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Anesthesiologist Interview
Questions

27 Questions and Answers by
| Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.

Question 1 of 27

Tell me about your leadership qualities.

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Anesthesiologist Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    Tell me about your leadership qualities.

      The interviewer would like to know what you consider to be strong leadership qualities. When describing leadership qualities, try to avoid general terms and give some unique ideas. This is a question almost guaranteed to be asked of you. You should prepare an answer you feel they haven't heard before, because you can be assured they've heard many variations already.

      A great leader is someone who people naturally want to follow. They have exceptional interpersonal skills and the ability to build relationships with nearly any personality type. A respected leader will take ownership of their mistakes and will always lead their team by example. True leaders see the importance of motivating others and recognizing even the smallest achievements. You can include these insights in your answer, but these are only the foundation of a good answer.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I take every opportunity to improve my leadership skills. These opportunities come up every day if you know where to look. My leadership qualities are best summed up as dedicated, attentive, and motivating. I like to recognize my support staff's small wins because that motivates them to continue achieving."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I'm new to my career, so my workplace leadership experience is somewhat limited. With that said, I possess great leadership qualities that include diligence, tenacity, and open communication. I look forward to taking these skills to work for you!"

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  2. 2.

    In your opinion, what is the most concerning issue facing the medical industry today?

      Being a medical professional means that you need to take a keen interest in current events by carefully following the challenges which the medical industry faces. The interviewers want to see that your attention includes applying the external influences of the industry to your own practice. Discuss what you feel to be a primary concerning issue, but be sure to ask the interviewers what they personally see as the most concerning issue in the medical field today. This is an opportunity to start a very insightful conversation and this give-and-take will be helpful in their getting to know you beyond just a Q&A exercise. You should take advantage of that.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I feel that the most concerning issue in the medical industry is the continual rise of drug prices. The best medications should be accessible to anyone, regardless of their financial or social status, and there has been a rising concern with big pharma creating drugs and then pricing them so high that they are unattainable to most. What do you feel are the most concerning issues facing the medical industry today?"

      Rachelle's Answer

      "After the COVID-19 pandemic and the introduction of telemedicine, I worry that the dividing line between appropriate and inappropriate telemedicine will blur? Telemedicine is a newcomer to the medical industry, so we must be careful that it is used responsibly."

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      Anonymous Answer

      "We have had an exodus of medical professionals, both physicians and nurses, from this institution over the last few months. It is concerning that we are unable to retain individuals to remain in these posts or to attract new people."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Curious if this response can relate industry-wide, or is just pertaining to the institution where you work?

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  3. 3.

    What are your salary expectations?

      The compensation question can be very difficult to answer. It's always best to start with what you are currently earning and then discuss what your future compensation goals look like.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Currently, I am earning a salary of $230,000 per year. What range are you offering for this position?"

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I am currently making $140,000 per year as a new anesthesiologist. I am hopeful this isn't just a lateral move for me, but if it is, I also see value in the intangible benefits, such as CME reimbursal, malpractice insurance, retirement plan, and so son. I am looking for compensation that is aligned with the role and allows the opportunity for growth."

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  4. 4.

    Where do you see your career as an anesthesiologist taking you in the next 5 years?

      It's impossible to know where you will be in 5 years, but you need to assure the interviewer that, given all possible circumstances, you see yourself working as an anesthesiologist with them for the long term; but not as someone who is just 5 years older. For example, you can offer to seek leadership in the organization. Another example, taking this question on a track similar to the one about self-development, it can be answered similarly with how you plan to improve within your vocation. Alternatively, with the advancements in technology and medicine that are happening (according to IBM, total medical knowledge is doubling every 77 days!), this question can be your chance to tell the interviewer how you plan to be a part of the action. The energy that you put into this answer will show the interviewer your motivation level.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Ideally, five years from now, I would love to see myself growing into a more prominent leadership role within this facility. My career interests align very nicely with your hospital's growth goals. I see a great long-term fit here."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "In five years I would like to be indispensable--that's tongue-in-cheek bravado, I know. What I really mean is that I'd like to contribute to the department to the extent such that I would be considered a valued asset on educational, professional, and ethical levels within the profession and within the organization. Engaging in such qualities is true leadership."

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      Anonymous Answer

      "I hope to achieve a healthy work/ life balance, where I will focus more on research and writing."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Solid! If you are comfortable sharing what type of research and writing, or the areas of focus most interesting to you, that would be a great add.

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  5. 5.

    We believe in the continual development of our faculty, both professionally and personally. What is your self-development plan?

      A new associate should not act like he/she already has tenure and just 'punch in' and 'punch out' every day. Coming with the job is a vocational mandate to improve--yourself and, with it, the whole team. The interviewers do not necessarily want to know what your exact plan is, but that you in fact have plans. This means you're already thinking ahead and are 'all in' when it comes to your profession. If they are going to invest in you, they need to know that you have a plan in place for investing in yourself also, which will come back to the team as a whole.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "If I don't strive for improvement, I will be bored; I didn't train in anesthesiology to be bored. I want to practice state-of-the-art medicine while incorporating the newer ideas and advances that come from the rapidly increasing medical knowledge, and that means keeping a keen eye out for the literature of my specialty and interacting with it by incorporating what I learn into my practice."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "The practice of medicine, once separated from the business side by a wide gulf of arrogance and self-appointed nobility, now sees this dividing line blurring. Besides continuing medical education, which is automatically built into my recertification schedule, I want to pursue an education in business. Business and medicine are no longer at odds with each other because of some attitude of elitism, and the truth is that a business sensibility can help medicine by improving efficiency and reducing expenses, which benefits everyone from the big institutions to each patient."

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  6. 6.

    What type of work schedule are you looking for?

      Talk to the hiring manager about your schedule and flexibility in hours. Be honest about your availability and expectations and ensure that the interviewer is clear with you on their expectations, as well. The time to sort out any preferences is on the front end.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I understand that as an anesthesiologist my hours may be sporadic and not always pre-determined. I went into this field with a strong understanding that I would be expected to work a wide range of hours. I can make myself available whenever needed."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "As long as schedules are reasonably made to assure that we are at peak performance, I can fit into any arrangement."

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  7. 7.

    What precautions do you take for a patient with poor health?

      Poor health is any falling away from the ideal candidate for anesthesia, which is designated ASA Classification I. Thus, poor health extends from Classification II through V. These classifications have been devised to do just that--institute precautions in a patient in poor health. This question isn't about your knowledge of the ASA criteria list, but how you deal with risk in the patient-doctor relationship. Preop discussions will be different from ASA I through V, which are based on the education you give to your patient. Let the interviewer know that you gear your procedure counseling to make the patient aware of complications possible and the importance of before- and after-care instructions.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "The day before a procedure I schedule an appointment with my patient to explain the procedure and to discuss his or her awareness and knowledge of the risks and benefits of the planned procedure; if the patient is in poor health, I also shift from his or her knowledge of the risk v benefit to what I can explain about the anesthesia risk v benefit as it applies to the surgery and poor health."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I have been taught that when a patient has high-risk factors I must take the time to explain the risks to them beforehand. I will educate him or her what my treatment entails and how it is expected to go, with the understanding that complications are always possible. I will make liberal use of corroboration from a more experienced anesthesiologist if there is any hesitancy or uncertainty in my plan."

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  8. 8.

    Would you ever consider relocation?

      The interviewer wants to know if you would relocate if circumstances changed for you. If picking up and moving your family across the country isn't your plan then be sure to let them know that. If working between two clinics, with some overnight travel, wouldn't bother you, then let the interviewer know. The time to establish this is on the front end of your relationship. This will avoid wasting time on both your and the facility's part.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I wouldn't consider relocating to a different state, but I would consider working with the three other hospitals you have in the valley. I am a strong team player and would collaborate with other facilities."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I am new to the medical industry and will happily pursue an opportunity anywhere within the United States. However, once begun, I would like some assurance of a few years' stability."

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  9. 9.

    If you could meet anyone in the history of medicine, who would you choose and why?

      This is more of a personal interest question, and you really cannot give a wrong answer here. Think back to any of the' founding fathers' (and mothers!) of medicine. Everyone should have a story that resonates with him or her--stories of overcoming adversity and how such stories could relate to them today, stories of discovery that are admired, and fantasizing about asking the burning questions of these pioneers. Be sure to add passion to your answer so that the interviewers can sense a genuine interest.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "If I could meet anyone in the history of medicine, I would go back to the very beginning and meet Hippocrates. I find it fascinating that he was the first person ever to believe that disease and death were not a result of the anger of gods. I would ask him what that first conversation sounded like...when he first said to others that superstitious belief does not cause disease. He would have had to have faced so many roadblocks, yet he continued to believe in his work."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "That's a great question! If I could meet anyone in the history of medicine, I would meet Virginia Apgar. She paved the way for women in medicine and also introduced obstetrical considerations to neonatology. She also invented the APGAR score. Now, that's fascinating!"

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  10. 10.

    What do you know about our hospital?

      Make sure you do your homework before your interview. Knowing about the hospital will show the interviewer that you are interested in their particular position and not just floating your resume. First, mention their goals and mission and how they relate to yours. You should read their "Mission Statement" and/or "Vision" which is usually posted on the landing page of the hospital website. You might want to paraphrase those values in them as being yours and that you find theirs to align with yours. Talk about any awards and accreditations the hospital has. Reviewing the sites annual reports is another excellent way to brush up on the impact their facility is making.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Mission Statement"

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Your mission, values, and goals as a hospital are what attracted me to the job. I haven't found another organization with goals that resonate so strongly with mine. This reputation is why your hospital is the only hospital to which I've applied."

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  11. 11.

    Tell me about your greatest work related accomplishment.

      Talking about your most significant accomplishment will give the interviewer a definite idea of where you place your values. It will also show the interviewer more about your personality, how you like to be motivated, and how to coach you in the future. It is okay to brag a little bit when answering this question. Show that you are proud of yourself and your career accomplishments!

      Rachelle's Answer

      "The greatest accomplishment in my career was graduating University as an honors student while still working full time in a related field. I was top of my class, and working full time. This showed me that I could dedicate myself to my career and reach the goals that I set for myself. It felt great to accomplish so much and be recognized for my dedication."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "My greatest accomplishment has been becoming the first child in my family to earn their Ph.D. It's an exciting time for my family."

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      Anonymous Answer

      "My research project looked at morbidity and mortality of patients admitted with a hip fracture at the QEH. We found that the average time to surgery was approximately 21 days. The recommended time is 48 hours. I developed a hip fracture protocol which is being used by the departments of orthopedics, accidents, and emergency and anesthesia, which significantly reduces time to surgery and as a result associated morbidity."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Very solid answer, and example. This is well explained, even to a layman. Nice work!

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  12. 12.

    How well do you think you have performed in this interview today?

      This question is a stress test! While the interviewers want to know if you are happy with your performance in the interview, this self-referential feedback is a barometer for your navigating challenges. You should not "grade" your performance, but only say you found the experience enjoyable and very interesting. Point out that you were glad to share your qualities as applied to specific questions. If you handle this right, you'll be able to reiterate all of the positive things about you.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "grade"

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I prepared for the majority of the questions you have asked me today; however, I would like to clarify my answer on one particular point...." (Then, return to the question you may have stumbled on and answer how you would have liked the first time.) "

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  13. 13.

    What aspect of anesthesiology excites you the most?

      This question provides an excellent opportunity to show the interviewer how much you enjoy your job, whether it's a particular type of patient, the rush of adrenaline that comes from an emergency, or the rendering of the art of medicine by saving the day with insight. Talk to the interviewer about the aspect of your practice that excites you.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Working within the field of obstetrics excites me the most, because it often calls upon me to practice well while also being hurried. That's an ability that is part innate and part training, but when I can pull it off, I find it very fulfilling."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Emergency surgeries are usually life-threatening and life-saving at the same time. My role is to make the life-saving possible while holding together a severely challenged and life-threatened physiology, and when that happens, I know that my contribution is what made the surgeon's contribution possible. Our roles are mutually inclusive, and when a patient rolls in the PACU in stable condition, this is an excitement that makes every harrowing moment worthwhile."

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  14. 14.

    Who has been your mentor during your career as an anesthesiologist?

      Your life's inspiration can come from a book, a mentor, your family, a celebrity, an author. Anyone! Having a mentor in our lives can help encourage and empower us to take a step in the right direction. You can learn valuable business and life skills from your mentor, including best business practices, appropriate behaviors, and protocols. They provide insight, perspective, vision and provide a sounding board. Tell the interviewer how your mentor has helped you become the anesthesiologist you are today. A mentor need not be a teacher of your specialty; he or she can simply inspire you by who they are, how they are poised, and who they help.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I find inspiration in a variety of people and things. I would have to say that the person who has most greatly inspired me has been my grandmother. She always had a smile on her face no matter how hard she worked and she loved everyone. She was well respected and always gave more than she received. I try to live with her as much as I can."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "My mentor has been my father. My father is also an anesthesiologist, so he has been able to help and guide me get to where I am today, especially during the powerful emotional undercurrents that come when patients don't improve or when they suffer complications."

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  15. 15.

    Why did you want to become an anesthesiologist?

      The interviewer is trying to get to know you better on many levels, so your answer should be straightforward yet heartfelt. All of medicine is a special vocation, but anesthesiology is a bit different in that the turnover of patients is very rapid, although the patient-doctor relationship is just as important. It is also special because it blends on-the-fly science with the person, one patient at a time. Tell the interviewer why being an anesthesiologist differs from that of other specialties and why that difference is important to you.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "As I visited all of the medical specialties through medical school, anesthesiology stood out because it allows one to enter the dynamic physiology of the human body. In that respect it is very scientific, but it is also very special as it allows the physician actually to partner with that physiology on a human level as well as on the scientific level. That makes it as fulfilling as it is fascinating."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "For me, the practice of anesthesiology allows the therapeutic management of a patient 's physiology that works in tandem with another therapeutic procedure to fix a specific problem. In this way I am a crucial partner in a team approach that makes another therapy possible and successful."

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  16. 16.

    As an anesthesiologist, there is a chance that your patient will not make it out of surgery. How would you handle that?

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  17. 17.

    What do you feel is the single most important quality an anesthesiologist should possess?

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  18. 18.

    What questions do you have for us?

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  19. 19.

    What is your communication objective with a patient prior to surgery?

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  20. 20.

    What has been your biggest a challenge as an anesthesiologist, and what did you learn from it?

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  21. 21.

    How would you like to see the delivery of healthcare evolve?

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  22. 22.

    How do you manage your time?

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  23. 23.

    Are there any situations when a physician is justified in lying to a patient?

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  24. 24.

    What other hospitals have you applied to?

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  25. 25.

    How do you express your opinions on controversial topics such as abortion, euthanasia, physician assisted suicide, and cloning?

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  26. 26.

    What is the most valuable lesson you have learned through your work as an anesthesiologist?

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  27. 27.

    What do you like most about your current position?

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