Overseeing the business side of a medical practice does not differ much from overseeing daily operations of a small hotel, a retail store, or of any other similar establishment.
You will be responsible for hiring, training and managing the administrative staff, and for ensuring that everything works as it should, in terms of accounting, finance, marketing, and law (to some extend). Your main goal is to ensure that the dentist, physician, veterinarian, or chiropractor can focus fully on the core of their work–helping the patients or the animals, and that they are not bothered with the business side of things.
Let’s have a look at some questions you may face while interviewing for this interesting job that pays in average more than $60,000 annually.
Can you please walk me through your resume?
There are no icebreaker questions in this interview. Right from the start you should try to make the best possible connection with your interviewer, especially if you talk to the healthcare professional you will work for.
Keep an eye contact, and try to talk to the point. Avoid technical terminology and ensure that they understand your words. If they find it difficult to understand you, or feel it would be a pain to communicate with you, everything will be an uphill battle in your interview…
You should talk mostly about relevant things. Mention some duties you had in your former jobs or in your own business, as long as they rely to the job of a practice manager. For example when you led interviews, trained employees, kept the books, responded for payroll.
Any experience when you had to deal with other people, managed someone, or solved problems, is relevant for the job–you just have to show them the connection of the two.
I also suggest you to tell them something from your personal life, at least briefly. Dentists and physicians are human beings, just like me or you. They also have their hobbies, families and stuff.
Mentioning that you enjoy doing a certain sport (one you know they enjoy doing, because you checked their personal Facebook page and found it on the list of their hobbies), can help you to make a connection…
How do you imagine a typical day in job, working as a practice manager here?
The exact scope of your responsibilities depends on two things:
- The phase of their business–whether they are just starting and want you to hire and train employees, design effective processes of management and control, and everything, or they are already established and you won’t need to hire anyone. You will just manage the resources they already have in place.
- Other staff members and external contractors they have in their team–whether they cooperate with an accountant, whether someone else does the payroll, whether they have a receptionist or not, and so on.
Read the job description carefully, and if these things aren’t clear, you can ask about them before answering the question. Because the most important thing is to show realistic expectations, and to demonstrate proactive approach to work.
In any case, you should ensure them that you expect to be busy in work. But I cannot give you an exact list of duties and an example answer here, because the typical day really depends on the two things I mentioned.
Describe a time when one of your colleagues or subordinates struggled with motivation. What did you do to motivate them?
You should never suggest offering them a raise or some bonus--because you won’t pay it from your own pocket, and your employer (the physician) will bear the expenses.
Say that you try to have an individual approach to each problem of motivation. You will have a one on one with the employee in question, trying to understand what bothers them, why they under-perform. They may dislike something in work, have a conflict with someone else in the practice, or they may experience some problems in their personal life or a burnout.
Once you understand the problem, you will try to address it. Of course the exact remedy depends on the core of the problem, but it can include:
- Helping them to see the connection of their personal goals and the goals they should achieve in work.
- Trying to strengthen the team-spirit and improve the atmosphere in the workplace.
- Sending them for a holiday for a few days so they can clear their head and perhaps get over some issues they experience.
- Any other remedy that may help them regain their motivation.
What is your experience with hiring new staff (or with keeping books, or with anything else you’ll be responsible for in this job)?
You can basically find yourself in two positions here. Either you have the experience with the activity or skill they inquire about, or you do not have an experience.
If you have one, try to clearly describe what you did and the results you achieved. For example you can narrate how you hired a new administrative assistant. Starting with designing an appealing and clear job description, continuing with advertising the vacancy on the right places online and offline, and ending up with leading interviews, you found a great candidate.
You can also mention some setbacks or challenges you faced in the process (lack of applications, inability to offer adequate salary, etc), and explain how you addressed such challenges. This will convince the employer that you really did the work, and are not just making something up to impress them.
Another situation is when you have no experience with the task in question. In such a case you should show confidence in your abilities and intelligence. Surely, you have never hired anyone before, but you’ve been to interviews, you can do your research, and are sure that you will be able to design great interview processes and find the best possible employees for their medical practice.
* You can download the full list of questions in a one page long PDF, print it, and practice your interview answers anytime later:
Describe a time when you struggled to communicate something to someone in work. What did you do to eventually get your message over?
Managing a medical practice, you will talk to people with a variety of skills, intellects, and abilities. Doctors, nurses, administrative workers, regulating bodies, clients. All of them require a different style of communication from your side.
Try to narrate a situation when you stepped out of your comfort zone, and changed your communication, in order to help your audience understand your message. Your attitude matters for the interviewers, not the particular situation you narrate.
As long as they see that you do not hesitate to use demonstration, practical example, presentations, pictures and other means of getting your message over, and that you won’t give up until you succeed, they will be happy with your answer.
Other questions you may face in your interview for a medical practice manager job
- Why did you decide to apply for this position with our practice, and not with someone else?
- What do you consider your greatest weakness as a manager?
- Where do you see yourself in five years from now, and what role does this position plays in your career plan?
- Describe a situation when you had to meet a tight deadline in work.
- Tell us about an obstacle you overcame.
- What motivates you the most in job?
- How do you feel about working overtime, or on Saturday?
- What are your expectations on the healthcare professional, and on other people working in the medical practice you will manage?
- Describe the biggest mistake you’ve made in your career.
- What are your salary expectations?
- What can you offer us that someone else cannot?
- Tell us one thing about yourself you wouldn’t want us to know.
* If you are not sure how to answer the questions from my list, or experience interview anxiety, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to basically all questions you may face in your practice manager job interview will help you streamline your interview preparation, find the right words in every moment of the interview, outclass your competitors, and eventually get this great job. Thank you for checking it out!
Conclusion, next steps
It is not easy to predict what exactly will happen in your interview for a job of a medical practice manager. The questions you will face depend a lot on the person who will lead the interviews (medical professional himself, or someone from their staff members, or an external recruiter), as well as on the exact scope of duties you’ll take care of in your new job (as I already explained, this varies from one place to another).
In my experience, however, Practice Manager is not a fancy job title, and you typically won’t compete with many people for the job. At least this makes your situation somehow easier… Try to prepare for the questions from this article, and make a good research about your future place of work. And if you are not sure how to answer the questions, have a look at our Interview Success Package.
Multiple brilliant answers to all tricky interview questions will make your life much easier in the interviews. Thank you, I wish you good luck!
May also interest you:
- Leadership interview questions – Each good manager is a good leader. Learn how to answer interview questions about your leadership skills.
- How to overcome interview nerves – Experiencing anxiety? Learn how you can deal with it and deliver your very best in the interviews.
- Salary negotiation tips – There is definitely some room for negotiation in the interview for a job of Practice Manager. Learn how to convince the interviewers to offer you as much as you deserve in terms of money and benefits.