Want that Healthcare Job in Australia or New Zealand? Here are Nine Interview Questions You Should Expect.

blog title Nine Interview Questions You Should Expect lady during the interview

You’re eager to get that doctor’s job in New Zealand or that nursing job in Australia you recently saw advertised. You’ve discussed it with your recruitment consultant, spent hours on your CV, leapt through all the hoops – and now it’s time for the telephone interview.

Though you can never predict exactly what you’ll be asked, there are certain job interview questions that come up frequently. Take a look at this earlier blog we wrote about some of the most basic, common but, nevertheless, tricky interview questions for healthcare jobs.

The following blog aims to give you some of the finer points and tells you how to tackle some even more difficult interview questions that could be standing between you and that dream healthcare job in Australia or New Zealand.

Tell us what your current boss would say about you.

You might have a great working relationship with your boss. On the other hand, you might not always see eye-to-eye or you might feel he undervalues your talents and skills.

Whatever the reality of the situation is, in a job interview you should always sound positive. Leave negative emotions and experiences to one side and focus on the things that prove you really are a top-notch healthcare professional.

Mention positive comments you’ve heard from your boss or colleagues: that you’re a good team player, you’re highly reliable, a great problem solver etc.

Include statements in your answer that sound like direct quotes or relate to real experiences: “My line manager, Amy, says I’m a quick thinker.” “My head of department often praises my deep knowledge of _____ and frequently asks for my opinion on matters concerning ____”

What do you know about our hospital/clinic/company?

This job interview question is to check that you’ve bothered to research the place you want to work in. Make sure you’ve had a thorough look at the organisation’s website, especially the section concerning (what will hopefully be) your future department.

Researching the company demonstrates that you’re keen. And you can use the knowledge gained to show how well you’d fit into the organisation: “I strongly agree with the ethics and values I saw listed on the hospital’s website …” “I noticed on your website that you liaise closely with the _____ department. That’s great, because in my last job, I was dealing with ____ doctors all the time …”

Tell us about a time you disagreed with a colleague over the management of a patient.

The purpose of this job interview question is to assess your interpersonal and conflict-management skills and to gauge how much of a team-player you are. We all know healthcare environments can get tense, so you need to prove you have the maturity to quickly deal with and diffuse any potential clashes.

Chose one specific situation from your medical career and describe how you calmly put forward your viewpoint (communication skills) then listened to your colleague’s viewpoint (listening skills) before you both came to a successful resolution (thereby showing your ability to compromise and negotiate).

You shouldn’t use your answer to crow about how you were right and your colleague was proved wrong. (Even if this was true).

Tell me about a situation in which you had to handle a difficult or demanding patient.

Again, this interview question is testing your interpersonal and conflict-resolution abilities. You could give the example of a patient who refused to take their medication or follow a prescribed care regime.

Good medical professionals often possess excellent people skills that combine verbal persuasiveness with good listening abilities. Make sure you demonstrate you have such attributes when giving your answer.

If you give an example of a patient who was aggressive or abusive, show how you acted in line with your hospital’s official procedures for dealing with such individuals.

Tell us about a situation where you had to take a quick, and very important, decision regarding a patient.

This job interview question is examining your judgement, along with your ability to keep calm in a high-pressure situation. Tell the interviewer how you skilfully and rapidly assessed the problem, describing the steps you took to come to your decision and the criteria you followed when making it.

Then explain how your decision worked out in practice. (It would be advisable to choose a situation that had a positive outcome).

How much do you know about ____ nursing/_____ branch of medicine?

This interview question is an opportunity to demonstrate how deep your knowledge of your specialist area is and how passionate you are about it. Give evidence that proves you have acquired the knowledge you claim: “During my ten years as an A&E doctor, I have learnt that …” “In my midwifery career, I have delivered over 800 babies, and one thing I’ve often noticed is …” “The last professional development course I undertook was on …”

What kind of salary are you looking for?

This is a difficult question as you don’t want to put the interviewer off by demanding too much, but you don’t want to devalue your skills and experience by asking for too little.

One useful technique is to say something like “Good question. Would you mind telling me the range for this position?” The interviewer, taken off guard, will often tell you.

If the salary range has been made clear beforehand, you could achieve a similar effect by saying, “Well, considering that I have ____ experience/qualifications, where do you think I would fall on the scale?”

If you cannot get this information out of the interviewer, suggest a fairly wide salary range yourself. This will have the advantage of not making you seem too expensive while giving you the chance to negotiate something towards the top end of the scale later.

Rather than requesting a specific salary at the interview, it’s best to wait to be offered the job before starting negotiations. Knowing the company wants you will put you in a position of strength, allowing you to push the salary up a little.

Tell us about a time your work was criticised and how you dealt with the criticism.

This job interview question is tricky. While the interviewer will know that none of us are perfect and that our work can always be improved, you don’t want to admit to the sort of careless mistakes that could make you appear incompetent.

Try to make the criticism you received sound constructive. Make it seem that anyone in your position could have made the same mistake and that whoever supplied the criticism viewed any kind of error as unusual for you.

Again, you could make your answer sound like a direct quote: “And my boss said, ‘Now Sandra, I know you haven’t been working here for long and I’m very pleased with your work so far, but there’s just one small thing I’d like to tell you …’”

How you responded to the criticism is also important. Demonstrate that you took the points on board, reflected on them and improved your performance.

Don’t mention any times you were criticised harshly or unfairly as you should avoid saying anything that sounds negative in job interviews.

Do you have any questions?

This is often the last question in the interview. It can seem impressive if you’ve researched the job and company well and you use this knowledge to formulate an intelligent question. The questions, however, should be about the institution or the duties of the job. Avoid asking about pay or conditions at this stage – again, wait till you are offered the job and are in a stronger position to negotiate.

If you really can’t think of any questions, you could compliment the interviewer by saying, “No, I think you have explained everything very clearly.”


IHR Group can match you with a wide range of healthcare jobs in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland. We post new vacancies for doctors, nurses and midwives on our website most days.

Visit our candidates’ page to find out about the support we can offer to help you get that medical job in Australia or New Zealand.

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