The health care industry is in the midst of reshaping itself. As medical providers work to adapt to the shift in patient demands and culture while also addressing ongoing staffing shortages, they continue to look to health care leadership for guidance.

As a result, the health care services administration field is growing rapidly. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), health care administration careers are expected to grow by more than 28 percent by 2032, which is much faster than average compared to all other occupations.

While future job opportunities should be plentiful, there is an influx of qualified candidates as well, making the field competitive. Knowing the most common interview questions and preparing accordingly could help improve your chances of securing a coveted health care management position.

Understanding the Health Care Administration Role

Health care managers are responsible for overseeing a health care facility or department, often working to coordinate and direct health care services. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, some primary responsibilities of a health care administrator include:

  • developing departmental goals.
  • creating and managing the facility budget.
  • scheduling health care staff in a way that is efficient and maximizes patient outcomes.
  • verifying the facility is in compliance with local laws and industry regulations.

Given the responsibilities of a health care administrator, it's important that aspiring professionals work to hone a specific set of skills that help them succeed in this position. Health care managers or executives must be able to communicate effectively, collaborate and resolve conflict.

Health care administrators may find work at a hospital, overseeing an entire department or managing the facility as a whole. They also may be employed at doctor's offices, clinics and long-term care facilities. Typically, any medical facility that employs staff and works to provide patients with personalized care will need an effective health care administrator.

General Interview Preparation Tips

During your health care services administration interview, the employer is going to evaluate whether you have both the hard and soft skills necessary for the position. According to LinkedIn, health care facilities often seek managers and administrators who have an understanding of regulatory guidelines and laws, experience with health care technology, and leadership skills.

Before you go in for your interview, be sure you have researched the organization/facility so you have an understanding of their target demographic, primary services, and management needs. Prepare a few questions to ask the interviewer, as this demonstrates initiative and proves you are interested in the available position.

Common Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

These tips for health care professionals can help you prepare for your interview.

Question 1: Can you describe your experience in health care administration?

Answer this question by briefly describing your educational credentials and your professional experience in health care leadership. Emphasize the skills you have developed along the way, including those acquired through internships and practical experiences as part of your educational program.

Question 2: How do you handle stressful situations, especially in a fast-paced health care environment?

Provide an anecdote about a time you experienced an unexpected challenge in a professional role, and describe how you handled it. Make sure to offer context about the outcome of the situation.

According to Indeed, the STAR interview method is the best way to answer these types of questions. You can use the “Situation, Task, Action, Result” technique to structure your responses:

  • Situation – Add context to your answer.
  • Task – Identify your role and responsibility in the scenario.
  • Action – Describe how you handled it.
  • Result – Identify the outcome.

Question 3: How do you ensure compliance with health care laws and regulations?

Take a moment to elaborate on your knowledge of health care compliance and regulations and the steps you take to ensure compliance. This would be an ideal time to incorporate a professional anecdote.

Question 4: Can you describe a time when you had to manage a conflict within your team?

Conflict resolution in health care is vital, particularly as managers try to alleviate the mental burdens staff members face and reduce the ongoing risk of burnout among employees. With this question, provide information about a specific experience you had managing a conflict, and highlight the health care management skills you used to resolve the issue.

Question 5: How do you prioritize tasks in a high-pressure environment?

Time management in health care services is essential to optimizing efficiency. Provide an example of how you prioritize on a daily basis, and showcase how you are able to manage both short- and long-term goals.

Question 6: Describe your experience with budget management in a health care setting.

Go into detail about previous budgets you have created and managed, particularly in health care. Highlight your knowledge of health care finances and how you can streamline operations without compromising on patient outcomes.

Question 7: How do you handle patient confidentiality?

Patient privacy and confidentiality are of the utmost importance in the health care industry. Not only are health care professionals required by law to protect patient privacy, but they also must do so to earn the trust of their patients. Offer an overview of the measures you take to protect patient privacy as a leader and administrator.

Question 8: Can you provide an example of a successful project you led in a health care setting?

This is an opportunity to emphasize your health care project management skills, and it's crucial to be specific and provide real-life examples highlighting your strengths in this area.

Question 9: How do you stay updated on changes in health care policy and administration practices?

With this question, you can showcase your commitment to going above and beyond the call of duty in order to stay on top of shifting industry trends. Be as specific as possible about the steps you take to stay abreast of health care policy and administration changes.

Question 10: Describe a time when you had to make a difficult decision quickly.

Use this as an opportunity to underscore your ability to perform ethical decision-making in health care. Provide an anecdote that highlights the challenges of the circumstances and the positive and impactful decision you made during that time.

Question 11: How do you ensure diversity, equity and inclusion and effective communication with medical staff, patients, and other stakeholders?

With this question, detail the hard and soft skills you have developed to assure diversity, equity, and inclusion in health care. Call out the communication skills and the communication technology you rely on to keep your team informed.

Question 12: What role does technology play in health care administration, and how do you leverage it?

Answer this question by offering insight into the types of health care technology with which you have experience, and incorporate information about the critical role of technology in health care administration.

Question 13: Can you discuss a time when you had to manage a crisis or emergency situation?

When addressing this question, be as transparent or honest as possible. Not only should you describe the situation and the actions you took, but you also should provide context about how you felt during the crisis.

Question 14: How do you measure the success of your management and administrative decisions and initiatives?

Feel free to add a little personality to your response, and be honest about what success looks like to you. You can still incorporate information about key performance indicators in health care administration while adding a touch of warmth and humanity to your answer.

Question 15: Why do you want to work in health care administration, and what motivates you in this field?

This is another question where honesty and transparency are valued more than the response itself. Be open about the personal rewards you have enjoyed as a result of your career, and describe what motivates you to focus on career advancement in health care management.

Learn More, Today

To help ensure you are the one being called in for an interview for a health care leadership position, you want to earn a degree that stands out on a resume. At the University of Minnesota College of Continuing and Professional Studies, we offer a Health Services Management Bachelor's Degree that emphasizes strategic planning and evidence-based leadership skill development as well as the role of ethics and cultural awareness in the field. It uniquely prepares students for a career in health care administration, allowing them to understand the dynamic needs of this growing field. Request more information about our degree programs today.