Secret to Acing Behavioral Interview

The Secret to Acing Behavioral Interviews: Be a Great Storyteller

Preparing for a big physician job interview? According to the Association of Staff Physician Recruiters (ASPR), nearly 60% of in-house physician recruiters use behavioral interview questions when screening potential candidates. If you want to ace that interview, you’ll want to be sure you come prepared.


Behavioral Interview Basics

Whether you’re applying for a Hospitalist job, an Occupational Medicine job, an Internal Medicine position, or any other type of job in any industry, you’re bound to get some behavior-oriented interview questions. Employers, HR managers, and recruiters use these kinds of questions to get an idea of whether or not you have the skills needed for the position. Because they are situation-oriented, they give your interviewer an idea of how you would handle an on-the-job challenge, based on how you behaved in the past. Think of them as “interview stories” that highlight your competencies and coping skills.

If you’ve ever told a story at a party, you’ll know that short and to the point is usually best. If you ramble on and on and go off on tangents, your audience tends to lose interest. But if you have your story well rehearsed and tell it well, people respond well too. The same principle applies in an interview setting.

Sample Behavioral Questions for Physicians

In the job-application section of their website, the Mayo Clinic lists the following types of behavioral interview questions that recruiters might ask you in a physician job interview:

  • Please describe a situation in which you experienced a lot of pressure in meeting deadlines. How did you handle the situation? (prioritization and planning skills, time management)
  • Tell us about a time when you had to communicate under difficult circumstances with a customer or a colleague. (communication skills)

The S.H.A.R.E. Model

Experts say that interview candidates should use the S.H.A.R.E model when faced with a behavioral question in a job interview. Here’s what it stands for:

S: Describe the situation.
H: Explain the hindrances that made the situation challenging.
A: Move on and explain the actions you took to improve the situation, and why.
R: Describe the results and display why the action you took was wise.
E: Evaluate how the over all situation turned out (you can contrast the end result with how things might have played out if you had chosen another course of action).

With these tips in mind, you should be able to breeze that next behavioral interview. Remember, it’s all about telling a story that demonstrates your ability to perform well on the job. You’ve already done the hard part—building a solid professional record based on tremendous accomplishments. Now, you just need to hone your storytelling skills and let your achievements speak for themselves.