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Interviews

Purpose:

The interview process has a variety of purposes, both for the interviewer and interviewee. These include:A woman is sitting and reading.

  • For you to sell your skills in person
  • For the interviewer to gain an idea of what you are like as a person
  • For the interviewer to explore your experiences, skills, and professionalism in detail
  • For the interviewer to ensure that you have the appropriate skills and attributes to train you in the specialty or core training that you have chosen


Different specialties and Deaneries organise the interview process in a range of ways, and you should be told what to expect when invited for interview. You may, for example, be given three short structured interviews at different stations, including perhaps a portfolio / CV station and a situational judgment station.

The interview allows you to show, after careful consideration of your specialty choice, how your skills match those required to be successful in your choice of career. Most importantly, during the interview process, you should try to remain calm, and to be yourself.

Preparation:

It is important, when preparing for an interview, to familiarise yourself with the person specification and job description. Think about how you will demonstrate that you meet the criteria for the post, and prepare in advance some examples of personal experiences that are relevant. For each experience, consider the following questions:

  • What process did you go through?
  • Could there have been alternative ways to reach the same result?
  • How did you develop from the experience?
  • Why was the situation significant to you?
  • Does the situation highlight any additional skills that you would like to share with the interview panel?

 

General Advice:

  • Make sure that you know your CV and application inside out as you may be asked to elaborate on them
  • Think about things that you might have left out of your application, to make sure that you can easily respond to any questions regarding what else you may have done or be interested in
  • Ensure that you know what the job entails, why you are applying for it and why you want to work at that particular hospital or trust
  • Ideally, visit the department / hospital prior to your interview to see what it is like and to find out about any initiatives or projects that they are involved in
  • Think carefully about the range of non clinical skills and qualities which make you a good doctor
  • Use the job and person specification as a guide and think about examples for each point evidencing the attributes that the panel are looking for
  • Ensure that you know where you are going and the time of the interview so that you are able to arrive in plenty of time

 

Handling the Interview:

The interviewer will also be looking at the way you present yourself as well as your achievements both academically and professionally. It is important to create a good first impression through your physical presentation and manner.

  • Dress appropriately and professionally, it is better to dress more formally
  • Smile and be friendly, as it is important for the interviewer to know that you will be easy to work with
  • Look at the interviewers and make sure that you make eye contact
  • Think about your answers carefully before you give them. If you answer too quickly, it is easy to become muddled and for you to forget what you really want to say
  • Body language and tone of voice are important, make sure that these are open and friendly
  • Depending on the type of interview, the panel may ask about: your knowledge of the training programme; your education, and academic record; experience; extra curricular interests; ambitions; strengths and weaknesses
  • Ensure that everything written in your application and on your CV can be justified and discussed with specific examples
  • Be prepared to be challenged - Why? Why not? What happened?
  • Be prepared to explain gaps and alterations and to admit to errors, however be positive and back this up with what you have learned from the experience
  • Remember to use the STAR model:

 

Situation - Put the situation into context: briefly describe the situation so that the example can be clearly understood

Task - Go into more detail: when, where, how many, how often...

Action - State what action you actually took - what was your contribution?

Result - Describe the outcome: what were the positive / learning points? How did you reflect (evaluate) the situation?

 

Use the sample questions to help prepare you for your interview

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