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April 15, 2024

How to spot a clinician candidate who will fit your team

Earlier, I talked about the importance of hiring clinicians who thrive in ambiguity. So how do you use precious interview time to get this information?

I’ve asked this exact question to the CareOps community over the past few weeks and below I’ll share my 9 favorite high-signal-to-noise interview questions.

Dealing with ambiguity

(a) “Instead of asking direct questions, we present a case study with missing pieces and invite them to outline their next steps. Clinicians who shine in fuzzy situations are good at asking the RIGHT questions to gain clarity, prioritze and “unstuck” the situation (aka explain the different directions they’d go based on the info they gathered).

(b) “How do you think the way we work, manage patient information, and handle staffing might shift as time goes on? And how do you think these shifts could affect our goals, the outcomes we aim for, and the key measures we use to track our progress? This question aims to gauge their perspective on change—whether they view it through a positive or negative lens—and their adaptability to shifting circumstances."

(c) “Can you describe a time when you adopted a new system, process or technology at work that was significantly different from previous practices?

(d) “Can you describe a time when you had to adjust your approach partway through a project or treatment plan due to changing circumstances? What was the situation, and how did you adapt?”

Growth mindset

(a) “Can you tell me about a new hobby or project you’ve taken up outside of clinical medicine? What was it, and what did you learn from diving into an entirely new domain?” 

(b) “Tell me about a patient encounter that you wish you had handled differently. Can you walk me through the situation, your initial response, and how you changed your practice going forward?”

(c)  “Have there been moments when you realized your go-to approach with a patient wasn’t hitting the mark, and you had to switch gears to connect better? Can you walk me through one of those times and what you changed?”

Working in your care model

(a) “When interviewing clinicians who are stepping out of the traditional practice into the startup world, it’s crucial to assess how they adapt to a team where there’s less hierarchy and more collaboration. My go-to question for this is: 

"Could you share a success story from when you collaborated with a multidisciplinary team on a patient’s care or project? What was your role, and what was the outcome?”

(b) “In our care model, understanding and utilizing a patient’s support system is crucial, especially when they’re not following our treatment plan. Could you share an instance where you engaged with a patient’s support network to overcome non-compliance? How did you involve them, and what was the outcome?”

Other learnings to keep in mind

  • One big lesson that keeps popping up is to dive deep into those behavior questions. It’s easy to race through the checklist of questions but the real gold is in the “Tell me more”, “What would you have done differently?” or “Who did you consult with during or after?” follow-ups. 
  • Clinicians who haven't worked in start-ups before likely haven't experienced day-to-day workflow changes or bugs in software. They also aren't always used to giving feedback in a clinical setting and find workarounds instead. Use the interview as a time to start onboarding and set expectations.
  • Clinicians often talk a big game about loving the chaos (so never just flat ask if they can handle changes). But with my clinician friends, I’ve realized that their definition of “too much change” varies widely. That’s why digging deep matters.
  • Don’t ignore red flags or gut feelings (which is why you need to prevent bias this. They will come back to bite you quicker than you think! 
  • Cut bias by listing key attributes and scoring candidates against them (Dr. Kahneman talks about this here).


Quick intro: we’re Thomas and Rik, building Awell - a low-code platform allowing care teams to design, implement and optimize care flows in days, not months. CareOps grew out of our years spent improving CareOps at innovative providers.

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