Have you got your Speciality Training ST1, ST2, ST3 or ST4 medical interview coming up? Being interviewed for an Internal Medicine Training (IMT) post in 2023 and want to know what to expect? Being interviewed for a GP or senior medical post? Want to know the interview questions and how to answer?
This full 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 specialty training post. 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
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 IMT Interview
For this year, all interviews will be held online and the structure and content of interviews will be consistent among all regions; that is, regardless of where the interview is held, the interview will follow exactly the same format, will include the same questions and will cover the same areas of assessment.
For IMT applicants, the interview process will last circa 25 minutes, and you will be asked questions in 4 areas as follows.
- Clinical scenario (8 minutes) and patient handover (1 minute)
- Ethical question (5 minutes)
- Suitability and commitment (3 minutes)
- Application and training (3 minutes)
What to Expect in Your Specialty Training ST1-ST4 Interview
Most ST interviews, will consist of a single session of between 20 to 45 minutes.
Interview questions will be based on the person specification for your Specialty and could cover any of the areas within the person specification. Questions will cover the following broad areas or domains:
- Suitability and Commitment / Career Motivation
- Clinical Scenarios and Clinical Reasoning Questions
- Ethical Scenarios / Professionalism and Governance
- Communication – Role play or scenario-based question
- Reflective Practice – Also known as Insight
- Medical registrar suitability (ST3 applicants)
These will vary between Specialities with some assessing only Clinical Scenarios and not Ethical and vice versa. We include common scenarios for both within the InterviewGold system.
You will be assessed and scored on 6 areas in total with Clinical Scenario – investigations and diagnosis as one and Clinical Scenario – Patient handover as another. In addition, you will be scored on your communication skills. You will be scored by two interviewers on each question.
During your interview, you will be assessed on different aspects and scored accordingly by the two interviewers. There will be a maximum score of 60 available.
Key Interview Question Areas to Prepare For
1. Suitability and Commitment
This question will focus on your suitability for and commitment to training in the specialty and give you opportunity to expand on the information provided in your application form. You may also be asked about your interests outside medicine.
Sample Interview 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?
2. Clinical Scenario and Patient Handoff
Expect one or two hypothetical and behavioural based questions exploring what you would do in certain clinical situations. 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.
3. Ethical Scenario / Professionalism & Governance
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 may be a 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.
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?
Make note that some specialties such as Cardiology may 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.
Succeed In Your Medical Interview
With InterviewGold’s online medical interview course, you will learn how to succeed in your next interview. You get questions, answers and expert advice, all helping you practice and prepare quickly and easily. Start now and get instant access.
Senior Medical Interviews – What to Expect
Most GP and senior medical interviews and will continue to follow current standards. These will reflect recruitment practices which are fairer and which remove any element of bias from the selection process. Techniques such as competency and value based interviewing which have been used in large commercial enterprises for a number of years are now the norm in senior medical interviews.
You will be tested on your skills and to succeed you must approach your interview with a professional attitude even if you are being interviewed within your own Department and where you know the interviewing panel. You will be required to present a proficient demeanour at all times and remember all aspects of your appearance, communication, language and attitude will be under scrutiny.
Keep in mind that newer techniques such as strengths based and blended interviewing techniques may be used. These are designed to explore your suitability for a role at a particular level.
Senior Medical Interview Questions Examples
You will find lots of advice online and generally we find that the answers that work best are those which are structured correctly and which show your skills. In other words avoid giving theoretical answers unless specifically asked. It is much better to give examples from your daily rotas which show that yes you have the skills and competencies required.
Test yourself with these medical interview questions. Take a moment to reflect and see how you would answer:
1: Describe for us a time when you used your leadership skills to resolve a difficult patient situation.
2: Describe a recent patient interaction which shows your ability to create trust and what steps would you take to develop an effective relationship with your patient.
3: Tell me about a time when your communication skills played a key role in achieving a successful outcome. What was involved and what part did you play?
4: Describe a time when you felt frustrated during an interaction with a patient. How did you deal with this emotion both during the interaction and afterwards?
5: How would you go about ensuring that you improve the quality of the care you give to your patients?
6: Can you please detail a time when a new and different approach to your patient proved beneficial. What did you do and what was the outcome?
7: Describe a time when you felt you gave optimum care to your patient, what did you do that made the experience so good for your patient.
8: Now tell us about a time when you did not provide the level of care you wanted, perhaps a time when you made a mistake or would have handled a situation differently.
* Questions taken from the InterviewGold Interview System. With the system you will get accurate questions and sample answers for your level including those covering hot topics for this year.
Top Tips for Your Medical 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. While they do not ask to see your portfolio it is a useful tool specially as a record of audits completed, papers published or training received and given.
2. Bring yourself up to speed with the National Person Specification for your level. Make note of the essential criteria and the personal skills required. Refresh your memory about past experiences where you have used those skills as you may be asked to talk through an example which shows your skills in that area.
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. Become familiar with 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.
8. Make sure your video set is working well, the camera and mic are functioning. On the day, check the background and finally make sure you will not be disturbed during your interview.
Succeed in Your Medical Interview with 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 for all areas plus expert answer guides
- Clinical and ethical scenarios plus clinical questions
- Questions exploring motivation, career, reflective practice and communication
- Competency questions related to 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