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Why this matters:

This question helps evaluate the candidate’s ability to stay calm under pressure and guide a patient through a vulnerable and perhaps exigent state. The answer will identify urgent conditions the candidate has knowledge or experience in treating, and can help you learn if the candidate will effectively communicate with and build a patient’s trust.

What to listen for:

  • Calm under pressure
  • Ability to treat vulnerable patients
  • Effective communication skills

Why this matters:

Many pharmaceutical companies offer different medications that treat the same symptoms and disorders. A good psychiatrist should understand the finer distinctions between medication formulations — and how these can be more effective for certain symptoms, patients, or medical histories, or less disruptive for certain sensitivities or other factors.

What to listen for:

  • Examples drawn from past experiences with multiple medication options
  • Ability to listen to patients’ concerns
  • Knowledge on different medications

Why this matters:

While psychiatrists treat patients across a range of mental health issues, depression is extremely common. Here, you’re learning how the candidate views different types of treatment protocols, including psychotherapy and medications.

What to listen for:

  • Strong understanding of the underlying causes of depression
  • Strong understanding of the latest medication and psychotherapy protocols
  • Ability to differentiate depression-related conditions

 

Why this matters:

With the ability to look anything up online or seek outside opinions, patients and their loved ones can easily do their own research on a condition or treatment plan — or get a second opinion. Ideally, you want a candidate that values when patients and their families are invested in care — and will even welcome other viewpoints and be able to tactfully navigate further discussion or education.

What to listen for:

  • Comfort with diverse views
  • Ability to educate and explain complex material
  • Compassion for patients and their families

Why this matters:

Psychiatrists often need to collaborate with other specialists to assess a patient’s condition and give an accurate diagnosis or treatment plan. This question will determine if the candidate is a team player, and if they can confidently and tactfully interact with other members of the practice.

What to listen for:

  • Ability to stay professional
  • Ability to persuade when needed
  • Ability to work as part of a team

Why this matters:

Beyond patient care, psychiatrists have a duty to educate patients. This question will give you insight on how the candidate deals with resistant patients — and how they may use tools of communication, information, and persuasion to assist.

What to listen for:

  • Ability to communicate clearly
  • Any flair for persuasion
  • Empathy

Why this matters:

Psychiatrists diagnose and treat a range of patients, all struggling with a range of complicated and often persistent conditions. This question will give you an insight on how the candidate overcomes challenges — and what they find most rewarding about this career path.

What to listen for:

  • Compassion and empathy
  • Ability to effectively overcome challenges
  • Examples drawn from past work experiences

 

Why this matters:

This question tests whether the candidate stays actively informed on research and new views on psychiatry and mental health. This question will also show the candidate’s commitment to the study and evolution of psychiatry.

 

What to listen for:

  • Examples of emerging issues and views
  • Reactions and viewpoints on those issues
  • Ability to clearly explain why they feel this way — or why these issues are important

Why this matters:

The psychiatric field is constantly evolving. To keep up with latest developments, psychiatrists must have a commitment to continuing education. Here you are looking for examples of how the candidate stays informed and up to date.

What to listen for:

  • A commitment to ongoing education
  • Examples of current and new treatment methods in psychiatry
  • Examples of conferences attended or journals and other material read on a regular basis
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