Is “Tell Us About Your Experience?” The Laziest Interview Question Of All Time?

AdvanceMed Interview Panel

The standard of medical interview panels can vary considerably. Some times great thought goes into the questions put to candidates. Sometimes not.

The other day I heard about an interview panel for a Resident Medical Officer (junior doctor) position where the questions put to candidates were extremely predictable: “Why do you want to work here?” “Tell us about a work conflict?” “What skills do you bring?”.

The opening question was “Tell Us About Your Experience?”

As a candidate one ought to be insulted by such a question. Especially if one has bothered (as they should) to prepare a tailored CV/Resume which explains your background and what you can bring to the organization.

In this day of digital there is really no excuse for the panel not knowing about the experience of the candidates. Asking the candidate to detail their experience is a waste of a valuable interview question. Not to mention that focusing on future potential is far more important than past achievement.

So how should a candidate prepare for the “Tell Us About Your Experience?” question?

Well the question could be massively improved through a slight alteration to “Tell us how your experience makes you a good candidate for this position?”

And that would be the way I would recommend answering the question. This approach gives you a chance to stand out and get on the front foot. You can probably also throw in a few results based examples as well to really impress them.

Regardless of how the question is asked you should answer it by telling the panel about how your experience makes you a good candidate.

Do this by picking out one, two or three of the selection criteria and relating your experience to them.

So, for example, a common selection criteria is around communication skills. So talk about how your recent experience has been working in a hospital with lots of patients who are from a Non-English speaking background and how you have had to collaborate (probably another selection criteria) with other members of the team to meet this challenge.

I recommend that you take a portfolio of relevant files to the interview. One of which should be a print out of the selection criteria. So that you can more easily address these in your answers.

What about you? What's the laziest job interview question you have ever been asked?

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Anthony Llewellyn

Anthony Llewellyn

FRANZCP, MHA, GAICD | Medical HR Expert and Coach. Anthony is an experienced health public sector executive, medical educationalist and coach. Anthony is an expert in Medical HR. He has reviewed numerous CVs, chaired and conducted over a thousand job interviews and provided advice to a number of employers and Colleges about selection processes. Anthony's background: Consultant Psychiatrist and Medical Manager with 20 years’ experience as a medical practitioner in public health services in a range of roles. From 2012 to 2016, Anthony was the Medical Director of the Health Education & Training Institute (HETI), involved in overseeing a number of network training programs. He is also a Senior Lecturer at the University of Newcastle’s School of Medicine & Public Health, and Year 5 Psychiatry Coordinator. He is currently completing a PhD in Medical Education, exploring personal learning environments in the intern training space. Anthony recently delivered for the Royal Australasian College of Physicians a Best Practice Guide for Trainee Selection into Employment Roles Anthony was born on Mouheneenner land in Hobart (Tasmania) and pays respect to the traditional owners of lands he lives and works on, and elders past and present. His two most important roles in life are proud husband and proud father of two boys.

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