Tuesday, February 19, 2013

5 behavioral interview questions and answers for medical resident

Here are five behavioral interview questions and answers for a medical resident position. If you're reading this, you know that these positions are oh so competitive these days. Recently I had the chance to coach a client who wanted one of these positions more than life itself, practically, so here some questions that she asked me to help her with.

Ethics scenario: What would you do if a patient just stabbed your best friend, and you were treating the patient. 

One possible answer could be that if possible, you might delegate the task to someone else who was available; otherwise, treat the patient professionally and provide the necessary treatment. Try to be professional as much as possible (it may not be easy in this case).  If you have examples to give from your past experience, then please give them! The devil is in the details, and there's nothing interviewers love more than hearing about examples and anecdotes that demonstrate that you can walk your talk. 

What would you do if you knew one of your more senior residents was doing something wrong? (i.e., filling out History & Physicals without doing the evaluations…..and other ethical questions.)

My client suggested she would report this person. Such behavior she says would compromise the patient care and she would speak to another staff member. 

What was your worst clinical experience?  First, don't pretend you have never  had any bad experiences. Everyone in every profession has had experiences from hell, that for a split second might have called into question whether or not they should be doing this line of work. So what do you say? Matter of factly, narrate an incident (keep it simple, use the STAR method). Tell way it was initially not a great experience, but then say how you turned it around, or how you might have turned it around, and most importantly what you learned from it, and what you might have done differently. 

Tell me about an encounter with a patient that taught you something.  Every encounter teaches you, but some might have made a crucial difference with how you approach care, or perhaps spurred you on to catalyze changes where you work. Use the STAR method here. One of my clients told me of treating alcoholic patients when she lived in Russia. She saw that not enough attention was paid to alcoholism and addictions in family medicine, and helped initiate programs that would better address this need. This stemmed from her encounter with a patient. 

So these are five behavioral interview questions and answers that are typical for a medical resident. The best way to prepare is to anticipate the questions you will be asked and prepare answers and examples. Mine your experience and extract the anecdotes and learning experiences. Many aspiring medical residents have told me that the difference between getting hired and not, sometimes, is just preparation!

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