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Student Careers


BMJ 2001; 323 doi: (Published 01 September 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:0109332
  1. Leyla Sanai, consultant anaesthetist1
  1. 1Western Infirmary, Glasgow

Leyla Sanai tells you the do's and don'ts and gives some handy tips

So you've finally made it through all those years of medical school and, much to your disbelief and everyone else's, you will hopefully soon be qualified. House jobs loom ominously on the horizon, and you're begging your pals to let you practise putting venflons in them. But before you get to the exalted state of house officer, you'll need to jump the final obstacle--the interview. It's no good being the most conscientious, empathetic junior doctor in the world if your interview technique is so gauche that panels of distinguished consultants blanche and start muttering, “Don't call us….”

Even after house jobs, interviews will rear their heads at regular intervals--for senior house officer jobs, specialist registrar posts, GP trainee attachments, and, in the distant future, permanent posts as a GP or consultant. So it's worth giving your interview technique some thought well in advance.


You may think you look gorgeous in your low slung hipsters with your pierced navel peeping out, but the chances are the interview panel will not. It is also not the most opportune time to test your theory that conventional, conservative looks are irrelevant to your ability as a doctor. They may be, but if you turn up for your interview looking like a slob, you will be pondering this philosophical angle from the wilderness of unemployment. Yes, it is a bit of a bore trussing yourself up in an ill fitting suit and looking like a 45 year old accountant, but it is only for a day. It is also a truism that patients prefer their doctors to look smart and well groomed--well, would you entrust your veins to someone who looked like they had just rolled in from a rock festival?

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