Preparing for NHS interviews - Guidance, Advice and Top tips
Updated: Feb 17, 2022
Hi, we are Himani and Shri, NHS doctors and IMGs from India. Today we will share with you important information about NHS interviews and give some useful tips.
Think of an NHS interview as a smooth flowing conversation between colleagues (which you are aspiring to be) while being mindful and respectful of the fact that you are most likely speaking to your future consultant. The interview is by no means supposed to feel like an interrogation or examination.
NHS interviews are a simple and straightforward exercise meant to assess the best fit for a job on offer. Receiving an invitation to an interview means that you have crossed the initial hurdle of impressing your prospective employers/consultant on paper, now all that remains to be done is prove that you are just as amazing in person. The interviewers are looking to gauge the truth in the claims that you have made in your CV and will employ a variety of ways to assess your soft skills (effective communication, ability to display empathy, integrity, knowledge of the duty of candour) as well as your clinical skills.
When you receive invitations to interviews, do ensure that you keep yourself available on the said date and time. In the event that there is a clash between two invitations, be honest and make arrangements for a change of date and/or timing. Many recruiters will be happy to make alternate arrangements. Both virtual and face-to-face interviews provide the candidate with an opportunity to present the best version of themselves. Dressing formally boosts your self-confidence and creates a great first impression. Some invitations may include instructions such as the need for an ID proof or document to be kept ready for checking during the interview. Make sure that you’ve read the instructions well and prepared yourself accordingly.
Prior to the interview, go through Medical Interviews (3rd Edition): A comprehensive guide to CT, ST & Registrar Interview Skills (author - Olivier Picard) to acquaint yourself with the variety of questions you may be asked. It helps form some ideas or jot down some things you would like to discuss when these questions are posed in the interview as spontaneity does not come naturally to many. A general understanding of the concepts of Clinical Governance, Evidence-based medicine, Audit cycle and Research will help answer specific fact-based questions.
Your invitation may also mention the names of the interviewers. Prior to appearing for the interview, it helps to know who you will be talking to, what they have already accomplished, what their area of expertise is and how it aligns with the sort of experience you are looking for. Going prepared with this information will stand you in good stead as it shows that you have a genuine interest and that you have gone above and beyond in portraying it.
You may also make a brief introductory pitch for yourself as most interviews start with a “Tell me about yourself.” The interviewer has thrown the floor open to you with this question and this is your moment to succinctly convey your level of experience, your clinical acumen, outstanding achievements, aspirations, what makes you stand out from the rest and how you are the person they are looking for. Thinking of what you would like to include in your introduction will also give you lots of salient points to discuss throughout your interview.
On the day
On the day of the interview, make sure that you have accessed the particular platform being used (such as Zoom, MS teams, Skype) and made a test call well ahead of time to rectify any audio/video issues. This minimizes technical glitches and interruptions during the session. Login in 15 -20 minutes ahead of time and be calm and composed during these final minutes before the interview. Avoid any last-minute cramming of information as it will only add to the confusion.
Lastly, remember to keep it light. The interview is by no means supposed to feel like an interrogation or examination. Think of it as a smooth flowing conversation between colleagues (which you are aspiring to be) while being mindful and respectful of the fact that you are most likely speaking to your future consultant. Many of us come from a culture where the hierarchy in the medical team leads to the consultant seeming a distant, stern entity that needs to be feared. However in the NHS all members of the team share great camaraderie and are very approachable, so bear in mind that they are there to help you grow and develop in your field of interest so long as you can be a safe, reliable and honest junior doctor.
1. The interviews are mostly conducted online via Zoom, Microsoft teams etc. You will be required to have your camera on, so ensure your camera, mic and internet connection is working well before the interview.
2. Even though it is an online interview it is important to dress formally. So put on your best outfit.
3. As easier said than done, be confident. It is crucial that you present yourself as a confident person to the panel.
4. While preparing for the interview, make sure to study the job description and person specification provided with each application well. Addressing the points mentioned in these documents will create the impression that you are interested in the particular job and you would be able to present yourself component enough for the job.
5. In most interviews you will be presented with the following questions:
Introduce yourself / walk through your CV
Clinical scenarios (based on the speciality)
Question on why you have chosen this speciality and this hospital
Mistakes you have made in the past or saw someone commit and how you handled the situation
Challenges that you are anticipating with regards to moving to the UK
In the end, you will be given the opportunity to ask questions.
6. After the interview is finished - relax, breathe, you have done your best. Now wait for a response from the hospital, this varies from trust to trust. At times you might receive a response within a few hours or days.
If you have any questions about NHS interviews, we would be happy to answer them at trewlink.com.
Dr Himani & Dr Shri