You chose this career for a reason. Consider your motivation to help people and your drive to learn new, innovative techniques. From where did that motivation come? Perhaps you have struggled with addiction in the past or helped a loved one through the stressful situation. The interviewer is interested in your motivation, which is often something that enables you to push through the challenges. As an addiction psychiatrist, you will be assisting others with their most difficult issues, so you need to have a strong motivation, and an innate desire to keep moving forward.
"When I was in private practice as a psychiatrist, the majority of my patients were suffering from addiction. I realized the great need and decided to pursue the addiction field. I am happy that I made this decision as I have helped others to heal, and have brought families back together. In addition to all of this, I have learned a great deal myself about forgiveness, the importance of facing your issues, and just how much perseverance we can have as human beings."
As an addiction psychiatrist, you know the goal of any detox program is physiological healing after long-term drug addiction. Perhaps your sessions start with stabilization then detoxification. Tell the interviewer about a particular patient's story, keeping confidentiality in mind. Explain the type of detox your patient went through, the stages and withdraw symptoms.
"My last detox patient was working through heroin addiction. We opted for a medical detox to make it a bit easier on the patient. The patient continues to see me once a week and has been sober for three months."
The interviewer would like to know the areas of your role as a psychiatrist that you feel you are best versed. Strength and weakness questions are the most common questions asked in an interview. It's essential that you have your answers rehearsed but not memorized, so you don't sound like a robot. If you are having a hard time answering this question, think of what your colleagues compliment you on. Tell the interviewer about your unique and memorable skills such as your ability to quickly write detailed SOAP notes, your natural ease with others, or the extra compassion you exude in comparison to other psychiatrists.
"One of my strengths is my ability to empathize and express my understanding to my patients. This added level of empathy and care makes them feel more comfortable talking to me."
Preparing for this question requires a little bit of self-awareness and strategy. You don't want to share that you have trouble working with difficult people or that you struggle with recalling details of a conversation, as those are critical aspects of your role. What you do want to focus on is a weakness that you could possibly turn into a strength or share something that would not be detrimental to your role that you are working on improving.
"I have learned that I am a perfectionist and can sometimes spend more time than necessary on a task. However, I also know that when something is done, it is done correctly and I never miss deadlines. My perfectionism has pushed me to learn how to delegate more as I’ve learned that I can’t do and take on everything myself."
Suboxone vs. Methadone is a discussion you've probably had numerous times with your colleagues. Tell the interviewer that the decision between these two medications is a difficult one to make and many factors are considered including their dosing schedule, side effects, the risk of abuse and overdose, cost, and long-term effects. Show off your expertise and level of knowledge a bit!
"Research shows that both are proven to be effective. However, each medication comes with its risks and benefits. Methadone has been used for decades and is well-known and established, making it the easy choice for some providers. Suboxone has been used for a shorter time frame, and there is less research available, but it shows promising success in the treatment of addiction. Although both medications can be effective in reducing the rates of opiate addiction, my choice of medication is made collaboratively between the patient and me while considering all factors and side effects."
As an addiction psychiatrist, you understand that addiction affects not only the patient but their family as well. Relay to the interviewer that you understand the recovery process not only helps families heal, but is also important for building a healthy support system for those in early recovery. Tell the interviewer about any group sessions you've held, support groups you've led that assist the family members of addicted patients.
The interviewer wants to know that you understand confidentiality laws and that you are committed to following these rules to protect your clients. Discuss the actions that you take to ensure your patients' safety and privacy is always a top priority for you. Let the interviewer know you are careful and mindful of the potential for breach of confidentiality.
Be upfront with the interviewer. Word travels fast when hiring managers are calling around to find out more about you. Be sure to tell the interviewer why you chose to apply for their position and why you would like this job over the others for which you have applied. Don't discuss who pays more but who can offer more opportunity and would be the best fit for you.
"I have applied to two other hospitals in the area. The reason I applied for this position was because my primary interest is in children and addictive behavior. I have 10 years experience working with children and have enjoyed every minute of it."
There isn't enough time during the interview to explain step by step on how you plan to make a significant impression in your first 90 days. For this reason, it's a great idea to bring a 90-day action plan with you to your interview. Think of it as a mini-presentation. Outline what you are most influential with, and create an action statement.
"I will approach my first 90 days in three, 30-day phases. During the first phase, I'll concentrate on building trust and rapport with my colleagues. Second, I will get a good handle on my caseload. And lastly, I would like to tackle any projects or take on any extra duties to better myself and help out the team. Also, I'm aware that you have an inspection coming up in about 90 days. In my current position, we just finished up with an inspection that went very smoothly. I played a major role in preparing and presenting in the inspection and would like to ensure that you are all ready to go as well."
As an addiction psychiatrist, you start your sessions off with an intake questionnaire. You may identify unusual mood swings, the patients lack motivation, suffer from paranoid thinking, poor memory or they may seem unreasonable fearful for no reason. Discuss with the interviewer how you pinpoint the signs of drug abuse.
"There are many signs that I note when interviewing a patient. Primarily I look for sharp mood swings. I've seen many different signs of drug abuse, from outbursts to paranoid thinking. I make a point to talk to my patients not only about how they are feeling but future thoughts they may have while coming down. We work out a plan to get past the side effects and become healthy again."
As a psychiatrist, you likely have a good beat on what sets you apart from your colleagues. Have you given yourself a personality test? As you already know, this tool is excellent for pinpointing strengths, and unique qualities Think of some unique and stand-out qualities that will stay with the interviewer, long after your meeting. This reply is not the time or place to say that you pay keen attention to detail. Choose a specific skill that is a 'must-have' for a successful addiction psychiatrist, or focus on a pain point that you can solve by being hired. Rely on your past achievements to back up your reply. Make the interviewer feel as though they will not succeed without you! If you are having a hard time narrowing down your list of why the employer should hire you, ask a few former co-workers or family members what they feel is the one unique thing that sets you apart from the other candidates. Their perceptions will help you understand how you are perceived and what makes you the perfect person for the opportunity.
"You mentioned today that the biggest pain-point for your practice is that you cannot find psychiatrists who have experience in addictions and group therapy, who are also bi-lingual. I am fluent in Spanish, French, and English, and also bring the experience leading group therapy efforts, for which you are seeking. This stand-out blend of skills is one of the reasons why my current practice embraced me so quickly, and I look forward to delivering the same results to your office."
Think of a situation that affected your emotions in a gut-wrenching way or one that made the wheels of your brain spin! Emotional examples are great because they show you care and are passionate about what you do. It is easier to talk about these challenges in a positive light too. Tell the interviewer a brief overview of your dilemma, explain why it was so challenging for you, and talk them through the steps you took to handle the situation. Also be sure to discuss what you learned from the case.
"I recently worked with a patient who committed suicide. This situation is an incredibly challenging one for any therapist or psychiatrist because it makes you feel that you failed someone. I took some time to reassess my work, my methods, and to revisit my approach to this particular patient. I soon realized there was nothing more than I could have done. It's hard to see patients that end their lives because their thoughts so haunt them, and addiction; however, at the end of the day, I can provide the tools and support, but I can't make them want the change for themselves. That comes from within."
The interviewer would like to understand what you felt was the most significant failure in your career. This question is not a personal question so be sure to keep your reply career-related. Show that you can accept failure at times, but are able to turn it around, learn from the situation, and bounce back quickly. Explain that you are self-aware enough to acknowledge failure and weakness. You take smart risks, and you view success, failure, and risk-taking as learning experiences.
"My biggest perceived failure is not starting University immediately after High School. Taking a year offset me back more than I thought it could have and it made it difficult for me when it came to being accepted into my top choice University. Although I do regret not getting back into it sooner, it all worked out in the end."
As an addiction psychiatrist, of course, you work great with people! You are in the people business, and the interviewer wants to hear that you work well with all types of people from every walk of life. Assure the interviewer that you can handle what comes with working alongside the public day in and day out.
"In our line of work, working well with people is what we do! I pride myself on building positive professional working relationships and successful patient and therapist relationships. I try my best to be flexible and open in the workplace, understanding that things can change very fast when you are dealing with a plethora of personalities. I also want to stay on good terms with my coworkers, so if I sense a conflict arising, I will be sensitive in addressing it before it escalates."
As an addiction psychiatrist, you make educated and quick decisions on a daily basis. These decisions may include the course of treatment you take with your patients, how to interact with other medical professionals when you are in a pinch, or even reacting in a medical emergency. Offer an example where you made a fast, but successful decision, and share the challenges you overcame in this situation. Discuss your process and how you worked through the pros and cons of the choices you had to make.
"I had a patient that started talking about hurting themselves during a session. I was able to take fast action and got the patient to an inpatient facility and kept the patient safe. I believe that my ability to make a quick decision came from the fact that I am very knowledgeable in my field and also have some strong connections and resources that I can lean on in an emergency situation."
When answering this question share, a goal you've achieved that is relevant to the job for which you are applying. Your goal could be a promotion that you made, or that you graduated from college with honors. Share the steps you took to reach the goal and why you think you were successful. You can even share what you would do differently in the future to show that you have taken time to reflect on this experience. However, you answer this, share how you remained disciplined and focused on reaching your goal.
"The most significant goal I achieved was when I decided to work a full-time job while still attending University. I set my mind to graduate debt free, and have never worked so hard for something. I graduated top of my class and never missed a day of work, at the same time! I graduated debt free, and I am very proud of that fact. While obtaining my education, I set a goal to do my clinicals in three different areas of medicine. These were emergency medicine, working with teens, and working within the prison system. I was able to rotate through all three areas and gained a wealth of knowledge."
"I set a goal to do my clinicals in three different areas of medicine; Emergency Medicine, working with teens and working within the prison system. I was able to rotate through all three areas and gained a wealth of knowledge."
The interviewer would like to know about your inner drivers and the source of your passion when it comes to your work as an addiction psychiatrist. Passion, drive, motivation. You have it all! Show the interviewer that you are passionate about helping your patients and being the best psychiatrist possible.
"I'm passionate about making a difference. When I'm involved with a project at work, I want to do my best to achieve success for myself, and for my patients. I feel the same way about what I do in my personal life. I aim to make a difference in all that I do, and be a change-agent for those who come to me."
Tell the interviewer about a time that one of your patients relapsed and the steps you took to care for them. Explain the treatment or program you wrote up for your patient, the extra time you spent encouraging them, and the individual counseling you provided. If you use a specific example, of course, remember the importance of patient confidentiality.
"When a patient relapses, all you can do is help them pick up the pieces and start again. It's important to let my patients know that I believe in them and I'm here to help them, even if that means they fail. My patients know that they can be transparent with me and honest about their struggles. My office is a judgment-free zone, but it is not accountability-free. I make sure that my patients have an action plan for recovery and that they follow this."
The interviewer would like to know how you feel about the latest advancements in your field. These advancements can include treatment methods, resources, or even technology. The way you answer this question will show the interviewer that you are keen on keeping up with the latest and greatest happenings in the field of psychology.
"I'm not one to do my job on autopilot. I think it's important to seek out opportunities for advancement within your career. It's exciting to see where medicine is going and I like to follow along closely. This approach ensures that I advance my career while also gaining stronger tools to help my patients and mentor my junior clinicians. I hope to help create a learning environment for clinicians around me so we can bring new ideas and advancements to our practice."
The interviewer would like to know if there has been anyone who has mentored you and helped to get you where you are today. When answering this question choose someone who truly inspired you to ensure a more authentic response. You don’t have to tell a long story here but do provide some context about your own personal characteristics that led you to admire this person. Bonus points if the person is in the same career field as the position for which you are interviewing. Provide specific examples of how this person inspired you.
"A couple of people have been inspiring to me, in my psychology career. My father, a pediatrician, has been my inspiration and mentor throughout my childhood, adulthood, and career. He has always encouraged me and pushed me to be the best doctor that I could be. Second, my more specific mentor is one of my former professors who I met when completing my doctorate. She is a brilliant individual and taught me to think about a problem or situation in a hundred different ways. I am thankful to have a couple of great mentors and influencers who have helped to shape who I am."
As an Addiction Psychiatrist, you've seen your patients struggle with many types of addiction. Tell the interviewer about the trouble your patients may have managing negative emotions, the fact that they may lack sufficient problem-solving skills and that they may struggle with their moral reasoning. Show how you help your patients overcome these typical challenges.
"Addicts face challenges every day. If getting clean was easy, everyone would do it. Failure, suicidal tendencies or even overdose will be just a few challenges an abuser will face during their period of addiction."
As an addiction psychiatrist, you've likely been a part of a multi-disciplinary team to treat many disorders. Walk the interviewer through your treatment combination of psychological and nutritional counseling, along with medical and psychiatric monitoring.
"Food addiction is something I've been working in for the past two years. Developing treatment plans for children are one of my specialties. I fully understand that treatment must address the eating disorder symptoms and medical consequences, as well as psychological, biological, interpersonal, and cultural forces that contribute to the eating disorder."
As an Addiction Psychiatrist you've been trained to identify concurrent psychiatric and substance use problems in an individual. You provide assistance to patients who are battling addiction to a variety of items, such as drugs, alcohol, food, gambling, and even sex. You provide clients with treatment interventions and support them to recover from their addictions. Additionally, you will be able to assist with behavior modification to help clients deal with addiction and help them to work on developing new and healthier coping behaviors.
Addiction psychiatry is a subspecialty of psychiatry. Your a physician certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM) and/or a psychiatrist certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN). You may address substance use and addiction in ambulatory care settings, acute care and long-term care facilities, psychiatric settings, and residential facilities.
Brush up on your behavior based interview questions before the big day. You'll be asked a number of behavior based questions and your calm and educated answers will tell the interviewer a lot about your treatment style. The nature of the job can often be stressful, making self-care essential for an addiction psychiatrist. Be able to tell the interviewer how you step back from the job and keep yourself healthy.