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Psychiatrist Interview
Questions

32 Questions and Answers by Ryan Brunner

Updated August 30th, 2018 | Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing
candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries.
Job Interviews     Careers     Health    
Question 1 of 32
How do you handle stressful situations?
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How to Answer
This question is being asked because the interviewer is trying to figure out how easily stressed you are and whether the job or organization tie closely to your stressors. It is human nature to feel stress and it is okay to talk about the things that do stress you both personally and professionally. It is important for this question to talk about your coping mechanisms that you have developed should you become stressed.
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Answer Examples
1.
How do you handle stressful situations?
This question is being asked because the interviewer is trying to figure out how easily stressed you are and whether the job or organization tie closely to your stressors. It is human nature to feel stress and it is okay to talk about the things that do stress you both personally and professionally. It is important for this question to talk about your coping mechanisms that you have developed should you become stressed.

Ryan's Answer #1
"Uncertainty on completing a task sometimes causes me stress, but I typically focus on research and information-gathering to resolve this challenge. I never hesitate to reach out to my leader should I beco"
Ryan's Answer #2
"During my Psychiatric training program, the times that I found myself stressed were during the periods of long hours with little sleep in between. Having not worked on a schedule like that before, it was very important for me to ensure that I was taking care of myself by eating healthy, exercising when I could and staying hydrated. Through medical school, it was easy to make it through long days by pumping caffeine through my body. But to remain stress free in these times, I have found it much better to take care of myself to be the best that I can be on the job."
2.
What electronic medical records do you have experience working with?
Working on an electronic medical record program is an essential part of the job for any physician, including Psychiatrists. Talk about the experiences that you have working on different programs and be sure to point out your comfortability working on the program. As well, discussing the importance of utilizing the system will go a long way with the interviewer.

Ryan's Answer #1
"I have experience working on a couple of different systems. Currently, I use EPIC and transitioned to that from using Cerner. During the transition from Cerner to EPIC, I was able to pick up the new system quickly to help me better care for my patients. Documenting in the EMR is a vital part of my day to ensure that patient records are kept up to date."
Ryan's Answer #2
"Through my training program, we worked exclusively on the Allscripts program. I found myself to be a very quick learner once I started using the program. In talking to some other friends that I've stayed in contact with since medical school, they have worked on a variety of programs and I am confident in my ability to be able to learn and use any program to its fullest potential. "
Anonymous Answer
"I work with EPIC at my job, and I work with Practice Fusion at my practice. I have been working for almost ten years with EHR before switching from paper charts. I found myself a rapid learner once I started using the programs."
Lauren's Answer
This is a great response. I make a few revisions with sentence structure, but feel you answered the question adequately.
"I have approximately 10 years of Electronic Health Record experience. Switching from paper charts to EHR was rather easy; I use Practice Fusion for my private practice, and EPIC at the community health center. I learn electronic platforms easily, and consider myself computer and tech savvy."
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3.
Are you an empathetic person?
If you are an empathetic Psychiatrist, you absorb other people’s emotions and physical symptoms because of your high sensitivities. Though being a Psychiatrist involve being empathetic, there are challenges to being a highly sensitive person so you will want to assure the interviewer that you are able to adapt and overcome these feelings and not allow them to get in the way of treating your patients.

Ryan's Answer #1
"I am an empathetic person. I practice my time management skills and set limits and boundaries with draining patients. By being empathetic in these situations, I am able to effectively enforce any limits or boundaries that I set with them. Personally, I meditate to calm and center myself in order to not allow the stress to affect me."
Ryan's Answer #2
"I have always been an empathetic person since I was a young girl. Way back then, my grandmother always told me I was destined to become a nurse or a doctor. In going into the Psychiatry field, I know that I need to be empathetic with my patients to help build trust without letting personal emotions get in the way of any interactions with my patients."
4.
What kind of impact would you like to make here?
This is a great question to turn the tables on the interviewer. Tell the interviewer that you'd like to tackle any projects they need someone to take the lead on if there is an inspection or accreditation coming up you want to be a part of it. This is your chance to ask the interviewer what they currently have in the queue to accomplish. This will give you an idea of what else the job entails.

Ryan's Answer #1
"I'd like to make a positive impact here. I'm excited at the chance to bring my knowledge​ and experience to the position and make a positive impact on both my coworkers and my clients. Are you able to share any long-term goals or projects that I would be a part of if offered the chance to join the organization?"
Ryan's Answer #2
"As a new psychiatrist, I would bring a patient centered approach to the organization and would love to participate in any committees or projects that involve patient care, patient satisfaction or patient safety."
Anonymous Answer
"1- One of the principals of clinical governance is the professional development of staff, and one of the aspects of that which I have personally benefited from is videotaping of sessions for group supervision 2- I have found that especially helpful for the areas of improvement that I wasn't aware of, and have used it for attachment-based family therapy and theraplay. 3- If the team and patients consent, I think this would be a really good opportunity for professional development, group supervision and improved clinical care towards our patients 4- I also understand there is a project underway to decrease the number of presentations to ED. I am especially interested in working with families to contain suicidal children by causing them to be a secure base through rupture repair. I think this would be especially helpful in assisting this process."
Rachelle's Answer
You make some excellent suggestions, and draw a clear line between these suggestions and how your experience and expertise can be a support. Well done!
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5.
Psychiatric providers are in high demand right now across the entire country. Why do you think that is?
Psychiatry is an extremely high demand field right now and this question gives you the opportunity to talk about both high level philosophy on your work and what brings you to the interview with the organization you are interviewing for. Psychiatrists are in a unique position where employers may be willing to bend on the practice to attract you, but don't be pushy with any requests that you may have.

Ryan's Answer #1
"I think that mental health is finally being made a priority in a lot of states throughout the country and for very good reasons. Due to the new priorities, many new positions have opened and the number of physicians looking to enter the field has certainly dwindled in the recent years. I find myself very fortunate to be here today with all of the opportunities that are out there because this position really suits what I am looking for in a future practice."
Ryan's Answer #2
"Through med school, it was rare to find a future physician that had the desire to train and pursue a practice as a Psychiatrist. Mental health has always been a strong passion of mine but I know a lot of other new graduates share my passion. With the increase in demand for Psychiatrists and a large portion of the field projected to retire in the coming years, I feel fortunate to be in the position I am coming out of training."
6.
What is your availability?
For this question, it is important for you to have done your research on the position that you are interviewing for and be open and honest if you have specific needs when it comes to scheduling. If you have specific times when you aren't available to work and the job requires those times, that hopefully should have been discovered in the job posting or a phone interview prior to interviewing in person.

Ryan's Answer #1
"I am available to work any type of shift in this inpatient practice, but I just need to know what a schedule looks like with a week's advance in time. My commitments outside of work would just need to know."
Ryan's Answer #2
"Being a new Psychiatrist, I am entering the workforce complete open to availability. I have the ability to cover day, evening and night shifts on the unit and also any call time to help me become a better Psychiatrist."
7.
What is the most difficult part of being a Psychiatrist?
As a Psychiatrist, you diagnose and treat health conditions related to the mind. If you have a strong ability to listen, show compassion for someone struggling with depression, anxiety or substance abuse, psychiatry can be a rewarding career. However, you may face some challenges in the profession. Tell the interviewer about a particularly difficult part of being a Psychiatrist. Are you frustrated with billing? Is the fact that some of your patients noncompliant? When you tell the interviewer the difficult part be sure to follow it up with how you overcame or continue to overcome this challenge.

Ryan's Answer #1
"One of the most difficult situations is working with patients that don't have healthcare insurance. This situation is becoming better with changes in healthcare laws, but I have always had a hard time turning away patients knowing that they needed my help."
Ryan's Answer #2
"Being fresh in the field coming out of residency, the most difficult thing I encountered through my training was working with patients that were on a hold in our unit against their will. A patient that doesn't want care or doesn't think they need care have been the hardest for me to work with. I have developed skills in talking to patients to help them understand why they have been put on a hold and have received great feedback on my ability to do so. Once a patient understands the "why", they often become more receptive to the care that they are receiving."
8.
What are your career goals?
Interviewers ask this question to gain insight into your self-awareness and communication skills. Have a short term and long term goal in mind. Make all goals relevant to your career field. It is important for this question to ensure that your goals match the direction of the organization that you are working for. Pointing out a goal that simply cannot be accomplished at the the place you are interviewing with may raise red flags with the interviewer.

Ryan's Answer #1
"My short-term goal is to find a position that will put me in a forward-moving organization with solid performance and future projections. My long-term goal will depend on where the company goes. With my skill in leading people and being a motivator, I have the desire to someday be in a leadership position where I could lead a team of Psychiatrists."
Ryan's Answer #2
"As a new Psychiatrist, I want to find a position where I can grow and learn from the colleagues that I work with on a daily basis. Having a team of solid providers to practice with is important to me. Down the road, I have hopes to gain faculty status with an institution because I have a firm belief that education of the future in mental health is extremely important and feel I would be a great fit in an educational setting."
9.
Do you have interest in pursuing research or have you been involved in research in the past?
For this question, it is important to be honest with your feelings for research while also knowing the position that you are applying for and what that organization may be looking for. Interviewing for a position at an academic institution will require some passion for research. Conversely, the desire to do research may be a hindrance while interviewing for a position with a private practice. Be sure to do your research on the position and the organization prior to interviewing.

"I have a very high interest in pursuing research at a higher level. While going through my psychiatric training program, I had been a part of extensive research on the effects of medicinal marijuana on patients with severe depression. While research has always intrigued me, I've been away from it now for five years and am really hoping to put my knowledge and research methods and skills to use in this position."
Ryan's Answer #1
"I have a very high interest in pursuing research at a higher level. While going through my psychiatric training program, I had been a part of extensive research on the effects of medicinal marijuana on patients with severe depression. While research has always intrigued me, I've been away from it now for five years and am really hoping to put my knowledge and research methods and skills to use in this position."
Ryan's Answer #2
"While I have been exposed to research through my training program, my career goal for now is patient care and I'd like to focus my career on that as a new psychiatrist in this position that you have available."
Anonymous Answer
"I started my psychiatry career as a researcher. I began working with Dr. Schnur at Elmhurst Hospital Center and performed a psychiatric assessment using research scales such as PAANS, BPRS, YMRS, CGI, etc. Encouraged with the learning a new subject and interaction with patients helped me to choose psychiatry as my career. As a part of the curriculum, I think I decided outstanding topics of research during my externship, residency, and fellowship. My passion for research leads to publishing a few articles recently, which gives me more confident though it is on a smaller scale. If there is any chance to do the research, I will be willing to participate in a study in addition to the clinical care of my patients."
Lauren's Answer
Fantastic response! I made some revisions to grammar and sentence structure. You mentioned your externship, residency, and fellowship – keep those experiences in the forefront of your mind, since preliminary interview questions scratch the surface of an interviewee’s experience. You want to give specific examples of knowledge (which you clearly answer in your response), but you can elaborate in-person by discussing your externship, residency, and fellowship. You want to grab the interviewer’s attention, yet not discuss all experiences at once.
"I have an affinity for research, as it was the start of my career tract in psychiatry. I gained research experience in psychiatric research scales such as PAANS, BPRS, YMRS, and CGI under the direction of Dr. Shnur of the Elmhurst Hospital Center. My passion for research has led to a few published articles as well. If given the opportunity, I am willing to participate in research projects as well as clinical care."
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10.
Is there a particular patient population that you specialize in or prefer working with?
With the field of Psychiatry being sub-specialized, be open and honest with your interviewer on what patients you prefer or are trained to work with. Your interviewer will be able to tell a lot about you based on your CV, but now is a good time to talk about the particular patients that you like working with. Your specific training in your field can come into play on this question as well. For this question, it is important to know the particular position that you're interviewing for as well. If you are interviewing for a general practice position, specializing isn't a bad thing but the ability to practice generally is important.

Ryan's Answer #1
"During my time as a Psychiatrist, I have worked with patients from many different backgrounds and diagnoses. I have a soft spot in my heart for patients with multiple personality disorders and have attended a lot of training and have conducted research in that particular field."
Ryan's Answer #2
"By pursuing fellowship training in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, I would like at least a part of my practice to involve working with that population of patients. My training has prepared me to practice in a general practice setting, but it's important for me to utilize my training working with children and adolescents."
Anonymous Answer
"(I'm applying for a child psychiatry position) 1- I am particularly used to working with suicidal adolescents. I've had training in specific family therapy for this, and have adapted several treatment approaches towards resourcing parents to being able to contain their child's distress."
Rachelle's Answer
Solid answer. You show direction and purpose, which is precisely what the interviewer would be looking for in this question.
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11.
What is important to you in life?
This is a pretty personal interview question. Keep your answer honest and brief so you don't go off on a tangent. Feel free to talk about what is important to you in your career as well as in your personal life.

Ryan's Answer #1
"Outside of work, my passion is my family. Together, we love to travel and participate in many outdoor activities together. When I'm able to be refreshed with my family, I come in to work with a clear mind and am able to be the best that I can be."
Ryan's Answer #2
"Since I was young, I have donated a large portion of my time to helping animals and currently volunteer with many animal well-being organizations like the Human Association. I also am a foster home for dogs that are rehabilitating from injuries and find great joy in being able to provide something greater in life for these animals."
Anonymous Answer
"1- My values, being true to my faith, honesty, integrity, doing the best job that I can. 2- Applying those same values to my family, church, and community. 3- Also applying those values to my work to be the best clinician I can be and to be of the most use possible to my patients and colleagues."
Rachelle's Answer
This is a wonderful mission statement. You show the interviewer that you have strong values and a fulfilling life, which will only benefit your patients and colleagues.
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12.
What kind of work environment do you thrive in?
When answering this question, be sure to tell the interviewer that you are able to conform easily to whatever setting you’re placed in. Research the company beforehand so that you have a good idea of what type of atmosphere they have. Keep your answer positive no matter what type of environment you prefer. Include past experiences with different workplace atmospheres to show your range of adaptability.

Ryan's Answer #1
"I have done my best work as a Psychiatrist in a collaborative, team based environment. I am a people person and like to have the ear of a colleague from time to time. I've practiced solo and am able to adapt to not having close colleagues around as well."
Ryan's Answer #2
"In getting the opportunity to work in many different settings during my years in residency, the environment that I found must satisfying to be in was a small, close knit clinic or hospital setting. In these environments, it was easier to get to know the team that I worked with and become a closer unit. I know that your opportunity is a smaller, tightly knitted practice that I would be able to succeed in."
Anonymous Answer
"I work in a small community health center that is non-profit and requires skills to deal with almost all having psychosocial issues — highly demanding with complex cases with substance abuse and discordant families. I offer the time and flexible with working time giving priority to the patients with superior satisfaction to my supervisors and administration."
Lauren's Answer
Great response! It’s great that you mentioned the clientele you currently serve, because you have a knowledge base that could greatly benefit their agency. I revised your response a bit, because you can most likely discuss satisfying supervisors and administration during other areas of the interview. This question allows you to show your personality and passion for helping people.
"I currently work in a small nonprofit community health center that serves diverse clientele. I assist clients who have complex psychological challenges, substance abuse issues, and discordant family dynamics. I believe openness, competence, warmth, and a non-judgmental approach best serves clients with these needs. I thrive in similarly complex, fast-paced environments, and gain a lot of satisfaction by contributing to a client-centered team."
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13.
Talk about a time you had to think outside the box to help a patient or solve a problem. How was your thinking accepted among your team or peers?
Working with patients that have moderate to severe mental illness can require some creative thinking at times to help treat them. Unlike a Cardiologist that can pinpoint a problem and then diagnose and treat with the use of sophisticated technology, life for a Psychiatrist is often not that advanced. The interviewer is looking for your ability to treat a patient as an individual and see your ability to think creatively when treating a patient. Try to be specific with your answer.

Ryan's Answer #1
"During my time working as an Addictions Counselor, I was treating a patient that had completely devastated their life due to alcoholism. They had lost their job, their spouse due to divorce and the inability to see their children on a regular basis due to court order. Throughout my treatment of the illness with the patient, deep regrets were brought to light once they had gone through the initial detox period. As part of my daily sessions with this patient, it became quite obvious that the patients ex-spouse may help play an integral role in helping him recover. I had never done this prior in practice, but I contacted the ex-spouse to see if they would be willing to join us for one of our normal one on one session together and the spouse readily agreed. It had been almost six months since they had spoken, but right away the spouse could see that the patient was on a path to recovery. Once recovered and released, the patient came back to our unit to volunteer and work with other patients and he remains sober to this day. Every time we see each other, he thanks me for helping him turn his life back around and helping to get his children back into his life."
Ryan's Answer #2
"In my training program, I was on a clinical rotation in a child & adolescent unit working with children with PTSD. After reading several studies about the use of music therapy for people with traumatic stress, I convinced my attending physician and the unit director to let me try using music therapy sessions with the children. After designing a program and getting it approved, the therapy sessions were a hit among both the children and their loved ones. As I left my training program, I received special recognition for helping to develop this therapy in the program and they plan to continue to utilize after I leave."
14.
What do you know about our facility?
This question is a test to see if you did your homework on the organization you are applying to. Once you get to the interview stage, you'll want to do further research about the facility. Start with the website, reviewing their mission, values, and culture. You can read employee reviews to see what their experience was like. Do your homework so that you can respond confidently. Strive to impress the interviewer with your knowledge. That shows you have vested interested in the facility and that you're thinking long-term.

Ryan's Answer #1
"In conducting my job search, the first thing that struck me about your organization was the multiple awards that you have received on a nationally recognized level. The awards tell me that the organization is committed to excellence in patient care and I share this value. I have also spoken to a few of the current physicians that are on staff here and all have given rave reviews about working for the organization. Both of these points have me very excited about this opportunity."
Ryan's Answer #2
"Being a new Psychiatrist when I leave residency, it is important for me to find a practice that aligns with my personal values. I know that this organization receives a lot of funding to help mental health patients that are poverty stricken and I can't emphasize how important that is to me. My dream in becoming a physician was started by my want to help the less fortunate individuals and I would love working in this environment here."
15.
How do you maintain a professional composure during a session with a patient?
As a Psychiatrist, one of your main objectives is to maintain composure during a session with a patient. Tell the interviewer that you don't allow your emotions to get in the way, you don't take things personally and you keep a positive attitude. As a Psychiatrist, it is important to respond appropriately to the situation that is being presented to you. Talking about specific techniques that you use and examples where you've needed to keep your cool always help.

Ryan's Answer #1
"My experience, education, ​and training has given me the tools to keep my composure with my patients over the years. In working closely with patients that are coming off of severe drug addictions, there are times where I've had to take a deep breath and dig down deep into my soul to maintain composure. But, I'm able to do this with ease."
Ryan's Answer #2
"Through my entire time as a student pursuing my undergraduate degree, medical degree and then heading into residency, I've always been a calm, cool and collected individual. During residency, one of my attending physicians was a great role model to learn from as she had a great demeanor with each patient and she was able to tailor her approach to each individual patient. From her, I was able to better learn how to stay professional with each and every patient I encountered."
Anonymous Answer
"1- I have done a lot of work monitoring my own emotional reactions. I have become much more attuned to noticing if I am becoming irritated or frustrated. 2- When my emotional reactions are being triggered, I have learned to become empathic in seeking to find and attune to the underlying vulnerability between the frustration. 3- I view this as a way of enacting rupture - repair and strengthening the relationship."
Rachelle's Answer
Good answer! If you want to go a bit deeper into the action steps that you have taken in monitoring your emotional reactions, that could strengthen your response.
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32 Psychiatrist Interview Questions
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Interview Questions
  1. How do you handle stressful situations?
  2. What electronic medical records do you have experience working with?
  3. Are you an empathetic person?
  4. What kind of impact would you like to make here?
  5. Psychiatric providers are in high demand right now across the entire country. Why do you think that is?
  6. What is your availability?
  7. What is the most difficult part of being a Psychiatrist?
  8. What are your career goals?
  9. Do you have interest in pursuing research or have you been involved in research in the past?
  10. Is there a particular patient population that you specialize in or prefer working with?
  11. What is important to you in life?
  12. What kind of work environment do you thrive in?
  13. Talk about a time you had to think outside the box to help a patient or solve a problem. How was your thinking accepted among your team or peers?
  14. What do you know about our facility?
  15. How do you maintain a professional composure during a session with a patient?
  16. What areas of biological psychiatry are of particular interest to you?
  17. Have you worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings? Do you have a preference of one vs. the other?
  18. Talk about the importance of the entire patient care team in a Psychiatric setting. How do you work with other member of your care team?
  19. Talk about a time you had to deal with a crisis situation. How did you handle that situation and what was the outcome?
  20. Do you consider yourself an introvert, and extrovert, or both? Explain your answer.
  21. How many other po have you applied to?
  22. What was your most challenging patient?
  23. What books have you recently read?
  24. What areas of psychological psychiatry are of particular interest to you?
  25. Are you efficient with your time?
  26. How would your former employer describe you?
  27. What role do you think Psychiatrists play in the overall health care system?
  28. What have you done in the past year to better yourself as a Psychiatrist?
  29. Why did you become a psychiatrist?
  30. Do you have previous experience in this field?
  31. Why are you the best candidate for us?
  32. What is your favorite type of patient?
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