So it is ‘pre-interview’ season…the time when basic physician trainees who have done their Part 1 exam come looking for advanced training positions. Finally somebody asked me what to do at the interview. So in the interest of equal opportunity here are my tips:
(1) Fill out the application form correctly. Spelling errors show a lack of attention to detail.
(2) Nominate recent referees and let them know or ask their permission for the nomination. Not having recent referees suggests that there might have been a problem. Ideally nominate somebody in the specialty you are applying for.
(3) Actually know what the job description is and if you are applying for a specific organization know what is special about that organization.
(4) Make yourself different to the other candidates: set yourself apart. Most registrars have similar levels of experience and training so the interviewers want to know what makes you different from the others. Everybody has passed the exam and has a suit. And, note to candidates…..absolutely every interviewee for the last 20 years has sent …”this is a really exciting time in oncology with lots of new treatments and opportunities for research”. It’s time to come up with something different.
(5) Ask the interviewers to repeat the question if you didn’t get it the first time: this will give you time to think.
(6) Use examples from your own experience: the interviewers want to know how you specifically deal with problems and being able to use your own experience makes it more than hypothetical.
(7) Find an opportunity to talk about your special skills. It doesn’t matter what they are. Let’s say in your spare time you are a concert pianist……this shows dedication and application… the interviewers have learned some important information even though it doesn’t appear to relate to doctoring.
(8) Think about the likely questions: almost every job interview on the planet has questions about dealing with conflict, team-work, dealing with stress, time-management, etc. Think of examples ahead of time.
(9) Many interviews also ask about strengths and weaknesses…..so think about this ahead of time and when you answer these questions relate them to the position description.
(10) Have an answer if the interviewers ask ‘where do you see yourself in 10 years time?’. If you don’t know then be honest about it.
(11) Asking questions at the end is fine and enncouraged.
Whilst these tips are aimed at oncology registrars they apply across all specialities and many other jobs.