How to Find the Top Candidates for Your Healthcare Institution: Best Questions to Ask Healthcare Professionals

Caroline Chessia | February 2, 2023

The best way to find your top candidate is to create a specialized list of interview questions that highlight essential skills, proble-solving techniques, and work philosophy.An interview is a meeting of the minds. As a healthcare recruiter, you want to ensure you are asking questions that reflect your candidates’ values, work ethic, and process so that you can really see how they’ll fit into your organization. The best way to do this is to create a specialized list of interview questions that highlight essential skills, problem-solving techniques, and work philosophy.

As you think about the questions you’ll ask your candidates, remember to emphasize soft skills as well as experience and knowledge. Communication, teamwork, accountability, and cultural understanding are incredibly important in keeping and retaining your top candidates. Everyone loves watching Dr. House on TV, but would you really want Mr. Zero Accountability working in your hospital?

What Questions Should I Ask a Healthcare Professional?

The healthcare industry consists of many different professions, from nurse practitioners and doctors to pharmacists and physical therapists—to name a few. Each of these positions requires a specific set of interview questions to classify the candidate as a fit for your institution. Crafting an interview with a mix of mostly structured and a few unstructured questions that helps you gauge soft vs hard skills is crucial. 

While open-ended questions should be used sparingly throughout an interview because they don’t lead you to the information you need to make a strong hiring decision, their nature can inspire candidates to reveal more about themselves. On the other hand, structured questions give you a chance to see how your interviewee will react in specific situations.

To gain a better understanding of your candidate, use both types of questions in your interview process. Interviewstream’s interview builder can help you assess which questions to ask aspiring healthcare professionals. Building and using the same interview for every candidate being considered for a position inspires data-driven hiring decisions, which translates into better hires.

Open-Ended Questions

  • When and why did you decide to pursue a career in healthcare? This is a great question to start an interview with because it will give you some insight into your interviewee’s career journey. Beginning an interview with a “soft-ball” question immediately puts the candidate at ease, encourages those who might be a bit nervous, and allows you a chance to feel out their personality and motivations.  
  • How do you stay informed about advancements in your field? Healthcare is always changing. Candidates might mention professional development, conferences, and continuing education, but pay attention to those who speak about adaptation to new technologies and information. In an age when more people turn to social media for news than a newspaper, it’s important to keep ahead of the curve. The way your candidate answers this question can even show you how they will interact with a younger patient.
  • How do you practice self-care? Burnout is common in the healthcare profession, with work-related stress and inner pressure to succeed potentially reaching a boiling point. By asking candidates how they take care of themselves, you can assess their self-awareness. Typical self-care activities include meditation or mindfulness to reduce stress levels, regular exercise, and getting enough sleep.

Structured Questions

  • What was the last stressful situation you encountered in your job, and how did you react? Stress is a byproduct of the healthcare profession and there is no escaping it. Of course, the answer to this question depends on the candidate, but the example given can reveal their level of experience and what constitutes a “stressful” situation. 
  • Tell me about a time that you had to deliver bad news to a patient. How did you manage the situation? Some healthcare professionals are technically proficient but lack an appropriate bedside manner. The ability to communicate a difficult diagnosis is a necessary skill for assuring your patients’ comfort and wellbeing. The patient and their family will remember an empathetic medical professional long into the future. 
  • Have you ever had a patient that took up a lot of your time? How did you prioritize so that you could offer care to this patient while not neglecting other patients? This question seeks to separate those who understand time management from those who don’t and gauge the candidate’s ability to treat a difficult patient. Look for a candidate that is comfortable asking for help from her team, stays positive in challenging situations, and doesn’t let one patient’s needs overshadow others.

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Find the Best Healthcare Professionals for Your Hospital 

Finding great healthcare professionals starts with your recruitment process. From building your interview to reaching out to select candidates, interviewstream can help streamline your hiring process. Talk to an expert today to find out how our technology can help you hire top talent in healthcare while cutting costs and time.

About The Author

Caroline Chessia is the Marketing Operations Specialist at interviewstream. She loves color-coordinated graphs, hiking in the mountains, and every dog she meets—especially the Golden Retrievers.


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