Many of you will be busy preparing for that important next job. Your next step will be to think about and prepare for upcoming job interviews. Regardless of the stage of training that you are at, it’s important to revisit and brush up on those interview skills. In this post, we asked six consultants to give us their top 10 job interview tips.
We have also published a blog post on the job interview process with some tips on how to dress for an interview, how to answer interview questions (whether these are clinical or behavioural-based), and the importance of non-verbal communication.
Here are the top 10 job interview tips from six medical consultants we’ve spoken to.
“A medical student would not walk into a viva without practicing all the various types of cases that she or he could possibly get. It would also be unwise for a medical student not to find out what was on the exam in previous years.
In the same way, you must research and practice your interview techniques so they are polished and ready for the day of your job interview.
Paul Hamor, Respiratory Physician and Network Director Basic Physician Training
“In theory, there is an infinite number of questions that you can be asked in an interview. In practice, you know you’re likely to be asked a variation of some of the following questions:
You’ll also be asked a clinical question, which aims to identify whether you are a safe practitioner or not.
If you don’t practice your answers to these questions you’re setting yourself up to disappoint. None of us, particularly in medicine, are well-versed at presenting ourselves in interviews. I’d suggest sitting down with these five questions and brainstorming dot-point answers for each. In private, try putting them into sentences to give short, succinct, informative answers. Then, recruit a trusted friend, relative or partner to ask you these questions. Practice giving answers as well as asking for feedback.
Finally, and most importantly, take a deep, calming breath in and out, and discard your rehearsed answers. When you’re in the interview you’ll need to really listen to the questions you’re asked. Your practice will support you to give good answers to the questions you get asked, not just the ones you rehearsed for.
On the day, take a few moments before walking in to get your head in the right place. You are a serious, credible doctor who has the right skills for the job and would be an asset to the service. Don’t be flippant or make jokes. Make it easy for someone who doesn’t know you to trust you with the care of their family member.”
Chris Elliot, Consultant Paediatrican and Conjoint Lecturer, School of Women’s & Children’s Health
“Practicing out loud is one of the most important things you could do. Also, answering the question in a measured, succinct and reflective manner creates the best impression possible.
I would also add, take the interview process seriously. Don’t rush or be late. Make sure you have all necessary and requested paperwork ready to give to administration.”
Nhi Nguyen, Senior Staff Specialist Department of Intensive Care Medicine at Nepean Hospital
and Clinical Advisor Intensive Care NSW, Agency for Clinical Innovation
“Treat the clinical question like it is a viva. Take a minute to think about and organise your answer into ‘headings’ in your mind.
You will usually be asked, “Do you have any questions?” Have a good one that shows you are serious and have prepared for the interview.”
Bruce Way, Senior Emergency Consultant and Co-director of Prevocational Education and Training
“My tip is to ask a friend to film you on your phone or tablet answering one or two questions. Especially a question you haven’t considered before. On playback you will be able to see how you come across and eliminate any habitual responses or mannerisms.
Common responses are: saying “um” too much, bad posture, nervous facial and hand movements.
You want to appear as calm and unfazed as possible even if you don’t feel like this on the inside. But if you are asked a question on a topic you have a passion for, then show your enthusiasm!”
Kerrie Jones, Senior Emergency Consultant and Senior Lecturer in Emergency Medicine, Flinders University
“I would suggest that doing your homework about a hospital or region is really important. You should know something specific about the site you are applying for and be able to speak about the benefits that working there can offer. We really like to hear why you have chosen to apply to this specific site, and what we can offer that you are really excited about.”
Lauren Cone, General Practitioner and Senior Lecturer in Medicine
“Check the venue and plan how to get there. Allow yourself enough travel time. Check the venue address to make sure you’ve got it right and don’t turn up to the wrong hospital.”
“Tell your referees which jobs you are interviewing for and send them the latest copy of your CV because this makes it much easier for them to talk about your skills and attributes when they get that call.”
“Dress like your favourite, sharply-dressed consultant.”
Chris Elliot, Consultant Paediatrician
This blog post was originally published on Sunday, 14 August 2016. These job interview tips remain relevant today.