Be prepared for your hospital job interview, and think ahead about which questions may be asked from your prospective employer.
While every interviewer is different and questions may vary, these are some common interview questions you can anticipate (with some sample answers):
1. Tell me about yourself and your medical career background.
Your interviewers will likely start out with a question about yourself and your background to get to know you. Start out by giving them an overview about your current position or activities, then provide the most important and relevant highlights from your background that make you most qualified for the role. On the other hand, try to stay away from personal details, as this is not relevant to the question.
Example: “I currently work as a Registered Nurse for XYZ Hospital. I have worked in both the ICU and ER Departments. Previously, I worked for 5 years at ABC Hospital in the Med/Surg and ICU Departments. I have some supervisory duties at my current position and I’d love to continue in a management role. I have been recognized for my time management, budget, and mentoring skills.”
2. How would you describe yourself?
When an interviewer asks you to talk about yourself, they’re looking for information about how your qualities and characteristics align with the skills they believe are required to succeed in the role. Again, personal details are not required and your professional background is what should be discussed.
Example: “Working in a hospital Information Systems Department is very gratifying to me. I like to help the employees in the organization with their computer problems and technology issues. Furthermore, I help with IT security and cyber safety. I love to learn new systems and techniques. Lastly, I am very thorough with documentation and I help management with those duties.”
3. Why do you want to work in our hospital/health care institution?
Interviewers often ask this question to determine that you took time to research the medical organization and to learn why you see yourself as a good fit. Prepare for this question by doing some homework and learning all you can about the place. For example, learn about the services provided, mission, history and culture of this workplace. Moreover, if this will be a relocation for you, make sure and research the town and area and stress that the location will fit into your personal lifestyle. Finally, mention the aspects of the health care organization that appeal to you and explain why you’re looking for these things in an employer.
Example: “The hospital’s designation as a critical care facility is definitely of interest. I’d love the opportunity to work with an organization that makes a difference in people’s lives as well as a community’s well-being. Finding an organization with a positive work environment and values that align with my own are important to me and have been a priority in my job search. I am also an outdoor (urban, rural, etc.) enthusiast, so this location would suit me very well.”
4. What interests you about this medical role?
Like the previous question, hiring managers often ask this to make sure you understand the role. Thoroughly read the job description before the interview, and then highlight your relevant skills and how those skills would benefit you in this new position. Compare the position with your previous skills and background. Choose a few tasks that you particularly enjoy or excel at, and focus on those in your answer. If there are duties that you haven’t done in a previous job, make sure and discuss similar experiences and how you could bring those experiences to learn the new duties.
Example: “I’ve always been a people person and I love to help people. I think a front desk position is so important as that is the first encounter that the customer experiences. If that encounter is positive, the customer will have a positive experience. I’ve been a front office employee for many years, and although I’ve worked in medical offices instead of medical centers, I feel that I could transition well and make a positive difference in a customer’s choice.
5. What motivates you?
Employers ask this question to assess that your level of motivation aligns with the role. To answer, be as specific as possible, provide real-life examples and tie your answer back to the job role.
Example: “Making a difference in the lives of patients and their families motivates me to be the best tech I can be. Making patients comfortable and help them through a difficult visit is what I look forward to. I became a phlebotomist because most people have had blood tests and a good tech makes the difference in patients coming back regularly. I’m interested in your position as I feel like I excel at the pediatric population.
6. Why are you leaving your current job at XYZ Hospital?
A hiring manager is typically looking for a thoughtful answer that you are serious about a job change. There are many reasons to leave a current position. Don’t focus on the negative aspects of your current or previous roles. Instead, emphasize on the future and what you hope to gain in your next position.
Example: “I’m looking for a new opportunity that gives me the ability to support the public and have positive rapport with customers. Relationship-building is something I truly enjoy. I look forward to working with an organization where that’s a top priority.”
7. Can you tell me about a time when you dealt with a difficult work situation and how you overcame it?
This question is often used to assess how well you perform under pressure as well as your problem-solving abilities. To clarify, answer by telling about a specific instance. Furthermore, this is also an opportunity to show how you’re willing to go the extra mile without being asked.
Example: “A client came into the office and was very unhappy and upset about not being called back by the counselor in a timely manner. I spent my lunch hour with this client and we talked over his concerns and the counselor’s schedule. We worked through his immediate anxieties and he ended up calming down and being grateful for the personal attention. He left with a thank you and understood the counselor’s time frame and felt that it was reasonable.
8. What are your strengths as a medical employee?
This gives you an opportunity to talk about both your technical and soft skills. Answer by sharing qualities and personal attributes and then relate them back to the role for which you are interviewing.
Example: “I’m a problem-solver. Finding solutions to challenges is rewarding to me. I am very well organized. Prioritizing my daily tasks and focus on getting things done is important to me. Think of me as a people-person. I love building relationships and helping people feel better.”
9. What are your weaknesses as a medical employee?
This question can feel awkward, but it’s fairly common for hiring authorities to ask. Sharing your weaknesses can show that you are self-aware. Furthermore, it can show that you want to work on and improve those weaknesses. Start with the weakness and then discuss the steps you’ve taken to improve. Consequently, you are finishing your answer on a positive note.
Example: “I sometimes have trouble saying ‘no’ and end up overwhelmed by my workload. Earlier in my career, I would take on too many projects up front. It was stressful and I realized that I wasn’t able to focus on everything as much as I like. I’ve started using time management tools and setting better expectations for myself.”
10. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Understanding how you imagine your life in the future can help employers understand whether the trajectory of the role and company fits in with your personal development goals. To answer, provide general ideas about the skills you want to develop, the types of roles you would like to be in and things you would like to have accomplished.
Example: “In five years, I’d like to have a stable career, hopefully with your organization. I’d also like to get more involved in the community. I’d like to make a positive difference both in the organization and in the local community.”
11. What is your salary range expectation?
Interviewers ask this question to make sure your expectations are in line with the amount they’ve budgeted for the role. Research the typical compensation range for the role and give a range instead of a set figure. Finally, be sure to let the hiring manager know if you can be flexible.
Example: “I’m looking at salary ranges between $XX,XXX and $XX,XXX. I feel that with my level of experience in this area that would be a fair range. However, I can be flexible based on the whole benefit package.”
12. Why do you feel that this medical position and health care organization would be a good match for you?
Hiring managers will bring this up to give you another opportunity to explain why you’re the best candidate for them. Your answer should address the skills and experience you offer and why you’re a good culture fit.
Example: “I would be a good fit in this role, as I’ve been in a similar situation for the last three years. The organization’s mission aligns with my personal values and, from this interview I feel that you have a positive culture with which I would love. I want to work for a company that makes a difference in people’s lives, and I believe you’re doing just that.”
14. Do you have any questions?
This might be one of the most important questions asked during the interview process. Be prepared to ask questions! This chance allows you to bring up any subject that hasn’t been addressed. Furthermore, it shows the interviewer you’re excited about the role. If you feel that everything has been covered, ask the interview questions about their own experiences within the organization.
Example: “What do you love about working for this organization?” “What would a typical day and week look like in this role?” “What are some of the challenges people typically face in this position?” “Who are the team members I’ll be working with?”
Succeed in your interview by studying, and practicing! More importantly, research the company and the job beforehand. Practice your talking points until you feel confident about your answers. The more you prepare, the more likely you are to leave a lasting impression.