University Interview

Ah, Harry Sorry I’m late No, thanks for coming. It’s good to meet you. You too So, first of all, can you tell me about yourself please? Well, my name’s Harry, 18 years old. Currently doing my A Levels at the moment, I’m doing pretty well actually. And yeah I’d like to be a doctor when I’m older. First impressions definitely count 100%. Interviewers can sometimes make their decision and mind up on the person that they’re interviewing within the first few minutes. So even if you are nervous or not feeling so confident, make sure that your first impression does really count. Have a firm handshake, good eye contact, and smile. First of all, can you tell us a little bit about yourself please? Sure, my name’s Harry, I’m 18 years old and I’m currently studying Biology, Chemistry, and Maths at school. As you are aware, I hope to pursue a career in medicine. Anyone who is called for an interview has obviously got to plan their journey, particularly if they’re coming from the Channel Islands, to make certain that they’re going to be there in time. So if it’s in the morning, that they flow over the night before, so they arrive on time, they have time to settle down, be prepared, they dress appropriately.

That particularly for some of the professional courses, which is the majority of our courses that interview, somebody only has to walk in wearing completely the wrong clothing and they’ll have made the worst impression. So why do you want to be a doctor, and what would you like to achieve in medicine? Ah well everyone in my family is a doctor, so I think it just follows on nicely that I am too really. I think I’d be a great doctor to be honest. I’ve got great people skills. Be confident but try not to come across as if you’re arrogant and a know-it-all. It is a fine balance because you have got to sell yourself but you want to show that you’re a team player, and that you’re going to fit in well, and that you are teachable. Yeah I’d also like to be a Director, have a nice big salary for myself. Ok, thank you. People that are interviewing you want to see that you’re committed to the subject, that you’ve got a passion for the subject, and that’s the reason why you’re wanting to devote yourself to this period of extended study.

They wouldn’t want to place someone who’s doing it purely for money. And why do you want to be a doctor, and what do you hope to achieve in medicine? Well I’ve done a lot of work experience in many different areas, for example the local hospital radio, I’ve done some volunteering on the wards there, and also at the Jersey Hospice and the Cheshire Homes, and everything I did there, I saw patients in their environment and doctors working alongside them in the multidisciplinary team that they have. It was absolutely fascinating and everything I did there just really made me want to continue my research and be successful in getting a place at medical school. When we see a CV if somebody has work experience, even if it’s volunteering or is free, then it’s certainly goes a long way for us look at the CV a little bit harder. We’re really looking for a student who has undertaken work experience, not just so they’re just ticking a box to show us they’ve done it. But they can really demonstrate to us what they’ve learnt, what they’ve gained, how they’ve reflected on their experiences and it’s given them an insight into that profession.

So apart from treating patients Harry, what do you think being a doctor is going to entail? Well, it’s a lot of paperwork obviously, not really looking forward to that at all to be honest, I think it’s a bit of a faff. But, yeah there is a bedside manner part as well I suppose, yeah. The worst thing that we’ve seen at an interview is negative language. The right attitude is key, we’re looking for somebody who’s enthusiastic, who’s positive, who’s willing to learn, who can prove they’ve got the good organisational skills, the good communication skills. Well obviously the treatment is a very important part, but alongside that you also need to be very academic and very studious to keep up to date with the constantly changing and evolving field that you are in.

You also have to be an excellent communicator with your team and also with the patients. If a students very clever when they’re actually writing their personal statement, they could be scripting their own interview. Most of the questions they’re going to be asked, particularly initially, are going to be based around information they put in that statement. So if someone is unable to actually expand on questions, there’s going to be real concerns that did they really undertake that experience? What steps have you taken to really find out that you want to be a doctor? I’ve done a lot of work experience and volunteer work, yeah. Vague answers are the same as no answer really.

You’re not giving anything. The interviewer is spending time to understand you, you’re motivations. They want to get to know you better and therefore see what your potential is. If you just give a vague answer, it’s very difficult for them to make that judgement. It’s really important to expand on your answers. The interview is the time to sell yourself really. Ok Harry, moving on to more of an ethical question. Do you think NHS doctors and staff should be looking after private patients? Uhh… umm… I’m not really sure actually. Umm I dunno, maybe yeah. It’s really important to understand what’s going on in the world because it impacts how every organisation is doing. It’s actually a question that I specifically ask at the end of every interview is about what a candidate has recently read that’s interested them about financial services.

So it’s really important, even if it’s from something you’ve read in a fashion magazine or that you’ve seen on a website, it’s really important to know what’s going on out there. I’d expect someone to be aware of their environment, to understand and know what’s going on. I wouldn’t necessarily ask for a political persuasion or anything like that, but a general understanding of what’s going on within the community within their environment, I think that’s important. Do you think NHS doctors and staff should be treating private patients? Well it’s a very hotly debated topic. Is it right for private patients to have priority over the NHS patients who are not paying? That’s something which needs to be thought about a little bit. At current it seems that the overall consensus is that yes, they are allowed to have precedence over the non-paying patients. But however the NHS will benefit from this as they will receive the extra costs that the private patients have to pick up then. We’re always looking for whole people. We don’t assess the answers that we’re getting on more general questions, but it’s important for people to show that they are interested, that they have got a general level of awareness to what’s happening in the world.

Can you perhaps tell me about some significant advances you’ve read about in science or in medicine? Well there’s been a lot really hasn’t there, umm lots of stuff, read every day in the papers. It allows us to get a flavour of them as a person. So what is it that makes them tick, what are they really interested in. I recently have read a study on a cancer drug named ‘cetuximab’ which is really a really interesting thing, just the action of it on the body. However, it has been found that tumours actually become resistant towards cetuximab and that is a very interesting field of research in oncology which has really interested me recently. Can you give an example of a situation where you have supported a friend in difficult circumstances, and what issue they faced and how you helped them? Sorry, could you repeat the question? If you don’t understand the question that somebody has asked you, it’s really silly to try and answer it not knowing what they’re looking for.

It’s much better to ask them to rephrase or to ask the question again in a different way. Similarly if someone asks you a really tricky question, they might not be expecting an immediate answer, so do take a moment to think about it and construct your answer. It will make you a much more confident and strong candidate. Ok Harry, have you got any questions for us? Umm, nope, no I don’t think so no. For me that shows a level of disinterest. When you’re preparing for the interview you could select questions at that point, but also there’s general questions that you could ask at the end of any interview, and a really good one that I always think is ‘do you have any reservations about me at this point?’, because it gives you the opportunity to answer anything that they may be thinking. It is important to ask questions, this really is your last chance to impress and it shows you’ve prepared for your interview. Even if it is just one question. I was just wondering, do you encourage students to take rotations abroad? The biggest thing to stand out for the crowd is to be yourself because everybody is different so if you go in and show your own personality and just relax into an interview then that’s how you’ll stand out.

If you’re prepared you can anticipate some of the questions that can be asked, and you can display confidence in your answers and give a breadth of experience, then it shouldn’t be a really daunting experience, but it’s all about the preparation..

As found on Youtube