Succeeding in Your Consultant Interview

Member of staff
Information to clarify
Chief Executive Officer
Future direction and any sensitive topics for the trust
Medical Director
Perennial Managerial problems with regard to the Department and the wider organisation
Clinical Director
Clinical Shortfalls of the department
Lead Clinician
What the departments clinical interests are
Departmental Staff inc Doctors, Nurses, Physiotherapists, Ward Clerks, Technicians etc
What could be done differently, better, opportunities for improvement
Directorate General Manager
What the non-clinical perception of the directorate is and the interface between management and clinicians
Departmental Matron
Issues faced by nursing staff
Executive Directors
Strategic and topical issues
(Ghosh and Green [1]

Psychometric Testing

The use of psychometric testing is becoming more common in the Consultant Interview process . Although they may be used at the application stage they are more likely to be incorporated into the PIV for which you will be made aware of if this is the case. The aim of psychometric testing is to identify desired behavioural and personality characteristics for the role and you should never attempt to second guess the answers. Skills and traits that will be tested for are leadership , assertiveness, team working , propensity to stress and anxiety .

The Interview

Preparation Prior to the Day

There are a number of things that you should consider upon receiving the good news of being called to interview:
  • Portfolio preparation
  • Interview practice
  • Presentation
  • Right frame of mind and improving your confidence
  • Dress code

Portfolio Preparation

Depending on the opportunity in question, together with the guidance you receive in your invitation to interview, you may be required to prepare a portfolio of evidence to bring with you to interview . The aim of the portfolio is to present your experience to date in greater detail for the panel to review if they so wish. The structure of the portfolio will be dictated to you but commonly these follow the same order as your CV. Again first impressions are key here so ensure that your portfolio is presented in a professional manner.

Interview Practice

The importance of interview practice should never be underestimated. The more time and effort you invest in practicing your interview technique the better. The time to make mistakes is in the safe environment of a mock interview and not on the actual day! The aim here is not to resemble an automaton regurgitating answers word for word but rather to come across during the actual interview as relaxed and composed. Together with practicing with peers you should attempt to participate in as many mock interviews with senior colleagues (at a very minimum this should be three). Constructive feedback on both the content and substance of your responses should be sought together with any feedback on your body language.

Presentation

Being asked to perform a presentation as part of the interview process is becoming increasingly common and could form part of the interview itself or be performed on a separate day. You could be informed of the topic in your invitation to interview or provided with the topic on the day of the interview itself. Either way it is important that you identify why you are being asked to present on a particular topic and take the appropriate steps to ensure you follow the guidance and address the topic being asked. You will receive clear guidance on expectations regarding duration and what audiovisual equipment you will have available. As with practicing your interview technique it is vitally important that you gain plenty of presentation practice prior to the day to ensure that your performance is polished.
When performing your presentation employ the IMS approach:
  • Introduction – begin by outlining what you will cover
  • Main body of the presentation
  • Summary and conclusions
For example a topic could include ‘Prepare a 15-minute presentation on how you would improve the department if XXX funds were made available to you’

Right Frame of Mind and Improving Your Confidence

The right frame of mind will directly influence your performance on the day. Ensure you have an early night the evening before and are clear on the timings of the day and directions. Aim to arrive early as there is nothing worse than arriving late and flustered on such an important day of your professional career. Upon arriving go for a walk, read your notes. You know what works for you—ensure you do it!
Your level of confidence will stem from the amount of time and effort you have invested in preparing for the day. The more prepared you are the more calm you will feel. If you do suffer from nerves on the day do research techniques that can be employed on the day to calm yourself such as positive visualisation, anchoring and ‘Top 50’ achievement lists.

Dress Code & Building Rapport

How you dress is not your opportunity to make a particular statement. This should be left to the responses you give. You should dress smartly, professionally and conservatively to ensure the focus of the interview is upon your answers and the rapport that you build with the interview panel . Inappropriate clothing, club ties, jewellery and strong aftershave/perfume/cooking smells should be avoided.
How you come across in the interview will be dictated by more than just the answers you provide. What if everyone on the day has the same clinical skills , qualifications and experience? How do you ensure that you stand out for the right reasons?
If everyone on the day does indeed have the same clinical skills, qualifications and experience how you present yourself in terms of dress, communication and enthusiasm is what will make the difference. According to the research by Mehrabian when communicating words account for 7 %, tone of voice accounts for 38 %, and body language accounts for 55 % of the impact it has on the audience [9].
Remember the panel are looking for an individual that will ‘fit in’ with the department. It is therefore important to build a positive rapport with every member of the panel. Steps you can take to achieve this are:
  • Posture—be mindful of your seating posture and overuse of hand gestures
  • Eye contact—engage all members of the panel when providing your answers
  • Speech—avoid monotone answers and to not speak too quickly. Ensure your responses are neither too long nor too short.
  • Smile
  • Avoid being controversial in your answers
  • Be positive
  • Don’t rush your answers (repeat the question out loud to give you time to compose your response if need be

Questions You Will Encounter

Upon entering the interview room you will encounter questions on a whole variety of topics. It can be helpful to understand that the questions can be grouped into four broad categories [10]:
  • Questions of fact—require an expression of your working knowledge of your speciality and any current hot topics and are usually used as warm up questions
    e.g. ‘Can you tell me the annual government budget for treating XXX?’
  • Questions of reflection—reflective attributes are key to continued success and will be appraised in the interview. These can be grouped into distinct subsets including application/role, speciality, personal qualities, and closer scrutiny.
    e.g. ‘What do you dislike about this specialty?’
  • Questions of opinion require a balanced expression of the positives and negatives in response to a particular question together with a measured conclusion. There are no right or wrong answers to these but they do require a viewpoint being drawn.
e.g. ‘What is your opinion on the new approach of XXX for treating the condition XXX?’
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Nov 16, 2015 | Posted by in General Dentistry | Comments Off on Succeeding in Your Consultant Interview
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