As executive recruiters, we often get asked by clients, “What are the best questions to ask during an interview?”
While there is no surefire answer to this age-old question, it’s undeniable that behavioral questions can be extremely powerful in the healthcare interview process. Here’s why.
Behavioral questions are designed to elicit concrete examples of how a candidate has handled specific situations in the past. This information can be invaluable in predicting how a candidate will perform in a similar situation in the future. In other words, behavioral questions can help you determine whether or not a candidate is a good fit for your company.
While behavioral questions can be extremely helpful, it’s important to ask them in the right way. Candidates should be given the opportunity to share their stories in their own words and should feel comfortable doing so. Additionally, candidates should be aware that they are being assessed on their responses to these questions.
With that said, here are some tips for asking behavioral questions:
Be specific: When asking a behavioral question, be as specific as possible. For example, rather than asking “Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer,” try “Can you give me an example of a time when you had to diffuse a tense situation with an upset patient or manager?” The more specific you are, the more likely you are to get useful information from the candidate.
Don’t be leading: Leading questions—questions that prompt the candidate to give a certain answer—should be avoided at all costs. Not only do they give candidates an easy way out, but they also provide you with information that may not be accurate. For example, rather than asking “You must have dealt with some difficult situations in your previous job,” try “What was the most challenging issue you faced in your previous job?” This question allows the candidate to share their own experience without being prompted to do so.
Don’t ask hypothetical questions: Hypothetical questions (“What would you do if…”) should also be avoided as they typically result in less-than-truthful answers from candidates. After all, it’s easy to say what you would do in a certain situation when you’re not actually in that situation. Instead of asking hypothetical questions, stick to ones that focus on actual past behavior.
Behavioral questions can be extremely helpful in predicting how a healthcare candidate will perform on the job. However, it’s important to ask them in the right way. When done correctly, behavioral questions can give you valuable insight into a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses and help you determine whether or not they are a good fit for your company.
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