Choosing to pursue a career in health care is one of the noblest choices you can make in life. If you chose to do this, congratulations from all of us. You will literally be a life-saver.

People who work in this field not only have to study for a long time to know everything they need to know, but they also work under a huge amount of pressure. Everyone needs a nurse, a doctor, a pharmacist and so on.

If you are currently a student and want to know what awaits you, or if you just finished your studies in health care and you are looking for a job – this article will help you be prepared.

We’ve looked at all the questions that can come up during an interview and compiled a list of the most common five.

By reading this, you will know what to expect from the interview and how to answer the five toughest questions.

We’ve also covered other questions that might come up for which you should have the answers ready.

With all of this, we’ve prepared for you some tips & tricks which will help you leave a better impression on the interviewer.

Hope you enjoy reading!

PREPARATION FOR THE INTERVIEW

You got your degree and you are eager to finally start working. Or you want to move from your current job to a better one.

Finding a new job is about luck, but also about preparation. Even though you really can’t control how much luck you have, you can control how prepared you are, and we are here to help you with that!

After you’ve submitted your cover letter and resume, you get a call asking you for an interview. Congratulations! You are one step away from your next job in the health care industry!

In order for you to get that job, you need to prepare for the interview as best you can. Interviews can sure be weird sometimes, but we are here to guide you on how to prepare for it.

We’ll cover everything, from how to dress to how to answer questions.

1. What should you know?

Well, you should definitely research where you’re going to. Every hospital and pharmacy have their own organizational culture which creates an internal working environment.

First, you can check their website as well as their pages on social media. On the latter, you can see what people are saying and what their experiences are like.

If during the interview you demonstrate that you know which values they have or which projects they did lately, you will leave the impression of being genuinely interested in working there. Interviewers often want to find out if you did the research or not.

It goes without saying that you should know to describe everything you have in your resume. Be prepared to talk about everything you have written there.

From your skills to your studies and past experiences. Remember to keep your answers honest, the interviewer will love if you’re being genuine with them.

2. What should you wear?

To decide what you should wear to the interview, it’s best to first do the research and match the clothes to the environment you’re going to.

For most health care institutions, they wear scrubs but you shouldn’t wear that before working there.

Rather, choose a business casual combination. Iron your clothes and prepare them a day in advance. Trust us, avoid making the decision of what to wear on the day of the interview.

You don’t want to be late because you were caught up deciding whether it’s better to wear a blue shirt or a white shirt.

Now let’s see the five toughest questions that you can come across and how you should answer them!

5 QUESTIONS AND HOW TO ANSWER THEM

1. Why did you choose a career in health care?

a) Why does the interviewer ask this question?

This is the expected “Why” question. Of course, the interviewer wants to know your reason for being here and he or she wants a good answer to it. Health care is not one of the most popular career paths people take.

It takes a lot of studying, patience and hard work. So, the interviewer wants to know why you chose health care, and not maybe economics, IT or law.

b) How to answer this question?

It’s best that you give a brief overview of your experience of choosing your career path. Avoid shallow reasons like money, the uniform, or my parents forced me.

Rather, point out how important it is for you to help others and those in need. There must be a deep reason why you chose to be a nurse, a doctor or a pharmacist.

The answer should give the notion that you will be happy working there and that you see the purpose of the job. The employer wants someone who wants to do the job, not someone who is just there for the sake of being there.

c) An Example of a Good Answer

“My first contact with health care was when I volunteered in a clinic. The patients I’ve met there are real heroes for me and I saw how their treatment could be better. I talked to the employees about it and we implemented my ideas. The patients were happier and I felt great! I really believe that good health care makes a difference in people’s lives.”

2. How do you handle stressful situations?

a) Why does the interviewer ask this question?

Working in health care can be one of the most stressful jobs out there. In cases where someone’s life depends on you, the ability to remain calm is crucial.

Of course, the employer wants to check this before giving you the job. He doesn’t want to find out that you can’t handle stress very well after he had already given you the job.

b) How to answer this question?

Well, for starters, you’ll want to say that you handle it well and that you can keep a clear head in stressful situations.

To prove so, it’s best if you mention some of the stressful situations that already happened to you in this field.

If you have experience working in this field, it shouldn’t be a problem for you to remember a situation where your calmness helped make the situation better than it is.

If, however, you don’t have any experience yet you can mention some situation that happened during your studies or your internship.

It’s also nice if you mention how you handle stress in everyday life – traffic jams, electricity being cut off, running out of water and so on. It wouldn’t hurt to mention if you meditate, do yoga, run or lift weights.

These are all healthy ways of dealing with stress.

c) An Example of a Good Answer

“I think that I handle stressful situations quite well, and people have told me so as well. For example, I was once in the situation where I had to give epidural to a panicking pregnant woman. She moved around a lot and didn’t let me do it right. I counted to 10, calmed myself first and then talked to her and calmed her as well. I explained to her why it’s important that we do this. She stopped panicking and the baby was born without a problem.”

3. What is your salary expectation?

a) Why does the interviewer ask this question?

For some of you, the most important question of all. In a world that runs on money, every one of us has this factor in mind when choosing a job.

Doing a job we love is best, but we also need one which keeps our stomachs full and our bills paid.

The employer here uses the chance to see how much you value yourself, and it’s tricky not to undervalue or overvalue yourself. Getting that perfect middle isn’t easy.

It’s much easier for the interviewer to ask this question than it is for the candidate to answer, but we will tell you how to do it with confidence.

b) How to answer this question?

First and foremost, don’t name a number you are not willing to work for. Know what the minimum you are ready to work for is before going to the interview.

Do some digging on what is the average salary for the position you are applying for in your country. If you can find it, it would be great if you know how high the salaries in that company where you applied are.

Once you know the average, you can boost it up a little so that it doesn’t sound too rude – 10-20% more is perfectly fine.

Expect the employer to make a counteroffer with a lower amount, and then you should be prepared to meet somewhere in the middle.

c) An Example of a Good Answer

“I truly believe that I can bring value to you and this company/institution with my experience from working similar jobs. My skills like (insert your strengths here) have helped me in the past to accomplish (insert a successful story here) and will help me be a great employee here.”

4. How do you stay up to date with trends that are happening in the healthcare industry?

a) Why does the interviewer ask this question?

This question is very important for the employer because he needs to know that you will be in touch with new technological advances that happen, and other changes that are happening in the industry.

Think of any industry, for which would you say that it’s not necessary to keep up to date with changes that happen in it? Exactly, there aren’t any.

In order to be great at what you do you need to follow others who are better and what they are doing. Learning from others has never been easier.

With social media and the internet connecting all of us, communities have never been more relevant and networking has never been so important.

New technology, new knowledge and new trends change every industry from time to time, so it’s important that you know when they are coming and when they happen.

b) How to answer this question?

Point out how you continually educate yourself in the health care field. You may be taking a course, listening to podcasts, visiting conferences, events and meet-ups or reading books or health care magazines.

Whatever your way of keeping up with the changes is, just explain what you’re getting out of it.

It’s great if you prepare examples of something you have heard from these sources and implemented successfully.

c) An Example of a Good Answer

“I keep up with everything that is happening in the industry by reading books and taking education courses, like (insert the name of the book and course here). I also read magazines like (insert name here). I know how important it is to be updated about these things so I try my best to do so.”

5. What is the biggest failure you’ve had in your career?

a) Why does the interviewer ask this question?

This is one of the most uncomfortable questions you can face. It reveals your “uglier” side. The side of you which makes mistakes and sometimes complete failures.

We all make mistakes and these questions request of us to admit to them. By asking you this question, the employer sees where you make mistakes and maybe more importantly, how honest you are.

Keep in mind that your employer has made mistakes as well, like all people do. Don’t be surprised when this question comes up. This is not a trick question and you are not being sabotaged.

This is just a question which tells the interviewer how you handle situations when things are not going as planned. All of us know that such situations are very common, especially in health care.

b) How to answer this question?

It is very important that you explain what you learned out of this failure and what action steps you took so that it doesn’t happen again.

Keep in mind that it’s not important what the failure was, but how you handled it.

This is where the focus of your story should be. You should definitely avoid placing blame on others because that will show you don’t own up to your mistakes and responsibilities.

If there are some major incidents that you’ve caused in the past, if there isn’t a way for your employer to find out our advice is not to mention them. If you are asked about it, then, of course, talk about it honestly.

Otherwise, choose a failure from which you really learn something and which you used to improve your work. Don’t mention critical ones as examples; you’ll just make room for unnecessary questions.

c) An Example of a Good Answer

“One time I was late for a really important meeting with my superior. I was stuck in traffic but honestly, I should have counted on that since I was driving during the biggest traffic hours. I apologized to her and made sure that I don’t make the same mistake again. I now start all my trips earlier than usual and take into consideration the traffic conditions.”

OTHER POPULAR QUESTIONS

The interview will probably consist of more than five questions, so let’s look at some of the most common ones that have appeared in the past.

You can analyze question by question by asking yourself what do they want to get out of it and how would my perfect answer look like. Here are some common ones:

  • Tell me a little bit about yourself that isn’t written in your resume.
  • Where do you see the future of health care?
  • Why should we hire you and not someone else?
  • Describe a situation where you disagreed with a co-worker.
  • Describe a situation where a patient’s family member criticized your care for them.
  • Describe a situation where a patient’s family member praised your care for them.
  • How did you handle a situation where a patient didn’t want to give you sensitive information?
  • How do you prioritize when there is a lot of work to be done?
  • Give me an example of when your communication with a patient was terrible.
  • Which career accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

TIPS & TRICKS

  1. Adjust your resume to the job description – for some jobs, it might not be so relevant that you have a certificate in MS Office, while for others it might be one of the most important factors. Use the words they’ve used in the job description so your awesome resume comes up on top if they use any resume sorting software.
  2. Anticipate what they might ask you – read your resume and think from the perspective of the employer, what questions would you ask yourself? Maybe you have some time where you didn’t work but you rested, be prepared to talk about that part of your life.
  3. Rehearse the answers – with all the questions and answers you’ve read here, you have enough to be very well prepared for the interview. Reading this won’t make you prepared though, it will just give you the direction of how to prepare. Remember to rehearse the interview with someone and simulate how you give your answers.
  4. Ask the interviewer questions – candidates who ask questions during the interview leave a good impression because it shows that they are interested in the job. Questions like who you’ll work with, what room is there to grow, would you have a mentor or not, are very important not just for leaving a good impression, but also for your decision whether you would like to work there or not.
  5. Don’t come empty-handed – you’re not going to a pub with friends, so bring a pen and a notebook to write down important things that come up. Bring a bottle of water and a pack of gum or breath mints. Just make sure to take it long enough before the interview so that you don’t have it in your mouth while talking.
  6. Sleep enough – consider going to bed earlier than usual, you might take longer to fall asleep if you are feeling excited. Nothing makes up for a good night’s sleep and you want to look fresh at the interview. Aim to sleep for about eight hours and eat a good breakfast in the morning. Keep in mind, not too big so you don’t feel bloated.
  7. Plan to spend extra time in traffic – you never know when you might get stuck in traffic. Calculate the time needed to get there or use an app that tells you, and add about 15-20 minutes to that. It’s easier to arrive early than to be late. If you are late for your first meeting with the employer it’s one of the worst impressions you can leave.
  8. Relax – have in mind that this is just a job interview. If you don’t get the job, there will be plenty more. If you’re anxious you’re just narrowing your chances of getting it, so believe in the positive outcome. You’ll either get the job or you’ll have one more experience at an interview. The important thing is that if it doesn’t work out, you keep going.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Working in health care feels amazing! The profile is in high demand everywhere and always will be.

The working conditions are usually great – salaries in health care are one of the most competitive ones out there.

If you are good at it, you can really move up in the industry and make a name for yourself.

One good perk about this industry is that there is mutual admiration everywhere for your work.

It feels great to help others and that’s what this industry is all about.

Being there for someone in need is one of the most beautiful feelings that a person can have.

Jobs in health care bring people this exact feeling. Although sometimes it can be difficult to find a job here, and interviews might be a scary experience for some, we know that you can do it.

With these bits of advice, you should definitely have a good interview experience and more awareness of what the employer is looking to get out of you. They say luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

We hope that you will use the opportunity you have and that this article will help you prepare.

Good luck, you got this!

5 of the Toughest Health Care Interview Questions - And How to Answer Them

Share your thoughts and experience

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.