Top 7 Healthcare Administration Interview Questions to Ask

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Written by Kerry Larkey, MSN, RN Content Writer, IntelyCare
A physician meets with a member of the administrative team.

When you’re hiring an addition to the senior leadership team, it’s essential to have a set of healthcare administration interview questions to pinpoint the outstanding candidates. Among the many responsibilities of the job, senior management represents the organization, influences company culture, manages financial resources, and plays a vital role in organizational governance. Building a strong administrative team is vital to the health and wellness of any healthcare organization.

In this article, we’ll review seven interview questions for healthcare administrators and discuss the rationale behind each. We’ll also cover what to look for in the answers to help spot a good fit for your organization.

Essential Healthcare Administrator Interview Questions

Although healthcare administrators work in nursing care facilities, outpatient care centers, and government agencies, the biggest employers are hospitals. The job outlook for these professionals is bright with a much faster-than-average expected growth rate of 28% over the next 10 years. Although administrators hold a wide array of job titles, the most common include:

  • Hospital Chief Executive Officer (CEO) — the healthcare sector is the 4th largest employer of CEOs
  • Nursing Home Director
  • Chief Nursing Officer (CNO)
  • Chief Nursing Informatics Officer (CNIO)
  • Director of Nursing (DON)
  • Director of Nursing Education
  • Medical and Health Services Manager

The AONE Nurse Executive Competencies define the skills, knowledge, and abilities required of senior management, regardless of the healthcare setting. The core skills required for competency as a healthcare administrator include:

  1. Communication and relationship management
  2. Knowledge of the healthcare environment
  3. Leadership
  4. Professionalism
  5. Business skills and principles

By aligning your interview questions with each of these five domains, you’ll be able to assess the competencies of your candidates and select the best fit for your organization. Here are seven senior healthcare administrator interview questions for your next interview that touch on each domain.

1. What leadership theory best matches your style, and why?

This is one of the best healthcare administration interview questions to kick off the interview because it allows the candidate to start with their own basic beliefs. Being able to speak about one’s foundational framework and guiding principles is essential for every influential leader.

Top answers:

  • Address a specific theory (e.g., transactional, transformational, or servant leadership theories)
  • Show self-reflection and incorporate beliefs and values
  • Provide real-world examples of theory application

2. How would the people who report to you describe your management style?

This question helps you understand what it’s like to work for the candidate. Do they tend to micromanage or delegate responsibilities? How are they perceived by their team? If the responses seem too rosy and glowing, you can follow up with a question like, “What would others say is a weakness of your style?”

Top answers:

  • Are honest and candid
  • Give insights into the candidate’s self-awareness
  • Show how the candidate collaborates with others and promotes a healthy company culture
  • Include results from employee satisfaction and quality of work environment surveys

3. Describe a time when you led an organization-wide strategic change initiative. How did you work through challenges?

Change is difficult for many organizations. Even those with strong leadership teams and healthy work environments can struggle, which makes this one of the most revealing healthcare administration interview questions. The ability to be flexible, adaptable, and forward-thinking is crucial in the ever-changing world of healthcare. The administrative team plays a key role in embracing new practices and managing change.

Top answers:

  • Show fluency using change theory to implement change
  • Demonstrate critical analysis of organizational issues and strong problem-solving skills
  • Emphasize collaborative relationships, teamwork, and conflict resolution
  • Reflect the value of having a shared vision and common goals

4. How have you used clinical information to understand and solve operational or financial problems?

This question allows you to assess how well the candidate incorporates clinical knowledge into organizational planning and problem-solving. Effective leaders use their understanding of the clinical arena to inform financial and strategic management decisions.

Top answers:

  • Integrate clinical perspectives in organizational decisions
  • Combine savvy business skills with practical knowledge of healthcare
  • Highlight current understanding of patient care delivery systems
  • Maximize technology to improve clinical and financial performance measures

5. How do you make sure your facility delivers exceptional, world-class care to its patients?

Satisfactory patient care is no longer good enough. Organizations are competing for exceptional patient satisfaction scores and quality indicators. As healthcare continues to move from a fee-for-service payment model toward value-based care programs, patient outcomes will become drivers for reimbursement.

Top answers:

  • Focus on patient safety, performance improvement, evidence-based practice, and risk management
  • Incorporate strategies to support staff in providing quality care (e.g., staffing, education, professional development, employee engagement, and staff retention)
  • Describe specific ways to improve patient outcomes and satisfaction indicators

6. How do you promote employee wellness within your teams?

The entire healthcare workforce has been flooded with overwhelming levels of workplace stress, compassion fatigue, and moral injury. Roughly half of all healthcare workers, including nurses, say they struggle with burnout. Nurses face the greatest impact with nearly one-half wanting to leave their jobs. More than ever, it’s crucial for administrative leaders to attend to the needs of their staff’s safety, health, and well-being.

Top answers:

  • Include a firm action plan with specific examples of stress-reduction and wellness initiatives (e.g., mindfulness training, stress management practices, and mental health support systems)
  • Prioritize the needs of the workforce and recognize the ways individuals have been impacted by their work
  • Support staff and promote healthy work environments by addressing workplace violence and abuse
  • Address safe staffing and employee retention

7. What’s the most important issue facing professionals in healthcare administration?

Interview questions like this are broad enough for the candidate to select from a range of issues and topics. From healthcare economics and policy to governance structures and staffing shortages, there are unlimited answers to choose from.

Top answers:

  • Paint a picture of the candidate’s understanding of current, impactful issues
  • Show critical thinking and strong analytical skills
  • Apply a systems thinking approach
  • Identify creative opportunities and visionary solutions to challenges

Looking for More Ways to Build a Strong Nursing Team?

We’ve taken a look at seven healthcare administration interview questions to build an outstanding leadership team. If you’re ready to add reliable, highly qualified administrators or other professionals, then find out how partnering with IntelyCare can help solve your staffing needs.