Interview Questions

Interview Questions


In Ch. 3: Interview Tips we went over common mistakes made by interviewers, and the steps they can take to avoid them. Here we'll cover the interview questions that everyone is expecting to hear in the healthcare industry.

This will help ensure that your interview goes a little bit smoother, and you can separate yourself from other healthcare candidates with ease.

We all want to know exactly what our interviewer will ask us, but unfortunately for us, that is impossible. If we know what they are going to ask, then we can be confident in how we answer.

If you’re confident in how you answer, then the interviewer will take note of that confidence and feel confident that you are the right candidate for the job.

Interviews are especially daunting in the medical field, due to the fact that it is quite difficult to land the job, due to the fact that you must demonstrate that you are tough, smart, and great with people.

The best thing is to prepare for common questions, and turn every past achievement into a home-run answer. It is important to be genuine, and stay away from canned responses and scripted answers.

It is important when you are preparing for your interview that you are diligent and showcase your preparation, but remain candid with your answers. The last thing you want to appear is automated.

You don’t want to sound like you're reading from a teleprompter. That’s why it’s important to at least understand how to answer different types of questions, but you don’t want to showcase that you have every single answer as if you’re reading notecards.


Interview Questions to Prepare for:

There are several interview questions that frequently come up in a healthcare or hospital job interview, so you should be ready to answer them quickly and efficiently.

Taking the time to review these common healthcare job or hospital job interview questions will ensure that you don’t get caught off guard.

Each one of the following questions will detail what the employer, hiring manager, or recruiter is looking for in your answers — and compare your answers and demeanor to the other healthcare and hospital professionals the facility is interviewing.


1. Why the Healthcare Industry?

Interviewers ask this question to gauge your real motivation for working in the healthcare industry. It’s important to demonstrate your love for the work, but you need to show them why by using your past accomplishments and history.

Saying, “because I’ve been playing Operation since I was 10” is not a good answer.

Instead, discuss why you're passionate about helping people, how you’ve accomplished goals in the industry, and what you can bring to the table. Always use accomplishments from your past.

In addition, you should detail how you have a passion for caring for others.

When you are detailing some of your previous experience, and how it details your passion for working in the healthcare industry — make sure you highlight any previous education or professional experience you have that could indicate your passion for serving others.

If you don’t have any educational or professional experience caring for others, don’t hesitate to mention some of your personal experience.

For instance, if you have taken a mission trip somewhere to help provide aid and care for others, that is a great piece of previous personal experience that you can use to separate yourself from other applicants and healthcare candidates who don’t have as much experience.

As with any interview, you have to be creative with your answers - and you should be creative in detailing how you can separate yourself from other applicants and candidates who don’t have that creative aspect with their answers.

Interviewers are going to ask this question to determine whether or not you are truly passionate about the healthcare industry for the foreseeable future.

Hiring and onboarding a new individual takes both time and money, and the last thing they want to do is reset the process in a couple of years.

Interviewers are looking to ensure that your passion for the healthcare industry will be an investment for them, and you’ll ultimately bring great value for both the healthcare organization and the patients they serve.


2. Tell Me About Yourself.

Stay broad, and don’t go into too much detail. Now's not the time to be long winded. Talk about your professional life; they want to get a feel for you as a professional; they don’t care about your personal life.

Keep the conversation professional. Don't talk to your interviewer like they are your friend. When you speak, be clear and concise. Don't talk about hobbies, family, or where you grew up.

Keep it to a one minute summary and speak to where you are in your career, and what you’re good at — with emphasis on your most recent job.

Similar to the last question, interviewers are looking to see how you might be a fit for the position and the healthcare organization.

In addition, the interviewer is looking for any red flags that you might be sending off. Essentially, they are looking for ways to make sure that you will be able to perform all the duties of the task.

Another great aspect about this question is that interviewers are looking for additional info about your professional career that you failed to mention when providing other answers.

When you are answering this question, try to focus on your professional strengths, and how those strengths would be a great fit for the position.

Doing this will help separate yourself from other candidates who cannot detail who they are, what their passions are, and how those passions apply for the position itself.


3. What Interests You About The Position?

Another common question you might receive in your interview is related to your particular interests about the position itself.

This question offers a great chance for you to talk about the substance of the role, and how it interests you. Tell them how you can bring something to the table, and how the job aligns with your goals.

When you tell them about how you can bring something unique to the table, you’ll separate yourself from other candidates who just simply indicate that they have an interest for the position.

In addition, take the time to highlight how the job is going to be a great fit for your goals, and how the two lineup. When you make this distinction, it once again drives home the point that you are looking to start a lengthy career at the hospital or healthcare facility, and you’re not just going to jump ship at another healthcare job or hospital job opportunity when they come knocking.

Again, you want to reinforce that you’re looking as this opportunity as a long term option — and that their investment in bringing you onboard will pay off in the long run.

One thing you want to avoid at all cost is salary negotiations when talking about your interest in the position.

Don’t talk about salary, benefits, or anything unrelated to the job. If you talk about money, they will think that is the most important thing on your mind.

That’s the last thing that you want them to be thinking about you. You want to showcase that you are willing to put in the extra effort to provide the best care possible - and that you have a passion for it.

Be enthusiastic about the work, and show a passion for the field; this will let them know you're in it for the duration of your employment with the hospital or healthcare facility.

Demonstrate why you want to work in healthcare, and focus on what you can do for the job, not what the job can do for you.

When you focus on what benefits you can provide the employer and highlight those benefits, the employer will take note of your eagerness and focus on those details when reviewing their notes on the interview later.


4. Why Did You Leave YOur Last Job / Why Are You Leaving Your Job?

This is one of the tricky questions that might come up in an interview, and it’s one interview question that you need to tip toe around. As we mentioned earlier, the interviewer is looking for ways to figure out if you are going to be a red flag in the organization and existing company culture.

This means that you need to be extremely careful when it comes to discussing why you are currently seeking new employment opportunities.

The wrong answer, and you might accidentally take yourself right out of the consideration for the job.

One thing you should avoid is going into detail about some of the conflicts you had previously — unless they specifically ask for more details (we’ll discuss these later on).

Don’t discuss conflicts; it shows weakness and volatility. Plus, it will take the conversation in a negative direction and turn the tone; keep the atmosphere light and positive.

Don’t badmouth the employer or any of your colleagues, because the future employer will think you will do the same thing if you were to leave this job.

It’s important to remember that there is always two sides to a coin, and projecting yourself as the best side might work against you during the interview.

You want to demonstrate that you are seeking new challenges. When you say you are seeking new challenges, you can can illustrate how this new job will provide them.

When you indicate that a job will provide you with more professional challenges and excite you about coming to work each day, you’ll separate yourself from those candidates who make it seem as if they are only interested in coming into work, doing their job, and quickly leaving.

Employers and hiring managers want to make sure that they hire the most passionate individuals who are looking to continually challenge themselves and develop as a more well-rounded professional who can bring more to the organization the longer they are there.

If the job can't challenge you, then don't mention it, or don't go after that job. This is critically important for those individuals who need a job that constantly challenges them throughout the day.

Most jobs can feel tedious and repetitive, so it’s important to know what your personality is and what type of job you need to find before accepting an interview or job offer.

If this question is raised during the interview, you should also avoid saying that you were bored.

Even though it might not be true, you don’t want to make it seem as if you slacked off due to you being bored at the previous job.

Simply due to the fact that when most people get bored, they stop putting as much effort into something they are incredibly passionate about.

For instance, if you really enjoyed going to the gym for three straight months, and one day you woke up and said you no longer wanted to do the same exercises, and convinced yourself that you could go and do half of the exercises to ensure that you went to the gym.

Naturally, your workout is going to be less intense or strenuous due to the fact that you don’t want to be there.

The same thing occurs at a professional place of employment. If you no longer feel challenged in your job, then it’s reasonable that your passion to do your job to go above and beyond is expected.

Bottom line — you do not want to have this impression given.

There are several things that you can use to answer this question though, so you can at least consider some reasonable answers you can use instead of painting yourself in a potentially negative light.

Some of the things you can reply with include: discussing relocation, financial trouble at previous employment, and other true relevant reasons — as long as you keep it light.

Use this as an opportunity to show how excited you are about the opportunity that the job presents — and how you can bring an immense amount of value to the organization if they take a chance on you.

Discuss how this job could better your circumstances. Talk about how this job opportunity aligns more with what you’re passionate about, and how you would enjoy making a successful career with the organization.


5. What Is Your Biggest Weakness?

This is one of the most common questions that every single interviewer asks, so it’s incredibly important that you know what your weaknesses are and come up with potential solutions you are utilizing to reduce the weakness moving forward.

Asking about a weakness is one of the most common questions due to the fact that hospitals, healthcare facilities, and organizations are looking for potential mismatches in the hiring process.

As we’ve previously mentioned the hiring process and selection process is incredibly time lengthy and expensive — and the last thing they want to do is potentially hire someone who isn’t going to be a good fit.

So answering the greatest weakness question needs to be centered around an opportunity for you to showcase how well you’d be a good fit, and that your weakness won’t detract the potential addition of you on the staff on the existing team dynamics and company culture.

The best way to answer the weakness question is to minimize your weakness with a strength — how are you improving that weakness?

When you showcase how you are improving on that weakness, you can also highlight some of the things that would make you a good fit in the organization.

For instance, you can drive a focus on your work ethic to resolve some of your weaknesses.

For example:

“I struggle with talking in front of large groups of people. So to improve my communication and oration skills, I go to improv nights at a local theatre. I reach out to those in my community for help as well, and have started a group for people with the same problem.”

This example turns the attention from your weakness and shows how you have strengths in managing, organization, breaking down obstacles, and reaching out to the community.

This is a great example on how you are aware of your weakness, and you have taken proactive steps in attempting to get over that weakness.

In addition, one great aspect of this answer is that you are encouraging others to get over that same weakness.

If your weakness has a direct relation to the job, then it is imperative that you showcase that your weakness is being overcome and will ultimately be a strength for you on the job.

Another thing you need to consider when detailing your weakness is that you want to avoid anything that would take away from your job, or prevent you from performing the job to the fullest ability.

For instance, if you state that your weakness is empathizing with others, then it might be incredibly difficult for you to understand what your patients are going through during your shifts as a Registered Nurse (RN).

It’s important to remember that everyone has a weakness that they are working on, and you should be vulnerable to the point where you are real about a weakness you have.

This means, that a lot of people say that you should recommend you create a fake weakness, which is really a strength.

For instance you might say something along the lines of, “I have a hard time separating work from my personal life.” This essentially means that you put a lot of passion into your work and it bleeds over into your personal life.

But the problem with this answer, is that it isn’t a true weakness. In essence, you made an example that most would consider a strength, to be a weakness. You’re not showcasing your vulnerabilities in a reasonable light.

Remember, you want to showcase a real weakness, without coming off as inauthentic.


5. How Do You Handle Stressful Situations?

Another common and important question you might receive is, “How do you handle stressful situations?” This is an important question in the healthcare industry.

You have to have thick skin and be able to deal with stress on a daily basis. Prove you can handle stress by:

• Discussing concrete examples from your past where you overcame stressful situations

• Talk about how you cope with stress in day-to-day life, not just at work. And let your employer know if you do yoga, boxing, weight lifting, cooking—whatever the coping mechanism may be. This question is a great time to turn your weaknesses into strengths.

Showcasing that you have previous experience dealing with a stressful environment and making it appear as a strength will ensure that you stand out amongst the other hospital job and healthcare job candidates that are interviewing for the same position.


7. Why Would You Do Well In This Position?

This is your time to shine. This question allows you answer with all your best accomplishments, and how you can help meet their needs. Don’t be afraid of really selling yourself here.

Few of the other interview questions you are asked will offer such a solid opportunity for you to sell yourself and showcase why you are and should be considered the top candidate during the selection process.

You must know specific examples to answer this question with, and every answer needs to be strong. One way to ensure that you have specific examples to use during the answer is to use past experiences.

Use past experiences to highlight what you can bring to the table; show them by using the stories you tell, and keep their attention by being interesting.

Point to your skills and experience, and tie them back to why and how they would fit this job. Just show them that you can be the best hire — show them enthusiasm.

If you are following our previous chapters, going through a practice run with your friends or family members will be useful for coming up with a great example scenario of why you would do well in that individual position.


8. Tell Me About A Time You...

This is another one of the common questions that you might be faced with in your interview. These questions are designed to gauge how you performed in the past, and how that could be an indicator of how you will perform moving forward.

They want clear, concrete examples of situations you’ve had to take initiative and solve real problems.

Prepare examples that show that you fit the qualities and skills they are looking for. Use past experience and achievements that would directly fit the needs of that job.

They are gauging your problem solving skills and your critical thinking skills, so explain the challenge you faced. Discuss how you overcame the example and what the result was.

This is a great opportunity for you to once again drive home some of the strengths you have, and how those strengths would align well with the position.

Most people are caught off guard by these types of questions, so prepare a solid answer and be confident. This is considered a guaranteed question that comes up in every single interview, so you should be ready to answer it with ease.

The question could vary a little, but if you have a few concrete examples in your tool belt — use them at will.


9. What Do You Know About Our Company?

As we’ve previously covered in other chapters in this Career Guide, it is vitally important for you to research a little bit about the company, hospital, or healthcare facility that you are looking to work at.

Researching the company you want to work for is super important, as it will help you understand what challenges they are facing and offer an opportunity for you to showcase how you can help provide a solution for the challenges.

It will give you ideas of what they are looking for, and help you formulate responses that are relevant to the job and the position that you are applying for.

It will also help you know who you are talking to. Knowing who you are planning on talking to or who might be interviewing you will help break the ice, showcases that you are intelligent, and that you did your homework.

A few things to keep in mind:

• Don’t regurgitate facts

• Don’t repeat the same thing over and over again throughout the interview

• Provide a general sense that you know what they are about

• Talk about what they are known for and what they do well

• What makes them better than their competitors?

One thing you want to avoid is continually repeating facts or elements in other answers throughout the interview. If you only know one thing about the company, you shouldn’t continually mention it due to the fact that it makes you come off as ignorant about some of the other aspects about the hospital or healthcare facility.

It’s ok to admit that you don’t know something when you answer the interview question, but you also don’t want to appear as if you didn’t do any research.

Most importantly, if you’re doing multiple interviews during the same day or during the same week — you want to make sure that you remember which hospital or healthcare facility you are talking about.

You don’t want to go on a long discussion about all the recent expansions they have made, how their company goals align with your career goals, etc. — only to find out that you were talking about the wrong position when they respond with, “That’s not us,” or “I think you have us confused with some other organization.”

Not only will this paint you in a bad light, but it will almost certainly disqualify you from further consideration for the position by making you look unprepared for a simple question.


10. What's Important To You In A Position?

With this question, it is important to remain candid and talk about your goals. Talk about what you would like to have in a career, and how this job can fulfill those requirements.

You can talk about your need for growth and purpose, and relate it back to why the job will fit those requirements.

Talk about where you want to be in five years and about goals for the industry; what you see yourself bringing to the table.

In addition, take the time to highlight how some of your personal passions align well with the position or organization.

One of the best ways to mention how the job aligns with your personal passions is to showcase something from your previous experience or something you do on your free time that really highlights why the new position would be important to you.

For instance, if you really enjoy spending quality time with others and caring for them — you can showcase how you spent extra-curricular time while you were in school, or when you participated in volunteer work on the weekends.

If you’re applying for a healthcare or hospital job, it’s important for you to highlight things that are important to you that would relate to the position.

For instance if you are looking for an opportunity where you can truly impact others, then a healthcare career is perfect for you.

That’s why you should mention that you’re currently looking for an opportunity to impact others in a positive way and a healthcare career would allow you to do that.


11. What Is Your Salary Requirement?

Don’t be afraid to talk about money if they bring it up. Do market research and ask for a price that fits your experience and qualifications. Don’t be greedy, and give a range instead of a specific number.

Talking about the salary requirements you have for the job is a tricky subject. If you can, you should avoid it. The reason being, if you say a range that might be out of the acceptable hiring criteria for the healthcare or hospital facility, then you are going to automatically disqualify yourself from future consideration.

If you simply say, “My salary is negotiable,” they might want you to elaborate a bit more on what you’re looking for. In which case, you can bring up the research we mentioned.

Once again we’re driving home the point that you need to conduct your research before going into the interview — as you don’t know when it could come into play at any given moment.

Before you go into the interview, one useful technique for making sure that you have a reasonable salary expectation that you can recall in the interview is to research similar positions at the hospital or healthcare facility before going in to the interview.t

For instance, if you are looking at a RN (Registered Nurse) position that is a 3 day night shift, you can use external resources to see what that particular healthcare organization or hospital are paying that same position.

Glassdoor is a really helpful resource to use before going into an interview to learn more about each individual hospital or healthcare organization you are interviewing with.

There you can learn more about individual wages or benefits for the position you are applying for — and read reviews posted by current or former employees.

In addition, you can research some of the potential interview questions that might arise during the course of the interview — as other applicants and employees will frequently share what questions they were asked and then how they responded.

Another incredibly useful resource that we encourage you to review before going into your interview is our Salary Trends Insights on HospitalCareers.

We have detailed salary trends for every hospital or healthcare profession you can think of, minimum and maximum hourly wages, salary trend expectations throughout your career, and expected hiring rates for the next decade.

All of this is incredibly useful for the question related to what you expect to make in your new position that you are interviewing for.

In addition, if you showcase some of the research you conducted before the interview you’ll stand out amongst those candidates who don’t have an answer, or will price themselves out of the ballpark.

Below is a potential way you can respond if the interviewer decides to ask you a salary negotiation question.

For instance:

“The research I’ve done shows that starting wage for this position is between $30-$50k a year. For this area, the living expenses, and my qualifications and experience, I would be comfortable somewhere between $35-$45k.”

Giving a range will help in negotiations. They won’t consider you if you go too high, but you’re hurting yourself if you go to low.

Do the homework, and meet somewhere in the middle. Ask, don’t demand, and remember, it is a negotiation.

Frequently in the healthcare industry, the job offer process is a negotiation.

If your interview goes well and they offer you the job, you can always counter-offer later on down the road — so don’t get too worked up if they offer you too little, or it’s just outside of your asking range.

If you research, compile a list of achievements and skills that fit any question, act candid, and stay relevant and concise.

Compiling all of this information will help you determine how you go about answering this question in the interview. Not to mention, it will also help separate yourself from other candidates when you remind them of some of the things you have been able to achieve in previous positions, or your education.

You can use your previous education and accomplishments to leverage a larger salary range.

In addition, you’ll help present a better case for yourself by showcasing that they are getting a much more well-rounded, and more experienced employee for the open position.

You will have better odds of landing the job and seem more confident. Be sure to follow up after your interview, and thank them for their consideration. Don’t be afraid to ask for a timeline to let you know the next step.


12. What Do You Think Of Your Previous/Current Boss?

One of the common interview questions that frequently come up is, “What do you think of your previous/current boss?” These questions are tricky and designed to provide critical insight into how you view those you work under and how you interact with them.

Frequently, these questions are designed to see how honest you are as well. With every background check, one of the common things that employers, hiring managers, and healthcare recruiters will do is to call up and interview previous employers or managers to see what kind of worker you were, how you interacted with them, and see how long you worked there.

Essentially, it is another way for future employers to realize whether or not you are going to be an issue with the future place of employment by evaluating how you performed in previous places of employment.

One of the main concerns that individuals have regarding background checks is their worry about how a previous manager or boss will bad-mouth them to their prospective employer.

While it isn’t illegal to bad mouth an employee, it is illegal to falsify facts or lie about an employee to a future employer.

This means that previous employers must be truthful in some of the critique and evaluation they provide to future hiring managers and healthcare recruiters that call in to do a bit more background on the employee.

There are also companies who provide services to do fake call-in background checks to see if a former boss, or employer is bad-mouthing you to potential opportunities.

This question is designed to evaluate how you might talk about that individual hiring manager or boss when you move on to the next opportunity in a few years down the road.

In addition, this question is designed to determine whether or not you are constantly looking for the negative in your current opportunities.

Do you have a pessimistic attitude when you go to work each day, or will you go to work with a positive attitude designed to impact patients’ lives each day?

In addition, this question is a perfect one for discovering whether or not you have any additional reservations about some aspect of the job in the way that you answer the question.

For instance, if you mention that you disliked the constant meetings that your current or former employer required, then you might not be suited for the role that requires constant communications, meetings, and discussions with your managers and employers to understand what is going on and stay up to date.

Whereas in contrast, answering this question provides an ample opportunity for you to highlight some things you really enjoyed about your previous position — and detail how you would like to see some of those benefits in a role with the hospital or healthcare facility you are interviewing with.

For instance, one great answer you can provide for this question is to focus around patient interaction. “I really that my previous boss gave me an opportunity to interact with others in my role. I enjoyed getting to interact with customers on a daily basis that my previous opportunity afforded me, and I am really looking to find an opportunity that will allow me to do that more.”

If you recently applied to a hospital or healthcare position, one of the things you will need to do consistently is interact with patients and provide a positive experience.

If one of the best things you took away from your previous boss was the opportunity to interact with customers, then that might potentially mean you would be perfect for a role where you have to deal with patients and impact them daily.

Take the time to use this question that is designed to trick you up and provide valuable insight into an opportunity for you to discuss how you are looking for an opportunity to work in an environment where the opportunity aligns with what you’re looking for.


13. Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years?

Another common question in the healthcare and hospital industry that you might face is to answer, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

This question is designed to evaluate whether or not you are going to commit to a long term future, or whether or not you are going to jump at the next opportunity as it comes down the road.

Ideally, this is an opportunity for you to showcase how you are looking for an opportunity that will be stable, provide career opportunities to continually advance, and set down some roots for the long term.

With the competitive job marketplace and frequent turnover of employees, healthcare recruiters, employers, and hiring managers are constantly seeking employees that will be a valuable asset that will stick with them in the long run.

When an employee sticks with a company for a long time, the hospital or healthcare facility doesn’t have to spend extra time or money training new employees to fill vacancies.

This means that you need to showcase that you are willing to work with the hospital or healthcare facility for the long haul, and will continually grow and develop over time and provide increasing value to the company over a period of time.

You want to design your answer around these three principles: you are career oriented, ambitions, and passionate about providing efficient and effective care in the healthcare industry.

If you can craft an answer that details these three elements, then you will be able to stand out amongst other job seekers who are applying for the same position.

The last thing you want to do is reply with an answer along the lines of, “In five years I see myself as retired.”

If you provide an answer similar to this, the hiring manager, or recruiter will think to themselves, “Well this is a short term solution for a long term problem. I have to look elsewhere.”

You don’t want to create that impression. Instead, you want to create the impression that you are a must-hire for the long term benefits your employment will provide.


14. Why Should We Hire You?

One question that you need to be prepared to answer is, “Why should we hire you?” This question is an opportunity for you to drive home the point that they need to hire you compared to some of the other candidates they are considering.

Take the time to answer this question by driving home your qualifications, experience, education, and background that separates you from the other candidates the company is considering.

In addition, you want to use this question to help separate yourself from other candidates by making it seem as if you are unique.

There are going to be other candidates who have the same education background, and similar work experience as you.

This means that you need to find a unique way for you to detail some of the ways that separate yourself from those similar candidates.

One way to do this is to talk about some extracurricular activities, volunteer experience, and some personal reasons as to why you want the job.

One example for a personal reason that you can use is, “I have a passion for learning new things, and I feel this role would allow me to continually learn on the job — which is exciting for me.”

Including a few key details about why you are unique will help separate you from the volume of other candidates that the organization is considering, and make you stand out as the best candidate.


15. What Is Your Greatest Failure, And What Did You Learn From It?

One question that might come up is related to some of your greatest failures. Ideally, this question will focus on your professional experience, but if you don’t have any professional experience — then you can detail some of your personal experience as long as it pertains to the question.

This question is a great opportunity for you to detail what makes you tick. Are you someone who gives up after meeting some resistance, or are you someone who buckles down and grows from every experience?

Essentially, you want to pick a professional failure you had that won’t impact your job prospects in the future role, and you also want to showcase that you are capable of learning from your mistakes.

One great way to showcase that you can learn from your mistakes is to detail how you took that mistake and changed your behavior moving forward in your daily routine and professional workplace.

For instance, one personal failure you can use is a class you did poorly in while in school.

You can detail it as an example of how you heard from all your friends that the class was going to be easy, and required the same amount of work that you put in a separate of class.

You can then detail how doing poorly in the class made you realize that you need to bring a hard-working attitude to everything you do — no matter what anyone else says to ensure that you can put forth your best effort.

This is just one example you can use, and it’s a relatively easy one to use as we have all been in that same scenario.

You want to ensure that you avoid using a failure that makes it seem as if you will be unable to accomplish your daily tasks in the new role, or will detract others from performing their duties to their fullest as well.

Similar to some of the other questions we highlight as the most common interview questions you might face in a hospital job interview, you can ensure you are ready for this one by spending some extra time researching and practicing potential answers with friends and family.


16. Why Do You Have A Gap In Your Employment?

Whether you took some time off to evaluate whether or not your previous job opportunity was a career you wanted to pursue, or you were fired — you need to be prepared for answering questions that relate to your work history.

It can be concerning for a prospective employer who reviews your work history to see that you have several different gaps in your employment history.

This can either detail that you aren’t actively seeking new opportunities, that you didn’t have enough qualifications, or enough positive references that encouraged other employers to hire you.

You don’t want to look as if you were not wanted by other employers that were considering you for active positions.

Instead, you want to make it seem as if you were a valued candidate that employers wanted to hire instantly.

If you have several employment gaps after only a few months of work, that makes it seem as if you are lazy and give up after a while. Something you do not want to project.

Instead, you want to make sure that you detail some of your employment gaps as something you needed to do after careful consideration — and wasn’t the result of a lazy attitude and now you are “forced” to work.


17. What Did You Like Least About Your Previous Job?

This is another question that is designed to trick you into potentially detailing a little bit more about why you are leaving your current or previous job. This question is designed to evaluate whether or not you really disliked something about your previous job.

This is a critical question to answer carefully because you don’t want to mention a responsibility or scenario that you will frequently be placed in when you are in your new role.

For instance, if you didn’t enjoy interacting with customers in your previous job, then you most likely won’t fit well in a role in which you have to interact with patients on a daily basis.

Ideally, you want to answer this question with a focus on something that isn’t related to who you might be working with, or the role in which your new job will focus around.

In addition, you don’t want to say something that might automatically disqualify you from certain positions.

The healthcare and hospital industry requires a bunch of communication and teamwork to ensure the most efficient and effective care. The last thing way you should answer this question is to say something along the lines of, “I really disliked having weekly meetings in my previous role.”

The interviewer will hear that and think, “This job seeker doesn’t like cooperating with others, or staying in constant communication to ensure that the team is working well with one another and doesn’t have any hiccups.

The best way to answer this question is to steer away from any answers that focus on politics, financial information, and culture aspects.

These types of answers or comments can be viewed as negative, and will make it seem once again as if you are looking for the negatives in each position.

As we mentioned earlier, we want to steer away from those types of reactions.

If your previous role was a travel nurse position, and you didn’t like constantly being away from your home for long periods of time, then you can spit it to focus on that as long as your new role won’t require some travel.

Instead, say something along the lines of, “My previous role required that I travel for long periods of time. I don’t mind traveling, but it was difficult to set roots down.”

This is a great answer for indicating that you have a passion for your job, and are looking to truly make an impact somewhere and grow comfortable.

This is typically what interviewers, hiring managers, and employers are looking for.

As we’ve previously mentioned, they don’t want to continually hire someone or go through the hiring process with the massive turnover in the healthcare industry. If they can find a candidate who clearly demonstrates a desire to set down roots and grow within the company, they’ll take that employee in a heartbeat.

Answer this question positively, and you’ll separate yourself from those candidates who aren’t completely comfortable answering this question, or respond with a question that automatically disqualifies them from future consideration.


18. Describe A Time You Didn't Get Along With A Coworker, How Did You Resolve It?

This is one of those questions that interviewers dislike asking. Due to the fact that many of the answers that interviewees provide don’t give them a true answer to the real question they are asking, “What are your conflict resolution skills like?”

Team dynamics and maintaining effective professional relationships is critical to ensuring a positive work environment that allows everyone to get along and provide the best care for their patients.

Interviewers and hiring managers are asking this question to see how well you can resolve a conflict if it arises, and how you will maintain a positive working environment.

Instead of answering with a quick reply that is along the lines of, “Well I typically get along with every single coworker I have, so I don’t have any previous examples to share,” there are plenty of other great answers or examples you can provide.

Think of a time when you had a disagreement for a minor issue, and didn’t cause a massive problem between you and your coworkers.

For instance, here is an example almost everyone can use because we have all been in similar situations, “One time I asked my coworker to complete a task, and I found that she waited until the last minute before completing it. I got upset with her because she waited so long to complete the task.

We decided to sit down and talk over a lunch, and I found out that she was incredibly busy the day I asked her, and that it was simply a misunderstanding and communication error on my part for thinking she was deliberately delaying it.”

“Once we had that discussion, we communicated better moving forward and didn’t have any issue afterwards.”

This is a great example of how you can answer the question, and demonstrate that you made a commitment to fixing the issue with your coworker so that it wouldn’t happen moving forward.

Take the time to answer with a real scenario that you have personally experienced, and you’ll stand out amongst the other candidates who reply with a short answer, or one that doesn’t feel as authentic.


19. Describe A Time You Didn't Get Along With Your Boss, How Did You Resolve It?

This question is very similar to the previous one in our list of interview questions that you need to be ready for in a hospital job or healthcare job interview.

This question is designed to see if there might be any conflicts or problems that might arise between you and your future employer.

The last thing that an organization wants is to feel like they can’t get along with one of their employees, or that one of their employees has a negative attitude that might affect the way they go about interacting with their coworkers, or patients.

If you can provide a little insight into how you interact and communicate with your bosses and superiors in the past, it will help your potential future employers understand how you might interact with them moving forward, and how you might speak up or settle a dispute you have with them.

You want to use a similar example to the one you used for your coworker disagreement, but the scenario can’t seem absolutely identical — otherwise it will make it appear as if you have a certain problem in the same area as the last one.

For instance, if you mention that you had a communication error, and had a communication error in your coworker example — it makes it seem as if you have a problem with effectively communicating with others.

This is the last thing you want to project.

Instead, you want to provide an example that makes it seem as if the dispute or disagreement you had with your boss is an isolated incident, and isn’t indicative of a recurring issue.

If you don’t have any previous examples for you to mention in the answer, then you can once again highlight how you consider effective communication as your main key to doing your job well — and you pride yourself on making sure that you understand every task before starting it.

Making sure you highlight your commitment to understanding your tasks and responsibilities through effective communication will help you stand out.


20. What Motivates You?

This is one of the most exciting interview questions you might be asked. This question should excite you because it’s one of the few questions that you might be asked that won’t directly revolve around the job, or your ability to do the job — it’s focused on providing a little more insight into what makes you you.

Interviewers want to know a little bit more about you throughout the interview process, and this question helps detail what makes you wake up in the morning and work hard each day.

This is a great question for you to answer and showcase what you’re passionate about. If you’re passionate about helping others, then the healthcare industry is for you — and you should detail just how you know that the healthcare industry is meant for you based on that passion to help others.

You can choose to talk about some of the things that truly drive you in both your professional and personal life.

Oftentimes, if it’s something that we’re truly passionate about, the two overlap. So it’s quite understandable that you might have something in your personal life that motivates you in your professional life.

One example that could help guide you along on what motivates you in your professional life could be something along the lines of, “When I was younger my grandmother required a full time nursing-aide to help her complete her normal tasks. I got to witness first hand just how impactful and helpful individuals in the healthcare industry can have an impact on their patients.

So I made a commitment that I would help others the same way that the nursing-aide helped my family, because I want someone to have as much assistance as my family had when I was younger.”

This is a great example as it helps explain what your motivation is each day to work hard, and why you have that motivation.

A lot of people have motivation when they go to work, but motivation can fade over time. If you can indicate that your motivation is something that burns bright, and only continues to burn bright as you continue your professional career — that’s something that excites potential employers.

They don’t want to hire someone who might be motivated for the first couple months, and then get bored of their job and seek new opportunities shortly thereafter.

Instead, hiring managers and employers want to hire a job seeker who will find motivation each day they come to work, to ensure that they provide the best care possible.


21. What Would Your Friends Say About You?

This is one of those questions that you might or might not receive in a healthcare interview, but can be useful for an employer to determine how your friends view you when you’re not at work.

What are some things that they might say about your passions outside of work, or how you behave?

Typically interviewers frequently hear the same thing over and over again like, “My friends would say that I am passionate about what I do.”

These answers quickly blur into the other answers that other candidates might be giving, so you truly want to stand out amongst the crowd so you can leave a lasting impression.

One way to brainstorm potential answers for this question is to directly ask some of your friends what they would say about you to someone else.

For instance you can ask a friend or family member, “If you had to say one sentence about me, what would it be?”

Take notes on what your friends and family members say, and craft an answer around their responses and your notes.

This will help guide you on how you can answer this question with ease.


22. What Would Your Coworkers Say About You?

This is a very similar question to the most previous question, but it should have a distinct difference in how you answer it, compared to the previous question.

While your previous answer might focus more on your personal life and your passions that motivate you in your career — this one should focus on what your coworkers would say about you in your professional life.

How we are viewed by our coworkers and our friends are very different from one another. We might be carefree and excitable when we’re not at work, but incredibly serious when we’re on the job.

Essentially, both the previous question and this question are designed to evaluate what kind of employee you are going to be based on some testimonials and statements from those closest to you.


23. Why Did You Choose Your Medical Profession / Specialization

One common question directly for the medical or healthcare industry is to get some insight into what inspired you to choose your role or profession.

Knowing why someone chose to pursue the medical profession or specialization will provide a little bit of insight into what motivates that individual to work hard each and every day.

If their passion is non-existent, and they only choose that specific role due to the pay — then they might not be as passionate about providing the most efficient and effective care in the long run.

This question is an opportunity for you to once again detail a little bit more about you. Take the time to answer with some things that you are particularly interested in the role or the industry, so that you can separate yourself from those candidates who don’t have a passion for the industry or that specific role.


24. Are You Applying To Other Jobs?

This is a tricky question, and one that you need to answer delicately. This question is used to evaluate whether or not you are going to be serious about the job that you are applying for, and gauge whether or not you are applying to jobs that are in the same profession.

For instance, if you’re applying to a nursing job but mention that you are also applying to marketing jobs — the recruiter or hiring manager might question where your true passion lies.

Are you more excited about the marketing jobs you are applying to, or are you passionate about serving in the healthcare industry?

If you are asked this question, you want to answer the question without going into too much detail.

Typically every person who is seeking new opportunities is applying to a host of other jobs, so you need to respond in such a way that makes it seem as if you aren’t going to jump at a new opportunity as soon as it becomes available, and are looking to find the perfect match.

If you don’t feel comfortable talking about some of the other places that you have applied to or interviewed with, then you can say that you don’t feel comfortable disclosing that information with them.


Questions To Ask Employers:

While it is important to prepare for the questions you will receive from your interviewer, it is also imperative to ask intelligent, thoughtful questions.

While it is important to prepare for the questions you will receive from your interviewer, it is also imperative to ask intelligent, thoughtful questions.


1. Office Culture

Ask about what it’s like in the office. You can learn a lot about the integrity of a company if you ask the right questions. Find out what their values are, and how they treat success and failure.

To determine their values, ask something like, “What is the difference between a good employee and a great employee?” “What are the characteristics of those considered ‘high potentials’.”

It is important to find out how they treat their employees and failures. A good question to ask is, “How does your company handle failure? Have you experienced failure in your role and how did you handle it? How did the company handle it?”

At the same time, you can find out how they deal with success and promotion by asking how their company deals with advancement - going above and beyond the job. See if it is important to promote from within, or if they open up every job to the public.

Ask them what they love about working for the company, and the top things other employees say is the best about working for the organization.


2. Questions To Clarify The Role

It is always good to clear up any questions you may have about the duties of the job or job functions. If you are uncertain about any aspect of the position, then ask.


3. Next Steps & Follow Ups

Before you leave make sure you find out what the follow up procedures are, and get a timeline in which they will get back to you. This will show that you are serious, and that you feel confident in getting the job.

Make sure you email them after, thanking them for their consideration and time.



Review lists of potential questions, and come up with good answers for each.

Remember to be genuine in your answers, and don't sound scripted or generic. When you ask questions, be respectful and don't come off as haughty or confrontational.

Avoid questions about benefits and salary, unless mentioned, so you don't hurt yourself in negotiations.

They can bring up questions about salary, so definitely prepare good answers and talk in price ranges, no specifics. Do your best to be prepared and sound knowledgeable.

It will speak volumes for you if you come to the interview with concrete examples of your accomplishments, and you can explain to them why you are the best fit for the job.


Next: Ch. 5: Interview Follow Up