Guide to Physician Assistant Job Interview Questions

In Career Advice, Physician Assistant
February 26, 2018

Guide to Physician Assistant Job Interview Questions

Getting prepared for your physician assistant job interview can be difficult if you don’t know what to expect or have never done it before. There are plenty of challenging questions that will be asked, and we have come up with the definitive guide to ensure that you are prepared to answer any physician assistant interview questions.

How To Be Ready For Physician Assistant Job Interview Questions

With a projected 37% occupation growth over the next decade, physician assistants are one of the fastest growing occupations, according to the BLS. There are several things you can do to ensure that you are ready for your physician assistant job interview questions. One of the reasons that many physician assistants fail to advance to the next round of interviews is because they aren’t prepared. One of the most common interview mistakes to avoid is not researching the employer.

Research the Employer and Healthcare Facility

One of the most common questions that hiring managers and healthcare recruiters will ask is a test to see how much you know about the company or facility itself. These questions are typically used to gauge how interested you really are in the position, and your desire to work there.

One common question you might be faced with is what in particular led to your interest in applying for that particular position. There are plenty of opportunities for physician assistants to consider, and providing a solid answer as to why you decided to apply to that particular position is a great way to set yourself apart from candidates who are applying to any physician assistant job posting.

In addition, you should be prepared to answer questions related to the hospital or healthcare facility itself. Plenty of hospitals and healthcare facilities have their own unique qualities that you could mention in the answer, which could shine highly on the amount of preparation you put in before the interview.

Some things you could potentially mention are a recent expansion, upgrade, or rankings for a particular program that you’re interested in. Many hospitals will publish their rankings for various programs or specialties online, or there are additional resources you can use that publish annual reports – so the information to use this in an answer is readily available.

Another great talking point to use is your desire to work in a team environment. So much of healthcare and hospitals need to function as a unit to provide the best care available, and you can draw together pieces of information you obtain that highlight how that particular hospital or healthcare facility functions as a team.

Doing your research on the employer and healthcare facility is critical, as it can truly separate you from other candidates or eliminate you from consideration.

Review Your Application Before the Interview

One thing many physician assistants don’t consider doing before they attend the interview is to review their application. In many cases, applications are submitted weeks ahead of actually receiving an interview, and the information on the application or answers might have changed.

In addition, you might have come up with an answer that you feel is more appropriate or more in line with what the healthcare or hospital might be looking for. One of the most common things that an interviewer or healthcare recruiter will do is bring up questions related to your application answers.

This is also another opportunity for you to be prepared to correct any mistakes that you noticed. In addition, it is a good time to have prepare some things you’d like to mention in the interview that you would like to bring attention to from your application.

In many cases, healthcare recruiters and hiring managers only review an application to ensure that it was completed and required things were filled out. From there, they look at the cover letter and resume. If you put something on the application that you’d like to bring attention to, feel free to mention the specific points in the physician assistant job interview.

Review Your Resume

Resume - Guide to Physician Assistant Job Interview Questions

After reviewing your application in preparation for your physician assistant job interview questions, the next thing to review is your resume. If you crafted your resume using our Resume Guides, than you should have formatted your resume to reflect your interest in physician assistant jobs. If you didn’t, then you should go back and review our guide to ensure that your resume is ready to answer several physician assistant job interview questions.

As many hiring managers and healthcare recruiters ask that you bring a resume in to your interview, you can always use our resume guide to ensure that you avoid any mistakes that would disqualify you from further consideration for the position, and update it to reflect current changes.

If the hiring manager or healthcare recruiter didn’t review the application as we mentioned above, than one of the first things they will see is the resume. This means that you want to have a resume that accurately reflects your experience, and your personality match for the applicant they are looking for.

When reviewing your resume, you should ensure that you are prepared to answer physician assistant job interview questions directly related to your resume. Healthcare recruiters and hiring managers will likely point out important points on your resume that could be useful as a physician assistant.

In contrast, knowing the weaknesses of your resume will allow you to be ready to answer questions directly related to concerns of those weaknesses.

Review Your Cover Letter

After reviewing both your application and resume, you should also consider reviewing your cover letter if you decided to send it in with your application and resume. Cover letters are a great way of adding additional detail in regards to certain points on your resume, or elaborating about your passion for the position itself.

If you want to ensure that you covered all the basics on your cover letter, or find ways to improve upon it, glance at our definitive Cover Letter Guides.

Reviewing your cover letter is a great way of remembering what specific things you mentioned in regards to your reasoning for applying for the position. As there are several different types of cover letters, you can also recant how you found out about the position itself.

Remain Calm and Project Confidence

The final thing you need to consider when preparing for your physician assistant job interview questions is that you need to remain calm and project confidence. One of the biggest determining factors when going into an interview is how calm you are, and how confident you are.

When you are calm, you’re able to recall useful information to use in the interview, answer positively, and sail through the interview with a breeze.

One of the biggest determining factors in an interview is also your confidence. The clear way to establish yourself as a leading candidate is by truly believing you are the best match for the position. When you believe you’re the best candidate in the applicant pool, you can convince the healthcare recruiter or hiring manager that you deserve the position more than someone else who is hesitant about their qualifications or fit in the position.

A great way to ensure that you project confidence is by smiling, sitting up straight with your shoulders back, and speaking clearly and efficiently. Another great way to project confidence and remain calm is to think a second or two before fully answering a question. This way, you won’t stumble over your words, or say something you wish you hadn’t which might set you backwards.

One great way to make sure that you remain calm and project confidence, is by going through mock interviews with friends, family, or peers.

Prepare Yourself By Going Through Mock Interviews

One great way of making sure you are ready to answer any physician job interview questions, is to go through a mock interview with somebody close to you who can use some of the questions we have below and help you prepare.

Going through a mock interview is a great way for you to iron out some of the kinks in the interview process, figure out which questions you might get stumped on, and get an outside opinion on areas you can improve upon.

In addition, seeking help through the use of a mock interview from a friend, family member, or peer will help you get some insight as to additional answers you can provide for some of the physician assistant job interview questions.

Dress for Success

Dress for Success - Guide to Physician Assistant Job Interview Questions

Even with the changing job marketplace where job seekers think they can dress a little more casually for interviews, it’s best to still dress for success. In other words, make sure that you show up in professional attire to showcase that you mean business answering your physician assistant job interview questions.

Another great benefit of dressing for success for your physician assistant job interview, is you’ll feel ready to tackle any challenge or curveball question that comes your way.

Come Prepared With Licensure Documentation

One thing you need to ensure is that you have proof that you’ve been licensed as a physician assistant in your respective state. It is often times a required question to answer when filling out an application and submission of your resume/cover letter, but you can separate yourself from other candidates by coming prepared with your licensure documentation.

This is a great way to ensure that all the important parties have the info to make the best decision on whether or not to advance you to the next stage. You don’t want to get left out because you accidentally leave your licensure documentation at home and forget to provide proof at a later date.

The Most Common Physician Assistant Job Interview Questions

Now that we’ve covered how you can effectively prepare for a physician assistant job interview, we have also compiled some of the most common physician assistant job interview questions that you should be prepared to answer.

  • How do you measure success?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • If you could have your choice of any job, what would you do and why?
  • What motivates you in particular?
  • Why do you want to work with this unit?
  • Can you tell me about one of the worst bosses you had?
  • Why do you want to work in this healthcare clinic?
  • How do you handle it when you can’t get something you want?
  • How do you handle it when one of your peers or coworkers is being difficult?
  • How do you handle it when one of your peers or coworkers are being disrespectful?
  • Why do you want to work with this hospital?
  • What does success mean to you?
  • How do you think healthcare professionals should interact with patients?
  • How do you deal with a difficult family member of a patient?
  • What has been your greatest disappointment?
  • What steps have you taken in the past six months to improve yourself?
  • What has been your greatest achievement?
  • If you could redo the last decade, what changes would you make and why?
  • Can you tell me about one of the best bosses you had?
  • What does improving yourself mean?
  • What qualities do you value most in your place of employment?
  • Have you ever been on a team that wasn’t functioning properly, and what did you do to resolve it?
  • What qualities do you value most in your peers?
  • Have you ever been a part of a large team that has to pull together many different functioning parts?
  • What qualities do you value most in your boss?
  • Can you give any previous healthcare experience you didn’t mention that might be beneficial to your role as a physician assistant?
  • Where do you see yourself in ten years?
  • Can you see yourself working as a physician assistant in ten years?
  • What initially led you to be interested in becoming a physician assistant?
  • What personality do you feel you don’t mesh with in the workplace?
  • Why do you feel you’d be a good fit as a physician assistant here?
  • What personality do you feel you have?
  • Have you received any constructive criticism from a previous boss or employer, and what was it?
  • If you took constructive criticism from a previous boss or employer, how did you take their advice and apply it moving forward?
  • If someone had to describe you with three words, what three words would they use?
  • If you had to list a few of your pet peeves, what are some of them?
  • What are you passionate about outside of caring for patients?
  • What else do you think that I should know about you and your experience?

Those are just a few of the common physician assistant job interview questions you might be asked to answer. Now that we’ve gotten those out of the way, there are a few questions directly related to specific categories which you should also review.

Physician Assistant Job Interview Questions Related To Your Future

There are a few questions that hiring managers and healthcare recruiters might ask you in regards to your future. These questions are designed to determine what sort of long-term planning you have considered, and what some of your career aspirations might be.

In addition, these questions are a great tool for healthcare recruiters and hiring managers to determine whether or not you will stay with a company for a long time, or if you will pick up and move roots at a moment’s notice if a better offer comes down the line.

If you don’t have much professional workforce experience and are just starting your career as a physician assistant after being a student, these questions will provide you with a great way of declaring why you decided to pick that facility or hospital to start your career.

In other words, these questions are a great way for physician assistant job seekers to highlight once again why they would like to work in that particular facility or hospital, instead of seeking work elsewhere.

Some of these are included in the common interview section as well, but can specifically be accredited to questions about your future here as well.

  • Can you tell me why you want to work in this hospital?
  • Can you explain to me why you want to work in this healthcare clinic/facility?
  • How do you feel about late shifts or shifts that don’t fall within the normal realm of 9 to 5?
  • What do you see in your future over the next five to ten years?
  • Could you see yourself working here for the next decade or longer?
  • What traits do you have that would make you a good hire when we look back in a few years?
  • Do you feel you have any weaknesses that you need to work on over the next couple of years?
  • Do you feel that we would be satisfied in several years if we looked back after hiring you?
  • If the company had to relocate, or your position had to move to a different facility, would you still consider this position and facility?
  • When we look back in several years, what contributions do you think you will have made here?
  • Moving forward, what are some things you hope to accomplish in your career?
  • Moving forward, what accomplishments do you see yourself having?

Physician Assistant Job Interview Questions Related To Your Past

Interview - Guide to Physician Assistant Job Interview Questions

Many hiring managers and healthcare recruiters will use job interview questions related to your past to determine what you have done and potentially evaluate what you could bring moving forward.

If you are a student and don’t have much previous work experience, this is a great opportunity for you to use these questions as a way to detail some of your education and volunteer experience that would be useful in a physician assistant role. In addition, you can mention your passions for caring for patients and why that would be a good fit for you in a role as a physician assistant.

  • What did you do at your most previous job?
  • What previous experience do you have that you think would prove to be useful in your current role here?
  • At your last job, did you ever have to work on part of a team?
  • As a physician assistant at previous stops, have you ever encountered a problem you didn’t know how to solve?
  • If you have encountered a problem that you didn’t immediately know how to solve, what did you use from that experience moving forward to better prepare you?
  • Do you prefer working as part of a team or as a lone unit?
  • What other skills have you developed that you feel would be useful in your role as a physician assistant?
  • I noticed that some of your previous work experience wasn’t directly in healthcare – what do you feel you can use from this previous experience in your role as a physician assistant?
  • If you had to detail something you disliked at a previous job, what would it be?
  • If you had to detail something you liked at a previous job, what would it be?
  • Was there something that you wish you had done differently at your previous job to help better position you to where you are right now?
  • At your last job, what were some of the accomplishments you were most proud of?

Open-Ended Physician Assistant Job Interview Questions

There are going to be plenty of potential open-ended physician assistant job interview questions you should be ready to answer at a moment’s notice. These questions are designed to see how you respond to challenging theories, examples, and offer you a little bit more time than one sentence answers.

  • What weaknesses do you feel you need to work on?
  • What strengths do you feel can evolve over time?
  • Why should our healthcare facility/hospital hire you for a position as a physician assistant?
  • Why do you feel you are the best candidate?
  • What qualities do you have that would separate you as our prime candidate?
  • Why do you believe you are the best candidate?
  • Is there any change you’d like to see at this hospital/healthcare facility that would make you choose this job over some of the other ones you are considering?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • What benefits are you currently looking for?
  • Give an example of when you had to go the extra mile for a patient.
  • Give an example of when you had to go the extra mile for a patient’s family.
  • Give an example of when you had a disagreement with a colleague over how to deal with a patient, what did you do to resolve it?
  • Patients can sometimes be tight lipped about their medical condition or history, how did you get them to disclose all the important and relevant information to provide quality care?
  • What does quality of care mean to you?
  • Describe what you are looking for in a position like this?
  • What does a typical work week look like for you?
  • We might sometimes ask you to go above and beyond, or work longer shifts to accommodate increased patient numbers, is that something you would be comfortable with?

Performance-based Physician Assistant Job Interview Questions

Some of the questions that you might receive in your physician assistant job interview relate to performance-based questions. These questions help evaluate you based on what you’ve done, and what that might mean for you and the company moving forward. It’s important to remember that hospitals and healthcare companies want to hire achievers, not just do-ers.

  • What sort of physician assistant program did you attend in school?
  • What did you achieve while in school that would separate you from other candidates?
  • What achievements did you earn that you are most proud of?
  • How are you going to go the extra mile and improve our levels of patient care?
  • What course did you take in school that you are most proud of?

Questions You Should Ask In The Interview

Questions You Should Ask - Guide to Physician Assistant Job Interview Questions

Now that we’ve covered questions that you might receive while undergoing your physician assistant job interview, there are several questions that you should consider raising when in the interview.

Typically the hiring manager or healthcare recruiter will ask you at the end of the interview if you have any questions or additional comments you’d like to make to help highlight why you’re the best fit for the position.

Asking some of the below questions will help determine whether or not you feel you would make a good fit for the position, and also offer an opportunity for you to learn additional info about your potential future place of employment.

  • What sort of delegation is given to physician assistants?
  • How many physician assistants have been in this position over the last few years?
  • What are some of the growth prospects for a physician assistant at this facility/hospital?
  • Will there be a written contract that I can review and negotiate before signing?
  • How financially stable is the facility/hospital?
  • How do you envision my role evolving as a physician assistant while I work here?
  • Are there additional benefits that I could work towards while being employed here?
  • What challenges does this facility have?
  • What is the typical size of a team that I might be working with?
  • Are there any plans to expand the hospital/healthcare facility moving forward?
  • What commitments has the healthcare facility/clinic/hospital made that it plans to achieve moving forward?
  • What is the company culture like?
  • What is the management philosophy like?
  • What are some of the goals that I might be able to achieve in the next year with this role?
  • What are some of the most important problems that need to be solved at the facility within the next year?
  • What are some of the toughest challenges with this respective position?

Summary

Now that we have covered virtually every aspect of a physician assistant job interview, you now have the definitive guide to physician assistant job interview questions. Being prepared means spending a little extra time evaluating the questions and the different types of question categories that might arise in a physician assistant job interview.

Good luck in your physician assistant job interview. It’s important to remember that an interview is a back and forth process, and you’re learning as much about the healthcare company as they are learning about you.

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