When hiring a Case Manager, look for someone with a true passion for case management work. Central to being a quality Case Manager is the desire to help people who are vulnerable due to mental or physical infirmities. You want to see in a candidate the highest level of compassion and the skills to effectively orchestrate the participation of various providers in the healthcare plan. Your candidates may come from hospital, social work, mental health, or other related backgrounds.
To be successful, a Case Manager must bring a balanced combination of healthcare knowledge and interpersonal skills. They will have to demonstrate that they are skilled at identifying a patient’s needs through questions and answers, collaborating with the appropriate providers to work as the healthcare team, and seeing the patient through to an outcome. Essential is the ability to speak in medical terms with medical professionals; in administrative terms with durable goods companies, pharmacies, and other suppliers; and clear, and in lay terms with patients and their family members. As such, exceptional multitasking skills are of paramount importance.
General interview questions (such as “Can you tell me about yourself?” and “Why are you looking for another job?”) are a great way to get to know your candidate’s personal history, interests and goals. However, be sure to add inquiries specific to the role they’re interviewing for, so you can gain valuable insights into their likelihood of success in that position.
Below are Case Manager interview questions to help you get started:
1. Why did you become a Case Manager?
What you want to hear: This question gives your candidate a chance to describe their work experience, personal background and interests. Their journey to a career in Case Management may stem from a personal motivation or an internal calling. In general, ensure that the candidate is truly passionate about supporting others during times of mental and physical hardships.
Red flag: A Case Manager who does not in a job interview show an abundance of compassion for the challenges of others is not well-suited to this role. If you spot anything less than the highest level of integrity and exceptional values you can expect substandard patient care.
2. How would you handle a frustrated or angry patient?
What you want to hear: At some point, a patient in discomfort may react in frustration or anger. Does your candidate have the interpersonal and communication skills to calm the patient and get to the core issue? Depending on the situation, a great candidate with appropriate training will find ways to empathize with a patient and draw on the appropriate resources for appropriate assistance.
Red flag: Find someone who won’t take things personally when engaging patients. This position requires working with people during extreme hardships, and emotions can often run high. A calm, compassionate, and professional demeanor works best in this role.
3. Are you willing to be on-call and work odd or inconvenient hours?
What you want to hear: Hardships can happen at any time, and Case Managers may have to work beyond typical job hours. A willingness to work weekends, holidays, and be on call shows an understanding of the position and their desire to excel in patient care.
Red flag: Be cautious of a candidate who doesn’t immediately recognize the importance of prioritizing patient care emergencies over personal commitments. Hesitation when answering this question is a red flag.
4. Have you ever advocated for a patient to receive specific healthcare services?
What you want to hear: The best candidates will have enough medical knowledge, observational skills, and work experience to determine if consult with certain medical professionals is warranted for a patient. Look for a candidate who can provide specific examples of advocacy and outcomes.
Red flag: A candidate who lacks keen observational skills or doesn’t possess the assertiveness to ask difficult questions and follow through on their judgment is a risk for providing inadequate patient care.
5. What are the risk factors to look for when you suspect a patient abuse case?
What you want to hear: Candidates who are experienced in neglect or abuse cases know what to look for when observing a patient or hearing allegations from a third party. Their answer should include indicators such as physical injuries, a tendency toward withdrawal, being underweight or sickly, and fear of the caregiver in question.
6.What are the requirements for children to receive Medicaid?
What you want to hear: A qualified candidate should be able to recite the requirements for basic services such as Medicaid for children. For example, they might say the requirements are a child under age 19 and parental income within a stated range for household size. You can then expand a probe of the candidate’s knowledge by asking follow up questions about other health and social services requirements.
Red flag: A candidate who is not familiar with common legislative rules and guidelines may not possess the initiative required for this role. It is essential to ask questions that challenge a candidate’s knowledge of specific rules and guidelines.
7. Tell me about a time you made a difference for a patient.
What you want to hear: This type of situational question gives the candidate room to run in whatever direction they like. For example, they could describe a clinical success about when they spotted a condition that needed attention and resulted in a positive outcome; or they could share an interpersonal story about when they helped bring a patient out of depression after identifying the proper therapist; or they could discuss a financial win when they advocated and received care that was previously rejected by the insurance company. Look for a candidate who has stories to tell and who tells them with pride and enthusiasm.
Red flag: A candidate who doesn’t enjoy this questions may be lacking the general passion needed to succeed in this healthcare services role. A subdued response suggests they might bring the same attitude to patient care.
Every interview question can help get you closer to the right fit for your Case Manager position.
Be sure to keep an eye out for candidates who are:
- Compassionate and eager to help people
- Able to manage a team of care providers and suppliers
- Assertive advocates for their patients
Need help writing a Case Manager job description? Check out our Case Manager job description template.
In three words, how would you describe your approach to case management? Explain your choices.
What techniques do you use to help each of your patient’s cases get equal time and attention?
Share two examples of when you demonstrated cultural sensitivity while working with diverse patients in past cases.
What strategies do you use to encourage patients to change negative lifestyle behaviors?
Difficult cases may negatively impact your emotional well-being. What helps you stay positive and motivated at work?
Imagine you see a patient when shopping in the grocery store. How would you respond?
What interpersonal skills have you found useful to earn a patient’s trust?
What techniques do you use to explain complex medical conditions in a way your patient can understand it?
Conflict with a co-worker or supervisor is inevitable. Tell me about a conflict you experienced with a co-worker or supervisor, and how it was resolved.
What have you done in the last twelve months to improve your professional development as a case manager?