Best Practices: Behavioral-Based Questions for Peer Interviewing (Part 2)

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

This blog post continues our series of patient experience best practices. Every week we share information that demonstrates our expansive understanding of the challenges faced by healthcare organizations and the solutions we have identified for improving the patient experience and patient and business outcomes.

You probably know the skill-based questions you’re going to ask, but what about questions to determine if the candidate is right for your organization’s culture? How can you find out how an individual reacts in a stressful situation? What are his or her work ethics? What motivates this person? How has the individual creatively solved problems? Is the candidate team-oriented?

This is where behavioral-based questioning is valuable. Before the interview takes place, compile a list of potential queries, which will determine the compatibility of the candidate with the organization’s values and Standards of Performance. Then, establish who on the team will ask which questions.

Behavioral-based questions help determine:

  • Performance obstacles
  • Self-motivation characteristics
  • Coping skills
  • Interaction willingness
  • Adaptability to your culture
  • Communication skills
  • Motivation
  • Problem-solving ability
  • Team-player personality

Sample Interview Questions Behavioral-Based

You should compile your own personalized, behavioral-based questions, incorporating your organization’s Standards of Performance. The following is merely a sampling of the kinds of queries by subject matter that you might want to consider as you draft that list:


  • When you were facing a transitional change in your job responsibilities, what methods or processes did you use to ensure a positive outcome for you and the company?
  • When you had to do a job that was particularly uninteresting, how did you deal with it?
  • Tell me about a time when an upper-level policy change or decision held up your work. How did you respond?


  • What types of things in your work have upset you, and how did you react to those situations?
  • Describe a time when you communicated some unpleasant feelings to your supervisor. What happened?

Decision-Making Ability

  • Give me an example of when you were faced with a difficult decision affecting your job. How did you deal with it?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to overcome serious obstacles in order to implement a decision.
  • Give me an example of an important business decision you made which, looking at it now, you think went wrong. What would you do differently if you could?
  • Describe a situation in which you decided it was okay to lie.
  • Give me an example of a situation in which you took a calculated risk in a recent position. What were your considerations?
  • What is the most difficult decision you have had to make and how did you arrive at it?
  • In your current or past positions, what types of decisions do/did you make without consulting your boss?

 Organizational Skills

  • How do you organize your work to ensure that you are the most effective and productive?
  • Think of a day when you had plenty of things to do, and describe how you scheduled your time.
  • Tell me about your work experience in managing multiple job priorities with varied deadlines. When and how do you determine priorities and deadline changes?


  • Give me an example of a problem you faced on any job you have had and how you went about solving it.
  • What were the major obstacles you overcame in your last job? How did you deal with them?
  • Have you ever used humor to solve a workplace problem?
  • Tell me about any experience you have had turning a problem into a success.
  • Describe a situation when you worked with a person whose personality was the opposite of yours. How did you deal with it?


  • Tell me about a time when you have been creative in your work. What did you do? When was the last time you broke the rules, and how did you do it?
  • What have you done that was innovative?
  • What was the wildest idea you had in the past year?
  • If you could do anything in the world, what would you do?

About the Best Practice Series

We are pleased to share the best practices developed by our expert coaches from the HealthStream Engagement Institute. This series of how-to publications offers proven techniques, key words and phrases, and processes to help you transform your culture to one of high performance.

Our Best Practices Series, based on employee-developed and employee-managed practices and programs, includes the following:

  • Hourly Rounding
  • Reward and Recognition
  • Peer Interviewing
  • Bright Ideas™
  • Purposeful Rounding
  • Words that WorkSM
  • Service Recovery
  • Standards of Performance

Our goal for this collection is to offer you even more tools to achieve extraordinary service and higher levels of performance excellence.

At HealthStream we spend a lot of time focused on developing the nursing workforce. HealthStream’s jane™ is The World’s First Digital Mentor for Nurses. Jane harnesses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to create a system that personalizes competency development at scale, quickly identifies risk and opportunity, and improves quality outcomes by focusing on critical thinking. Leveraging decades of research and with over 4 million assessments completed, Jane was designed to power lifelong, professional growth of clinical professionals. Jane™ is an important component of HealthStream’s suite of clinical development solutions.