4 Common Healthcare Interview Questions & How to Answer Them

Interviewing for a position, no matter how seasoned you may be in your field, can be a nerve-racking experience. You never know what you’ll be asked when sitting before the gatekeepers of your dream job, so it is almost impossible to be fully prepared. However, common questions are bound to come up.

As we head into 2021, you might find yourself seeking a change for the new year. If a new job may be on the horizon for you, here are four of the most common questions you will likely be asked at a healthcare job interview and how to best answer them.

The Open-Ended “Tell Me About Yourself”

On average, in regular conversation, people typically spend about 60% of any given conversation talking about themselves, and the number jumps to an even higher 80% when communicating on social media. That would lead you to believe this question is an easy one to answer for just about everyone. However, some people are just downright uncomfortable when it comes to talking about themselves, and, in particular, discussing their accomplishments, either because they do not know how to quantify their successes or they do not want to come across as bragging. Use this answer to give a summary of your professional experience and education accomplishments, mirroring your polished résumé that got you in the door, and then tell them a bit about who you are outside of work, including what you are passionate about.

“Why Do You Want to Work Here?”

The correct answer to this question is never about what the hiring company can do for you—“Listen, I just need a job,” or, “Well, you offer more money than ABC Hospital,” or, “My friend works here and says the benefits are great,” won’t cut it. This question is not about you, but, more so, how much you have researched the company you are interviewing with and how well you align with what they are looking for. They want to know you have done your research, so leading up to the interview, Google the company and read all you can, including job postings for the position to which you have applied and any others you can find. Your best answer will paint the company in a flattering light, while showing how hiring you can benefit them, not the other way around.

Strengths and Weaknesses

“What is your greatest strength?” and “What is your biggest weakness?” typically come as back-to-back questions, and the answers hiring managers are looking for offer insight into you as a person. For your greatest strength, be sure to tailor your response to your experience, credentials, and the role’s requirements, and be prepared to elaborate on your chosen strength with anecdotal evidence or quantifiable information. As for your greatest weakness, the hiring manager is usually on the hunt for two things: accountability and positive change. Own up to something you have not done well in the past, but be sure to also highlight how you have learned from it or changed for the better. It is less about your flaws and more so about how you have improved yourself by facing them.

Why You Left Your Last Job

When asked, “Why did you leave your last role?” it might be tempting to bad mouth your last employer for myriad reasons, but under no circumstances should that be your response to this question. The hiring manager is not looking for gossip; they want to know it is safe to invest in you as an employee, that you will not leave them in the lurch. They do not want to hire someone who is not committed and who they might have to replace shortly after they are hired. Use this answer to highlight your accountability, work values, and career aspirations and how they align with making a change to this new role. Know that there is no shame in being laid off, if that was the case for you, and be open and honest about that. Also, if you were fired from your last job, be honest about that, too, but be sure to tailor your answer to include how you learned from the mistakes you made that cost you your last job. Focus on growth, responsibility, and your aspirations for the future.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.