Have you got your ST3 or ST4 medical interview coming up? Being interviewed for an Internal Medicine Training (IMT) post in 2020 and want to know what to expect? Looking for an idea of the interview questions and answers?
This comprehensive article welcomes all readers with its detailed information about medical interviews and provides advice to help candidates prepare for interviews for any medical position but especially for Higher Specialty Training posts.
A medical career can be enormously fruitful. However, it should not come as a surprise that the medical interview process in the UK is extremely complicated. Application will be through the Oriel system where you register, view and apply for vacancies as well as arrange your interviews and manage offers.
Competition is high this year creating a challenge to get into your first choice placements in ST3 or ST4. Therefore, it is vital that you prepare meticulously and efficiently for your interview, regardless of your level or experience.
A word about Core Medical Training for 2020
As you may know, medical recruitment has changed with Internal Medicine Training (IMT) replacing Core Medical Training (CMT). The IMT program now forms the first three years of post-foundation training. This new program is intended to help you progress to become a medical registrar and provide you with the competencies required to manage difficult and common patient cases presenting with a wide range of medical scenarios and conditions.
What to Expect in Your ST3 /ST4 or IMT Interview in 2020
As mentioned above all applications will be made through the Oriel portal. Once assessed you should be given at least seven working days notice of the interview, and you will be informed in advance of the interview or selection centre what kind of format it will take and the number of stations you are likely to encounter.
Most interviews will be conducted via a formal face to face interview in front of a panel. The structure and content of ST3/ST4 and Internal Medicine interviews will be consistent, in other words each candidate will face the same format and questions.
The interview process uses a multiple station format sometime called Multiple Medical Interviews (MMI). You will take part in three separate interview stations, where a panel of two recruiters will ask questions to test your portfolio, skills and experience.
You will attend 3 different stations as follows:
- Station 1: Evidence and Suitability for the Speciality
- Station 2: Clinical Scenario and Communication
- Station 3: Ethical Scenario and professionalism & governance
The total time at the interviews will be about 45 minutes made up of 10 minutes at each station and 5 minutes to get from one to the other. However, this may vary a little from one speciality to another.
At each of the three stations, you will be asked a series of questions and we look at these in more detail below. Keep in mind too that they will check your documentation and confirm your eligibility.
During your interview, you will be assessed on different aspects of your application and scored accordingly by of the two interviewers. There will be a maximum score of 60 available.
ST3 / ST4 and IMT Interview Questions to Prepare For
Station 1: Evidence and Suitability for IMT
At this first station your application form and training to date will be reviewed. In addition, they will want to see your portfolio and they will also check the documentation you have brought along to ensure all content on your application form is correct.
Questions to expect:
Be prepared to expand on the answers given in the application form and for competency questions exploring the selection criteria as detailed on the Person Specification.
We suggest preparing for an answer to the top generic questions including Tell us about yourself and why have you chosen medicine. While they may not come up in that form, by preparing answers you will refresh your memory and will have good base responses correctly structured.
Expect questions exploring your motivation, reasons for applying and how you see your career developing. At this station the interviewers will examine your portfolio and ask questions on it.
For example, here are some typical interview questions:
- What makes you suitable for this post?
- Why should we choose you for a career in medicine / this speciality?
- Describe how you meet the person specification.
- Why have you chosen medicine / this specialty?
- Why have you applied for this position?
- What skills will you bring to this position?
You should expect interview questions exploring your clinical experience to date along with the personal skills outlined on the Person Specification. These include Communication Skills, Problem solving and Decision Making, Empathy and Sensitivity etc. For these, prepare using competency based questions with examples of situations where you have demonstrated these skills.
For example here is a question exploring communication:
Q. Describe a situation in which your communication skills were essential to the effective care of a patient. What did you do and what was the outcome?
Station 2: Clinical Scenarios and Communication
Expect one or two hypothetical and behavioural based questions exploring what you would do in certain clinical situations.
You will be given the scenario prior to arrival at the station so you will have time to get your thoughts and ideas together.
There are a limited number of scenarios they can ask about and we have included the most common in the training. For example, dealing with shortness of breath, cardiac arrest on the ward, pulmonary embolism are just three that are covered.
Be ready for follow on questions exploring your in-depth clinical theory knowledge.
You will also be assessed on your ability to communicate with patients, colleagues and family members during the scenario.
Station 3: Ethical Scenario and professionalism & governance
Prior to arrival at station 3, you will be given details of the ethical scenario to review and to prepare for further discussion at the station.
The ethical scenario, deals with consideration of the moral, ethical, legal, etc. issues of a particular situation and will cover a range of topics such as confidentiality, consent, autonomy and behaviour.
Following the ethical scenario section will be discussion of professionalism & governance and this will be prompted by a short question (often a single sentence) provided by interviewers; this will not be given to you before arriving at the station – this will be given verbally by interviewers once discussion of the ethical scenario is finished.
This section of the interview is designed to assess your demonstration and understanding of professionalism and governance in a given situation and you should familiarise yourself with the GMC Good Medical Practice guide as this will underpin your answers.
Review also the ethical scenarios and answers in the InterviewGold training to learn formulas for answering.
Make note that some specialties such as Cardiology will ask you to give a short presentation. You maybe be given the topic in advance or it maybe be given on the day. They will be looking for content as well as a demonstration of string communication skills.
Top Tips for Your Interview Preparation
Thorough preparation is a essential for success in your medical interview. Following are some tips to help you prepare your interview:
1. Revisit your application form and CV, bring your portfolio up to date.
2. Bring yourself up to speed with the Person Spec and the personal skills required. Refresh your memory about past experiences where you have used those skills.
3. Read the GMC Good Medical Practice Guide and be ready for questions exploring ethical and professional dilemmas.
4. Know yourself, your skills, accomplishments, strengths and weaknesses.
5. Know the clinic, trust or hospital, its reputation, performance and problems.
6. Anticipate the questions and prepare your answers including appropriate examples.
7. Conduct a mock interview with a colleague or friend to practice your answers beforehand.
Get Sample Answers and Correct Formulas from InterviewGold
A high scoring answer does not only depend on correct content, but also how well you structure it. With the InterviewGold online medical course you get questions, sample answers, formulas and a whole range of tools to help you practice and prepare. Here is just some of what you get:
- Interview questions and sample answers for your post
- Clinical and Ethical scenarios
- Clinical questions
- Competency questions exploring the skills on the Person Specification
- Structures and correct formulas to use
- Easy Answer Builder to create and save your answers
- Comprehensive online training course at your fingertips
- Essential background and hot topics including Covid-19 and Infection Prevention and Control