Best Practices: Behavioral-Based Questions for Peer Interviewing (Part 3)

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.

Once you know the skill-based questions you’re going to ask, 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:


Commitment and Initiative

  • Give me an example of a time when you went beyond your employer’s normal job expectations in order to get a job done.
  • Tell me about a time when you have felt like giving up on a certain job. What did you do?
  • What previous job was the most satisfying and why? What job was the most frustrating and why?


  • What did you do in your last job to contribute to a teamwork environment? Describe how you felt your contributions affected the team.
  • With what kinds of people would you rather not work? What kinds of people bug you? Tell me about a work situation that irritated you.
  • Have you ever had to resolve a conflict with a coworker? How did you resolve it? How have you worked as a member of teams in the past?
  • Tell me about the best boss you ever had. Now tell me about the worst boss. What made it tough to work for him or her?
  • When taking on a new task, do you like to have a great deal of feedback and responsibility at the outset, or do you like to try your own approach?


  • What brings you joy?
  • If you took out a full-page ad in the New York Times and had to describe yourself in only three words, what would those be?
  • How would you describe your personality?
  • If I call your references, what will they say about you? In what kind of environment would you like to work?
  • Describe a work situation in which a project you worked on which you felt was very important to you was delayed or postponed. How did it interrupt your schedule, and how did you respond to it?

Past Mistakes

  • When was the last time you were criticized? How did you deal with it? What have you learned from these opportunities?
  • Tell me about an objective in your last job that you failed to meet and why.
  • If you had the opportunity to change anything in your career, what would you havedone differently?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to work on a project that did not turn out the way it should have. What did you do?
  • Tell me about a situation where you “blew it.” How did you resolve or correct the circumstances?


  • Discuss a time when your integrity was challenged. How did you handle it? What would you do if someone asked you to do something unethical?
  • Describe a situation in which you felt it might have been justifiable to break company policy or alter a standard procedure. What did you do?
  • Have you ever experienced a loss for doing what is right?
  • Have you ever asked for forgiveness for doing something wrong? In what business situations do you feel honesty would be inappropriate?
  • If you saw a coworker doing something dishonest, would you tell your boss? What would you do about it?
  • How would you describe the ethics of your company? In which areas do you feel comfortable and uncomfortable with them? Why?
  • Give me an example of an ethical decision you have had to make on the job. What factors did you consider in reaching the decision?
  • Tell me about an instance in which you’ve had to go against company guidelines or procedures in order to get something done.
  • We’ve all done things that we’ve regretted. Can you give me an example that falls in this category for you? How would you handle it differently today?
  • Have you ever felt guilty about receiving credit for work that was mostly completed by others? If so, how did you handle it?

Miscellaneous Good Questions

  • How do you measure your own success?
  • What is the most interesting thing you have done in the past three years? What are your short-term or long-term career goals? Why should we hire you? What do you expect to find in our company that you don’t have now?
  • What responsibilities do you want, and what kinds of results do you expect to achieve in your next job?
  • How did the best manager you ever had motivate you to perform well? Why did that method work?
  • What is the best thing a previous employer did that you wish everyone did? What are you most proud of?
  • What is most important to you in a job?


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.