Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Importance of Behavioural Questions in an Interview


Interviewers from the top medical schools are responsible for getting the very best students into their program. This does not just mean the students with the highest marks, although only the top ranked students will be called in for an interview opportunity. What the schools are looking for are people who will complete the course and go on as representatives of the school that they have graduated from. The way in which interviewers can attempt to tell who will succeed in their program and who may not is through Behavioural Questions. This type of questioning will assess how you will perform in the future based on how you performed in the past.

Interviewers who ask behaviour descriptive questions are not interested in how you usually respond or might respond in the future. They want to know what you actually did. It’s important that you recall the situation you’re describing clearly and concisely and that your story reflects well on you as a potential employee.

Behaviour-descriptive questions help an interviewer assess how you will handle conditions you will likely encounter in a medical

career. For example, if the work requires good decision-making skills, the interviewer may ask you to describe a situation where you

had to choose between two strong options. The interviewer may follow up with specific questions about how you handled the

situation and what happened as a result of your actions.

Think of several situations in which you have used the skills that medicine requires (e.g. leadership skills, problem-solving skills,

communication skills). Choose situations where your actions contributed to a positive outcome. These situations do not have to be work-related—they could involve leisure activities, volunteer work or school projects.

Practise answering questions such as:
Why do you want to be a doctor?
What world event in the past decade made an impact on you and why?
What would people say about you as a doctor at the end of your career?
Describe how you dealt with an issue involving religion/beliefs.
How have you dealt with a challenging problem?
Tell about a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty.

Tagged , ,