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Interview Preparation

Definition, Tips, and Example Questions for a Clinical Interview

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 29, 2021

Guide Overview

What is a clinical interview?How to prepare for a clinical interviewTypical clinical interview questions

Guide Overview

Interview preparation

We prepare for interviews using basic steps, such as printing out our resumes, selecting an appropriate outfit, and ensuring we have the correct date, time, and place. However, to prepare well and leave a lasting impression on the hiring manager, it is important to take a comprehensive approach and learn about the interviewer, company or clinic, and job responsibilities. Clinical interviews are important in your career path and interviewing well can differentiate you from other candidates. Learn what a clinical interview is, some steps to take in preparing for one, and typical questions that will be asked.

What is a clinical interview?

During the interview, the hiring manager will ask you questions to gauge your abilities, qualifications, traits, and knowledge related to the job and clinical setting. Understand the standard questions asked during this type of interview and prepare some answers in advance to convey your confidence and aptitude. Your preparation will convey your diligence, attention to detail, strong work ethic, and interest in the job. A qualified clinician ready to interview should have:

  • Completed an accredited clinical training program
  • A valid clinical license
  • A clean criminal history
  • A full understanding of healthcare guidelines
  • A commitment to patient wellness
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Working knowledge of adaptive support networks
  • A resourceful personality
  • Respect for patient culture
  • Strong communication skills

How to prepare for a clinical interview

Preparing for a clinical interview requires some extra steps in order to make a good impression and establish your candidacy for the position. Besides completing the required educational training and being prepared to fulfill the job expectations, clinicians must show they are fit candidates to work in supporting patient health and rehabilitation efforts. Consider the following steps to prepare for the clinical interview.

1. Review the job description

Revisit the posted job description to familiarize yourself with the requirements and skills necessary to fulfill them. Identify the keywords used in the description. Use these to guide your responses during the interview.

2. Research the company or organization

Familiarize yourself with the company mission, vision, and goals. These are the driving forces behind company policies and procedures and can help you identify company culture. They should inform your actions and the daily activities of all employees. Also, visit any company-supported social media pages. These contain information about company events and sponsorships. Know what the company and leadership value. Identify which values you have in common and use some of your answers to show your shared ideals.

3. Create a list of questions

With some background understanding of the company and knowledge of the potential role you will play within it, create some questions that show a genuine interest in the role and represent your critical thinking skills. Some example questions are:

  • Can you walk me through what a typical day would look like in this role?
  • Which character traits do successful employees with this job title exhibit?
  • What would be my biggest challenge within the first 60 days?
  • Can you tell me about performance evaluations? What is the process? Frequency?
  • Who would be my direct evaluator and what criteria should I focus on as a new employee?
  • What opportunities for advancement are available?
  • Where do you see the company in five years? 10 years?
  • What initially attracted you to this company or clinic and what keeps you here?
  • What career path did you take to get to the position you now hold?
  • What is the best piece of advice you can offer a new hire?

4. Take advantage of your network

People are often connected to each other in more ways than we realize. Use your friendships and acquaintances to help you understand the company and unique climate. You may have a friend who knows someone who works as a clinician. Ask around and use all your resources to be an informed candidate. You’ll have a better interview and gain insight into whether it is the right place and role for you.

5. Print out several resume copies

Some clinical interview psychology questions ask you to review your job history and explain the details of your career path so far. Especially in an interview setting, you want to be prepared instead of trying to remember all the details. If you stumble or forget key job history details, you can lose credibility. Print out several copies of your current resume and take them with you in a professional-looking folder. If they ask you questions regarding your resume or job history, you have an accurate account with you to work from. The foresight it takes to prepare shows you are a critical thinker, considerate, and professional.

6. Dress for success

A general guide that many people reference is to dress for the job you want. However, for an interview, you want to dress in professional attire that matches the culture of the company. Through research, gain an understanding of the daily dress code for the company. Then, dress one level up for your interview. If the usual attire for a person holding your job responsibilities is business casual, then for your interview, dress in business professional clothing.

Learn more: How to Dress Professional: What It Is and Why It’s Important

7. Arrive early

Many positions, particularly within a clinical setting, value punctuality and view it as a sign of professionalism and respect. When discussing shift change, it is often necessary for clinicians to arrive a few minutes before the prior shift leaves to communicate patient needs or tasks that need to be completed.

8. Provide thoughtful responses

Interviews are used to determine how well you fit into the role you seek. They measure your knowledge, capabilities, and work ethic based on your responses, confidence, and nonverbal communication skills. To provide thoughtful answers that show your aptitude, consider using the STAR method. STAR is an acronym that stands for an easy-to-remember way of framing your responses. STAR represents: situation, task, actions, and results. Applied mostly to behavioral questions which aim to understand how you would behave in future similar situations based on your behavior in prior circumstances, the STAR method helps you provide a structured and detailed response.

Learn more: How to use the STAR method

9. Ask insightful questions

Most interviewers give you the opportunity to ask at least one questions throughout the process. Use the inquiries you prepared to show your interest in the role, the company, and in quality work.

10. Monitor body language

For clinicians and most other professionals, your body language is as important to effective communication as your verbal skills. A hiring manager will be listening to your answers and observing your behavior to gauge your abilities. Be purposeful in your movements to ensure you send the right message. Sit upright in your chair, make eye contact, and have an open posture to communicate your interest and confidence. Use your interpersonal skills during your interview to express how you will use them to successfully complete daily job duties.

Learn more: How to develop interpersonal skills

11. Express gratitude

The interview process is time consuming for all involved. Hiring managers are under pressure to make a quality decision that impacts the company and patients’ well-being. Show empathy and understanding by genuinely thanking them for their time and consideration. Be sure to smile, make eye contact, and clearly express your appreciation. You can say something like, “I know interviews are stressful from your perspective as well, so thank you for taking the time to speak with me.” Acknowledge their situation for an authentic exchange.

Typical clinical interview questions

  1. What is an obstacle you have overcome and the steps you took to resolve it?
  2. Can you describe a challenging case, how you approached it, and your results?
  3. Can you describe your experience in clinical research?
  4. Have you worked on a clinical trial?
  5. How would you handle a coordinator that was not meeting deadlines?
  6. Which models of psychology are you familiar with?
  7. When observing a patient during a counseling session, which nonverbal cues do you screen for, and why?
  8. Which types of counseling sessions do you prefer, and why?
  9. Can you relate a difficult situation you have experienced with a patient, and what you did to placate the situation?
  10. What has been your greatest professional accomplishment so far and why?
  11. What are some methods you use to handle a busy workload?
  12. Why did you choose this career path?
  13. What are your research interests and why?
  14. Do you consider clinical psychology an art or science? Why?
  15. What is the clinical relevance of your most recent research?
  16. What are three qualities of a good clinician?
  17. Can you tell me about a time you faced controversy with a colleague and the steps you took to resolve it?

  A clinical interview is an exciting step to continue your professional career and meet your overall job goals. Prepare for potential questions to show you are a strong candidate and differentiate yourself from others. Share what your interview experience was like for any company.

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