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Why this matters:

This question ensures that the candidate knows the basics of optometry. Just like any part of the body, healthy eyes must be maintained through certain practices. Here, you are looking for the candidate to mention practices and preventative measures a patient can perform in their everyday life to maintain healthy eyesight.

What to listen for:

  • A blend of daily practices and regular eye screenings
  • Confidence in their answer
  • The ability to communicate clear directions that a patient could easily understand

Why this matters:

This question tests the candidate’s knowledge of eye-related disorders and conditions. Jaundice is a common disease that turns skin and the whites of the eyes yellow, and is often a symptom of a liver, blood, or gallbladder problem. An optometrist should know the signs of jaundice and what to do if their patient is diagnosed with it.

What to listen for:

  • The ability to diagnose jaundice
  • Knowledge of what can cause jaundice such as liver disease, hepatitis, and pancreatic cancer  
  • Knowledge on the steps a patient should take when diagnosed with jaundice

Why this matters:

In this medical profession, prescribing lenses and ensuring a proper fit is one of the most common responsibilities. An optometrist should be able to provide clear steps they would take to determine someone’s prescription and fit them into a pair of glasses, and they should be able to recognize common eye problems and their multiple treatment options.

What to listen for:

  • Expertise in diagnosing common eye problems
  • Knowledge of various corrective lenses
  • The ability to explain their reasoning behind their choices

 

Why this matters:

Optometrists often manage a team of junior staff members and assistants. They must be able to effectively manage this team and troubleshoot issues as they arise in a calm and effective manner. In order to maintain a positive internal culture, look for a candidate who possesses strong interpersonal skills while being able to manage other employees.

 

What to listen for:

  • Strong leadership skills
  • An ability to be firm without being contentious
  • Proficiency in problem-solving

Why this matters:

Sometimes, a patient may disagree with a diagnosis, assessment, or plan of care. Since optometrists deal with all types of people, it is important for them to be able to handle difficult situations without leading to conflict. This question reveals the candidate's ability to listen, educate, and negotiate if needed, with minimal friction.

What to listen for:

  • The ability to educate patients without arrogance or condescension
  • A lack of blame
  • Strong interpersonal skills

Why this matters:

An optometrist may be the first medical professional a patient sees before being diagnosed with a serious condition. Whether telling a patient that they have glaucoma, vision loss, or that they are not a candidate for elective surgery, an optometrist must be able to convey bad news to a patient in a strategic and compassionate way that reduces the patient’s distress.

What to listen for:

  • The recognition that communicating bad news is an important part of their role
  • The ability to address emotions of the patient or a loved one with empathy
  • Expertise in sharing a treatment plan after communicating bad news

Why this matters:

There may be days when an optometrist does not have many patients to see. This question gives you an idea of how the candidate stays productive on slower days, as an optometrist’s duties go beyond helping patients with exams and fittings. Their answer will tell you how much initiative they take in their work, and will also shed light on what other roles they are comfortable filling.

What to listen for:

  • A self-motivated workstyle
  • A desire to stay busy and productive, without overdoing it
  • Interest in other duties related to optometry, such as staying up to date on the latest research in the field

Why this matters:

Advances in eye care and medical technology have helped the practice of optometry become more efficient and effective. Additionally, medical advances in this field have helped expand the scope of what optometrists can do. This question will provide an opportunity for the candidate to show enthusiasm for their work, while also demonstrating their ability to stay up to date on medical news and research.

What to listen for:

  • Keen interest in the advances in eye care
  • Enthusiasm for the field of ophthalmology
  • Critical thinking skills relating to how optometry has improved

Why this matters:

At the end of the day, you want an employee who’s dedicated to the work they do. An optometrist should not only have a strong interest in this field of medical care, they should also have a desire to better people’s lives.

What to listen for:

  • An intrinsic desire to help people and make a difference
  • Interest in solving complex problems and confronting challenges  
  • Passion for the field of optometry and providing high-quality healthcare
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