Illustration of a doctor in an exam room working on a computer

Why this matters:

Pediatricians monitor and document the health and development of their patients, and should be able to accurately diagnose common ailments and minor injuries. Here, you’re looking for the candidate to discuss their own tried-and-true methods for treating a sick patient.

What to listen for:

  • Familiarity of common ailments and injuries
  • Strong diagnostic skills
  • Ability to accurately observe symptoms for patients who cannot vocalize their pain

Why this matters:

Complete physical exams are an important part of pediatric care. A pediatrician candidate should be able to walk you through the differences in approaches for both types of patients, explaining best practices for each. Here, you’re looking for the candidate to differentiate between the two examination types to get an understanding of their skill set.

What to listen for:

  • Knowledge of how to perform both types of examinations
  • Strong knowledge of the differences between examinations
  • Critical thinking skills on how to approach both examinations

Why this matters:

Cardiovascular exams are routinely performed at every pediatrician visit, so the candidate must be able to understand and successfully perform this procedure. This question will help you assess the candidate’s skill set: revealing how they operate during routine procedures, how they calm patients, and what they will bring to your practice.

What to listen for:

  • Confidence and familiarity in performing a relatively routine procedure
  • Knowledge of cardiovascular conditions that may affect children
  • The ability to keep a young patient calm and comfortable

Why this matters:

Good doctors stay calm, even when their patients are in distress — and this applies doubly to pediatricians. Whether they’re treating a crying newborn, a screaming toddler, or a stoic and uncooperative preteen, effective pediatricians have tactics for overcoming these barriers to provide care.

What to listen for:

  • Examples of tactics for calmly overcoming patient challenges
  • A positive tone when discussing how they approached a difficult patient 
  • A sense of acceptance that agitation and distress are part of the job

Why this matters:

One of the toughest parts of the job for any doctor is communicating bad news — again, that can be doubly true of pediatricians. You want to know that your candidate can handle the pressure — and do so in a way that’s reassuring and compassionate.

What to listen for:

  • A tested approach or method for delivering bad news
  • A demonstrated ability to remain compassionate, without creating confusion or additional suffering
  • An emphasis on encouraging parents to voice their concerns and request more information

Why this matters:

Not all patients or parents listen to their pediatricians or follow recommendations; many may seek a second (or third) opinion, or prefer a different approach to care. This question helps you glimpse the candidate’s problem-solving and conflict resolution abilities — along with their ability to defer to patients and parents.

What to listen for:

  • An openness toward different viewpoints and preferences
  • Strong strategies for working through misunderstandings and toward effective care
  • A recognition that conflicts are typically not personal

Why this matters:

Pediatricians often collaborate with other doctors and specialists to assess a patient’s condition, arrive at accurate diagnoses, and determine care. You want to make sure your candidate can productively work as part of a healthcare team — and that they understand their professional limitations. This question allows you to see the candidate’s ability to collaborate and refer patients.

What to listen for:

  • Lack of ego, and a willingness to seek outside help
  • A track record that demonstrates strong teamwork
  • Prioritization of patients’ effective care 

Why this matters:

Strong relationships are crucial for ongoing care, which is why great pediatricians can forge good relationships with the parents of their patients, and patients themselves — as they grow up. The ingredients for strong relationships include clear communications, mutual respect, and the ability to earn and maintain trust.

What to listen for:

  • An emphasis on building strong relationships
  • Signals of strong relationship building, including attentive listening, abundant patience, and the ability to build and maintain trust
  • General alignment with your practice’s approach to patient care

Why this matters:

Healthcare is rapidly evolving, with new research being completed and published every day. All healthcare workers need to keep up with the latest developments — whether that means reading news articles, attending industry events, and more. This question will help you determine how closely the candidate follows new healthcare developments, and how quick they may be to adjust their practices to adopt them.

What to listen for:

  • A strong example or two of new developments in pediatric care
  • Familiarity with well-regarded pediatric publications, blogs, etc.
  • An interest in learning
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