How Ready Are You to Conduct Interviews?

Interviewees come armed and prepared for their interviews. On the other hand, do you feel prepared to interview candidates? After the interview, do you feel like you have concrete information to move forward or reject a candidate? Do you know how to spot red flags and how to identify top talent? Are you communicating the right signals to the potential candidate? Check out this article to determine how ready you are to conduct interviews. 

Conduct Interview: Steps in the interview process


First impressions matter a lot. Ideally, you set up a time for the in-person interview at the end of the screening call. If it does not happen, message the candidate on the hiring platform or cell phone to set up the next meeting. If you want to conduct interviews with many candidates, it is best to set up a free account to let the candidates select a time on your calendar. Give directions to your office along with a number to reach you in case they run into any issues.


Once the candidate arrives for the interview, where will the interview take place? Make sure you have a private office to conduct the interview. Bring some orders to your office and focus on interior decoration to convey the right impression to the candidate.


Now you can conduct interviews. We will go over this in detail in the next section.

Post Interview

If you know that this is likely the candidate, go ahead and communicate that you feel that the candidate is a good match for the position. If you are not sure that this is the candidate, then you should give neutral feedback that you have some more candidates before a final decision is made and the timeframe to make that decision.

Final decision

The final decision should be released only after the selected candidate has accepted the offer. You may or may not choose to inform the rejected candidates because the candidates themselves have differing preferences. 

Best practices to conduct interviews

Naturally, you don’t enjoy interviewing candidates any more than the candidates enjoy being interviewed. However, remember that hiring the wrong candidate could be very unfair not only to yourself but also to the rest of the staff. Go through the steps sequentially and take the time to vet the candidate. Skip or shorten the segments if you know that the candidate is not going to be a good fit.


Here are some initial factors that should be taken into consideration:

  • Apparel – Did the candidate dress for the occasion? In general, the candidate should dress in line with or a step more formal than who they are meeting with. Informal dresses will speak about their unprofessionalism. 
  • Appearance – Does the person come across as friendly and approachable and exude warmth? The candidate is going to be the first in-person contact for your patients. If you see Google reviews, most practices have negative comments about the staff and you want to avoid that.
  • Demeanor – How does the person initiate the conversation or respond to you? Candidates are usually nervous at the start of an interview. How do they handle it? Does the voice and actions show poise and confidence? 


Start with a brief explanation so that the candidate knows what to expect during the interview. Here is a sample script 

  • “Sally, I am hoping to get to know your background a little bit better and evaluate how well you fit our position. Do you have any questions before we start?”

If you are meeting the candidate for the first time, allow her to give a summary of her experience to enhance efficiency to conduct interviews. You could say something like 

  • “Do you want to take a minute to start with a brief introduction touching up on relevant experience?”

You are looking for the candidate to have a cohesive story and the self-awareness of what they bring to the table. This also allows the candidate to get any jitters out of the way before you start. This step should take no more than 2-3 minutes. If the candidate goes into a long-winded answer, that is a red flag.


After the introduction, go through each job in the resume starting with the latest position first. 

  • Walk through of resume with the latest position first
  • Ask for tasks performed in each role
  • Look for gaps in work; understand why
  • Look for changes in the role; understand why
  • Ask about why they left each position

There are no right or wrong answers here. You are looking for experience in the tasks that you expect this candidate to perform. If the candidate is lacking relevant experience, then that is a red flag. The candidate should also be able to explain their history in a clear, logical way. If they bad mouth a previous manager or physician in answer to why they left a position, that is a red flag.

Skills questions

If the tasks performed match the role, then ask the candidate a few in-depth questions to validate their skills in the role performed. Below are some examples based on the role

  • Triage question – Do a role-play and ask the candidate to triage a patient (you). You could say something like “Okay! I would like to do a short role play to evaluate how you would triage a patient. I will play the role of a patient and you would be the nurse. Are you comfortable doing this role play with me?”. Proceed with “Okay!. let us get started. Say I am your patient and you are walking into the exam room. How would you start the triage?”
  • Lab result or Refill request question – Do a roleplay and ask the candidate to explain a lab result to a patient or answer a refill phone call by a patient. See how they handle the call.
  • Balance question – Pull up a patient account with a balance and ask them to explain the balance to you
  • Referral question – Give them a copy of a referral that came in. Ask them to explain the steps they would take. See if they know what pieces of information to look for and if they know the overall process.


Before you confirm their skills, you also need to evaluate their comfort with technology. Ask if they have hands-on experience with your specific EMR. If not, you would want to have one of your staff do a hands-on session to see how quickly they catch on to your software.

  • EMR – Have they used your EMR software before?
  • Payor websites – Which ones are they familiar with for eligibility or benefit verification?
  • General – Which fax/email/scanner programs have they used? How good are they if they need to figure out something themselves?


If the candidate’s experience and skills match the role, go into this segment so you can understand how they handle specific situations. The best way is to role play or you can ask them to just explain how they will handle the situation.

  • Tact – “The physician informs you that she will be 30 minutes late due to surgery. You have a patient that has been waiting for 15 minutes already and you can see he is getting irate. Now, another patient walks in for a blood draw and he is taken inside without any delay. The first patient is visibly agitated. How will you handle that situation?”
  • Prioritizing & Multitasking – “You opened the doors after lunch. You immediately have 2 patients to be checked in. You also see a person that you are not familiar with. As you walk back the phone starts to ring, the physician steps into the reception area and asks you to fax out a hospital admission order ASAP. What would you do?”
  • Medical emergency – “Patient calls in to say that he needs to see the physician urgently because he is having tightness in his chest. The physician is out of the office and the medical assistant is busy triaging a patient. What would you do?”

Wrap up

If the candidate goes through thus far and you liked them, that is a great sign. Wrap up the interview with what to expect next.

  • Reference check – Inform them that you will be talking to past employers. Get a direct number to reach their immediate supervisor. Ask them if they have any concerns about you calling them.
  • Background check – Inform them that there will be a background check and ask them if they have any concerns about that.
  • Peer interview – If you have other front desk staff, have them talk to them. If you don’t have any, have them talk to the medical assistant. Take feedback from them at the end of the day. You should be getting positive feedback with specifics. They should be able to see the candidate working side-by-side with them.
  • Hands-on – Have them take a seat at the receptionist or another medical assistant and have them take a couple of calls and check in a few patients. Watch how they interact with patients and how comfortable they are with the technology and their soon-to-be colleagues.
  • At the end of the interview, meet back with the candidate and explain the next steps and anticipated timelines for the recruitment process. See the Post Interview and Final Decision section above

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