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Allergist Interview
Questions

55 Questions and Answers by
| Heather has over 20 years experience recruiting and hiring candidates,
specifically in the health care industry.

Question 1 of 55

How do you handle stress and pressure?

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Allergist Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    How do you handle stress and pressure?

      With ease! You understand that your role as a medical professional is to remain calm, and give 100% to each of your patients to ensure there are no errors in diagnosis, treatment or follow up. Explain that you understand the pressure of your job and that you have experienced similar pressure before. Your experience handling stress well will speak volumes.

      Heather's Answer

      "I work closely with my administrative staff to ensure that my calendar and patient load for the day is accurate. I have a great relationship with my administrative staff which allows me to simply see patients while they take care of the behind the scenes details for me, alleviating any stress that might come up."

      Heather's Answer

      "Prioritizing my responsibilities so I have a clear idea of what needs to be done helps me effectively manage work stress."

  2. 2.

    If penicillin were the drug of choice for a patient who claims he had an allergic reaction to it 30 years ago, would you consider giving it now?

      Such reports are often wrong, due to being overcautious and miscalling some effects in childhood. Although these reports are fraught with inaccuracy, you must consider what's at stake--anaphylaxis. Others feel the margin of safety may be acceptable after so many years without a reaction, but you can never go wrong with the 'abundance of caution' approach.

      Heather's Answer

      "It it were a chronic condition that allowed it, I would take the time to do skin testing first. If it were an acute situation, I would use alternative medication, even if it were considered secondary, until I had time to assess the immunological status properly. The worst that can happen--anaphylaxis--is unacceptable and preventable."

  3. 3.

    How is your attendance at general staff and department meetings?

      Running a group or a hospital, unfortunately, requires significant bureaucracy. The doctors are needed to make that run, which means taking responsibility for the clerical drudgery involved. This means meetings--lots of meetings. And they're always at night or during office hours, which can cut into your income. Note that the question doesn't ask whether your attendance will be good, but how it has been in the past. This implies that your answer may be verified by a phone call or two, so tell the truth. (Most likely, no one will be checking up on your answer, so even if you've been truant in the past, pledge to do better.)

      Heather's Answer

      "I may have missed meetings from time to time--usually due to my being occupied in clinical duties or vacation. However, I realize how important the business of the hospital/group is, and will make every effort to improve my attendance."

  4. 4.

    How timely is your practice to sign off on chart entries and make all of your dictations current? Have you ever been suspended from a staff for failure to do these?

      This type of suspension is not a 'hard' suspension, per se: it doesn't mean there are any deficiencies in your medical care or expertise. Most physicians get a little behind from time to time, the only thing lighting a fire under them to get these clerical loose ends tied up is often suspension. Although this is frowned upon but not necessarily condemned, it does impact the hospital or group's bottom line, so the question is one of fiscal importance.

      Heather's Answer

      "Although I've been occasionally remiss in keeping all sign-offs and dictations current, I feel it is important for me to be diligent in keeping current. It is not lost on me how reimbursement by third-party payers can be affected by incomplete charts. Just as important--to me--is the need for accuracy, and attempting to remember specifics from a procedure or rounds can become spotty if too much time has passed. For these reasons, I agree that keeping current is important and strive to do that."

  5. 5.

    Are there any substance abuse, domestic violence, or other background items that could impact the integrity of our hospital/group?

      Such situations are a reason for running away from a current situation. If there is such a damaging component in your history, own it, and explain the steps you took to eliminate the risk of it recurring, i.e., rehab, successfully completed therapy, etc. Let the interviewer know you are comfortable with a probationary period or supervision if deemed necessary.

      Heather's Answer

      "I have a DUI arrest in my past as a teenager. I do not have a problem with abuse, but my arrest required I partake in prevention programs, which I completed successfully."

  6. 6.

    What experience do you have testing for gastrointestinal disorders?

      Gastrointestinal food allergies are common in infants and children. Tell the interviewer about symptoms such as vomiting, reflux, abdominal pains, diarrhea, and constipation that you look for in your patients. The interviewer wants to hear how you handle your food allergy and sensitive patients. Describe how you instruct patients to keep a journal of the foods they eat and how and when they are instructed to slowly bring them back into their diet in order to identify the allergy.

      Heather's Answer

      "I review the patient's medical history, perform a clinical evaluation, skin testing, food-specific IgE antibodies, responses to the elimination diet and oral food challenges as well as skin checks for eczema​."

      Heather's Answer

      "Common food allergies are cow's milk, eggs, soybeans, wheat, peanut, tree nuts, fish, ​and shellfish. When diagnosing a patient with a food allergy I use allergy testing as well as their feedback on the different types of symptoms they are experiencing."

  7. 7.

    How do you feel about telemedicine?

      Since the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine is probably here to stay, and everyone--including hospitals and groups--is looking for ways to incorporate it in a fiscally prudent way. You should be seen as ready to embrace it, not blindly, but thoughtfully within the parameters of what is considered good medical care.

      Heather's Answer

      "To me, the difference between telemedicine being appropriate or not is a function of Signs-vs-Symptoms. That is, I require a patient's physical presence and an exam to document signs that are applicable to the chief complaint, but symptoms are a different matter. If the patient is established with me and I am familiar with his or her case, I can discuss and manage symptoms or medications via telemedicine. If the patient is seeking an initial appointment with me, I would need to see him or her before relegating appropriately to telemedicine protocols."

  8. 8.

    If you’re not available, due to illness or vacation, for example, how will your patients be cared for?

      This is a straightforward question, and the answer is always part of the by-laws of any institution. In other words, if you're on staff, your patient should never go without care if you have not made arrangements for coverage. If you're not new to the area, you should identify others on staff with whom you expect to have a reciprocal on-call relationship. If you're new to the area, you should state you intend to be full-time responsible until you can establish such reciprocal relationships. An extra overture would be to say you plan to serve on many committees in order to meet others in your specialty.

      Heather's Answer

      "I plan to serve on committees within your department so that I can enter into some reciprocal call agreements with other staff members as soon as possible. However, I won't be taking much time off as I build my practice, because the low numbers will not be too taxing before it gets built up over time."

  9. 9.

    What can you bring to our group/hospital?

      You don't just want to say that you're an expert or have a lot of experience, but be a little bold here by stating that, although you find it very impressive here, you have noticed that there are some gaps in the total picture of care rendered, and that you feel you can fill these gaps. This is a way of saying that selecting you will bring value to the organization. You can further state that you can bring additional resources that most hospitals don't have, which would make this organization stand out above the rest. These are the offerings that will make you particularly attractive, where you tout your special interests; special interests are specific aspects of one's specialization that do not have the bureaucratic designation of certification by a board. For example, you may be board certified or board eligible in Internal Medicine (or Pediatrics), further trained in Allergy and Immunology, but you might say you have a special interest in asthma, as an example; this would sound very fortuitous to a hospital with a concerning rate of hospitalizations for it.

      Heather's Answer

      "The whole reason I want to be here is the pursuit of excellence and state-of-the-art medicine. Also, your continuing education fits in well with my needs for growth and my interest in teaching other about the special challenges in immunology. It makes an excellent foundation for my special interest in asthma, especially with medication management that can prevent hospitalizations."

  10. 10.

    Tell me about yourself.

      This should be answered briefly and succinctly, and it should include why you want this position and the circumstances behind your leaving your current situation (they will want to know--and will ask if you don't say why).

      Heather's Answer

      "I come here a few years delayed, as medicine wasn't my initial goal--I had gotten another degree. I had to go back to school to acquire some of the pre-requisites for my application to med school. Since then, I have been on track. I am married with one child. After finishing my residency, I joined the staff of the school for a year until I could decide where I wanted to go next. That brings me here."

  11. 11.

    How do you feel when another medical professional criticizes your work?

      The interviewer is asking this question for a few different reasons. They want to hear how well you handle criticism if you name drop or speak poorly of the one that challenged you and if you seem to hold a grudge over the situation. If you choose to give an example, be sure it allows you to demonstrate your ability to handle criticism with style.

      Heather's Answer

      "It is never easy to be criticized or to receive unfavorable feedback. However, I believe that I can learn from each experience and constructively move forward. For example, a physician recently mentioned to me that my notes in the database were not as detailed as she would prefer. I had to take a minute and breathe because I spent extra time on those notes and felt frustrated by the feedback. However, I knew this physician could be tough to please so I asked her to show me exactly how she preferred the notes in the system so that next time, as a team, we could be more efficient."

      Heather's Answer

      "As a new Allergist comes additional critiques from physicians. I take every critique as a learning opportunity. I am thankful for any feedback that helps me to become a better healthcare provider."

  12. 12.

    How would you describe your work ethic?

      You may be carefree and fun-loving with your friends on the weekends, but at work, you are focused and professional. The interviewer is interested in your personality and how you will fit with the team. Give specific examples or keywords they can relate to. When you read the company job, posting or job description do they refer to particular ethics? Talk about their values and how those align well with your work values.

      Heather's Answer

      "I am a very dedicated and loyal employee. I saw on your website that you describe your facility as honest, transparent and you go the extra mile for your patients. My work ethic is the same. I am honest, flexible, and come ready to work hard for my patients every day."

      Heather's Answer

      "I would describe my work ethic as dependable, respectful and accountable."

  13. 13.

    What is it about this group/hospital that makes you want to be a part of it?

      You must assume the interviewer thinks his or her hospital/group is absolutely wonderful...or potentially wonderful with the addition of the right person--hopefully you. You can stroke the corporate ego and begin endearing yourself to the interviewer by invoking the Mission Statement and/or Vision of the hospital or group. Most hospitals will have these, prominently displayed on the landing pages of their websites; they are brief and easy to imbue into your interview strategy. You can tell the interviewer that you find the values you saw in the Mission Statement and/or Vision Statement align with your personal views of how you want to lead your professional life.
      Don't actually refer to the Mission Statement and Vision when you answer; just state that you find this group's values align with yours, and you can paraphrase the ones you saw displayed.

      Heather's Answer

      "I know that the values here align with my own personal values. I have done a lot of research, and I especially appreciation the dedication to community interaction, your embracing diversity, and always putting the patient and his or her family first. I think I'd be very happy here with the professional mindset, and I'd be a good fit."

  14. 14.

    Do you have any lawsuits currently or in the past, including any settlements?

      This is a straightforward question. No one wants someone certain to lose them money or jeopardize their reputation. However, it is a truism that all physicians are at risk for malpractice suits, whether these actually come to pass or not. The interviewer will not dismiss you for lawsuits--he or she just doesn't want someone who is sued so frequently, as to suggest there's a problem. That being said, not all suits come to pass, and a lawsuit filed is not a deal breaker; many are just filed against you for the purpose of initiating and accomplishing discovery to see if there really is merit to a case. If there aren't really any substantial missteps on your part, these go away or prescribe, and your interviewer will know this. A settlement, on the other hand, can be just as bad as a lawsuit you lose, because most settlements are made to mitigate the damage of a likely unfavorable outcome.
      If there are suits, losses, or settlements, be truthful, but half of the truth is your side of the story, so make sure you give it. Do not blame your previous institution or group--that just looks bad for you. Take ownership, but if you can explain why a lawsuit occurred due to a complication and not overt malpractice, this is something any hospital administrator will understand.

      Heather's Answer

      "I have three lawsuits. Each one of them is due to a complication--one an allergic reaction and inhaled bronchodilator, another due to side effect of a medication, and another for the need for intubation and ventilation in a patient with status asthmaticus. After discovery, I expect all three to prescribe without incident or settlement."

  15. 15.

    Here we have a policy of _______. Do you have a problem with that?

      You should never have a problem with any policy of the place to which you're applying. A good example is a Catholic hospital that won't do provide pregnancy termination counseling. Before you interview, you should decide whether you can practice under such constraints. Luckily, seldom are there any stipulations that will ruin your life.

      Heather's Answer

      "I wouldn't seek a position here if I had a problem with that. My only professional stipulation is that I can treat any person who needs my services and be allowed to do what is best for him or her."

  16. 16.

    Do you have any personal problems with our seeing or assigning you indigent or “charity” cases?

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  17. 17.

    If you were to see a peer doing or saying something inappropriate, how would you respond?

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  18. 18.

    How would you handle a family member who disagrees with your management?

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  19. 19.

    Are you going to be prescribing opioids?

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  20. 20.

    If you’re on a rotational call for indigent patients or patients without a doctor, how would you feel about having to see a patient in the ED whom you had dismissed from your practice?

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  21. 21.

    Would you be willing to accept whatever electronic medical record process is in use here?

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  22. 22.

    How would you handle a problem in which Utilization Review wants you to discharge a patient who you feel isn’t medically ready for discharge?

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  23. 23.

    If you were to receive a communication from the Executive Committee about a practice issue of yours that it seems could have clinical repercussions, how would you address the members when meeting with them?

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  24. 24.

    Would you be willing to serve on a committee investigating an issue with one of your colleagues?

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  25. 25.

    What would be your response to hearing a code being called in the middle of the night as you’re getting ready to go home after attending a patient?

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  26. 26.

    If an OBGYN wanted your opinion of treating a patient with syphilis who is allergic to penicillin, what would you advise?

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  27. 27.

    How would you approach a patient claiming to have a reaction to a medicine he/she has been on all his/her life, with the additional aspect being it is a reaction that isn’t typical of an allergy?

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  28. 28.

    If you’re in the ED with a patient with severe asthma who requires intubation and you have been unsuccessful in inserting the endotube, what would you do?

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  29. 29.

    If you suspect Munchausen by proxy—that is, a factitious disorder imposed by another—how would you handle this?

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  30. 30.

    What are the three most important qualities you demonstrate as a leader?

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  31. 31.

    What was your greatest accomplishment as an Allergist?

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  32. 32.

    What was your biggest disappointment as an allergist?

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  33. 33.

    What is the most difficult situation you have had to face and how did you tackle it?

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  34. 34.

    How well do you work with people?

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  35. 35.

    What are the steps you follow to study a problem before making a decision?

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  36. 36.

    How do you decide what gets top priority when scheduling your time?

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  37. 37.

    Why are you the best allergist for us?

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  38. 38.

    As an Allergist, what do you believe is your best asset?

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  39. 39.

    What are you doing to keep current in technology?

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  40. 40.

    What single project or task would you consider the most significant accomplishment in your career so far?

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  41. 41.

    Tell me a problem you faced where you were unsure the answer. How did you research the problem and find a correct solution?

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  42. 42.

    Why should we hire you?

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  43. 43.

    Why do you want a career as an allergist?

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  44. 44.

    Do you have any questions for us?

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  45. 45.

    Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

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  46. 46.

    What is your most prescribed allergy relief product?

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  47. 47.

    Where do you see allergy treatment going in the near future

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  48. 48.

    What are your salary expectations?

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  49. 49.

    Describe a workplace challenge and how you overcame it.

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  50. 50.

    Describe your style of communicating and interacting with others.

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  51. 51.

    What are your long term goals?

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  52. 52.

    What is anaphylaxis?

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  53. 53.

    Which immuno suppressive agents do you prefer to use with your patients?

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  54. 54.

    Are you comfortable making tough decisions when it comes to patient care?

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  55. 55.

    What do you know about our facility?

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