Getting ready for the Mental Health Job Interview

The resumes have been sent, phone calls made, and now the time for the face to face meeting has arrived. We naturally want to put our best foot forward and show them they we are the best candidate for the job. Right?

Not so fast. Since we looking to build our mental health career, we need to make sure the position is a good fit. For us, and for the people hiring. Afterall, we don’t want to be looking for another job in a few years. Sometimes the people who are hiring are interviewing people while also carrying a full plate with their other duties, so it is important that we are as prepared as possible so that the right choice is made. Also, if you are prepared for the interview, it shows that you care about the decision that they make, and that you are dedicated to the mental health profession.

Since Select Practice Opportunity‘s focus is helping candidates and clients find the right match, and we have talked to many folks before and after the interview, we thought that we would provide you with some insights from our experience. Consider our suggestions as a road map, add your personality and we are sure that the interview will turn out the way you want it to be.



  • Be prepared. Be sure to take extra copies of your CV. Get information about the practice and the community before the interview.
  • Dress appropriately. Your attire should be tastefully simple, clean, and wrinkle-free.
  • Be on time. For an interview, this means arriving at least 15 minutes before your scheduled interview.
  • Make eye contact. Greet your interviewer with a firm handshake, warm smile and direct eye contact.
  • Show your enthusiasm. Let the interviewer know you are excited about this opportunity.
  • Sell yourself. Make a list of things you want to make sure the interviewer knows about you and be ready to bring up specific topics on your own if they are not adequately touched on in the interview.
  • Be honest. Today’s technology makes fact checking quick.
  • Act professionally.
  • Ask questions. This shows the interviewer that you are seriously interested in the position.
  • Say “thank you.” Close the interview with another firm handshake, a “thank you” and a smile. Ask when they will be making their decision and then follow-up. Later, send a note or e-mail thanking the interviewer for the time spent and letting them know you are interested in the position and will be in touch again soon.



  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why are you interested in practicing here?
  • Why did you choose ______________ as your specialty?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What are your long-term goals? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
  • What is your greatest strength? Describe this for me.
  • What is your greatest weakness? How will you improve this?
  • What is your perception of first year salaries in your specialty, for someone with your level of experience?
  • Give me an idea of the top four things you are looking for in a new practice opportunity.
  • How would you rank them in order of their importance?
  • What do you do in your personal time?
  • Which feature of this practice interests you the most?
  • Which feature of this practice interests you the least?
  • How do others describe you?
  • What are your plans for continuing your studies?
  • Tell me about your training and with whom you studied.
  • How would you describe your style of medicine?
  • Do you have any particular special interests or skills that would contribute to the practice?



  • What are the long-term goals of the practice with regard to type of practice, number of physicians and type of patients you would be seeing?
  • How would the practice describe its style of patient care?
  • How are conflicts handled in the practice? Can an example be provided?
  • How are decisions made in the practice?
  • What are the practice members’ levels of training and expertise? How long have they been with the practice?
  • In what other medical activities are the practice members involved? Part-time teaching appointments? Specialty society activities?
  • How is the practice perceived within the community? By other physicians? By patients?
  • What is the evening and weekend call schedule?
  • What is the typical patient load for each physician? Where do the referrals come from?
  • What types of procedures do you perform in the office? In the medical practice, to what types of patients would you provide care and which patients would be referred to another physician in the practice?
  • How is billing handled in the office? Tell me about your accounts receivable.
  • Can you eventually have an ownership position in the practice?
  • What type of facilities does the medical practice have?
  • What type of medical equipment is available to you?
  • What types of third party payment arrangements do the patients have?
  • At which hospitals do the physicians have staff privileges? Are specialists available?
  • Does the medical practice appear to be well-managed? Is there a business manager? If so, what is the role of the business manager?
  • How do the members feel about certain ethical considerations in the treatment of patients?

During rough economic times like today, finding the right job can be more of a challenge. Luckily, many of the mental health professions are experiencing encouraging job growth. But it is still important for your career and quality of life that you find the best fit for your and any organization your work for.

Do you have any interesting, funny or insightful interview stories? If so, we would like to hear about them. Add them to the comments below.

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