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The power of behavioral interviews


Recruiter conducting a behavioral interview with a physician candidate, sitting across the table from them Posted by Megan Trippi
Recruiter conducting a behavioral interview with a physician candidate, sitting across the table from them

Recruiting physicians is a challenging task that requires careful evaluation of both technical competence and interpersonal skills. While assessing a candidate’s medical knowledge and experience is essential, understanding their soft skills is just as important to ensure a successful fit within your team. This is where behavioral interviews play a crucial role.

What are behavioral interviews?

Behavioral interviews are a structured approach to evaluating a candidate’s past behavior and experiences to indicate future performance.

Instead of hypothetical questions, behavioral interviews ask candidates to provide real-life examples of situations they’ve faced in their professional careers. By asking about their past experiences, you can gain valuable insights into how candidates handle different scenarios, demonstrating their soft skills and problem-solving abilities.

Uncovering physician soft skills

Soft skills - often referred to as interpersonal or people skills - are personal qualities that enable individuals to interact effectively with others.

In the case of physicians, soft skills help build trust with patients, collaborate with health care teams and deliver compassionate care. Here are some essential soft skills to consider when recruiting physicians:

  • Communication skills

Effective communication allows physicians to convey complex medical information to patients, colleagues and other health care professionals. Behavioral interviews can assess a candidate’s ability to listen actively, provide clear explanations and adapt communication styles to different individuals or situations.

  • Empathy and compassion

Physicians must possess the ability to understand and empathize with patients who might experience physical and emotional distress. Behavioral interviews uncover a candidate’s capacity for empathy by asking for examples of times they went out of their way to support and comfort patients.

  • Teamwork and collaboration

Healthcare is a collaborative field, and physicians need to work closely with nurses, specialists and other staff to provide comprehensive care. These interviews can reveal how a candidate will collaborate effectively, resolve conflicts and contribute to a positive team.

  • Adaptability and resilience

Medicine is an ever-evolving field, and physicians must adapt to new technologies, research and treatments. Behavioral interviews assess a candidate’s ability to adapt to change, handle stressful situations and bounce back from setbacks by asking for examples of times they faced challenges and how they overcame them.

  • Leadership and decision making

In various medical settings, physicians are required to take charge and make critical decisions impacting patient care. Behavioral interviews can provide insights into a candidate’s leadership potential by exploring scenarios where they took initiative, led a team or made difficult decisions under pressure.

The power of behavioral interviews

Behavioral interviews offer several advantages over traditional interviews when assessing physician soft skills:

  • Objectivity

Behavioral interviews give a structured framework for evaluating candidates, enabling you to assess soft skills consistently and objectively. By focusing on concrete examples from a candidate’s past, it helps reduce biases and dependence on subjective opinions.

  • Predictive validity

Past behavior is often a reliable indicator of future performance. By examining how candidates handled specific situations in the past, behavioral interviews can predict how they might respond to similar situations in the future. This predictive validity can assist in making informed hiring decisions.

  • Cultural add

Soft skills play a big role in determining cultural fit within an organization. You can evaluate whether a candidate’s values, communication style and approach align with your organization’s mission and vision, promoting a harmonious work environment.

  • Candidate engagement

Behavioral interviews provide candidates with an opportunity to share their experiences and highlight their strengths. This engagement leads to a more positive candidate experience, enhancing their perception of the recruitment process and the organization as a whole.

In the realm of physician recruitment, assessing soft skills is as important as evaluating technical competence.


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