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NHS Interview Questions with Answers

  • August 13, 2018

We are frequently asked what questions you will be asked during your NHS interviews, and often, for most, they do not know the right answer. When interviewing, there is never a “right” answer, but remember to be honest, remain calm, confident and interested in the position. In this article, we provide you with frequently asked questions in an NHS interview – and example answers that will impress your prospective employer.

Typically, the NHS prefers to interview IMG candidates via Skype as often they are located across the world and cannot get to the UK easily.

Remember to prepare for your interview in the following ways:

  1. Understand and know the job/person specification
    2. Carry out research on the recruiting hospital and the interviewing department and knowledge of the interviews academic/professional background
    3. Practice frequently asked interview questions
    4. Prepare questions to ask the interviewing panel

First Impression Tips:

  1. Dress Professionally
  2. Be Punctual to your interview slot
  3. Have a positive attitude

Frequently Asked NHS Interview Questions

  1. Tell me about yourself

This question will be asked at the beginning of the interview and is queried because the hospital want to hear about your employment history, training, education, your dreams (let them know they are in line with the position you are interviewing for) and any ties to the hospital or location you are applying to.

Tip: Try and convey your message in a few brief sentences.

  1. Where do you see yourself in five years?

This can often feel like a trick question, but it is important to be honest, while still providing the answers your interviewers want to know. Questions you should ask yourself before answering this question are:
-Do you have realistic expectations for your career?
-Are you ambitious?
-Does the position you are interviewing for align with your growth and goals overall

Our tip when answering this question is: Think about where this job role could realistically take you and then think about how that aligns with your professional goals.

Example Answer: “I am really excited about this Clinical Fellow Paediatrics position because, in five years, I want to acclimatise to the NHS system and work in a supportive department that will enable me to, in the future, either complete my specialist registration via CESR or apply for a deanery training post. My long-term plan is to stay in the UK and hopefully become a consultant.”

  1. If there was a misunderstanding between two colleagues what should you do?

In group settings, at some point, you will encounter conflict. As an individual who works with the general public, it is important that you mediate conflict quickly and efficiently.

Example Answer: If I noticed a hostile environment between two colleagues, I would suggest for them to both meet privately with me. I would ask them to summarise the situation from their own viewpoint and I would reinforce that this can only be resolved through discussion and negotiation.

  1. Why do you want to work in the UK?

The NHS is one of the largest healthcare systems in the world and the largest employer in the UK and Europe. Therefore, for many doctors across the globe working in the NHS will allow you to join a team of skilled, devoted and passionate team of people whose priority is to provide the best healthcare and treatment to their patients.

Example Answer:

  1. Training - One of the principal reasons I want to work within the NHS is because the healthcare system prides themselves on giving their employees the opportunity to advance their skills and develop their careers.
  2. Job Stability – It is important for me and my family to have job stability, and as most hospitals and healthcare centres in the UK are open 24/7 this means that I will always have full-time hours – allowing me to provide for my family.
  3. Improved Quality of Life – The UK has one of the largest economies in the world, provides an excellent opportunity for education and offers a good quality of life.

Clinical Scenario Question

Please note that you will also be asked a clinical scenario question in relation to your specialty. We cannot tell you what the clinical question will be, but the scenario will be set in a hypothetical doctor-patient context. You will be informed of the facts and then asked to diagnose the patient or state what further action is needed.

If you would like speciality specific clinical scenario examples contact us at [email protected] - and we will be happy to provide these for you.

A useful website/smartphone app ‘Geeky Medics’ provides free medical student revision resources, including OSCE guides, clinical skills videos, clinical cases and MCQ / SBA quizzes.

Popular NHS Interview Questions by Skill

Communication Skills How do you know you are a good communicator?
How would you like to develop your skills further?
Describe a time when you found it difficult to communicate with a colleague or patient. What did you do and how did you feel?
Problem Solving and Decision Making Do you always know the right thing to do in any given situation?
What is your strategy dealing with difficult problems at work?
Describe a time when you felt you made the wrong decision. How did you feel and what has happened as a result?
Managing Others and Team Involvement Describe a time when you led a team successfully
Describe a time when you have supported a colleague with a work-related issue
Outline a situation where you have had to motivate work colleagues to do something that they did not agree with?
Which do you prefer, leading a team, or being a team member?
Empathy and Sensitivity Why is it important for doctors to demonstrate empathy and sensitivity?
Do you really need to show sensitivity and empathy to be a good doctor or are clinical skills and knowledge more important?
Organisation and Planning How do you keep yourself organised at work?
What strategies do you use to plan your work effectively?
How do you cope when unexpected and unplanned work is added to your workload?
Vigilance and Situational Awareness Why is vigilance an important attribute to have for this specialty?
Describe an example of when your awareness of a developing situation at work, enabled you to avoid a problem
Coping with Pressure How do you cope with pressure?
What do you do when you can no longer cope with pressures of your workload?
Professional Integrity Give an example of a clinical scenario where you made a mistake. What did you do about it?
Is it ever justifiable to bend or break the rules at work? Have you ever done so?
Clinical Knowledge and Expertise Describe a difficult clinical scenario you have been involved in. How did you contribute?
You will be asked a range of questions about particular clinical scenarios relevant to your specialty.
Research Skills Why is research important?
Describe your last audit?
Which is more important – research or teaching? Which do you prefer?
Other Questions Why do you want to train in this specialty?
What do you want from your career?
Looking over your CV, could you pick two or three achievements which you are most proud of?
We are interviewing many high calibre candidates today, why should we appoint you?

  • If you are an IMG who wants to relocate to the UK and work for the NHS then send your CV to [email protected] – and one of our Specialist Advisers will be happy to guide and support you through your journey to the UK. We look forward to hearing from you!
  • Alternatively, head over to our Facebook Group: IMG Advisor for an online support network of IMG’s who want to relocate to the UK.

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