10 Interview Questions for Doctors and How to Best Answer them

July 12, 2021 | Courtney Marie L.


Every doctor job interview is unique, since everyone has a different set of skills and experience. However, there are some common questions that most likely will come up during an interview.

personal getting ready for interview in page

Below are the top 10 most common physician job interview questions, with tips of how best to answer them.

This is an edited version of a story previously published on Dr. Bill.

1. Why did you choose your field of specialty?

This is a typical question that recruiters often use to try and see where your passion lies within your job. Answer this accordingly but try and steer your answer so that it highlights the parts of the job that are your favourite. For example, if you love working directly with patients, focus on that, so they know that's where your passion is. If you prefer analyzing tests or trying to figure out why something happened, go in detail about it. This is a great time to talk about your curiosity within the field and things that you'd like do in the future, which might lead to question 2.

2. What are your goals?

A great answer to this would include both your short term and long term goals. Short term goals might be joining an organization with research opportunities or working in a patient–centered practice, while long term goals might be working in a leadership role.

Try to be honest about your future goals, which means it's okay if you don't have your goals set in stone, just try to phrase them, so that they are aligned with the place you're interviewing at. For example, if you know you'll be working closely within a team, mention that you're a team player and working with others in a close team setting is something you're looking for.

3. How do you work to improve patient care?

In any physician job, patient-care is extremely important, so it should be expected that some patient-care questions will pop up. An important part of patient-care is listening and working with the patient. Emphasis listening in any patient-care questions. Talk about how it can improve patient care by creating a safe space for communication.

4. How do you deal with stress?

The CMA released survey results showing that physician burnout in Canada remains a growing concern. Recruiters know this and will want to know how you've dealt with stress in the past or if you have a specific method of handling it on a day-to-day basis. Dealing with stress also includes how you react under pressure and stressful situations. This is a good opportunity to highlight your ability to think on your feet or to step back and quickly evaluate a situation before reacting. Asking this question also helps recruiters figure out if you can handle the stress of the current job that's available.

5. Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful or difficult situation and how you dealt with it?

It's always good to go into any interview with a few examples of things in your career that have gone well and other ones in which didn't go as planned. Have these stories memorized so that if you're asked about a difficult situation or a stressful time, you'll be prepared and ready to give an exact example, revealing what you learnt from the situation and what you'd do differently next time around.

6. Why do you want to work with us?

Usually someone asks this because they want to know if you've done your homework and know something about them. This helps communicate that you're interested in that specific role/place and you didn't just apply because there was an opening and you need a job.

Therefore, demonstrate you've done your homework by bringing up something specific they do, or offer, there and why it interests you.

7. Why did you leave/why are you leaving your job?

If you're leaving a previous job, be honest about why you're looking for a new opportunity, whether it's just because you want to be closer to home, or maybe because you didn't like your previous environment. However, don't speak down about anyone or be too negative about one place. If you did have a horrible experience, focus on what this new opportunity offers that the other one did not (example, an open learning environment).

8. Why should we hire you?

This might be a question you hear closer to the end of a physician job interview. Remember all your skills and the things you've learnt over the years, either in previous roles or through your education. BE CONFIDENT and remember to relate any experience you have back to the job posting and to what you know they're looking for.

9. What makes you stand out from other candidates?

This is when you want to dig up any unique skills you have, maybe relate you goals to the practice opportunity again or talk about something specifically you've done, like a specific example of team work or a unique case you successfully worked on.

Try to relate your skills to the practice by giving an example. Say, you're fluid in French or Spanish, share a story about when you helped a patient who wasn't able to communicate fully in English.

10. What would your references say about you?

Before you ask someone to be your reference, it's a good idea to ask them what they'd say about you. That way, you can reflect those answers and tell the recruiters exactly what your reference told you. You can take this a step further by asking your references what your weaknesses are, so that you can bring those up and try and spin them in a positive light. For example, if you're not the best at multitasking, you might say you take on too much at a time.

Don't forget, your physician job interview is not just about you, this is also your time to evaluate them and see if what they're offering matches your expectations. In addition to prepare for the interview questions, don't forget to write down a list of questions you have about the job. Make use of the opportunity to dive in and get a better understanding of the role and the group culture to see if it is a good fit for you.

Read related story: How to Prepare for a Physician Job Interview

This article originally appeared on the RBC Healthcare - Advice & Learning