medical recruitment 2021
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2020 was an unusual year. That’s obviously an understatement. Despite all the pandemic concerns the need for doctors to be helped with their doctor job applications remained ever-present. Possibly prompted a little bit by the advent of video interviewing. In 2020 I clocked up 437 coaching hours, including my first group interview coaching session. This was a highlight for me as all 3 candidates gained entry into the highly competitive RANZCOG program. So. We’ve prepared this reference for you for medical recruitment 2021 to help you make the right choices.

If you are preparing for a new job in medicine in 2021 then here is a summary of what we at AdvanceMed advise that you should be doing right now:

  • Keep an eye on the main annual medical recruitment portals. We don’t anticipate as much disruption this year. But its always good to know your timeline as well in advance of time as possible.
  • There are plenty of things you can be doing now to prepare yourself for your next career move in medicine, regardless of whether there is a clear application date, these include preparing your resume, gathering referees and beginning the process of interview preparation.
  • The majority of interviews this year are likely to be again conducted via videoconference, therefore, its important to invest some time and effort preparing to interview on this medium.

Let’s now look at some of these issues in more detail including the key things you can be doing now to be present the best version of yourself on the day.

How Best To Prepare Yourself for Medical Recruitment 2021.

What key advice do I have for medical trainees who would like to know how they can prepare themselves for medical recruitment in 2021? Here are my top 5 tips.

1. Enact Your Medical Selection Plan Now.

There’s no reason to wait if you know that you are going to be going for a new job this year. Annual medical recruitment is likely to be one of the most important events of the year for you. You should be enacting the first part of your plan now if you have not already done so. Make sure you find out as soon as the jobs portals and timelines open when you will be able to apply and when your interview is likely to be.

Even if you are a bit uncertain. Perhaps you are an IMG doctor who thinks they might get an interview opportunity. But doesn’t really know. You should not wait till the interview call to start preparing. Because by then it’s likely to be all too late for you. Start putting the preparation in now.

Of critical importance to your preparation will be your Resume. There’s plenty of advice on this blog about how you can make this document stand out. You should be aligning this with the competencies being sought for the position/s you are intending to apply for.  Think about adding in a story about COVID-19 that shows off one of these competencies.  Ensuring that you have relevant, recent and diverse referees to speak on your behalf is also something you can be doing now.

You should also be thinking about starting your interview preparation and medical interview coaching if you are intending to use a coach. Many candidates that I coach start this process far too late. In my experience, there is little risk of starting too early (you can always pause for a bit if you lose momentum). Interview skills are like muscles. They need regular training to help you show your best on the day. The problem is. If you haven’t interviewed for a while. This muscle is likely to have atrophied.

2. Practice

This is the most vital tip in my opinion. You should definitely treat the interview as an examination or a performance. I’m betting that throughout medical school you practiced and prepared for exams. So why would you expect to just turn up for your next job interview, β€œwing it” and turn in a great performance?

Your next job in medicine is just as important, if not more important than getting a pass on an exam. So you need a bit of a practice schedule and you need to actually practice. I recommend giving yourself at least 6 weeks if possible and do at least one practice session per week prior to your actual interview. If you have less notice of your interview then obviously you will need to condense this and increase the frequency. Better yet. If you are anticipating a new job in the next 6 months. Think about setting up a practice schedule now.

3. Find out what the panel is looking for

You need to understand what the interview panel is looking for.  So you can practice the right questions and prepare the right examples. I’m often asked by doctors.

β€œHow can I predict what sorts of questions I will be asked?”

Well. Its actually a lot easier than you think.

The questions you get asked in the interview should relate to the Selection Criteria. So to find these go to the appropriate section on the job description and review it. They are usually placed towards the end of the document. These should give you a fair indication of the types of questions you will be asked.

Sometimes, particularly for college selection, rather than selection criteria, there is a competency framework. These are normally easy to find on the college website. Again these will give you a very good guide to what you will be asked about.

You can then generate appropriate questions or there are places online you can find a bunch of them. You can access our free question bank here.

4. Review your CV for examples.

Your CV or resume is a treasure trove of achievements from which to draw upon examples of your past work (or at least it should be). Review your CV for examples so that you can use these as part of your answers to questions when you engage in the annual medical recruitment process.

Remember providing an example from your past work is extremely powerful at the interview.

Dr Anthony Llewellyn, Career Doctor

Sometimes you will be asked for an example as part of a behavioural question. But don’t be afraid to offer one, even if the question is a hypothetical question.

You are basically telling the panel.

β€œI can do this. Because I’ve done it before.”

And panels know that past behaviour predicts future behaviour so they will value this information.

5. Review Your Video Conference Set-Up

It’s important to understand that your next doctor job interview is most likely to be conducted on something like Zoom. There are significant differences in interviewing on video versus in person. Both from a technical perspective as well as from a practice perspective.

You should definitely be reviewing and modifying your videoconference set up and your environment as well as actually practising interview questions using video.  The latter is actually a good idea in general as it affords you the chance to record and review your performance.

To help you with this challenge we’ve written a specific blog post on the topic.

And also this handy video.

12 Tips For A Perfect Video Job Interview

As we turn to measures of social distancing in order to reduce the impact of COVID-19 its quite likely that your next job interview will be a video job interview. Having spent the past 4 years coaching doctors online, I am uniquely situated to give you some tips on how to ensure that using video for your next job interview does not impede your success.

Medical Recruitment 2021. 7 Big Things You Need to Know.
12 Tips For A Perfect Video Job Interview

As we turn to measures of social distancing in order to reduce the impact of COVID-19 its quite likely that your next job interview will be a video job interview. Having spent the past 4 years coaching doctors online, I am uniquely situated to give you some tips on how to ensure that using video for your next job interview does not impede your success.

Medical Recruitment 2021. 7 Big Things You Need to Know.

6. Record yourself and watch yourself.

Why do I say that you need to record yourself and watch yourself back? Well. Interviews are as much about body language and tone of speech.  In fact even more about these things.  Than what you say.

So. Its important to know how you appear during an interview.

The only way you will know this is to observe yourself.

Here’s a great example:

Often when I am coaching candidates for an interview I notice that they appear quite stiff in their presentation. This is normally because they are trying to control their hands. By sitting on them or anchoring them in their lap. Actually, you generally want to let your hands get involved in your interview performance. Once we fix this problem.  The visual performance always looks a lot better.

There are a number of options for filming yourself for an interview performance. My recommendation would be to use a desktop or laptop set up and record yourself on Skype or Zoom. This way you should easily be able to get at least a head and shoulders view of how you look whilst seated. Its particularly important to be able to see what you do with your hands.

Alternatively you can use your smartphone with a tripod if you have one or even just a stack of books on the table. Selfie videos are not as good as you have at least one hand engaged for the filming purpose. Similarly observing yourself in the mirror is not as good as you cannot rewind and go bak.

7. Engage an Expert

My final tip is to get some interview practice with an expert.

What do I mean by an expert?

I mean anyone who has had significant experience being a member of a selection panel and/or experience in coaching candidates for interviews.

Preferably both.

So as a minimum. Try and get someone like a Director of Training or Director of Medical Services to give you a couple of sessions.  These people have generally sat in on hundreds of interviews.

Don’t fall into the trap of relying on feedback from fellow candidates, your family or friends. Their feedback is likely to be unhelpful and too much on the positive and encouraging side. Because they have no context for what the panel is looking for and they are too invested in your success and you as a person. You want as critical feedback as possible.

And. If you want to up your game and performance to a higher level.

Then an interview coach is definitely the way to go.

Why Interview Coaching?

The most obvious reason is that interview coaching can help increase your chances of getting a job.  There are a number of ways this can occur.

Coaching can help you overcome any nerves or anxiety you have about the process.  Coaching gives you a chance to experience answering many different interview questions. Coaches provide you with feedback to help improve your responses during interviews.The more you practice with a coach, the more confident you will become.  By engaging with a coach you are also ensuring that you commit to your own practice regimen, which is important for a good performance. 

Some reasons you may want to consider engaging a doctor interview coach.

  • It’s been awhile. If it’s been a few years since the last time you interviewed for a doctor job or if your last interview was fairly simple and you anticipate this one will not be the same, then a coach can help you rehearse and regain your interview confidence.
  • You get nervous before interviews. A little bit of anxiety is good going into an interview. But too much anxiety can affect performance. Practicing with a coach can help you feel more comfortable, relaxed and prepared.
  • You get interviews, but not offers. Often its difficult to get honest feedback from medical interviews.  A coach may be able to help work out what is going wrong for you.
  • You are not sure about something on your CV.  Maybe you have had to have a break in work. Or your last job didn’t go so well.  Are you perhaps switching specialties.  A coach can help you with how to tell the right story in relation to these sorts of issues.
  • Its your dream job and you want to land it. A coach can help with feeling confident in these situations.

On the other hand, if you’re a confident interviewer and have always tended to perform well during interviews, then a coach may not be necessary.

Types of Interview Coaching

There are many types of interview coaching. Some coaches meet with you in person, and others speak with you online or on the phone. In general interview coaches work on something called β€œperformance coaching”.  Think of it like a sports coach working with an elite athlete.  A key element is practice with feedback.  The more practice and the more immediate the feedback the better.

If you meet the coach in person or online, they can also help you develop effective visual communication. The coach can work with you on facial and body expressions that convey trust and show active listening.

Coaches may also help you with other elements of the interview, including how to ask the right questions of the employer, how to research the job and the panel and even some advice on how to dress.

How to Find a Doctor Interview Coach

There are lots of coaches available to choose from. Career coaches often offer interview coaching.  Some things you should consider in a coach are the following:

  • What is their training and experience in interview coaching?
  • What sort of knowledge and experience do they have with the actual interview process.  Medical interviews can be fairly unique, particularly in terms of the types of questions asked and what panels may be looking for.  So someone who has actual doctor interview panel experience is ideal.
  • Do they provide face to face coaching or on the phone or online.  Face to face may seem best initially.  But consider that you may need to travel to see the coach and often during normal work hours.  Phone coaching and online coaching may be more convenient and cut down on travel.
  • What feedback is provided after each session.  Phone and online coaches can often give you a recording of the session for you to review.
  • What is the price of the coaching.

If you cannot afford a coach, there are some opportunities for less expensive or even free coaching. Your Director of Training may be skilled in interview coaching or may be able to recommend another Consultant in your hospital who is.

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One Comment

  1. Great article. This is very important especially if you want to get the job. Preparing yourself means like you are ready for the job. This can determine your future.

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