Typical questions
Typically, a wide variety of questions can be used to help gain information about a candidate’s job skills. Use these questions below as a guide to help you think about the questions you may be asked. Apply these questions to focus on a specific job’s skill requirements that you have applied for. Practise answering them in front of a mirror.

One of the interviewers will generally go through your previous training with you. You should have read the job description and have tailored your job application and interview answers to the job you have applied for.

Increasingly some hospitals ask for a presentation on a topic to be presented in a fixed time. If so this needs careful research and rehearsal. You should be warned of this before the interview.

Standard questions:

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • Why did you choose this hospital/university and how did you arrive at this decision?
  • What factors did you consider in choosing your speciality?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • Since you have been in medicine/orthopaedics/surgery, what is it that you are proudest of?
  • How have you changed personally since starting medicine?
  • Tell me about your training - good points, bad points?
  • What was your Best job - Why?
  • What was your Worst job - Why?
  • Tell me about your Hobbies/pastimes/adventures?
  • Of the hobbies and interests listed on your resume what is your favorite and tell me why?
  • If you could change a decision you made whilst in medicine/orthopaedics/surgery what would you change and why?
  • Tell me about your c.v. - some aspect, you need to be able to account for any gaps?
  • Describe a leadership role of yours and tell why you committed your time to it?
  • Give me an example of an idea that has come to you and what you did with it?
  • Give me an example of a problem you solved and the process you used?
  • Give me an example of the most creative project that you have worked on?
  • What work experiences have been most valuable to you and why?
  • What have the experiences on your resume taught you about managing and working with people?
  • How have your educational and work experiences prepared you for this position?
  • Give me a situation in which you failed, and how you handled it?
  • Where do you think your interest in this career comes from?
  • Why have you chosen this particular profession?
  • What challenges are you looking for in a position?
  • What goals have you set for yourself? How are you planning to achieve them?
  • What is your most significant accomplishment to date?
  • What motivates you?
  • What turns you off?
  • If I asked the people who know you well to describe you, what three words would they use?
  • If I asked the people who know you for one reason why I shouldn't employ you, what would they say?
  • Tell me how you have used study leave?
  • What is the best course you have attended - Why? What did you learn?
  • What was the worst course you have attended - Why?
  • Recent political or medical news developments?
  • What are your team-player qualities? Give examples
  • What methods have you used or would you use to assess student learning?
  • What characteristics do you think are important for this position?
  • Name two management skills that you think you have?
  • What characteristics are most important in a good manager? How have you displayed one of them?
  • We are looking at a lot of great candidates; why are you the best person for this position?

Increasing you may be confronted with more "modern" questions that are designed to make you think:

  • Describe a time in any job you’ve held when you were faced with problems or pressures which tested your ability to cope. What did you do?
  • Give an example to a time when you were unable to finish a task because to did not have enough information to go on. Be specific.
  • Give an example of a time when you have to be relatively quick in coming to a decision.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to use your spoken communication skills in order to get a point across that was important to you?
  • Can you tell me about a job experience in which you had to speak up in order to be sure that other people knew what you though or felt?
  • Give me an example of a time when you felt you were able to motivate your colleagues or subordinates.
  • What do you do when one of your people is performing badly, just not getting the job done? Give an example.
  • When you had to do a job that was particularly uninteresting, how did you deal with it?
  • Give me an example of a specific occasion when you conformed to a policy with which you did not agree.
  • Describe a situation in which you felt it necessary to be very attentive to your environment.
  • Give an example of a time when you have to use your fact-finding skills to gain information in order to solve a problem - then tell me how you analysed the information to come to a decision.
  • Give me an example of an important goal which you have set in the past and tell me about your success in reaching it.
  • Describe the most significant written document/report/presentation which you have had to complete.
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.
  • Give me an example of a time when you were able to communicate with another person, even though that individual may not have liked you personally.
  • Describe a situation in which you were able effectively to "read" another person and tailor your actions according to your understanding of their individual needs or values.
  • What did you do in your last job in order to be effective with your organisation and planning? Be specific.
  • Describe a situation in your job when you could structure your own work schedule. What did you do?
  • Describe the most creative work-related project which you have carried out.
  • Describe a time when you felt it was necessary to modify or change your actions in order to respond to the needs of another person.
  • What experience have you had of a misunderstanding with a customer or fellow employee? How did you solve the problem?
  • What did you do in your last job to contribute towards teamwork? Be specific.
  • Give me an example of a problem which you faced on any job you have had and tell me how you went about solving it.
  • Describe a situation in which you were able to influence positively the action of others in a desired direction.
NHS ISSUES (common for registrar posts but less so for senior house officier posts)

You can expect to be asked about the current issues about quality in the NHS, so have an articulate response to questions about clinical governance, appraisal, and revalidation. Know the full names for the acronyms (such as CHI, NICE, PEAT), the role of each body, and definitions of the jargon. It is a good idea to check out the GMC and NHS websites for the "party line" response. A tricky but not uncommon question is how you would deal with a colleague who has a drink or drugs problem or who is failing to perform. Ask your current consultant for advice on how to answer, as it will depend on the seniority of the doctor compared with you, and to some extent on local policies. 

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