Lesson 2:

Types of Interviews: 

The 10 Most Common Types of Healthcare Job Interviews

Preparing for a medical job interview can be stressful, and each employer has their own interviewing style.  The goal of the interview from the healthcare employer’s perspective is to get to know each candidate to determine who will be a good fit for the job position.  To do this, employers may utilize various interview styles or a combination of interviewing techniques.


If you are aware of the diverse types of interviewing techniques utilized by healthcare employers, you will effortlessly adjust to any interview style presented. Below is a list of a few of the most common interview styles that you may encounter.

1.  Formal Structured Interview

In a formal, structured interview setting, you may be interviewed by one individual or the entire hiring committee.  You may be provided with background information about the company to include an overview of the medical facility’s mission, values, goals, and approach to patient care.  Before the formal questioning process begins, the interviewer may attempt to engage you in in casual conversation to help you relax.  During the interview, you may be asked a variety of questions regarding your educational background, professional experiences, community engagement, and approach to patient care. 


Questions for a formal, structured interview are typically pre-determined to objectively assess candidates.  During a formal, structured interview, healthcare employers are focused on determining a candidate’s specific knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform the job successfully.  Additionally, the employer is assessing your communicative abilities and ability to problem solve.


Examples of the types of questions that you may be asked during a formal, structured interview include:


  • Why did you decide to apply for this position?

  • Share an experience where you made a mistake. 

  • How did you correct the situation, and what did you learn from it?

  • Describe your greatest strengths and weaknesses.


You can prepare for this style of interview by reviewing the job description and your resume before the interview.  Match your qualifications with the job description and ensure that you can articulate how you meet the job requirements.  Additionally, have several interchangeable scenario-based stories from past experiences that can be adjusted for any questions asked.


2.  Informal Interview


Informal interviews are less structured and unrehearsed; the interviewer tends to focus on personal character and qualities versus specific job skills.  Job-specific skills questions, however, may be interwoven into the conversation.  Healthcare professionals are expected to be empathetic, passionate, knowledgeable, respectful, and attentive.  The conversational flow of informal, unstructured healthcare job interviews can reveal a lot to employers about your temperament and ability to communicate effectively. 


Have you ever judged someone’s character based on a conversational observation?  Keep this perspective in mind if you participate in an informal job interview.  Informal job interviews do not always occur in a formal setting.  You may be subjected to this type of interview when introduced to a potential employer by a colleague, dropping off a resume, networking, or speaking with a recruiter.  During the interview, you will be encouraged to talk freely to allow the employer to gain insight as to how you think and manage situations.


Additionally, employers may combine formal and informal interview styles at various points in the interview process.  You may be invited to dinner with the interview panel, for example, the day before the official formal interview.  Keep in mind that all points of contact throughout the hiring process should be considered as part of the interviewing process because your goal is to make a lasting impression.  Do not allow yourself to become too laid back or casual.  You are in fact, marketing yourself to the employer, as the employer assesses your candidacy.



3.  Chair Led Panel Interview

Chair led panel interviews are often as part of the formal or structured interview process.  You will be subjected to questions from a group of individuals which include departmental managers and potential colleagues. For you to be successful with Panel led interview, you need to know each of the interviewers by name. It would help if you also made eye contact with the members of the panel while answering a question. Though the style and tone of each interviewer might be different, you should know that you need to be formal.

The interviewers will ask you formal and behavioral questions. They would also look at your countenance, your manner of reply and your calmness. Make sure you are in your best mood before going for this type of interview.

4.  Candidate Group Interview

This type of interview is common among companies with a large number of interviewees. Its goal is to discover the interpersonal relationship and teamwork skill of each candidate. You might be required to face the interviewee or be given a task to work on a project a group. Though the interview is like a traditional job interview, this time, you have to go toe-to-toe with other candidates. As a result, you must stand out. The employers also aim at discovering someone that can work/lead a team, outspoken, creative and intelligent.

For you to successfully stand out among the other job seekers, you need to research the company and other things beforehand. It would be best if you prepared an evaluation pitch (self-introduction piece) for yourself. While you are in the interview, you need to comport yourself and listen carefully. Make smile, answer questions, ask intelligent questions and cooperate with your co-interviewees.


5.  Capability & Skills Interview

To work in a healthcare company, you need to be highly skilled and capable. As a result of that, most hospitals would structure their interview to reflect your skills and ability for a job. They would ask detailed job-related and skill-related questions. For you to be successful with this interview, you need to have prepared answers from possible things that the interviewer might ask based on the job description. It would help if you also prepared answers for questions such as:

  • What makes you stand out among another candidate?

  • How would you take care of a psychiatric patient?

  • Do you have any particular skill that can make this hospital proud?

It would be best if you let each of your answers to reflect your skills and abilities. You need to make sure that you show how your expertise could help the company

6.  Behavioral Interview

This type of interview is one of the most widely used by job interviewers. It is based on the belief that your previous performance will determine your future ability. As a result of that, interviewers ask questions about how a candidate handled a situation. Keep it in mind that your interviewers are not interested in your skills or what you can do. They are interested in knowing what you have done in the past and how you achieved them. Behavioral interview questions usually include:

  • What have you done in the past?

  • Describe a situation where you curb a solve a serious problem.

  • What did you do for your last employers?

For you to impress the employers, you need to tell your stories to reflect the problem, your action and how you were able to put the situation under control. Each story should show your competence, leadership skills, and teamwork. You need to identify the skills your employers want and prepare a story to that effect.

7.  Stress Test Interview

Employers usually use stress test interview to hire people for a highly stressful position. The interviewers could look stressed, unruly or indifferent when asking you questions. Sometimes, they may ask illogical questions. However, all they need is your ability to think faster and solve problems while stressed. The interview might be structured or unstructured depending on the whims of the interviewer.

One hallmark of this type of interview is its strange questions or impossible tasks. You might be asked to solve a puzzle that ought to take one hour within twenty minutes. For you to be successful in this type of interview, you need to be calm and always ready to solve every question logically. You do not need to arrive at the right answer but a logical solution.

8.  Problem Resolution Interview

Problem Resolution interview has been structured to reflect the ability of the candidate to solve questions using their analytical skills. The employer needs you to put your analytical, problem solving and communication skills to play. Thus, you will be presented with a real-life situation to resolve. You are not expected to reach the correct answer, but you have to provide a probable or logical solution to the problem.

This type of interview is usually employed by hospitals who need active workers that can solve problems as fast as possible. As a result of this, you need to demonstrate your ability even while under pressure or stressed.


9.  Dining Interview

Dining interview is an opportunity to showcase your communication, interpersonal and dining skills even though it looks “awkward.” Well, some employers would not consider you without knowing how well you can relate to people while eating. Good manners will give you an edge over other candidates.

For you to stand out, you need to dress professionally for the dinner as if you were going for an office interview. You should learn how to be more polite, exciting and jovial. The more relaxed your interviewers are talking to you, the better your chance with such people. Before you could keep them comfortable, you need to sharpen your communication and interpersonal skills.



10.  Chronological Interview

A chronological interview is a form of interview that companies use to hire an A-class candidate. This aim of the interview is to drill potential employees with all kind of tests, drills, and questions. The employers will review your behavior decision-making pattern, ability to solve problems and the ability to think faster than anyone.

For you to stand out, you need to relax, be ready to read meaning to the questions you are being asked. You should also be prepared to tell them more about your success and failures. Whether you choose to practice in the mirror or hire a professional, practicing ahead of time will help you to feel more confident.

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