Career Advice

How to prepare for an NHS interview


An international doctors guide to preparing for an NHS interview

Your NHS interview is one of the key stages of the relocation process, so preparing for your interview is essential. To help you do this, we’ve written a blog on how to prepare for your NHS interview. We’ll look at:

The Structure of an NHS interview

Firstly, you’ll want to familiarise yourself with the structure of an NHS interview. Thankfully, most NHS trusts across the UK structure interviews in a similar fashion.

The interview lasts for around 30 minutes. A minimum of two members of staff will be present and it will usually be in the below format:

  • Introductions: The interview will open with introductions from those present.
  • Your overview: The panel will ask you to give them an overview of yourself. This can include any details about your employment history, career goals and qualities which make you suitable for the position.
  • Your speciality: Questions may consist of why you work in your speciality and what drew you to that speciality.
  • Maintaining good practice: There may be discussion about the areas that you feel you need to improve in, and how you maintain good practice.
  • Training and teaching: The interviewers may ask about your experience in training and teaching.
  • Management experience: The interview panel may ask you to discuss your experience in management, or your management skills.
  • Clinical scenarios: It’s likely that the panel conducting the interview will give you 1 or 2 clinical scenarios. If so, they’ll present you with the symptoms and details for a patient. They will then ask you to make a diagnosis and plan of action for that patient. Note that for junior doctors, this will most likely be a general scenario but for senior doctors, this is likely to be specialty specific.
  • Interviewee questions: The panel will give you the opportunity to ask any questions that you may have prior to the interview finishing. This is a great chance for you to ask questions about the hospital, the team/department and job role itself.

The interviewers are usually a mix of clinical and HR personnel.

Pre-Interview Preparation

It’s extremely important to prepare for your NHS interview as much as possible. In turn, this will minimise the chances of any mistakes occurring on the day and will increase your chances of everything going well.

We recommend that prior to your NHS interview, you:

  • Visit the hospitals website: You can find out information about the hospital, the services that they deliver and their values by visiting their website. It’s also a great place to find and read about any exciting news happening in the trust.
  • Research the interviewers: In addition to researching the hospital and department prior to your interview, you should also research the members of the interview panel that you will be meeting with. This will give you a better understanding of the team that you will be working with and will show the panel that you are thorough.
  • CV Check: The interview panel are likely to ask you about your experience and to answer questions based on your CV. It’s a good idea to thoroughly read through your CV and prepare to answer questions on any part of it.
  • Evidencing suitability: It’s always helpful if you re-read the job plan that you’ve received prior to your interview. You can then make notes of the areas highlighted by the hospital to be of importance. Refer back to your CV and list the reasons why you’re suitable for the role.
  • Practice interview techniques: It’s useful to familiarise yourself with the interview format and to practice answering questions on the spot. You may want to ask a friend or family member to do this with you. They can then help you highlight any areas for improvement.
  • Prepare questions to ask the interview panel: We would recommend that you prepare at least 5 questions to ask the interview panel at the end of the interview. Try to focus these on different areas such as clinical procedures, technology, training or department goals.

By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.

Benjamin Franklin

Preparation for your video call

There are several platforms which are used by NHS hospitals for interviews. These include Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype and Webex.

Once your interview has been arranged and you know which video conferencing platform will be used, we recommend that you familiarise yourself with it (this blog may help!).

Here are some other tips to help you prepare:

  • Make sure that you have the meeting link and details ready for your interview so that there are no delays in you joining the meeting.
  • Check that your computer is fully updated on the day prior to your interview. This will help you avoid any unexpected delays or technical issues.
  • Have your computer set up in a bright, clean room with as few distractions as possible.
  • Do a test call with the team at Doctors Relocate. This will help you check that your account is working without any issues.
  • Keep an hour either side of your NHS interview free. This will allow for any last minute changes or delays on your side or the hospitals.

Interview day: Things to remember

The final part of our how to prepare for an NHS interview article covers the interview day itself. Here are some things to remember on the day:

  • Be friendly in your introduction: You may be nervous, but introducing yourself in a calm, friendly manner will break the ice and help you feel more relaxed.
  • Smile: Smiling during your interview shows that you are confident, warm, friendly and enthusiastic. It’s a great way to show the panel that you have the potential to be a fresh, new addition to the team.
  • Body language: Your body language can speak volumes in an interview. Be sure to sit up straight, be positive, remain focused and keep calm.
  • Speak with all members of the interview panel: It’s important to speak to and maintain good eye contact with the whole interview panel. Many people advise interviewee’s to maintain eye contact with the person who just asked the question as they answer. Alternatively, others advise that interviewees should make eye contact slowly from one end of the panel to the other, looking at each person in turn as they answer.
  • Display your strengths: Demonstrate to the interview panel that you have the knowledge and experience required to be successful in the position that you are interviewing for.
  • Dress smartly: Be sure to dress comfortably but smartly for your NHS interview.

If you have any additional questions on how to prepare for an NHS interview, do reach out to our team by clicking here.

If you are interested in working in the UK, want to discuss available job opportunities or may have already begun your journey and need further advice, please contact our team today.