Dr Melanie Coulson
Melanie is an FY3 Clinical Education Fellow and member of our Oxford Medical Junior Doctor Panel.
I decided to attend the Oxford Medical ST & CT Medical Interview Course to improve my interview techniques in preparation for future medical job interviews, which I am aware are becoming increasingly competitive! I hoped it would improve both my interview knowledge and confidence and allow me to really sell myself and draw on my relevant experiences so far.
As soon as I signed up, I received access to a useful online course to complete in my own time which I could revisit as needed. The online material was structured to provide me with likely components within a training interview. This included information on interview processes, what to include when discussing my own experiences, selling my skill set, and NHS ‘hot topics’. The material sent to me also included a list of practice questions that I could use in my own time.
The 1-day online ‘virtual classroom’ consisted of a morning and an afternoon session. The morning session focused on interview techniques and how to approach and answer different interview questions. There was the opportunity to discuss powerful and relevant answers we could each personally give at our interviews. Discussing these answers allowed me to appreciate that preparing for interviews is very different from preparing for summative exams. The course lead gave us tailored feedback as to how to ensure our answers would achieve the highest marks, both in terms of content and delivery. There were also tips given regarding verbal and non-verbal communication- I found these especially useful when considering how to present myself best on screen for an online interview.
In the afternoon, we were given the opportunity to each receive a short mock interview with REAL previous interview questions and mark schemes. This mock interview provided an accurate simulation of how an online formal interview may be conducted but within a safe environment. The mock was done in front of the rest of the group and therefore also presented an opportunity to give and receive feedback from each other in a constructive manner. This was valuable to me because it allowed me to learn from others’ approaches. I was surprised when watching the other attendees being interviewed at how much I picked up that I could apply/avoid if I am attending an interview in the future.
The whole experience was thorough, well organised, and appropriately pitched. The online ‘virtual classroom’ day was a great opportunity for a small group ‘coaching session’. It was enthusiastically led by an experienced and knowledgeable consultant, who guided us and provided personalised feedback throughout the day. The other attendees were also doctors in training hoping to improve their interview skills.
In general, I believe that most junior doctors have had limited interview exposure, because many foundation programme job allocation processes do not include interviews. Often training programme interviews are the first time many doctors have had to compete at an interview stage since applying for medical school. And these are often highly competitive with high applicant-to-vacancy ratios!
This course improved my interview confidence and hopefully will improve my skills to present myself at my best. I can highly recommend this for anyone with upcoming specialty interviews who wants to excel in the interview process!
Melanie is a member of our Junior Doctor Panel, a small group of medical students and junior doctors working in different roles who share their experiences with us and with you via blog-posts and webcasts which we include on our website and social media accounts. In return, we support them with their development. Click here to find out more about the Junior Doctor Panel.