August 29, 2018

Good interview questions focus on previous experience and job tasks. Great interview questions go deeper by zeroing in on the characteristics vital to success: curiosity, problem-solving ability, tenacity, and a willingness to learn and grow.

Here are a few of my favorites.

1. What do you know about us?

With this simple question you can cover a lot of ground. A curious, prepared candidate will have done at least some research about the practice or physicians before they show up. If they haven’t and they make up a response, you get a sense of the person’s honesty and integrity. It’s also a great conversation starter.

2. What do you do when you need to accomplish something (for a project, a patient, a boss), but no one has told you how?

This question gives insight into the candidate’s initiative and problem-solving skills. The response indicates whether the person has the passion and tenacity to stick with something even if it becomes difficult, and still prevail. This is something behavioral psychologists refer to as “grit,” and it’s a terrific trait to have in your practice. Employees who have it keep trying until they get things done.

3. If your last manager or supervisor were sitting here, how would he or she describe you?

This question gets the candidates to step outside of their own skin and forces them to look at themselves objectively. Answers can be surprising. You can ask this same question about the candidate’s coworkers too.

4. Tell me when you had a hard time at work.

Listen for introspective responses, and the ability for the candidate to be honest. If they’ve “never” had a hard time, it indicates a lack of self-awareness or the inability to self-assess.

5. Which professional publications do you read?

Ask candidates to be specific. If a candidate isn’t reading at least a few practice management trade journals, e-newsletters, or specialty publications his or her knowledge is stale. Success requires staff to stay on top of changes, trends, and innovative ways of thinking.

6. What have you tried, in any sphere of life, that didn’t work out? What did you learn?

You’ll get a sense about how comfortable the candidate is with failure by hearing the answer to this question. Watch his or her body language as they explain.And listen for the lessons they learned. If the candidate “can’t think of anything,” it can be a signal that he or she doesn’t take risks, or doesn’t reflect and learn from mistakes. Neither are ideal characteristics for your team.

7. In order to be successful here, what do you need from us?

No one you hire will be perfect. If the candidate can be candid about skills that need sharpening, or tools and training he or she will needs, it can eliminate guesswork on your part and put the candidate on a faster track to success.