Hi, my name is Nalin. I am a consultant paediatrician working in Portsmouth and I have also helped hundreds of doctors to prepare themselves successfully for their various medical interviews and what I'd like to do now is to give you - for free - some advice to help you to arm yourself with just a few of the strategies that I gave them. Please take the time to read this carefully. This is likely to be different from the "standard stuff" that gets rehashed over and over again. It is based on the psychology of selling and a study of selection theory and the principles in this course will help you whether you are applying for a medical school post, ST interview or consultant interview. The skills and strategies that I want to share with you work amazingly well to help you answer any interview question they throw at you with a structured and well delivered response
Problems Preparing For Medical Interviews
One of the problems I had when I was preparing for my consultant interview was that I didn't really know the rules of the game. And because nobody had told me the rules, I didn't know that there were loop holes in the system either. Nobody told me any of this. I was supposed to "just know"
I also didn't know where or how to start preparing. Did I start by reading all about the thousands of NHS issues, or did I just get my consultants and friends to start firing questions at me? How was I meant to start finding out all the necessary information? There was almost too much information available about everything - and none of it was really what I needed
Now I can usually keep quite a cool head under pressure and am not bad at speaking in front of an audience, so I figured that if I just went on one or two (I went on two) of the big London medical interview courses, then all I had to do was turn up for my consultant interview and it would all work out all right
Well, I won't go into the details here, but I crashed and burned ... badly. But worst of all ... I didn't really understand why I had performed so badly. The medical interview panel's feedback wasn't particularly helpful. Just very general comments like - "it wasn't your day" or "you did very well, but..." - Nothing that I could really work on
I was truly dejected at that point. I don't think that I have felt lower about my medical career than at that point. I wasn't sure if I was ever going to be good at "selling" myself at an interview. I am not naturally good at boasting about myself and didn't feel comfortable about that idea at all
However, I didn't want my medical career to become stagnant and decided that I would start to study the process - really intensively. I read book after book, spoke to loads of people and spent ages thinking through what I had learnt and finally came up with a system for preparing myself to be able to answer any medical interview question and score marks. The system was designed to train me and my thinking in line with the principles of sales and selection theory
I discovered that in order to sell yourself effectively at your medical interview, you basically need a specific set of thinking skills. These aren't that hard to develop, but until you develop them, you will always be fighting for second place
Some people naturally have these skills - these are those irritatingly "lucky" people who seem to have the knack of sparkling at their medical interviews even though you know that they weren't the best candidate for the post - ever met anyone like that?
I worked out plans for answering various different types of medical interview questions. I developed a system for preparing for a medical interview using all of the best principles set out from all of the books that I had read. The system allowed me to properly prepare, so that I knew how to sell it optimally, no matter what interview question thrown at me
Here is a quick (12 minute) tutorial on what I call the inner game of medical interview preparation
I would really like you to take the time to view it - make notes on anything that make sense - and then APPLY what you have written down. You may not appreciate how profound the information within this tutorial is - but it is really at the core of how you can take your medical interview preparation to a significantly higher level than your competitors
Because of the profound nature of this advice it applies at whatever grade of medical post you are applying for - whether it's a consultant interview, ST interview, GP interview, medical school interview - it does not matter.
Please take the time to view your tutorial. I hope that you don't make the mistake of thinking that because I am giving it to you for free, then it can't be worth much - this is really powerful information, that nobody ever tells you. I don't want you to run into the same problems that I had and I hope that by following the advice in this tutorial you will find yourself better prepared for your medical interview and so less nervous and obviously more successful
My Portsmouth consultant interview itself was actually quite fun. I was playing the game strategically and in many ways better than the interview panel. They threw all sorts of questions at me and tried to push me into various different corners and into deviously dug holes, but I had already prepared my escape plans for every one of their traps - and more than that - I got out looking good and scoring marks
After I secured the post, I started coaching friends and colleagues at work. They too started to become successful at their medical interviews. There was one doctor, who got shortlisted for interview after interview, but always failed at that final stage. He was a good doctor with a reasonable CV. But, like many of us, he wasn't very good at selling himself - (actually he was awful)
I spent a couple of hours with him one evening, before he was going to take a week off to attend three interviews. He came back troubled - he had been successful at all three interviews and now didn't know which one to accept!
I then decided to coach doctors professionally. I joined one of the big medical interview coaching companies in London. I was training lots of doctors and discovering what problems many of them were facing. With a few tweaks, it was easy to make noticeable improvements in their medical interview performances
However, I learnt that you can't get these skills from just attending a medical interview course. Although, I was one of the lead clinical trainers for a leading medical interview course company. The structure of the course was largely determined by the course director.
Now, the purpose of a live interview course is really to help you fine tune your preparation. They aren't really set up to organise your preparative thinking from the bottom up. Don't get me wrong - I think live medical interview courses are an immense help, but only if you have done the basic preparation FIRST.
You wouldn't want to spend almost £300 to travel to London and sit there to do some thinking, would you? No, when you spend £300 and travel to London to spend some time with a live trainer, you want that person to ask you questions and listen to your answers - not give you a lecture
I got frustrated, as I wanted to help my students to prepare properly, but in a live, 15-person medical interview course, there was so much to do that I wasn't allowed to spend more than an hour teaching the theoretical aspects of medical interview preparation. This was quite appropriate as when you spend £300 to attend a live interview course, you really should have done most of your thinking already. The challenge is that nobody tells you how to organise your thinking to sell yourself at your medical interview
I also noticed that many doctors were making similar mistakes in their medical interviews. Most of these mistakes are relatively easy for you to avoid. I have created a handout to help you to avoid 5 of the most common medical interview mistakes that doctors make in their medical interviews
All you have to do is fill in the form below with your name and email address and I will email you the handout to you.
Students would often get nervous about their medical interviews and want me to give them tricks to help them with their nerves. However, I wanted them to spend 5 or 6 hours eliminating the fundamental reasons why they were nervous, rather than just plastering over their problems with tricks
The major reason why you get nervous in a given situation is not because of the situation, it's because that the situation takes you beyond what you are comfortable experiencing. Most of you will be able to do things that appear dull to you, but would make most non-medical people sweat with nerves. Whenever you take blood, or do a lumbar puncture or CPR, you are doing something that you have had experience and training in. So it doesn't appear nervous. You didn't need a bunch of tricks to help you cope with nerves - although they can be helpful - you needed to know what you are doing. You needed training and experience
Here is another (FREE) tutorial on how to develop answers for the drunk doctor question. Hopefully, after viewing it, this question - which seems to worry many candidates - won't be quite so daunting. There are actually quite a lot of hidden lessons within this tutorial, but I couldn't explain it fully as I wanted to keep it short as I realise how valuable your time is
The problem is that most medical recruitment is done on the cheap. Most of the people who are on the interview panel, don't really understand what they are doing - really. The vast majority of those that I have spoken to who have been on selection panels have had no formal training!
Nobody tells you the rules, because nobody has ever spent time thinking about what they are. The "rules" haven't been deliberately created. They have just evolved and are based in human psychology.
The real challenge for medics is that much of our training that we have been through will kill us in an interview setting. If you discuss your candidacy like a scientist - you will die in an interview
But nobody tells you what you really need to do. Even when you get some advice from a senior doctor, all you often get back is some basic and general advice about body language or how
"that wasn't so bad" or
"you'll be fine" and
"relax and try to be more confident"
What you really need is specific advice on how to be better
So, I went to work on developing a cutting edge resource to help medics like you to prepare yourself for your medical interview
I wanted it to be an audiovisual course, as I understood how effective learning requires multi-sensory input is, so I purchased and taught myself how to use some of the best e-learning software on the market. I also hired a BBC radio newsreader to do the voiceovers as I wanted you to experience a high quality learning environment.
In the online medical interview course you will learn:
|How to develop great content that will allow you to sell your skills in a way that meets their needs and stresses the benefits so that the interview panel feels unknowingly compelled to value your candidacy above the competition|
|How to enhance your own awareness of the elements of your candidacy that meet their three secret questions, by going through the thinking exercises in the workshops|
|Understand how to answer your questions using linguistic tricks that will deflect the attention of the interview panel so that they want to talk about the areas you want them to listen to - and not those that you don't feel|
|Strategies for dealing with questions on generic skills such as communication, team playing, team leading, being a good doctor, teaching and others|
|A variety of tactics for delivering structured answers to a variety of interview questions - this series of game plans is pure gold|
|Elements of image management (body language, how to shake hands, voice control, how to dress, etc) that will polish off your mental preparation and allow you to deliver your candidacy with style|
|How to answer any ethical question with style and substance using the principles set out in the GMC book Good Medical Practice - but taught to you specifically with the purpose of attending a medical interview|
|There are also a series of briefing topics on a variety of NHS topics|
What You Should Do
|If you have a medical interview coming up - either for a junior medical post, consultant post or even a medical school post, then I would encourage you to look through some of the videos and tutorials on this site. They're free and I really hope that you will find them valuable. It's more than the usual drivel that people give out|
|I have also created a separate online medical interview training course for you. This online course is a series of presentations, designed by me and delivered by a BBC newsreader, using some effective graphics, to help enhance your learning through both visual and auditory systems|
|In the online course, there are step by step guides explaining exactly how to prepare yourself properly for a medical interview. It has been used successfully by many doctors and students from all over the world. The course is aimed to quickly adapt your thinking for performing optimally in your medical interview
If you want to try it, just sign up and you can start your training in a couple of minutes
|You should then get a list of medical interview questions and start practicing answering those questions using the system in the online course
You could then attend one of the big, expensive, live interview courses, knowing that you will be able to use that day properly, because you will have executed your basic preparation plan and you will be using the day to polish off your skills in a live environment - this is really how those live interview courses should be used
Best of luck in your interviews!