.”

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 perform physical exams on my patients at least once every two years. I find that this is an appropriate amount of time between visits for most patients. This allows me to check their vital signs, listen to their heart and lungs and examine their joints and muscles.”

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: “In my last position as a pediatrician, I was treating a young patient for leukemia. The treatment plan we were using at the time wasn’t working, so I met with the child’s parents to discuss other options. We decided to try a new drug therapy that could help treat the disease while also reducing some of the side effects from the previous treatment. After six months on the new treatment, the child was in remission.”

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