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Northwestern Memorial Hospital Interview
Questions

31 Questions and Answers by Michelle Krebs
| Michelle Krebs has over 15 years of experience interviewing and hiring candidates in the health care and medical device industries.

Question 1 of 31

Have you ever been involved in ordering medical supplies, maintaining inventory, or other types of health care related administrative duties?

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Northwestern Memorial Hospital Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    Have you ever been involved in ordering medical supplies, maintaining inventory, or other types of health care related administrative duties?

      The interviewer would like to know if you understand what it takes to keep on top of ordering medical supplies and inventory. Assure the interviewer that you are capable of foreseeing needs, and making the appropriate action. Highlight your ability to be responsible when it comes to related administrative tasks.

      Michelle's Answer #1

      "I have experience in ordering medical supplies and maintaining inventory. I fully understand that there is an art to being properly organized when it comes to the availability of supplies. For medical ordering and inventory, I have used a variety of software and programs such as ABC and XYZ."

      Michelle's Answer #2

      "Yes. I used to do this in my former position. I was responsible for maintaining supplies on the general surgery ward for five years. It was great at working behind the scenes with the result being efficiency for others."

  2. 2.

    Healthcare service companies require strong organizational skills and attention to detail. How do you ensure that your work is properly organized, and highly accurate?

      The success of the healthcare industry thrives on the accuracy of information, and organization. Talk to the interviewer about the ways that you ensure accuracy and organization in your day to day activities. Perhaps you use a particular app or software. Maybe you are a pen and paper person. Whatever your method, be sure to highlight that you are successful in organizing your day.

      Michelle's Answer #1

      "I am a highly detailed person, and I thrive on having a high level of organization in my day. This organization includes my scheduling, paperwork, and more. If I am offered a position with Northwestern Memorial Hospital you will never find me to be disorganized! I utilize my Outlook calendar and set alerts for myself for deadlines and important activities. My documentation is strong as well."

      Michelle's Answer #2

      "I'm a bit of a nerd. I carry around a notebook and write down important facts if I think there is a chance I will forget them. But this is usually just for transitions. Every clinic I've ever worked in has its way of communicating and recording facts, so I put time and attention into using the system the people around me are using. That way its easier to transition care and the patient has all their info in the same place. My notebook saves me when I'm swamped, but I try to be efficient and put info directly into the [group record/EMR/chart] when I can."

  3. 3.

    What is your patient care philosophy?

      It's always a great idea to research the company before your interview. You want to get to know their care philosophy so that your answer can reflect what is important to them. What is the core of your care philosophy? Keep your answer concise yet sincere.

      Michelle's Answer #1

      "Every day at work, I remind myself that everyone I come across has their struggles. Every person we care for has a story. I make sure to get to know my patients whenever possible. Everyone has the right to compassionate care."

      Michelle's Answer #2

      "I have three philosophies when it comes to my work. One for the clinic, one for me, and one for the patient. First, I work in a system, and I respect that. I follow the rules, I maintain my certifications, and I appreciate the policies and values of whatever site I work. Patient care is a privilege, and I respect the role I have in clinical care and the part other people have. Second, I want to be the best at what I do. Every day I learn something, and that's because I choose to get better.
      Last, I adapt to the individual. If I'm meeting the requirements of my position, and evolving within my profession, then I am free to adjust to my patient and be the provider they need. Some patients need a lot of attention; some want less, and some need boundaries. I have trained myself to adapt my communication style, so a patient gets what they need."


  4. 4.

    Do you prefer to work in a team based position or individually?

      In which situation are you the happiest and most productive? Talk to the interviewer about your preference when it comes to teamwork or working individually. Be sure to avoid pigeonholing yourself into one particular scenario (IE: I only like to work by myself). You may work well without the need for much management or direction, or perhaps you are better driven in a collaborative and team led environment. Either way, be honest with the interviewer about your preferences without leaning negatively, either way.

      Michelle's Answer #1

      "Whether I am doing an independent project, or working in a team environment, I always give my best. I enjoy the camaraderie of working in a team, but I can be successful working autonomously as well."

      Michelle's Answer #2

      "I have found, in the past, that I work well in an individually driven environment; however, I can certainly be productive in a team-based setting as well."

  5. 5.

    Do you think it is possible to be a good team member, yet disagree with the leader?

      The interviewer wants to know that you can be diplomatic in the workplace, even when you may not agree with your leader.

      Show the interviewer that it is possible for you to be a good team member, yet disagree with the leader from time to time. Explain that you believe everyone is entitled to their own professional opinion, yet capable of maintaining respect for each other at the same time.

      Show that even if you disagree with the final decision they make, you support the direction the team is heading.

      Michelle's Answer #1

      "I think that it is possible to be a great team member, even when disagreeing with the leader. It's all in how you maintain respect for each other despite the difference in opinion."

      Michelle's Answer #2

      "I believe that being a good team member is more about attitude than it is about compatibility. You do not need to agree with everyone 100% of the time, to be effective in your job."

  6. 6.

    Think about a difficult boss, professor or coworker. What made him or her difficult? How did you successfully interact with this person?

      Show the interviewer that you work well with most personalities even though you recognize there are some folks out there who are quite difficult to please.

      Think about that one person at work who is seen as hard to please. Perhaps there is someone at work who tries to intimidate others. Talk to the interviewer about what made this person challenging and what their relationship was with you. Avoid speaking poorly of anyone and be sure to end your response on a positive note.

      Michelle's Answer #1

      "I once worked at a small medical facility where the primary physician was very demanding. When he would walk into the facility, employees would quietly announce that he was in the building, so that everyone could be prepared for his arrival. This physician had great intentions; however, his people skills were a little rough. I could see that he meant well, and I recognized that he wanted to do a lot of good things. When we interacted, I always took his feedback with the understanding that he didn't mean things as harshly as he might say them."

      Michelle's Answer #2

      "In my previous position, I did have a coworker who didn't pull their weight. This unmotivated coworker created more work for the rest of the team by being slow and unresponsive. Our team started to complete most of the tasks when it came to group projects. It didn't take much time before our department head noticed this particular individual was slacking. I feel like, in most instances, the underachievers will weed themselves out over time, and it's rarely worth making a fuss over."

  7. 7.

    Northwestern Memorial Hospital seeks to hire those with strong problem solving skills. When were you able to successfully resolve a problem in the workplace?

      Problem-solving and dispute resolution are critical skills to possess. Display to the interviewer that you are capable of problem-solving within the workplace. Talk about a time when you were creative, proactive, and displayed the leadership qualities required to resolve a workplace issue.

      Michelle's Answer #1

      "In my most recent position we had a consistent problem with employees showing up late for their shifts or calling in sick at the very last moment. Rather than the typical documenting and reprimanding style that management usually takes, I decided to track the results of an accountability reward system. For 180 days, my employees were rewarded for coming to work 10 minutes early. Also, for every month with zero sick days, a bonus was added. In the end, we awarded those with perfect attendance a $600 bonus. The bonus' cost us less money, in the end than the cost of lowered productivity due to absent employees. The program was a success, and upper management chose to keep it implemented for another six months. We will re-assess in December, but it seems to be working very well."

      Michelle's Answer #2

      "I was working in a clinic where the primary population was low income. We had a lot of concerns with patients not showing up for appointments when expected. The staff wanted to start double-booking patient time slots. Instead, I got permission to spend a day in a highly-rated clinic serving the same population. Instead of scheduling, they had these 'drop-in mornings' with a common waiting room. I took these methods and incorporated them into our setting. We did that twice a week, and it completely solved our scheduling problem."

  8. 8.

    It is often said that a career in healthcare is a 'thankless job'. How can we keep you motivated and engaged, even on the days when you feel your work goes unnoticed?

      The interviewer would like to know how they could continue to motivate you - even on the hardest of days. Do you need to have verbal recognition? Are you motivated solely by the success of your team? Talk to the interviewer about how you have stayed motivated in the past.

      Michelle's Answer #1

      "I am an easily motivated individual, and it does not take much to keep me engaged. I am fully aware that healthcare-related positions can seem thankless. Honestly, the best thanks that I can get is a pat on the back now and then. The majority of my motivation comes from simply helping people."

      Michelle's Answer #2

      "My chosen career was helping people at exactly the point they were least capable of censoring themselves or giving back. So, I stopped needing thanks from my patients. It's not like I don't need positive reinforcement. Everyone does. But I made a point to find it in other places instead of expecting it from my patients. Nowadays I make an effort to expressly thank the people I work with when they do a good job. I focus on being grateful to be allowed to see private, raw, emotional parts of peoples lives. And I make work-related goals I can achieve for satisfaction."

  9. 9.

    At Northwestern Memorial Hospital we seek to hire individuals who are passionate about health care. Tell me why you are passionate about health care.

      Assure the interviewer that you are dedicated to a meaningful career in the healthcare services industry. The hiring manager would like to know that this position fits into your long-term plan and that, if hired, you would stay with Northwestern Memorial Hospital as long as possible.

      Michelle's Answer #1

      "My entire career has been dedicated to the healthcare services field. I find it incredibly rewarding and interesting because I get to help others and every day brings new challenges! One of the reasons I applied for this role with Northwestern Memorial Hospital is because I can see a long-term fit here. I plan to work in the healthcare segment for my entire career."

      Michelle's Answer #2

      "I know this career can take a toll on personal life, and I understand that while it can be more-or-less sustainable, it's more than just a job for me. So far, I have dedicated my entire adult life to this career. I have shadowed numerous professionals and have worked multiple clinics. I know this is the right career for me."

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  10. 10.

    What is one thing you would change in your current job?

      The interviewer wants to know what element of your job that might be causing you to look for another. Also, if there is a problem, the interviewer also wants to see if you can come to the table with a solution.

      Michelle's Answer #1

      "We are using a really old electronic medical record system. It is frustrating, because it doesn't work the way a more modern one would and it takes a lot of time to navigate. I started researching what some of the larger systems have and they are really expensive, I think. I pinged somebody in our government relations area to see if there were any grants that a smaller facility could be part of. Last I heard, they did find an applicable grant and we are now trying to get funding for the new EMR system."

      Michelle's Answer #2

      "For example: "We have a seniority based process for determining who works holidays. This makes it really hard for new people who come in because they get last pick. I recommended a different process where we rotate each year who gets what holiday and that way it is fair. Then, when new people start, they don't feel like they are given last choice and will feel better about working here."

  11. 11.

    Walk me through your training and how it led you to where you are now in your career.

      Take a few minutes to walk the interviewer through your formal post-secondary education as well as any on the job training. Talk about your most positive take-away's from your post-secondary experience and be sure to tie in how that experience will help you succeed in this position.

      Michelle's Answer #1

      "I have a nursing degree as well as additional on the job training within clinical research. I feel that my nursing education opened up many potential industry-related avenues for me. I graduated top of my class and completed a valuable internship with 'XYZ Health Services'. All of these experiences have helped prepare me for success in this role with Northwestern Memorial Hospital."

      Michelle's Answer #2

      "I did my undergraduate in chemistry and medical school at St. George's University. I loved surgery, so my electives were in general surgery, trauma epidemiology, and orthopedics. I'm happy to be moving on to more responsibility as a resident. I have had some amazing mentors, and I found that I could perform with some different teaching styles."

  12. 12.

    If you could expand your knowledge and expertise in any area of healthcare services, which would you choose?

      The interviewer would like to dig deeper into your true areas of interest when it comes to healthcare services. They want to know that your passions align well with what Northwestern Memorial Hospital is offering. Talk to the interviewer about the areas of healthcare you would like to focus on most, and then tie that information in with what the position at Northwestern Memorial Hospital would be offering you.

      Michelle's Answer #1

      "If I could expand my expertise in any healthcare service area I would choose anything within primary care. This is one of the reasons I have applied with your company. I feel that your focus will be a great fit with my long-term career goals."

      Michelle's Answer #2

      "I'm interested in research. One of the things that attracted me to working with your company is your ongoing community-based research collaborations. I'd be curious to hear if the [clinic/hospital/program] had any needs in this area. Is this something junior staff can be involved in?"

  13. 13.

    At Northwestern Memorial Hospital we seek to hire individuals who have ambitions of growing their career. Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years?

      Every hiring manager would like to know that their investment of time and training will pay off. Assure the interviewer that you see this position as a long-term fit. How does this role with Northwestern Memorial Hospital fit into your longer-term plans?

      Michelle's Answer #1

      "In 3-5 years I would like to see my career with Northwestern Memorial Hospital include a path towards a leadership role. I am very keen on paving a long-term career in the healthcare services realm and would love the opportunity to do that here."

      Michelle's Answer #2

      "One of the attractive points of working for Northwestern Memorial Hospital is that you care about the growth of your employees. I'm motivated to learn and am looking for a long-term fit. In 3-5 years I'd like to be grounded in the clinic, learn about this site, your patient base and earn certifications that would help the unit advance. Personally, I'd like to get involved in some of the local volunteer organizations. I speak Spanish, and I have an interest in urban outreach so it would be nice to do something formal in that context...health-education or fundraising."

  14. 14.

    Walk me through a difficult situation you've had with a customer or patient.

      Whether or not you are in a patient care role, we've all worked with a difficult customer. Describe the situation, your action, and the outcome, even if it wasn't good.

      Michelle's Answer

      "I had an angry patient who didn't think the doctor was coming in enough to check on his wife. She was stable and the doctor typically did rounds in the morning. I explained to him that the doctor would be in the next morning and he got very upset and was yelling. I let him vent, listened, and told him that I could see he was very upset. I told him I would talk to my manager to let her know of the concerns. She was able to to reach the doctor and he made an extra trip over to her room. He then explained that he would't be back until the morning, but that he could be reached by the nurse if he was needed. I took the time to listen and he calmed down in the end."

  15. 15.

    Some of our positions require you to assess a patient over the phone. What are some of the steps you take to make sure you get the information needed to determine next steps?

      Triaging over the phone is a really critical skill. Most health care systems have protocols, but the voice on the other end of the line makes a huge difference in putting that worried patient at ease or help them know what to do next. Show the interviewer how you have mastered this.

      Michelle's Answer

      "I have worked in a pediatric clinic on the triage line. Most parents, especially new parents, have so many questions about what is normal and what isn't. My number one strategy is to thank them for asking and not make them feel like it is just a little thing and that they shouldn't have called. My strategy is to listen, probe for more detail, and agree upon a solution they are comfortable with."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I would answer the line and assure the patient that I'm here to help and listen to what they need. Make the patient feel comfortable."

      Lauren's Answer

      This is a great answer. I assisted with providing a bit more depth.

      "I try my best to build positive rapport with patients, whether it is in-person or over the phone. If I were assessing a patient over the phone, I would use a clear and warm tone. I would begin by explaining the purpose of the call so that the patient knows what to expect. I would try my best to help the patient feel comfortable and listen attentively to their responses. I would have a list of questions that were appropriate for their concerns and follow protocol to direct the patient to the next level of care."

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  16. 16.

    What do you like most about your current position?

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  17. 17.

    If you could expand your knowledge and expertise in any healthcare service area, which would you choose?

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  18. 18.

    What type of work environment do you dislike working in?

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  19. 19.

    Rate your problem solving skills from 1-10. How do you justify your rating?

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  20. 20.

    Northwestern Memorial Hospital has a diverse workforce. When have you worked amongst a diverse group of people?

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  21. 21.

    Northwestern Memorial Hospital was initially looking for someone with 5 years' experience in a similar role. Considering you have just 2 years' experience, would you be willing to accept this position at a lower salary?

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  22. 22.

    Why do you think you will be successful in this role with Northwestern Memorial Hospital?

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  23. 23.

    What is your greatest weakness?

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  24. 24.

    In your opinion, what makes you a great problem solver?

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  25. 25.

    With the ongoing changes in the healthcare services industry, how do you keep your knowledge current?

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  26. 26.

    If Northwestern Memorial Hospital hired you today, what would you accomplish first?

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  27. 27.

    What is an idea you have brought to the table to make you more efficient in your job.

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  28. 28.

    Northwestern Memorial Hospital supports a healthy work/life balance for all employees. How do you balance life and work?

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  29. 29.

    How would you describe your personality?

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  30. 30.

    In order to work for Northwestern Memorial Hospital, you must be able to pass a full criminal background check. Do you consent to a full background check?

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  31. 31.

    Tell us about a time you went above and beyond for a patient.

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