Recruiting Strategies: 5 Important Questions to Ask in Healthcare Interviews

by CoreMedical Group


Did you know only a third of U.S. companies report whether their hiring processes lead to good employees? According to Harvard Business Review, “Businesses have never done as much hiring as they do today. They’ve never spent as much money doing it. And they’ve never done a worse job of it.” 

Low employee retention is a hot topic in most industries right now, especially in the medical field. From the ever-growing plethora of healthcare opportunities to expected career changes, recent COVID-19 concerns, and frequent burnout, there are countless reasons staffing is a challenge in today’s economy. 

To overcome these obstacles and increase retention, the focus should be on hiring the right healthcare professionals for each job. This seems straightforward. But in our fast-paced industry where it can feel like you’re just trying to fill staffing holes, focusing on finding an ideal candidate versus an adequate applicant is key. 

When making ends meet is the priority, you can always lean on a medical staffing agency like CoreMedical to help you fill the gaps with travel healthcare professionals. But when you’re trying to build and maintain your permanent staff, asking the right questions during the interview process is critical to finding individuals with the temperament, skills, and personality that match your company culture. 

Key Questions to Ask During a Healthcare Interview to Increase Retention 


1. Why did you enter the healthcare field and why have you continued to stay? 

Asking candidates their “why” is a standard question during any interview, but it’s an important one. Finding out how they got into the field will give insight into what motivates them and what they are passionate about.  

The key, though, is to go deeper with this question. Many candidates can tell you why they entered the field originally. It’s easy to reflect on what we imagined our life to be and the thoughts that inspired us to pick a career field. Following up with an inquiry as to why they have stayed in the medical field could provide insight into their potential longevity. 

If a candidate struggles with their current why keep this in mind. In some instances, their pause or uncertainty may indicate possible burnout or an approaching career change. On the other hand, a candidate that answers this question using recent examples and current events may indicate their dedication to the medical profession.  

2. How well do you handle stress? Share a time when you did and didn't handle pressure well. 

Most interviews always include a question about stress. But take this opportunity to explore stress in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare workers experienced a wide range of stressors. In addition to the anxiety that we all felt, they dealt with a surge in workplace demand in some healthcare sectors and a total standstill in others. Exploring how they coped during this period will give insight into their resiliency and adaptability – two key characteristics of a qualified healthcare professional – and flag potential burnout. 

3. Can you provide an example of a time you dealt with conflict in the workplace and how it was resolved? 

Often, people stay at jobs where they have comradery with their coworkers. But even in the best work environments, the conflict will still arise. Understanding how an applicant has dealt with conflict resolution in the past will show you how they may gel with your existing team.  

Those who excel at conflict resolution are less likely to quit over interpersonal issues. Imagine having a team full of nurses who can address conflict tactfully when it arises, rather than letting issues simmer under the surface. An emotionally healthy team is likely to have high retention rates! 

4. What are the latest trends happening in the healthcare industry, and how do you stay up to date? 

While this isn’t a requirement for most job openings, it can be a key differentiator from someone who truly loves their career versus someone who is just getting a paycheck.  

Passion in your healthcare facility can be contagious. These individuals will most likely be more apt to want to make improvements, create better ways to do things, and motivate their coworkers. If you have enough permanent hires who enjoy diving into the news, trends, and technology of their field, it could shift your company culture for the better and keep you at the cutting-edge of the healthcare industry. 

And just like someone who can give you their “why” based on current events and experiences, a healthcare professional who is interested enough to use their personal time for industry research is an indication of someone who is less likely to change career paths anytime soon.  

5. What do you see for the future of your sector in healthcare?

While this is an open-ended question, it can tell you certain things about a candidate. Does she have a positive or negative outlook? Is he an out-of-the-box thinker? Questions that leave room for interpretation allow you to see a candidate’s intellect and creativity, things that are difficult to see on a resume alone.  

Internal Questions to Ask About Your Healthcare Hiring Process 

Before you jump into interviewing candidates, make sure your internal hiring processes are up to date and streamlined. It may be worth considering:  

  • Are we keeping track of successful vs. unsuccessful hires? 
  • Do we know our retention rates? 
  • Do we have an established interview process with set questions to ask? 
  • Has that process or those questions changed since COVID-19? 

Once these points have been addressed, you’ll be set up to conduct successful interviews moving forward.  

Permanent Healthcare Staffing Services 

Are you looking for more help with permanent healthcare staffing? We can help! CoreMedical handles permanent placement for RNs and all levels of allied health professionals. Learn more here. Learn More about Staffing Solutions