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What are the questions usually asked in interviews for senior house officer jobs?

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 03 July 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:s2
  1. Trevor Pickersgill, consultant neurologist
  1. University Hospital of Wales


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While interviews are clearly variable, I think you can divide the topics up into sections.

General experience

  • You will be asked to go through your curriculum vitae (CV)

  • Give your experience to date in jobs or posts

  • Talk about your relevant skills

  • Talk about your future career plans

Specific areas

  • Research—if you have done any, what was it about, what were the results, what did you learn?

  • Audit—what projects have you done and what were the results, what did you learn, was audit loop closed?

  • What is audit?

  • What is clinical governance?


• You may be asked a specific clinical management question relevant to the post—for example, management of acute asthma, seizures, arrhythmia

NHS—be familiar with...

  • National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE)

  • Commission for Health Improvement (CHI) and Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection (CHAI)

  • Revalidation

  • Doctors' hours, European Working Time Directive, and the Hospital at Night project

  • Modernising Medical Careers

And of course...

  • “Why do you want this job?”

  • “Why should we give you this job?” In other words, “What makes you so special above the other 200 candidates?”

  • “Tell me about your stamp collecting, modern dance, Olympic gold medal in judo, or culinary expertise that you have mentioned in your CV.” (Hint: never leave this bit blank and ALWAYS show you have a life away from medicine on your CV—but not too much)

  • “Finally, Dr Bloggs, is there anything you want to ask the panel?” (Hint: use an intelligent phrase such as, “No, I don't think so—I have found out all I need to know already about this post and unit by visiting and talking to the junior doctors and consultants.”)


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