Key interview topics

It would be nice to come to an interview and only have to talk about yourself and the things you've done in your life, but the truth is that you're going to have to prepare and learn things. The more you know, the better. Here are some tips and tools that can help you prepare better for your interview.

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Introduction

It would be nice to walk into an interview and just have to talk about yourself and the things you’ve done with your life – but the truth is, you’re going to need to actually prepare and learn things. We would argue that the more you know the better – the more you know, the less likely you’ll waffle and talk about irrelevant things just to fill the silence. You’ll be in a better position to give a solid and concise answer if you’ve been through a topic beforehand, even just briefly – for example, if you were asked about the relatively recent Junior Doctor Contract* debacle, would you be able to talk about it confidently and give solid points?

* If you’re reading this when the junior doctor contract debacle is ancient history, insert another relevant example above 🙂

Here are some of the topics and areas you should know well before interview-day:

  • Medical Ethics: Know the general principles, common scenarios, topics of debate and dilemmas.
  • Professionalism and Duties: Have a good grip of the ways a doctor should behave in a clinical setting – although you’re not expected to know guidelines off by heart, you should be able make decisions that are in line with guidance.
  • The National Health Service (NHS): Have an understanding of its development, key principles, reforms, structure, regulatory bodies, problems and role in society.
  • Personal Statement: Make sure you’re able to speak about any sentence or word you’ve written in a good amount of detail and be able to back it up.
  • Current affairs: Have a general awareness of what’s been happening in health news, and have one or two articles learnt in detail to facilitate any potential discussions during the interview. Know a mix of both bio-scientific news and the more political topics.
  • Famous diseases: You don’t need much in the way of actual medical knowledge, but it’s useful to be vaguely familiar with famous diseases like cancer, heart disease, dementia etc.
  • General piece of scientific writing: it’s useful to have one or two books or articles – things you’ve maybe read in the Student BMJ perhaps – that you can use to show your interests in medicine extend to the scientific realm.  Also, consider reading an interesting book on the history of medicine to give you a broader and deeper understanding of medicine as a field.

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