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Personal qualities, motivation and drive

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What made you go into medicine?

I enjoy working with people; it’s one of the things that attracted me to medicine. It gives me pleasure to help people. It’s satisfying when people are pleasant, but I also enjoy the challenge of working with difficult people.

I have always been very strong on the sciences, but interested in people and social issues too, and more and more medicine seemed like the suitable choice.


What is your career ambition?


Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years' time?

  • Consultant in … in University Hospital in London.
  • Patient care and communication – maintenance and increased skill, expansion of skills and interests etc.

 

  • Colleagues foster good working relationships.

 

  • Others – interests/IT/research/NHS/leadership.

 

  • Teaching and training.

What do you have to offer us?

Tell them what makes you special. Explain your Education/research/management or any other special skills. Again, your answer will be guided by your research prior to the interview. For example, if the trust was planning on increasing the intake of medical students, your educational qualifications and experience will be highly desirable. You will need to highlight this skill.


Give us three adjectives that describe you best. If I asked the people who know you well to describe you, what three words would they use?

 

If I was to phone your junior staff and ask what you are really like, what would they say?


What would your friends say about you?

  • Easy to get on with and quite outgoing.
  • Good sense of humour and am generally cheerful.
  • Committed and enthusiastic.
  • Good team player.

What kind of feedback would I obtain from your patients if I asked them?

Compassionate, patient and competent.

A good doctor!


What would you like written in your obituary?

When he came, he cried and the world rejoiced,

When he went, he rejoiced and the world cried.


Describe yourself in as few sentences as possible.

 

What are your main strengths?

  • Good communicator

 

  • Good interpersonal skills

 

  • Enthusiasm

 

  • Keeping calm under pressure

I believe I have demonstrated this in the past — give examples.


What is your main weakness?

Admit a minor weakness. But present your weakness with a positive spin. Practise responding to this question. It'll take a few dry runs before you sound succinct and articulate. Options:

  • My family would probably accuse me of being a workaholic because I can’t relax while there’s something that needs doing.

 

  • Tendency to take your work home (which you can resolve with the help of your family and personal will).

 

  • Impatience — I know I could improve my patience when working with people who don't work at the same pace as I do. What I have found is that by helping such members, I can move the project forward instead of being frustrated and doing nothing.

 

  • My biggest weakness? I would say chocolate, especially milk chocolate.

 

  • No research background — but I can critique a research paper and teach my juniors to do the same.

What skills have you gained that will make you a good doctor/consultant?

What are the qualities of a good consultant?

Qualities of a good consultant:

  • He should be a good doctor. He should be competent, with good teaching and training skills. He should endeavour to support research and audit.

 

  • He should have some leadership qualities and good management skills.

 

  • He should be flexible. We work in a complex environment. Flexibility is needed to balance best practice and limited resources and the interface between two independent services.

 

  • Sense of humour

 

  • It is not possible to have all the above qualities, so consultants need to strive for continuous development and improvement.

Name two skills that you would like to improve over the next 2 years.

What skills do you need to develop most?

  • Emotional intelligence (E.I) — E.I. is the capacity to read others by just observing non-verbal behaviour and to be able to act appropriately on the information, to the benefit of the person and the service.
  • Teaching/research/managerial skills.

What job have you particularly liked/disliked?

As a trainee, I have tried to derive most from my jobs. Yes, there were jobs (if any!) which were not ideal, but on discussion with the local supervisor, we arrived at a mutually acceptable solution. Give an example. You need to convey an impression that you are a problem solver!

 

How do you measure success?

Success at work — my main measure of success is feedback from patients and colleagues.

 

Would you be happy being an average consultant?

I have always strived for excellence. If you look at my CV, I have been an active participant in improving things (quote your audits, any guidelines you have produced). Similarly, as a consultant I would strive to improve the department; improve services where I can and bring in new services to provide world class care. Always mention your enthusiasm for teaching and training and your belief that no service can operate successfully without the integration of teaching and research in daily activities of service providing.


Would you like to become a clinical director?

Yes. I believe the clinical director plays a vital role in performance management of other consultant colleagues, as well as providing a vision for the department. I find this very exciting. I believe I have a lot to contribute and would like it to consider the role actively in the future.


Having trained under the Calman system, do you feel prepared?

Absolutely! I think 5 years is a reasonable time for training, as long as you are focused. I have been a reflective learner and this has helped me to identify the gaps in knowledge or skills. Besides, I believe that learning is a lifelong process of education and continuous improvement. While I feel confident that I am ready for independent practice, I do appreciate that learning does not stop here.


What concerns you about this job?

What do you think will be your biggest challenge in this post?
Mention something (like developing a new service or any particular problem that the department may be facing) which would be difficult. Say, in the same breadth, however, that you are positive, and that with enthusiasm, persistence and team work, the job can be done.


What are you hoping to gain from this post?

I am looking for the opportunity to accomplish my best work. So I suppose I would say that what I am looking for is a progressive trust that will provide a challenging, stimulating and supportive environment for its employees and their achievements.


How would your consultant/seniors motivate you?

Tell us about your best consultant/colleague.

A caring and compassionate doctor who believes in teaching and training and with a positive attitude. Mention a consultant who was compassionate, competent and approachable besides being a good teacher.


What are your biggest accomplishments?

Although I feel that my biggest achievements are still ahead of me, I am proud of my involvement in… I made my contribution as part of that team and learnt a lot in the process. We did it with hard work and dedication.


What are your hobbies? How do they influence your medical practice?

I really enjoy most team sports. I don’t get a lot of time to indulge myself.

Apart from team sports, endurance sports are seen as a sign of determination — swimming, running and cycling are all OK.

Games of skill (bridge, chess and the like) demonstrate analytical skills.


What experiences outside medicine have you found useful in your medical career?

Mention something you are proud of... like leading a team of trainee doctors to a disaster-hit area. You could say
that it developed your interpersonal skills. You also realised that appealing to the good side of people always brings out the best.

 

What sort of hospital would you rather work in and why?

Teaching hospitals, as you have more opportunities to develop.
DGH — if dealing with patients/people is your forte.


How do you relax?

There are numerous ways in which to relax. So try to be a bit more specific. If you play a sport, for example, tell them who you play for or how often.


How would you balance extra-curricular activities with being a consultant?

Good question in which to discuss work—life balance. Discuss the importance of relaxation and de-stressing etc.


Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10.

Say 8 or 9, saying that you always give of your best, but that, in doing so, you always increase your skills and therefore always see room for improvement.


What would you change about yourself if you could?

I would find it easier if I could get down to the gym three evenings a week. I always wished I’d learnt Spanish/violin/ to play tennis properly. I still intend to get around to it one day.

 

What is the difference between an SpR and an SHO? You’ve done a locum appointment in training post — what was the most important step up you had to deal with, compared with being a senior house officer?

As a senior person, you need to have more of the soft skills:

  • Managing a team
  • Delegation
  • Negotiating skills
  • Leadership

AnaesthesiaUK would like to thank consultantmedicalinterview.com for allowing us to reproduce their material.

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