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Family Physician Interview

30 Questions and Answers by Darby Faubion

Updated December 4th, 2018 | Darby Faubion has been a Nurse and Allied Health Educator for over twenty years. She has clinical experience in several specialty areas including pediatrics, medical-surgical, critical care, and hospice.
Question 1 of 30
What would you describe as your biggest weakness?
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How to Answer
This is probably one of the most dreaded questions in a job interview. Answering this question requires self evaluation and honesty. Remember, whatever weakness you decide to share, make sure it is not a key characteristic needed to perform your job as a physician.
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Top 30 Family Physician Interview Questions with Full Content
What would you describe as your biggest weakness?
This is probably one of the most dreaded questions in a job interview. Answering this question requires self evaluation and honesty. Remember, whatever weakness you decide to share, make sure it is not a key characteristic needed to perform your job as a physician.

Darby's Answer #1
"I think one of my biggest weaknesses is that I can get sidetracked easily. I recognize that in myself and have made a conscious effort to plan my day as much as possible and to stay on target."
Darby's Answer #2
"I know you may not think this about a physician, but one of my weaknesses is that I often get nervous around people I don't know. I know we all do that to a certain degree, but for me, it became something that I was very aware of. I now try to attend social activities where I know there are going to be opportunities to meet new people so that I can overcome social anxiety."
Anonymous Answer
"I tend to let people talk a little longer than I should, perhaps because I’m focused on listening, and it may impair my efficiency. I recognize this in myself, and I have made a conscious effort to keep a targeted map of what I need to get through during my patient encounters while maintaining empathy and care in every meeting."
Rachelle's Answer
This is a helpful realization, and it's nice that you are already showing what you will do to correct this behavior during your patient encounters. It seems you are highly self-aware, which is a valuable quality.
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What characteristics do you think are important for healthcare professionals to possess?
There is more than one reason for asking this question. First, the interviewer wants to know what qualities you think are important to perform this job. Second, and most importantly, your answer will tell the interviewer if you hold yourself to the same standard as you do others. If you want to see certain characteristics in your peers, you should be able to tell the interviewer with confidence that you possess those traits, as well. This question is one that interviewers often use to distinguish sincerity on the part of the candidate.

Darby's Answer #1
"I believe that honesty is important no matter what job title a person holds. I have found that being honest with people creates an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. Those qualities, I feel, are essential when building rapport with patients and co-workers."
Darby's Answer #2
"Confidence is one thing I think is important. It's hard to believe in someone who doesn't believe in themselves. I believe if a patient is comfortable with a provider's ability to perform it will make following a plan of care easier."
Are you open to working on rotation or split shift schedules, if required for this position?
Being flexible with the schedule you are willing to work is always a plus. However, many people work more than one job or have a one parent home which requires them to have a flexible schedule. Others simply prefer to work one shift rather than another. Being upfront with the interviewer about what schedule suits your preference could help prevent conflict later on. It is easier to plan a schedule you can agree on than it is to fix problems that arise due to fear of being rejected. Be honest and direct.

Darby's Answer #1
"I am not married and have no children at this time. So, I am pretty flexible with my schedule. If I had a choice, I would prefer the late shift, as I am a bit of a night owl. However, I am excited about the opportunity to become a part of this team and am willing to work where I'm needed."
Darby's Answer #2
"I am open to working any schedule where I am needed. I am very excited to become a part of an organization and become established."
One of the most important things physicians have to pay attention to is patient confidentiality. Tell me about a time you were trusted with confidential information.
Working within the medical career field you are trusted with sensitive information each day. Don't fall into this trap and answer this question with a story containing confidential information, people will view your answer negatively and view you as not being trustworthy. If you choose to tell about a situation be sure to be vague and not use names or too many details.

Darby's Answer #1
"I'm trusted with confidential information every day. I make a point to leave my work at work and not discuss patients outside of the office. By not discussing confidential information about the patients, I'm ensuring that I'm not breaking any rules and giving information to those that are not on a need to know basis."
Darby's Answer #2
"I am expected to keep all information confidential every day, so there is not just one instance that I can refer to. I believe in practicing within legal and ethical bounds and keeping patient's confidence is one way I do that."
How do you approach dealing with an angry patient, and why?
Knowing how you will handle a difficult situation will tell the interviewer if you have the the right attitude for this job. Being a physician means you have to deal with people from very different backgrounds and with varying personalities. Give the interviewer an example of how you would handle an angry patient.

Darby's Answer #1
"I believe acting calmly and speaking rationally is a great way to calm someone who is angry and I try to be the voice of reason without making someone feel that I am belittling them."
Darby's Answer #2
"I think it is important to try and find out what has made the patient mad. If it is something such as not being called as quickly as he had expected, a simple explanation regarding what caused the delay may help calm him."
Has there ever been a time when you had to notify a patient of a missed diagnosis or an inaccurate result that was given to you?
While healthcare providers strive for accuracy and thorough care, no one is above making a mistake. The interviewer understands that. The important thing is is being willing to address a mistake with professionalism and proper follow through. That is what the interviewer wants to see in your answer.

Darby's Answer #1
"I can recall an instance when some lab results were misfiled on a patient's paper chart. Unfortunately, the results were bad news which left the patient devastated. Once the error was realized, we called the patient and asked her to come into the clinic for a consultation. Of course, she was thankful to know that her prognosis was not bad, but it was a very emotional event. We used that experience as the foundation for implementing new guidelines on verifying and documenting orders before a patient was notified."
Darby's Answer #2
"I haven't been faced with an experience like this yet in my career, and I am very thankful to say so. I do always try to double check results, especially if they are indicative of an abnormality or poor prognosis before notifying a patient in hopes of preventing an episode like this."
Have you ever had a disagreement with a peer or co-worker, and if so, how was it handled?
Any time you work with someone else, there is a chance of having a disagreement about something at one time or another. The interviewer knows this. It's human nature for people to have their own opinions. What is important to the interviewer in this question is whether or not you are willing to compromise and work through difficult situations with your co-workers. Being unwilling to compromise or find alternative solutions to a dispute can affect everyone on the team, even if it is indirectly. Sharing a personal experience is OK, but do not embellish it to 'be the hero.'

Darby's Answer #1
"I believe if we think about it, each of us could remember at least one disagreement with a friend or co-worker. Although I consider myself to be pretty easy-going, I am also very passionate about my patients and the care that they receive. I have been aware of disagreements between other co-workers, but really like to think of myself as more of a peacekeeper. I feel like professional people should be able to discuss things logically and come to an agreement that is satisfactory for everyone involved."
Darby's Answer #2
"I am a pretty easy-going person and do my best to avoid conflict. Like anyone else, I am sure there have been times that a co-worker and I have had a difference of opinion, but there has never been an instance that the disagreement was something that would have interfere with my work."
Many physicians report experiencing 'burn out' at some point in their careers. What do you do to help prevent this in your life?
Being a healthcare provider is a great responsibility. Unfortunately, because of the great responsibility, many providers do report experiencing the need to take a break. The interviewer wants to know that you are capable of handling stress and that you know when to ask for help.

Darby's Answer #1
"I understand how some healthcare providers can experience burn out. It has nothing to do with wanting to change professions or leave a job. Sometimes it's just hard to lose patients or to feel like we can't save them all. I try to schedule myself some personal time, whether its a few days away when I am off work or going hiking. Anything to help create some balance in my life."
Darby's Answer #2
"I had a great mentor when I was in medical school. She told me if I didn't remember anything else she told me, that I should always remember to take care of myself. I have grown to understand what she meant. If we are bogged down physically and emotionally, it is easy to become overwhelmed and experience feeling burned out."
What makes you think you are a good family physician?
This is a chance for you to 'sell yourself' to the interviewer. Share what you think sets you apart from other physicians who may be applying. Remember, be positive. Make sure to mention some of your personal qualities, such as compassion, rather than only your hard skills.

Darby's Answer #1
"I am a very committed and dedicated to my job and helping those I am responsible for giving care to. I feel I will bring a great sense of passion for patient care to this job and look forward to being a part of such a great team of healthcare providers."
Darby's Answer #2
"I am passionate about being a great physician and doing all I can to make a difference in the lives of my patients. I am a hard worker and believe in teamwork. I believe I could be an asset to the team of providers you have here."
Being a family practice physician requires great attention to detail and often multi-tasking. How do you keep yourself from becoming overwhelmed?
Managing the care of several patients requires the ability to multi-task and ensure all details are checked and double-checked. In a physician interview, discuss your understanding of the importance of maintaining detailed records, performing multiple assessments and handling medications and procedures efficiently and accurately. While physicians may not have to do all of these activities personally, it is still the physician's responsibility to make sure that correct orders are given and that a clinic or unit is run correctly.

Darby's Answer #1
"I am very detail-oriented. One of my strengths is to multi-task. I think I have medical school to thank for that! I have always tried to make sure that I have a mental list of things that I know need to be accomplished in a day and I try to work through it. Of course, as a physician, there is always the chance of something unexpected coming up, but that is just part of the job and we have to manage those issues as they arise."
Darby's Answer #2
"I have learned to recognize the things that may cause me to feel overwhelmed and try to address them before a situation gets out of hand. For example, I always like to make sure that I have reviewed and signed off on all of the verbal orders I had authorized. I also like to get report on any patients I may be seeing so that I know what was going on with them before my arrival. This keeps things from piling up and leaving me feel overwhelmed later on."
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