8 interview Questions to help you hire the Best Candidate for your practice
15 Oct

8 interview Questions to help you hire the Best Candidate for your practice

Nothing is more discouraging than wading through hundreds of applications and suffering through an excruciating interview process, to realize you hired the absolutely WRONG person for your practice.

Standard interview questions are easily searchable and can be entirely too predictable. For a more genuine interview, ask some different versions of those questions.

According to research from SHRM, hiring the wrong candidate can cost up to five times the salary for that position. Avoid that costly mistake by asking interview questions that gain better insight into your candidates’ mindsets. Find someone who wants to build a career at your practice.

Before you ask them questions, ask yourself a few. What kind of provider am I? #InterviewQuestions Click To Tweet

Hiring the best candidate for your practice takes some forethought about your practice –

  • Who are you as a provider?
  • What are your core values as a provider and employer?
  • What words describe your work environment?
  • Who are your patients?
  • What are the demands on a new member of your practice?
  • What skills are you looking for?
  • Which weakness do you want to avoid?

Once you have some ideas about who you are, you are in a better position to find someone that truly meets the needs of your practice.

Then, add these 8 interview questions (or versions of them) to your interview process for additional insight into the applicants as practitioners and people.

1. What makes our practice different/same from your last practice?

This questions offers insight into how the candidate viewed not only his/her last work environment, but also what areas he/she has honed in on already about your practice.

Follow up with how their approach would differ based on their observations of your practice/specialty. Candidates who go from practice to practice with the exact same approach are often inflexible and unwilling to learn new habits.

2. What would your last supervising physician say was your greatest strength and weakness?

By asking what someone else would say, candidates are more likely to give genuine answers and carefully consider the strengths and weaknesses that will blend with your team. If their greatest strength was autonomy at their last practice, but you’re looking for a member of a very collaborative team, then that trait might not be a strength for your practice.

In contrast, if his greatest weakness was working without daily access to the supervising physician, he might do really well in a team environment. Personality can be just as crucial as professional proficiency.

When interviewing, remember personality can be just as crucial to fit in as professional proficiency. Click To Tweet

3. In what area(s) do you personally see a need for growth or would like mentoring to improve?

The answer to this question reveals self-awareness, humility, and willingness to learn, and can demonstrate how a candidate sees your unique capabilities as a provider and mentor.

4. What is your approach to a new patient? Or here is a typical case we see, how would you approach this case?

Without additional qualifying, listen to how they view this question. You want someone who reads through charts before meeting with a patient, and really listens, letting the patient ask questions and gives considerate answers.

Potentially, this answer is an opportunity to see any apparent knowledge gaps. If a provider is a new graduate or changing specialties, expect some room for growing his/her knowledge base, but an experienced provider in your specialty should be independently knowledgeable and able to tackle a typical case.

Use this time to talk about coding and their comfort level with EMR systems. Also, what the practice training protocol is or their personal training needs, expectations, etc.

Instead of interview questions, ask candidates to do on-the-job interviewing.

Ask the NP or PA to come spend an unpaid day in the office, seeing patients and presenting cases to the supervising physician. This approach helps both sides more accurately assess the “fit” of candidate and practice as well as demonstrates bedside manner and competency.

One best practice is an on-the-job interview. Both sides get a clearer picture of each other. Click To Tweet

Recent studies suggest doctors who care about their patients have healthier patients because patients who believe their doctor is invested in their health tell the truth more often and are more willing to follow their doctor’s instructions.

Hiring the wrong person is worse than a waste of time, it's expensive. Use these 8 Interview Questions to help hire the best candidate for your practice.

5. We are a collaborative team environment – What is your approach to working in a team environment?

or We are an autonomous practice – What is your approach to working with very little supervision?

You want an applicant who is capable of working comfortably in your practice environment either collaboratively or independently, but knows a healthy balance between autonomy and consultation, not one who will be a lone ranger or looking for lots of hand holding.

6. What compensation (salary, benefits, etc.) do you anticipate?

Of course salary negotiations are always part of the hiring process at some point, but often providers can waste a lot of time and money with candidates whose salary expectations are not compatible with what your practice is offering.

Both sides of the table need to consider all that’s included in compensation as well, like loan repayment and paid CME training, etc.

7. No job is perfect – what area of this position would you change and why?

This question gives you an opportunity to discuss and negotiate aspects of the position that might be negotiable and to find out if a candidate is unwilling (or would find challenging) to accept the non-negotiable aspects of your open position.

Also take time here to talk about what excites the PA or NP about joining your practice.

This answer also helps clarify if this job is one that the candidate will love. You don’t want to hire someone who will still be job seeking on the side or leave in six months. Here you might take the opportunity to discuss how long this provider plans to stay with your practice.

Hiring mistakes are especially costly for small practices. Better #interviewquestions can help. Click To Tweet

8. Lastly, How do you view work/life balance?

Someone who is excited about work and strives to be a difference-maker is punctual and prepared everyday. But you also want someone who will recharge and come back to work refreshed with clearer perspectives.

Even a driven, career-centered candidate should have outside skills and interests.

Many candidates are seeking more of an integration of work and life. Someone might ask for a schedule with a longer midday break to run errands or spend lunches with their children. Depending on your practice, you might be able to accommodate some of these ideas.

Everyone will likely hire the wrong person at some point. However, asking these interview questions and carefully evaluating candidate responses might help you make a more informed decision for your next hire.

What are your favorite go-to interview questions to shake up a stale interview? Share with us on social media!


How to Crush your Interview in Style
04 May

How to Crush your Interview in Style

You’ve combed through hundreds of job postings, sent out carefully crafted cover letters and resumes. The HR manager just called to set up an interview. So now, do you know how to crush your interview in style?

Dress for Success

Don’t skim over this topic. Too many candidates think the way they dress is acceptable, while HR managers shake their heads. Before you go, does your outfit follow these guidelines?

Wear your most professional attire.

No one ever failed a professional interview for dressing too conservatively with too much class.

For the ladies: tasteful blouses with high necklines should be subtle, solid colors or minimalist prints. Skirts should come to the knee or below. Solid, straight legged pants tend to be the most flattering on any figure. Make sure clothes fit comfortably.

Impress them with your personality with your personality, not your clothes.

For the men: Suits and ties in dark colors tend to be timeless. A bolder tie can be interesting with a solid suit and light shirt, but save silly ties for #FunFriday AFTER you land the job. Wear socks with your dress shoes. Again, stay simple; a patterned sock like argyle, might be acceptable if it coordinates with your shirt, but don’t try to be witty with your sock choice.

Crush your interview: Dress for success - no one ever failed an interview for being too classy! Click To Tweet

Of course, dressing for success includes fastidious personal grooming and hygiene. Minimal use of fragrances is important, especially in the medical field. Nails should be clean, trimmed and clear or neutral colors for female applicants.

Be Prepared

Take time to study the practice and specialty. Get to know recent medical advancements in their specialty or be able to discuss related current events and your related interests or experience. If the practice is on social media, follow them, get to know what matters to them.

If possible research the careers of the supervising physicians for whom you’ll be working. Be able to talk about why you would like to work with this physician or what types of physicians you have successfully worked with in the past.

If you go into the interview with the attitude that you just want any job, you won’t look like you want this one.

You've sent hundreds of carefully crafted resumes. The HR manager just called to set up your interview. So do you know how to crush your interview in style?

If you go into the interview like you'd be happy with ANY job, you won't land this one! Click To Tweet

Read over some common interview questions (check out these from AAPA.org) and have an idea of a general answer for them. Don’t sound too rehearsed, but prepared.

Prepare your own questions!

Be ready to ask about the practice and expectations for you as a provider.

  • How much training will be required? What is the salary during the training period?
  • How much supervision and time with the physician will I have each week? Is the physician open to mentoring and guiding new hires?
    • If so, what does that look like? (You want autonomy, but also a physician who will help you grow as a provider because ultimately you want to provide excellent care for every patient. Some chart review and time with the physician each week should be part of a truly collaborative practice.)
  • What is the turnover for Physician Assistants or Nurse Practitioners?
    • If there is high turnover, the practice may have high expectations or the supervising physician may be unreasonably demanding. It may be appropriate to ask “To what do you attribute the turnover?” and let them add details.
  • Avoid too many questions about call times and schedules. Ask once about the expected schedule, then let it go. Making call seem very important gives the appearance of laziness to the HR manager. Save further questioning and clarification for the second interview or hiring negotiations.

*EASY HACK – Take a notepad. Your questions for the interviewer can be on the pad. Plus, you can take notes during the interview, which will make your interviewer feel important and give you the appearance of studious professionalism.

When you discuss salary, be realistic. A new grad without any autonomous experience will earn near the bottom of a proposed salary range. If you can negotiate some because of special skills or exemplary transcripts, great! But have fair expectations. Make sure to include vacation, paid continuing education, loan repayment, rate of raises, and cost of living for the area into your equation. A fair salary might look different depending on specialty as well.

Personal presence speaks volumes before you do. #CrushyourInterview #JobInterview Click To Tweet

Lastly, personal presence speaks volumes before you ever open your mouth: be confident, walk tall, have a confident firm handshake, make eye contact. Your resume landed you the interview, but presence can land the job. Portray yourself with confidence. FAKE IT if necessary.

They don’t know you’re nervous. Smile, breathe, take a second to consider a question before answering. Answer each question with appropriate details for clarity without divulging too much personal information.

And turn off your cell phone or silence it without vibrations. If you can’t give the interview undivided attention, they won’t expect you can offer it to your profession either.

Accept that finding a perfect fit means an interview is a first date. Present yourself accurately and trust the right job will recognize your unique qualities.

After the interview – Take the time to send an electronic follow-up within 24 hours, something simple, like I appreciated meeting you, thank you for your time. Send a more formal written follow up a few days later, include some personal notes about your meeting here. Following up shows the HR manager and physician that you are conscious of the time they have spent to recruit and interview. Even if you do not get an offer initially, building relationships is always good. If you do not accept an offer, always send an additional thank you, keeping the door open for the future.

For more interviews, upload a resume and search PANP World today.