35 Physician Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

Updated March 10, 2023

Physicians work in a variety of medical settings, from hospitals to private practices, and they may also perform in leadership roles to deliver exceptional care to their patients. If you're getting ready to interview for a physician's role, whether it's in a hospital, private organization or another medical setting, it's important to prepare how you will respond to different questions.

Practicing how you will highlight your unique experience, qualifications and skills can help you anticipate what to expect during your interview, appear confident and impress the interviewer. In this article, we'll cover several job interview questions for doctors that will help you prepare and make a great impression during your interview.

Related: Learn About Being a Doctor

General questions

Basic questions allow the interviewer to get to know you and get an idea of how you will fit into their organization. Here are some examples of general questions you can expect during your interview:

  • If you were to describe yourself in three words, what would they be and why?

  • What do you know about our organization and the patients in our care?

  • What interests you in working as a physician here?

  • What are your greatest strengths?

  • How do you stay up-to-date on current events in the medical and healthcare industries?

  • What is one goal you would like to accomplish in the next year?

  • Where do you see yourself in five to ten years?

  • Why are you leaving your current position?

  • What do you hope to accomplish in this role?

  • Do you have any questions about the position?

Related: 125 Common Interview Questions and Answers (With Tips)

Questions about medical experience and background

The interviewer will want to know about your background and past work experience practicing medicine. These questions can help them assess how your qualifications fulfill the job requirements:

  • What do you like most about practicing medicine and why?

  • What aspects of practicing medicine do find most challenging? Why?

  • What is your philosophy with medicine and treating patients?

  • How do you collaborate with other physicians and nurses?

  • Can you tell me about a time when you disagreed with another physician? How did you handle it?

  • Describe how you communicate complicated medical information to patients in your care.

  • How do you approach discussing unpleasant topics with patients and their families?

  • What challenges do you feel physicians are facing today?

  • What are some of your greatest accomplishments?

  • How do you keep current with your medical training and licensing?

Related: Health Care Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

In-depth questions

These types of questions help the interviewer gain a deeper understanding of how you perform on the job, how you approach different situations and how you apply your skills and expertise as a physician. The following questions are examples of what you might encounter during your interview:

  • How do you build rapport with patients in your care?

  • Do you have any experience in physician leadership?

  • What is your process for evaluating and treating patients?

  • What do you do if you have a patient who complains of symptoms but you cannot find a cause?

  • How do you ensure effective communication across medical departments?

  • How do you approach diagnoses and treatments for patients?

  • Have you ever made a misdiagnosis? If so, how did you resolve it?

  • What is your experience level with using electronic medical records on the job?

  • What is your process for delegating tasks with nurses under your supervision?

  • What is your approach to dealing with upset or aggressive patients?

Related: Top Physician's Assistant Interview Questions and Answers to Help You Prepare

Physician interview questions and example answers

Here are some standard interview questions for physicians and advice on how to explain them with sample answers:

Can you tell me about changes you've made to your past practice that improved patient safety?

The interviewer will want to know how you initiate changes that improve overall outcomes and the care level for patients. Use examples from your experience to describe how you implemented new policies, brought on highly qualified health care staff or other methods of improving operations in a medical facility.

Example: "In my last position, the hospital was understaffed and in need of qualified RNs for the ICU, which I would sometimes tend to. I communicated first with the nurse manager and her aide to discuss open interviews to look for qualified healthcare professionals to join our team. Over four weeks, we were able to hire six highly qualified nurses who added to the efficiency of patient care, which reduced errors and improved safety."

What changes or improvements do you feel you can bring to our practice?

The interviewer may ask a question similar to this one as a way to evaluate how much you've researched their organization and how motivated you are to take initiative right away. Highlight your ability to problem-solve, approach challenges and find solutions that benefit patients and the organization.

Example: "My first goal is to provide the best quality care for my patients, which means both upholding confidentiality and ensuring safety. I also feel that my knowledge and experience with interacting with patients through telehealth services enables me to add to the team's ability to reach its patients. My philosophy of maintaining compassionate and empathetic standards connects with your organization's as well and I feel that I would be an excellent fit here."

Can you describe a time when you disagreed with a colleague about patient care?

This question tells the interviewer about your abilities to handle conflict in the workplace and come to resolutions that are agreeable for everyone involved. Showcase your interpersonal skills, ability to resolve conflict with others and build healthy relationships with a team.

Example: "Recently, I disagreed with the lead physician about a medication they prescribed to a patient. I disagreed because I'd read a study that described various conditions that made it unsafe to prescribe. The patient had several of these same conditions, and rather than risk the outcome, I approached the lead physician to discuss my findings. The lead physician understood why I initially disagreed, and we discussed alternative treatments for the patient."

What do you do if an emergency occurs while you're treating another patient?

The interviewer will likely want to get a sense of how you manage your time without taking away from patient care. In your answer, describe any of your past experiences that you've had dealing with emergencies while managing your patients and transitioning between duties in a fast-paced environment.

Example: "I recently was treating a patient as a post-operative check-up when another patient down the hall suddenly went into cardiac arrest. The patient I was currently seeing still required care, however, they didn't need urgent care. I explained to them quickly that I would either come right back to them after assessing the situation or I would send my PA or one of our nurse practitioners to assist them in finishing their appointment.

I did have my PA assist with my patient while I administered emergency medical care for the other patient. However, they were very understanding and flexible. Sometimes emergencies happen, and I always will assist When I can without taking away from the quality of care I provide my patients."

What is your process for presenting complicated information to patients?

Your answer to this question can give the interviewer insight into how you communicate with your patients to help them understand complex medical information. Use examples from your previous practice to describe how you discuss diagnoses, talk about treatment options and describe overall medical conditions with patients.

Example: "When consulting with patients, I always suggest having a friend or family member present to help them process the information and offer support with asking questions. For instance, I recently treated a patient who required a spinal fusion due to a herniated disc. After performing an initial CT scan, and delivering my diagnosis and recommendation, I met with the patient and their spouse to go over the complicated procedure with them.

I explained the process of how we would do the fusion, what the disc replacement looks like and what it's made out of. I went over pre- and post-operation procedures and what they could expect in the days, weeks, months and years ahead with quality of life. The patient decided to proceed with the surgery based on my recommendations, and the surgery was a success."

Jobs similar to a physician

If you're interested in becoming a physician or a professional in the medical field, there's a variety of jobs to consider. Here's a list of 10 jobs similar to a physician:

1. Pediatrician

2. Optometrist

3. Psychiatrist

4. General internist

5. Registered nurse

6. Podiatrist

7. Surgeon

8. Nurse anesthetist

9. Obstetrician

10. Genetic counselor

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