Blogs > NHS Recruitment Process

Interviews with the NHS

  • March 28, 2018

Getting invited to an interview with an NHS hospital means that you have passed the first hurdle – your CV demonstrated the right skills and experience and you have made a good impression. But now you must prepare for the interview. In this blog post we provide you with advice on interview preparation, the structure of an NHS interview and what to expect when you receive an offer letter.

Typically, the NHS prefer to interview IMG candidates via Skype as often during the interview process they are located across the world and cannot get to the UK easily. Although preparation is fundamental to succeeding in an interview, you will still feel nervous during the interview. But try to remain calm, confident, interested and remember to smile!

Interview Preparation

Although this is an obvious point, it is fundamental for you to thoroughly prepare for the day. Below is advice on the top six ways to meticulously prepare for an interview with the NHS.

  1. Understand the Job/Person Specification – It is important that you know the details of the job and person specification in detail. This way when you are asked about key competencies and clinical skills required you will not be left unsure. In addition, you can use your experience to demonstrate your fit for the role against the specification.

  2. Research – Carry out some research on the recruiting hospital and the department you are interviewing with. What is the hospitals CQC rating? What is their reputation? Are they facing any issues?

  3. Knowledge of the Interviewer – Find out about your interviewers academic/professional background and training. These details can be found on LinkedIn or on Google. Knowledge of these details will impress your prospective employer.

  4. Review your CV – Examine your CV to ensure that you are aware of all your stated skills, experience and achievements stated – as you will be questioned on these.

  5. Practice Frequently Asked Interview Questions – Use our list of frequently asked NHS interview questions below and practice your answers. Ask a friend or family member to help you as this will give you a feeling of preparation when asked in the interview itself.

  6. Prepare Questions to ask the Panel – It is advantageous for you to ask questions in the interview because it will appear you are interested and attracted to the position in question. Be careful not to ask for information that has already been provided to you or already discussed during the interview.

First Impressions

First impressions are the most lasting and the first thirty seconds of an interview are arguably the most important. So, the following tips will help you leave a positive impression on your prospective employer:

  1. Dress for Success – If your interview is via Skype and you are at home this does not mean that you should not dress professionally. Most hiring managers will form a prompt opinion based on your appearance (clothing) and how you carry yourself. Also, be aware of your body language as it can be difficult to keep focus in a Skype interview. Remember not to cross your arms and always give eye contact.
  2. Punctual – Prior to your Skype interview, ensure you have access to a computer and are logged in ready to connect with the hospital plenty of time before your interview slot. Not being online during your given slot will appear as disorganised and suggests a lack of respect for others. This could then reflect on your approach to the job itself and potentially jeopardise your chances of being offered the position. To avoid being late set an alarm, test your computer and internet connectivity the night before and find a quiet space to speak with a plain background.
  3. Positive Attitude – Your approach and outlook to the interview will portray your attitude to how you will conduct your job. If you are polite, inquisitive and display enthusiasm this will be appreciated by the recruiters as it will demonstrate your desire to help and care rather than an uninterested and apathetic individual.

Question Structure of the Interview

  1. Yourself –What qualities do you possess that make you suitable for this post? How do you manage stress? How would you know you are making progress in your training?
  2. Specialty – What factors influenced you to choose this area? What is the most interesting advance in this field? What do you enjoy most about this specialty?
  3. Maintaining Good Medical Practice – How do you maintain your practice? How will you know if your clinical practice is up to date? Are there any areas you need to develop further?
  4. Teaching and Training – Have you had any experience in training or teaching? How is teaching best done?
  5. Management – Do you have any management experience? How did you deal with people defying instructions?
  6. Clinical Scenario – The interviewer will prevent you with a patient-doctor scenario, they will give details on symptoms then ask you your diagnosis and action plan. For more senior Doctors this will be specialty specific but junior level Doctors may be given more general scenario.

Suggested Questions to ask in the Interview

What are the opportunities for career progression?
Can you give detail about the training opportunities?
What are my precise responsibilities?
What challenges will I face in the first six months?

After your interview

Whether you are successful or not, you should always ask your agent to ask your prospective employer for feedback so you can learn from the interview experience and improve for the future.

Offer Letters

If you are offered the position first you will receive a verbal offer and then a written conditional offer will follow which will be dependent on satisfactory completion of pre-employment checks. After you have received the offer letter you will then be asked to sign and send back the offer letter along with other requested documentation received in the letter pack. After you have passed the pre-employment check you will then receive an unconditional offer letter along with your contract of employment.

What information is checked in my pre-employment check?

  1. Identification Documents – The hospital will ask you to provide proof that you are eligible to work in the UK. For example, your Visa or immigration documents.
  2. References – References will be requested from you which will need to cover a minimum of three years from your current and previous employer/s.
  3. Professional Registration and Qualifications – As your role will require GMC Registration, the hospital will carry out a check with them and secure confirmation of the appropriate registration. Where a GMC Registration check has been confirmed you will not be required to verify your qualifications separately. However, all qualifications which are not associated with the GMC will be requested separately.
  4. Criminal Record and Barring Checks – Employers are required to check whether you have a criminal record, however, your offer of employment will be subject to a satisfactory disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS Check). Before completing the criminal conviction questions ensure to read the guidance for the filtering of convictions and cautions which can be found here. Similarly, if you have a criminal record and are unsure what might be revealed about you if you follow the previous link it will provide you with guidance and clarity.

Salary and Uplifts

Salaries and uplifts will be dependent on experience and we will work on your behalf to negotiate the best salary for you.

UK Income Tax

When you move to the UK and receive your pay from the hospital you will have to pay Income Tax. Everyone in the UK has something called a Personal Allowance, and this is the amount of money you can earn each tax year before you pay your Income Tax. The tax year runs from 6th April to 5th April and from April 2018 the standard personal allowance will increase to £11,850. If you earn less than this amount in a year, you will not have to pay Income Tax.

Income Tax is collected by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs on behalf of the government. The money from the tax is used to help provide funding for UK public services such as the NHS, schools, the welfare system and housing.

Everyone pays a different amount of Income Tax to make paying tax as fair as possible, so that those who earn the most contribute more. Income Tax is made up of different bands meaning that as your income increases, so does the amount of tax you pay. The below table shows the rate of Income Tax you pay anything over your Personal Allowance.

Taxable Income Rate of Tax
£0 - £11,000 0%
£11,001 - £43,000 20% (basic rate)
£43,001 - £150,000 40% (higher rate)
Over £150k 45% (additional rate)

In addition to Income Tax you will also be responsible to contribute to National Insurance. These payments will go towards state benefits and services, such as the State Pension, NHS, unemployment benefits, sickness and disability allowances, maternity allowances. You will begin paying National Insurance once you earn more than £157 a week and the rate you pay depends on how much you earn.

  • 12% of your weekly earnings between £157 and £866
  • 2% of your weekly earnings above £866

Your National Insurance contributions will be taken off with your Income Tax before your employer pays your wages.

If you are an IMG who is looking to relocate to the UK and wants guidance on your PLAB, GMC Registration or help applying for jobs send your CV to [email protected] and one of our Specialist team will be happy to assist you.


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