Interview Advice

Unlock Your Medical Interview Potential

Friday, 15 Dec, 2023

A comprehensive guide for specialty interviews

Going for your specialty interview is both an exciting and daunting time in your career. You’ve worked incredibly hard to get here and you deserve the success to come! Yet, as your interview date gets closer, the work that goes into preparing for it can feel like a whole new ball game.

As a doctor with over 30 years of experience across a range of medical roles, including working as a hospital administrator, I’ve sat in on hundreds of interviews, just like the exact one you’ll be attending. This gives me a unique perspective on how the interview process goes, and what your interviewers will be looking for. It’s the view from the other side!

When you walk into your specialty interview you want to feel as prepared as you can possibly be. You’ll need to be able to answer the questions you know you’ll be asked, be ready for any surprises, and be able to sell yourself as the best candidate. On top of that, you’ll need to be able to manage your nerves and boost your confidence!

I have a range of techniques and tools I give to my clients for interview preparation, including my unique approach called ‘The Five Fundamentals’. These fundamentals give you a solid foundation to rely on in your interview, even when you encounter questions you haven’t anticipated. 

I’m happy to report that I’ve helped many, many doctors succeed in their specialty interviews, and I hope this guide helps you with your own application!

Creating A Great CV

The very important first step! I don’t need to tell you that this is your foot in the door – and yes, as your first impression it needs to help you stand out.

So where do you start? What do you always need to include, and equally as important, what should you leave out?

There are some foundational sections you should always have, so let’s check them off. 

Essential CV Elements

  1. Name and contact details
  2. Career statement
  3. Education and qualifications
  4. Work experience/employment history
  5. Professional development

For a more detailed breakdown of each element, read more here ‘What Makes A Great CV In Medicine?’.

Prep For Success

Once you’ve sent your CV off and secured an interview, it’s time to knuckle down and figure out what you need to do to prepare for it. I’ve seen a lot of very experienced doctors who are fantastic at their jobs stumble when they come to their interview, which unfortunately sets their career back a few paces. With those doctors, I’ve identified common mistakes that seem to happen over and over again – you can read more about those here, with my article ‘Prep For Success’.

The good news is, if you wind right back and start with the basics your interview preparation becomes more focused and effective. You gain a lot of clarity; and with that comes confidence!

The Five Fundamentals

Through my years of experience with interviews, I’ve developed a unique framework to guide applicants through the interview process, called ‘The Five Fundamentals’. With this framework in place I’ve seen a lot of people succeed.

Getting your interview nailed down is more than just preparing answers for standard questions. I see this often and I can tell you, interviewers are looking for more – which is exactly what this framework covers.

The Five Fundamentals

  1. Identify your strengths and what makes you unique
  2. Get clear on the details of the job
  3. Prepare examples
  4. Work out how you’ll structure your answers
  5. Think about how to deal with interview nerves

Read more: The 5 Fundamentals For Interview Prep.

The Art Of The Example

One incredible tool for interviews? Giving a compelling example. Show the interviewers that you possess the skills they’re looking for, rather than simply telling them.

Interviewers have heard the same questions and answers, over and over, candidate after candidate. Creating interesting examples not only shows the interviewers that you meet the selection criteria – it makes them sit up and take notice! Sharing a relevant example is a great way to break up the monotony and help your interview stand out with an engaging story.

In this article, ‘The Art Of The Example’, I discuss the ways you can effectively use examples in interviews, and how to develop them during your preparation.

Battle Those Nerves

One of the most important pieces of the puzzle! Yes, examples are important. And yes, preparing answers is important too! But if you don’t walk into your interview feeling confident, with techniques to get those nerves under control, it will show.

First things first, let’s acknowledge that everyone gets nervous in these situations; it’s normal, and trying to eliminate them entirely isn’t helpful. 

My Top Tips

  • Get your 5 fundamentals in place
  • Practise talking as much as possible
  • Explore mindfulness techniques
  • Be prepared practically for the day (outfit, food and sleep!)

Interviewing for your specialty can be nerve-wracking, and requires a lot of preparation to increase your chances and stand out from other candidates. It’s also an exciting and important time in your career, and one that rewards your hard work, experience and education. 

Success starts when you acknowledge your dedication and skills, believe in yourself and your abilities, and surround yourself with people who get in your corner and cheer you on!

Medical Specialty Interview Resources

FREE DOWNLOAD 

The Step-by-step Guide to Job Applications and Interviews

Give yourself the best possible chance of success with this essential guide to the 3 unmissable steps when applying for jobs and going to interviews.

READ 

The 5 Fundamentals For Interview Prep

Discover the 5 foundational steps you need to follow to have a successful interview. Walk in with confidence, and a belief in your abilities that you can clearly show to interviewers.

COURSE

Excel At Interview Course

Excel At Interview is a self-guided, 3-module course, that utilises the unique framework that I teach in my private coaching. This is comprehensive preparation, as mindset and confidence are just as important as the practicalities!

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