Career Focus


BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 17 October 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:S3b-7165

System favours inside candidates

EDITOR - Cook's articles on recruitment and selection of medical staff were interesting,1 2 but lead me to wonder whether he has ever actually sat on a medical appointments committee. In my experience as both interviewee and interviewer, the successful candidate is often well known to the consultants with whom they will be working, either as an internal candidate or through previous professional contact. This seems to have been ignored in the articles, though prior acquaintance carries far more weight than details on the application form, interview, or references (references are usually not seen until after the choice has been made anyway). External members of the committee and non-medics rarely reject the consultants' favoured candidate. Indeed this is probably reasonable in the case of consultant appointments, where the working arrangements may last longer than many marriages.

Therefore, although Cook's comments may apply to medical school applicants, I feel psychological testing has limited relevance to the present reality of medical staff appointments.

MD Harris, Consultant histopathologist Department of Pathology, Hinchinbrooke Hospital PE18 8NT

1 Cook M. [career focus] BMJ 1998;316:(classified suppl 7 March).

2 Cook M. [career focus] BMJ 1998;316:(classified suppl 14 March).

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