12 of the Best Job Interview Questions to Ask Candidates (And How to Interpret Their Answers)

Running a successful plastic surgery clinic means more than just having great marketing. It also means having a great staff that works together as a team. Knowing which questions to ask in interviews, and what your candidates mean when they answer them, is a great way to weed out candidates who won’t mesh well with your team. Here are a few of my favorites, along with a quick analysis of what they’ll tell you about your potential new staff members.

Tell me about a time that you set challenging goals for yourself. What did you do to achieve them? What did you learn in the process?

This gives you an idea of whether or not the candidate is goal-oriented and what they consider challenging. It’s actually a good sign if they admit that they didn’t fully achieve all of the goals they set out to meet. This tells you that they’re not afraid to step up to the plate, even when success isn’t guaranteed.

Tell me about a time that you really messed up on the job. What did you do to recover?

Everyone makes mistakes on occasions. You want to know whether or not this person will take responsibility and deal with the consequences when they make a mistake.

Give me an example of a time when you showed adaptability and flexibility to overcome a challenge.

You want employees who’ll think outside the box. Whether they’re dealing with an issue with another coworker, an upcoming deadline or an unsatisfied patient, you want someone who will be able to find a great solution, even if it isn’t the most traditional.

Describe your best and worst working relationships.

Let them tell you about the kinds of people the work best with and the kinds of people they don’t get along as well with. This will help you determine whether or not they’ll mesh and how they’ll deal with challenges with their coworkers.

How would most of your former coworkers describe you?

Look for the underlying meanings in the descriptions they use. You’re looking for words like “passionate,” “driven,” and “friendly.” You might want to worry about words like “stubborn” or “strong-willed.”

How do you define hard work?

Are they motivated? Will they be willing to go the extra mile? Or do they shy away and look for the easy way out?

Tell me about a successful endeavor you’ve taken on in your career that you’d never want to repeat and why.

Pay attention to the kind of endeavor they describe and why they wouldn’t want to do it again. If they don’t want to repeat it because it was inefficient and/or menial, ask them about what they’d do if they were faced with a similar situation. If they wouldn't want to repeat it because it involved teamwork and cooperation, you’re probably looking at the wrong candidate.

Tell me about the single biggest accomplishment of your career.

The thing they’re most proud of in their career will tell you a lot about what kind of worker they are and how they’ll fit in your clinic.

Is it better to sacrifice a deadline for quality or to sacrifice quality for a deadline?

You want to work with someone who respects both quality and deadlines, but you’ll learn a lot about their personality and approach to work by how they answer this question.

What is the hardest decision you’ve had to make in the past year? Why? How did you make your choice?

How do they approach difficult decisions? Are they decisive or wishy-washy? Whom do they seek out for guidance? How readily do they accept help?

Tell me about a time when you absolutely knew you were right, but you still had to follow someone else’s directions and couldn’t implement your own solution.

Your employees may not always understand why particular protocols and procedures are put in place. You want to know that they’ll still adhere to the rules and that they’ll bring concerns and suggestions to you in a respectful and professional way.

What’s your biggest weakness, and how do you work to overcome it?

Beware the candidate who tries to cover this up with something like, “I’m just too motivated!” You want honest answers.

These questions should help you choose the best candidates for your team and help you create the best experiences for your patients.