The Interview

The interview
The interview is a structured process to ensure equality, fairness and a standardised process. This will mean that you will get very similar questions to the next candidate. The interview process is usually 4 stations with

a) portfolio station This is where your portfolio is assessed and a decision made about gaps in your CV, your edcuational acheivements. Please prepare for an open question like
i)” what are you most proud about in your CV?”
ii) Talk us through your CV.
iii) Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
This is not to see if you have grandeous ideas but to assess if you have a structured approach towards your goal. A year doing paediatrics, surgery, OBGYN and then psychiatry might look as though you might find it difficult to acheive your career goals. However this will not disadvantage you , if you can give a good explanation for your moves.

b) Clinical scenario : This is a standard clinical scenario usually aimed at foundation year 2/ ST3 level. If you are very experienced, it might be useful to show that you can recognize your limitations while displaying confidence in what you can do well. You might have put a temporary wire in a patient who comes in with complete heart block after an acute MI, but in the interview scenario, you might want to involve the ITU team and call for senior help.
Of course if you are applying for the post of interventional cardiologist, this does not apply.

c) Ethics and governance
This is usually assessed with a challenging question which most doctors will find challenging. There is usually a route that your peers will take and you need to be able to justify the route taken. eg Jehovas witness patient comes in bleeding, Patient with DKA refusing insulin. It has to deal with areas such as patient autonomy, capacity, benficience and non-malevolence

d) Aspirations
This is an open question to see where you fit into the trust and if the goals are aligned with what is realistically possible.

A couple of points about the interview. The interview is an artificial scenario and it is easier for the examiner to thinkof a couple of points you have not mentioned while you are racking your brains thinking about the rare causes of complete heart block. However the interview is not designed to test your in depth knowledge or ability to recite facts. It is designed to test
i) your clarity of thought. Can you work out a clear argument for arriving at your diagnosis, critical thinking to exlude alternatives and a clear justification for you management plan
ii) Your confidence – if you have dealt with a similar case you will be able to talk through the process
iii) your maturity in dealing with the situation

Structuring your discussion
A clear response to a question has a head body and tail ( An introduction, the meat of the discussion and a summary.) It would be helpful to practise answering questions in this manner.