10 Interview Questions to Ask Millennial Physicians

Interviewing physician candidates is stressful. At least it can be if you aren’t prepared. You’re in the process of hiring someone who will work directly with patients, and they will ultimately shape your team’s brand and work culture. To take away some of this pressure, start with a solid set of meaningful questions. This is easier said than done if you aren’t familiar with the needs and wants of the wave of millennial physicians entering the workforce.

During the interview, you might have an angel on your shoulder whispering, “Hire them! They’re perfect,” while a devil on the other shoulder whispers, “You don’t know how millennial physicians differ from older physicians!” We’ve got some insight to put these conflicting thoughts to rest and help you create an interview that is best suited for your patients and health group.

As you craft your questions, remember that the interview isn’t just about understanding whether or not the candidate is qualified. It’s also important to be able to communicate about team dynamics and daily expectations (from your end and theirs).

1. What past experiences have prepared you for this job?

Millennials are young. Some of these physicians might have job experience in an office or hospital, others might not. This question goes beyond the typical “what’s your work experience?” question, and it presents the opportunity for your millennial candidate to talk about other meaningful experiences that make them right for the job, such as volunteer work or leadership roles during residency.

2. Do you have an experience in which you didn’t receive an award or promotion that you thought you were going to? How did you react?

You can really gauge someone’s character when you learn how he or she reacts to not getting something they wanted, such as not getting top of their class in medical school. “This question will show you whether they understand that everyone can’t win in everything and how resilient they are,” says Lee Caraher, author of Millennials & Management: The Essential Guide to Making It Work at Work. The medical field is tough, and you need a physician that can take feedback and setbacks like a professional.

3. How do you evaluate your own performance?

What’s worse than an employee who thinks there’s no room for improvement or perspective? Avoid hiring an ego by asking how the millennial candidate asks for feedback when managing patients, or how they handle patient symptoms they’re unfamiliar with.

4. Here are a few things about our company culture (elaborate). How would you fit in?

Millennials aren’t just looking for a way to make money; they’re all about that work/life balance and pleasant work environment. Chat about what life as a physician will be like, learn how they feel they can best contribute to the team, and decide whether it will be a mutually beneficial hire.

5. How do you make the best use of your time?

The age of millennials is the age of distraction and multitasking. While having technology and information at our fingertips makes productivity easier, it’s also made time management trickier. You need a physician that can get the job done and still make time for patient relationships. Discuss the expectations for balancing taking patient notes, studying lab work, answering emails, and learning new medical technologies.

6. How do you gain patients’ trust?

Every patient is different, even if his or her symptoms are similar. Considering 80 percent of millennial doctors think their millennial patients require a different relationship with their physicians than non-millennial patients, you’ll want to hear how this translates to their patient bedside manner, treatment plans—all that good stuff.

7. Our hospital is working on (enter weakness). How would you contribute to helping us improve in this area?

Millennials are used to working in teams. Combine that with their fresh-to-the-workforce eyes, and you’ve got a recipe for problem solving. Use this question to learn how they’ll leverage collaboration and leadership skills for the benefit of your group or hospital. Perhaps you’re working on improving residency training, growing the practice/hospital at a steady rate, or answering patient questions in order of priority. How can this millennial physician help?

8. How would you address patients who challenge your professional opinion with information they’ve found on the Internet?

Millennial physician Sonah Shah, M.D. stated, “[Patients are] constantly bringing in information that they read on the Internet or on social media, which is obviously something that prior generations of physicians didn’t see.” How would your millennial candidate address contradicting or outside information?

9. What are your feelings on pharmaceutical reps?

Does your office leave the door open to pharmaceutical reps, or do you see them as pill-pushers? According to Becker’s Hospital Review, “Few millennial physicians (16 percent) find pharmaceutical manufacturers influence their decisions to use new treatments, compared to 48 percent of older physicians.” If pharmaceutical reps play a big role in your health group’s treatment options, then you’ll want to hire a millennial physician that sees reps as a valuable contributor.

10. Are you interested in ownership/partnership opportunities down the road?

This may sound like a gutsy question to ask straight out the gate, but listen to the experts. Chesney Fowler, Director of Recruiting at U.S. Acute Care Solutions, says, “…the fact is millennials are interested in ownership over their own future. They are starting businesses and working independently at unprecedented rates. It only makes sense that they need a more meaningful discussion about ownership earlier in the process: preferably in writing, up front.”

Take the stress out of hiring by incorporating these questions into your next interview outline. Millennials are unlike any generation before them, and they’ll bring a perspective to your medicine that will help patients and fellow physicians alike.   

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