7th July 2016

Interviews and Selection - Specialty Training

Interviews and Selection - Specialty Training

After a successful application to the specialty training programs via Oriel, the online recruitment system, applicants need to go through various interviews and assessment exercises at a selected specialty centre.

It is vital that the applicant know the selection processes, criteria and their motives. Applicants are expected to know the person specification of their chosen specialty, current affairs in medicine and their managerial roles such as audit, research etc. to get selected.

At the interview in the selection centres, applicants will be assessed on their clinical skills, presentation skills, portfolio completion, interaction skills and their behavioural feature. These assessments are based on different types of interviews and exercises. Different stations are allocated for the interviews and assessment exercises.

Here are the details on different types of interviews and assessment exercises at a specialty selection centre with few tips for your preparation for a successful interview.

  1. Portfolio interview

Your portfolio should include CV and contents page. Interviewers will have access to your portfolio prior to the interview time. Your portfolio should show your development on clinical and professional skills. Check for any specific evidences that you need to attach based on your chosen specialty through the Royal College or LETB websites.

GP recruitment doesn’t require GPs to go through a portfolio interview.


  • Present a structured portfolio with contents page, to make it easy to find information.
  • Highlight your commitment to your chosen specialty. Demonstrate your skills similarity to person specification of chosen role. Consider a dedicated page to show your commitment to the specialty at the front of the portfolio.
  • Distinguish your portfolio to match up with the impression of your organisational skills portrayed in your portfolio. Your interviewer will find examples of questions.
  • Your portfolio must show your awareness on GMC’s Good Medical Practices.
  • Your portfolio must demonstrate the completion of all your assessments.
  • Think of 2 or 4 strengths that you want it across the interviewer relating to your chosen specialty. Consider how are you going to answer on your weaknesses.
  1. Presentation

Usually, you will be given a choice of topics and 15 minutes to prepare for a 5 minutes talk. Interviewer will evaluate how well will you prepare at the short notice. Think straight on your feet and get your point across. He may ask why you chose the topic etc.


  • Read carefully, know what has been asked of you
  • Plan a rough structure of the talk (e.g. make notes)
  • Stick to the time limit
  • Try making it interesting (e.g. diagrams or pictures)
  1. Clinical Scenario

A clinical case will be given to you. Think of all aspects and answer questions. This aims to assess:

  • Patient care skills
  • Diagnostic and treatment planning skills
  • Ability to prioritise key facts
  • Ability to make confident recommendations or decide insufficient information to take definite course of action.
  1. Structured Interview

It is a structured, time limited interview where all candidates will be asked the same questions. Questions will be about general topics such as about you, chosen specialty and healthcare.


  • Find time limits and number of questions to be asked. This information may not be available in LETBs.
  • Predict questions relating to the chosen specialty person specification and GMC’s Good Medical Practice.
  1. Mock Patient Consultation or Communication Station

You will mock with a consultation on a patient notes provided. You will get a short time to prepare for the mock. This will assess:

  • Communication skills
  • Listening skills
  • Ability to explain jargon
  • Empathy

Find any kind of medical jobs here.

Read more Tips to apply to Specialty Training.

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