Each career choice has some pluses and minuses. Interviewing for a job in healthcare, or for a place in a study program at a med school, nursing school, or PA school, you can expect to get at least one question about your career choice–why healthcare and not another field, what attracts you to healthcare, or simply “Why do you want to work in healthcare?”
As a rule of a thumb, you should refer to a meaningful purpose you see in your future work, and explain how healthcare is a good match to your strengths and personality. Remember that the more specific you are, the better. If you have a particular job title on your mind, or even your career plan ready, explain the interviewers the role the job (or place at a college you try to get) plays in it, and what the next steps for you are.
One important thing to remember is to focus on your non-verbal communication. It doesn’t mean that you should jump from your seat as soon as they mention healthcare, or gesticulate widely while explaining your reasons. But they should hear some enthusiasm in your voice, and get an impression that you are happy to be in the room, interviewing for a job you really want to have. You can impact it a lot with your mindset, and can learn more about it in our article about body language in an interview.
Let’s move to 7 sample answers. I tried to include on my list answers for both students (applying for a place in a study program) and job seekers, including answers for people who are changing their career, and healthcare does not seem like the most logical choice. Hopefully at least one of them will fit your situation, and resonate with the message you try to convey to your interviewers.
7 sample answers to “Why do you want to work in healthcare?” interview question
- I want to work in healthcare because I find the field an excellent match to my strengths and personality. I’m a great student–which is obviously necessary if you want to get to a great school like this one. My communication skills also stand out, and I believe to have what it takes physically and mentally to handle the pressure of any job in healthcare. What’s more, I have several healthcare workers in my family, and they are role models for me with the service they do for the local community.
- Meaningful purpose–simple as that. Let’s face it. I am not interested in some investment banker job, or in a place in a big corporation, moving money around, creating products that aren’t even necessary, and often not knowing what you are actually working on, spending all your days in front of a computer screen. Healthcare is so much different. Even when you have a basic position–such as medical assistant or patient transporter, you always know your place in the ecosystem of a hospital or medical practice, you have contact with patients, and can sense the impact you have on their lives. It makes all the difference for me personally, and I cannot imagine working in another field than healthcare.
- I just feel that healthcare professionals are as needed as ever. And I do not refer only to the pandemic. People who are not blind can see many children suffering from all sorts of allergies and diseases. What’s more, cancer is ever more prevalent, and so are the so called diseases of civilization. In my opinion, each of us should try their best to help the issue. Some people may focus only on their own lives and diet–one patient less is always welcome. But someone who feels calling to help the others–like I do, should aspire for a career in healthcare. At least that’s my opinion.
- I am interested in healthcare and nursing in particular because I’ve had such a good experience with nurses in my life. Suffering from a severe gastrointestinal issues, I frequented the hospitals as a child. And it wasn’t easy, as you can imagine. As a child you want to play with friends and go to school. The last thing you want to is spending weeks on end in hospital. But the nurses made my time there so much better. And I fell in love with the career, and decided that one day I will do the same, to pay back the favor. Fast forward I am here, interviewing for a nursing job with you.
- I know it may seem strange, considering I’ve worked in IT for the past fifteen years. But I really need a fresh start, in a different field. Working with computers for such a long time, I experienced a burnout, and started to hate my job. I knew I had to do something else. And so I enrolled in a course for a CNA, and now I try to get a job in your nursing home. I am looking forward to work with people instead of computers, though I know I will earn much less here. But that’s not an issue really at this stage of my career. Seeing a purpose in what I do and enjoying my time in work are the two most important things for me now. It is no longer possible in IT.
- I want to work as a dentist, for several reasons. First of all, it is a great career, one that will always be needed, and one in which you can have a positive impact on the lives of your patients. Secondly, it is a family tradition. My dad is a dentist and so was my grandfather. We have a small family clinic and I would love to work there, and perhaps even run the entire place one day, when a time comes for my father to retire. Last but not least, it is a well-paid job. Just like everyone else I hope to have a decent life and earn well. Career of a dentist should allow me to do so.
- I’ve been working in healthcare for fifteen years already. Know the field inside-out, including the challenges we face nowadays. And though I had tougher periods in my career, I still love the feeling of helping someone to overcome a serious disease, and return back to normal life. It drives me forward to continue my career in the field, and I am glad to have a chance to interview for a job in your hospital.
* Special Tip: This isn’t the most difficult question you will face while interviewing for any decent job. You will face questions about prioritization, dealing with pressure, solving problems, and other tricky scenarios that happen in the workplace. If you want to make sure that you stand out with your answers and outclass your competitors, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to 50 tricky scenario based questions (+ more) will make your life much easier in the interviews. Thank you for checking it out!
Ready to answer this one? I hope so! Do not forget to check 7 sample answers to other tricky interview questions as well:
- Why are you interested in this position?
- Describe a situation when your work was criticized and how you responded.
- What should I know that is not on your resume?