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Tips and Techniques to Succeed at Your Medical Interview (nhs Consultant Interviews, St Interviews, Fy Interviews or Gp Interviews)

May 23, 2011 Posted by

Tips and Techniques to Succeed at Your Medical Interview (nhs Consultant Interviews, St Interviews, Fy Interviews or Gp Interviews)

Medical interviews (ST interviews, consultant interviews and GP interviews) can be daunting if you are unprepared. Here are a series of medical interview tips that you can apply to ensure that your answers stand out.


1 – Keep your answers between 1½ and 2 minutes


No one can listen to a speaker for more than 2 minutes unless that speaker is absolutely fascinating or has some visual aids to help retain concentration. There is therefore no point in giving answers that are much longer otherwise you run the risk or boring the interviewers.


2 – Avoid long introductions. Answer the question directly


In my experience of interviewing and coaching candidates for interviews, I have always been struck by how few people actually answer the question directly. At an interview, it is crucial that you get to the point quickly, that you address the core of the question and that you avoid lengthy introductions that serve no purpose other than allowing you to buy time.


3 – Structure your answers in 3 or 4 points


One of the problems that plague interviewees is lack of structure in their answers. This makes it difficult for the interviewers to identify the different ideas that are being presented.


The human brain finds it difficult to remember more than 3 or 4 ideas at a time, so there is no point giving your interviewers 10 different ideas in the same answer. It will only confuse them. Stick to 3 or 4 points maximum. If you feel that you need to use more points to say what you want to say then your answer needs to be structured differently.


4 – Illustrate each point with examples from your experience


Making broad statements not only makes you sound vague, and at worst arrogant, it also makes it difficult for interviewers to differentiate you from other candidates. It is therefore crucial that you back up all the claims you make with examples drawn from your personal experience so that that there is no doubt in anyone’s mind about your abilities.


5 – Signpost each point clearly – Make your points clear


Once you have a structure in mind, make sure that it clearly shows in your answer and that the message that you are trying to convey is clearly announced clearly within each section that makes up your answer.


6 – Use power words


Selling yourself is not just about stating your message clearly and describing your experience. It is also about sounding confident, mature and, generally speaking, in control. Most people tend to understate their experience. In order to appear more confident, you will need to adopt a vocabulary which may be slightly different to that which you are accustomed to on a day-to-day basis, and which will sell yourself in an active and enthusiastic manner.


For example, Consider this sentence: “After a few attempts, I was able to reach a compromise with my colleagues” . On the surface, it sounds like a good thing to say. However, “After a few attempts” and “I was able to” sound weak. They make is sound as if the candidate didn’t try that hard or is not particularly proud of his/her achievement. The sentence could have a much stronger impact if it were reworded as follows: “Following several discussions where I encouraged my colleagues to review their position, I was successful in helping the team reach a compromise”. In this revised sentence, the words “encouraged” and “successful” present a much more proactive candidate and make a big difference in the manner in which the answer is being received by the listener.


7 – Talk about yourself rather than everyone else


Candidates who feel uncomfortable at interviews usually compensate by talking about everything else but themselves. They talk repeatedly about “we”, “the team” and, although it does present a good team playing attitude, it fails to tick the boxes when it comes to personal skills and competencies.


In your interview, it is perfectly fine to introduce some collective actions and say sentences such as “As a team, we were charged with conducting an audit on waiting time in A&E”, but only as an introduction to the rest of the answer, which should remain focussed on you and no one else.


8 – Bring objectivity into your answers


If you feel awkward talking about yourself or you don’t want to appear to be boasting, one good way to counter this problem is to bring objectivity into your answers. This can be achieved firstly by bringing examples from your experience into your answers but also by discussing the feedback that you have received, either informally or through 360-degree appraisal forms.


9- Avoid vague statements


Keep to statements that provide real information. Avoid vague statements such as “I went into paediatrics because I like it” unless you can back up your statement. What really matters is why you find it interesting or why you like it.


10 – Don’t bore them with spurious detail


Avoid going into too much detail when giving examples unless they have asked you to describe a specific example in the question. If you provide too much intricate detail, you will make your answer very long and you will create confusion by concentrating on one issue whilst the question may be much broader.


11 – Stay positive


Whether I coach people who are applying for ST, Consultant, Clinical / Medical Director posts or even higher up, many candidates incriminate themselves by delivering answers with a negative undertone right from the start. I have lost count of the number of people who start their answers to the question “What is your research experience?” by saying “Well, I haven’t done much research”; or those who describe their communication skills as “above average” i.e. nothing special. To make an impact, you must sell what you have rather than what you don’t have. If you don’t show that you believe in yourself then no one will.

Olivier Picard is the managing director of Interview Skills consulting,a firm specialising in interview skills coaching for all industries including medical interviewcoaching.

How to prepare the interview

May 15, 2011 Posted by

How to prepare the interview


Talk to your Elisjones Consultant and find out about the company offering the position, its job specification and the skills and experience required.

Do your Homework. Research the company. Check out their website, find out about their products and services. Compare your skills and experience against the job specification.

Make a note of any special skills or experience you have that matches the job specification that can validate your selection for the job.

Make a list of questions to ask the interviewer. Always let the interviewer know that you have researched their website, and tell them you have some additional questions. (Talk to your Elisjones consultant about the sort of questions that would be appropriate at this point.)

Plan your travel to the interview. Ideally arrive ten minutes early so that you arrive relaxed. (If taking public transport, take the earlier train or bus to allow for cancellations.)

Present yourself as the person you want to be. Look professional – smart, tidy and clean. For corporate positions wear a classic dark suit (including jacket) – make sure it is pressed and clean. Avoid sandals, sling back shoes and sneakers. Avoid unnecessary adornments like rings, bracelets and chunky earrings.

Be prepared to answer situational or behavioral questions related to the role. (Ask your Elisjones consultant if you are unsure.) For example for a customer service position you could be asked: “Can you tell me how you would handle a difficult customer who has a complaint.”

Know your strengths and weaknesses. Prepare yourself ahead – many of our weaknesses are also our strengths – so tell your interviewer this. For example – ‘attention to detail’ can be a strength and a weakness – it can slow you down if overdone. Avoid saying that you don’t have weaknesses. We all have them, so this wouldn’t be credible.

The Interview Itself

You have arrived at the interview location on time, well dressed and well prepared and your mobile phone turned off.
- Greet the interviewer with a friendly smile and a firm hand shake.
- Most interviewers will then endeavor to put you at ease by having a general chat prior to asking you questions.

Speak at a normal pace. Avoid speaking too fast. (Some people speak fast when they are nervous – be aware of this and slow your speech if necessary.)

Always look at the interviewer – keep eye contact as much as possible. Try to smile, as this relaxes you. Do not cross your arms. Lean forward slightly and show interest in the job.

Phrase responses in positive terms – avoid negatives. This presents you as an optimist rather than a pessimist. Answer questions in short descriptive phrases without waffling. Be precise and clear with your answers.

If you completed your preparation, you should now know how to answer your strengths and weaknesses if asked. Similarly you should be prepared for any behavioral or situational questions having checked with your EJ Consultant.

Closing the Interview

Avoid asking about remuneration until the end of the interview. Allow time for the interviewer to approach the subject first. Initially answer the question by saying – for example – “I believe the market range is -,000″. The reason for this is to allow the employing company to commit itself first with a guideline figure.

If an offer is made at the interview, and you are keen to accept the job – do so. However, if you are unsure – or you need to discuss the position further with your Consultant or partner, confirm your interest in the job and tell the interviewer that you would like to discuss the offer with your partner (or consultant) first before accepting.

If a job offer isn’t made – ask for the Job. Don’t be worried if the job is not offered immediately as there could be others to be interviewed.

Where the interviewer brings the interview to an end thank the interviewer for their time (and for the job offer – if made). Confirm your interest in the job.

Ring your Elisjones consultant and discuss any queries you have about the position that needs to be clarified. Provide feedback of your interest or otherwise in the position as soon as possible after the interview. Remember it is best if the consultant has your feedback before talking to the employer regarding their response. It demonstrates your enthusiasm for the role.


If you “forget” to turn off your mobile phone – ignore it and apologize to your interviewer – do not ask can you answer it.

Do NOT chew gum.


Sell yourself.

Remember you are a person with good skills and experience that fits the job on offer. Your Consultant believes in you – now believe in yourself.

Barbara Elisjones explains how we can change our beliefs and be the person we wish to be. Barbara owns and operates a recruitment company in Sydney, Australia ( ) and is a trainer in personal development.   She holds a Bachelor of Business and has been involved in training and career development for over 20 years.   See also blog:



Consultant Medical Interview preparation

April 17, 2011 Posted by offers comprehensive advice on how to improve your interview skills for a medical consultant interview and other senior medical interviews. The site contains almost all the potential medical interview questions and indicative answers. It also covers CV strategies with examples, pre interview visits besides covering the NHS issues extensively. So if you have enjoyed this video on medical interview preparation, then go over to http and take your medical interview preparation to another level.
Video Rating: 5 / 5