are many books and training guides on interviewing
and evaluating candidates for positions. In
this section we present some introductory
advice from expert interviewers, suggest a
general structure for interviews, and reveal
favorite interview questions from a number
of top executive and physician recruiters.
interviewers use the candidate's resume to
structure the interview. This can have the
disadvantage of giving effective control to
the applicant. We suggest building an interview
around three modules: 1) general topic openers
("Tell me about..."), 2) self-appraisal
("What is it about you that..."),
and 3) situations ("How would you handle...").
We also would like to point out that many
interviewers talk too much and telegraph answers
to questions they pose.
is another way to organize questions to help
you evaluate the skills of a candidate:
"How have you reacted when a hospital
administrator or physicianhas been angry with
you or a member of your team?"
"Where do you see yourself on a continuum
of bottom-line results versus developing the
skills of employees?"
"How do you compare improving performance
through cost reduction versus revenue growth?"
assessment: "How do you see competition
in our area developing?"
it is important to use the interview to form
an assessment of the skills, thought-processes
and attitudes of each candidate, there are
also minefields to be avoided. For instance,
asking what citizenship a candidate holds
is discriminatory on the basis of national
origin. Similarly, asking how often the candidate
has been absent from work due to illness discriminates
on the basis of health or disability. Avoiding
this kind of pitfall makes thorough preparation
for every interview vital. You should have
a game plan mapped out before sitting down
with the candidate, no matter how seasoned
an interviewer you are.
Structure for First Interviews
Your first objective is to put the candidate
at ease. Smile, be friendly, make eye contact.
Use small talk, offer a compliment, make sure
the candidate is comfortable.
Take control, define objectives
Now you review the purpose of the interview
and your plan for the conversation. Mention
the planned length of the interview. State
whether you prefer questions to be kept to
the end or not. Clearly identify yourself
and your position.
Work through your prepared set of questions.
Attempt to be concise. Don't allow answers
to run on excessively. Ask questions that
reveal the applicant's poise, intelligence,
experience and communications skills.
Sell the opportunity
Base your comments on the job description,
but add your personal enthusiasm for the opportunity.
Do not offer feedback on the candidate's apparent
Answer questions and close
Offer candidate the opportunity to ask questions.
Don't feel obliged to comment on sensitive
areas. Start looking at your watch. End the
interview on a positive note.
Allow time immediately after the interview
to write up your notes, while details are
fresh. Be careful not to let an isolated response
outweigh positive information and impressions.
Favorite Interview Questions
How do you perceive your early background
and family experience to have impacted your
How has your personal background influenced
what you are today, your career progression,
your management and people style?
Where do you relate the best? Up one level,
down one level, or with peers?
How are you best managed?
How do you build a team under you?
What qualities have you liked or disliked
in your bosses? Why?
How do you evaluate the performance of your
How do you show your anger and frustration?
Discuss the importance of your job vis-a-vis
Have you ever been burned out?
How do you reward yourself for working hard?
How would you spend more time if you had it?
What are your current career prospects in
your current company?
Tell me about your most recent interview.
According to your definition of success, how
successful have you been?
Do you consider yourself lucky?
When and why have you fired people?
Have you made any mistakes during your career?
If so, what were they? How did you fix them?
Let's talk about set-backs. How have they
affected you and your family?
Is there any pattern to critical feedback
you tend to get from others?
What is the most adverse situation with which
you have had to deal in your personal or professional
life? How did you deal with it? What was the
Tell me about the events surrounding severely
If you were speaking tonight at the American
Medical Association, which subject would you
select that would enable the audience to see
what is special about you as a business person?
What was the most difficult ethical decision
you have had to make and what was the outcome?
What is the difference between a good position
and an excellent one?
Tell me how your approach to managing an organization
has changed from the way it was ten years