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An interview is the chance to show a future employer why you are the best applicant for the position. The job of the interviewers is to select the most capable individual for the role. Preparation before an interview can be the key to being successful.

Before an interview

Researching and preparing for an interview

  • Understand the job and speciality you are applying for.
  • Know the current issues in the speciality.
  • Know the broader issues related to the speciality.

Develop a strategy

  • Why is this your ideal job/speciality, what is special about you?
  • What does the panel want to hear?
  • How do you want to feel and behave during the interview?
  • What are the unwritten rules that need to be considered?

Prepare answers to the following questions

  • What are your future plans?
  • Why do you want the job/position on this training programme?
  • What would you bring to the job?
  • Strengths/weaknesses?
  • What questions do you have?

Meeting with a consultant in the speciality you are applying for, and if possible meeting with an interviewer before the interview, can be beneficial.

"Think about what attributes you have and how you would suit this role. Review each key competency and think about how you can show you have the potential to fulfil each one with training. Give examples of situations you have been in. It is important to be honest and really focus on the areas you have shown potential in." Junior doctor, Auckland.

During an interview

Interviews can vary in type (eg, panel vs 1 on 1, formal vs informal) length and structure, depending on the speciality.

"The thing to remember is that they are looking for people who will come out of the training at the end as competent consultants, i.e. you aren't meant to be at that level yet but you need to show how you are the kind of person that would be." Junior doctor, Auckland.

"The ability of the applicant to answer the questions at the interview cogently, with good examples makes a real impact with the interview panel." Training programme co-ordinator, Auckland.

Typical interview questions 

  • Tell us about a time you were in a stressful situation or emergency situation. How did you distinguish the critical issues from the non-critical ones?
  • How do you balance work, home life and outside interests?
  • Give an example of people you have related well to in your practice.
  • How will the runs you've done so far help you with your [speciality] training?
  • What would you do if you didn't get in to this speciality?

Body language

Approx 10% of communication is conveyed by the words we say. What you say is essential to facilitate communication, however, what you do while you are saying it has a really powerful effect on the message that the other person receives.