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What Candidates Can Expect at Interview

Note: the process for GP selection does not follow an interview format. For what to expect at a GP Selection Centre, please see the Applicants Guide on the General Practice National Recruitment Office website.

Note: the process for Public Health process selection does not follow an interview format. For what to expect at a Public Health selection centre, please visit the Faculty of Public Health website.


Health Education Thames Valley is committed to delivering interviews and selection centres to a high and professional standard.


Interviews and selection centres are run in accordance with set processes. These may vary depending on the type of recruitment in question, whether medical, dental or nursing; national or local; specialty, sub-specialty or academic, and so on. All interviews/selection centres are designed to be fair, equitable and transparent. Processes will be applied consistently across any given recruitment.


Health Education Thames Valley uses a range of venues to host interviews/selection centres. Signs will be displayed at interview/selection centre venues to assist candidates in finding their way. Whilst care is taken to ensure a quiet environment for interviews, unexpected noise can occur. Candidates should be prepared to perform at interview despite the low-level amount of noise that can be generated by large-scale interviews/selection centres. Candidates with any concerns regarding the interview venue are advised to contact a minimum of 3 working days prior to interview.

Should candidates experience an issue to do with the venue on the day of interview, they are asked to speak to the LETB staff members present on the day of interview.


Every effort is made to ensure that interviews/selection centres run to time. Both candidates and members of the interview panel are asked to arrive a minimum of 30 minutes early to allow sufficient time for document checking and necessary briefings and interviewers and candidates are alerted some time before the designated time for their interview is due to end, to allow for a winding up of the interview. However, candidates are asked to be prepared for the fact that some delays are likely to occur, especially at large scale interviews/selection centres. When making travel arrangements, candidates should factor in additional time to allow for possible delays during the interviews/selection centre.

Candidates should be aware that where another candidate has failed to arrive in time for their interview, LETB staff may ask them whether they are willing to move up the interview schedule (especially in cases where interviews are running behind schedule), so as to ensure delays are minimised. This is to be expected in circumstances such as local or national adverse weather conditions. Candidates do not have to accede to this request.

Should candidates be unable to attend their interview after having accepted their invitation to interview, they are asked to notify the recruitment team via

Candidates who arrive late for their scheduled interview should be prepared for the fact that it may not be possible to accord them a later interview slot and that their interview may thus be forfeit.

Should candidates experience issues to do with timing on the day of interview, they are asked to speak to the LETB staff present on the day.

Document Check

Candidates can expect to undergo a document check, including a verification of ID documentation, professional qualifications and immigration status, at their interview/ selection centre. Candidates are expected to bring original documents as well as photocopies of the documents to the interview as outlined on our interview documents webpage.

Whilst the document check is generally scheduled to take place prior to candidates undergoing their interview, candidates may be asked to defer their document check until after their interview, especially in cases where candidates have arrived late to the interview or candidates have agreed to move up the interview schedule, to fill the slot of a candidate that has failed to arrive in time for their interview.

Where candidates are asked to defer their document check until after interview, an ID check will nonetheless take place, and the candidate will be issued with their name badge, prior to going into interviews.


All interview panels have been trained and briefed on the day on the interview process in question, and specifically on the importance of maintaining consistent scoring parameters. Candidates can expect their interview panel to probe and challenge their answers and statements if the panel feel they need further information. This allows candidates a fair opportunity to answer the question(s). Similarly, candidates can expect panels to wind up their interview with candidates prior to the designated time, if the panel feels it has obtained sufficient information to assess a candidate. Neither assiduous questioning, nor an early finish, are grounds for concern.

Lay Representatives

At least one Lay Representative will be present for the duration of the interview day. Lay Representatives are members of the public appointed by Health Education Thames Valley to provide an external, non-clinical and patient perspective, ensuring fair and equitable processes are in place within HETV, and to act as advocates for the public and trainees. As such, the Lay Representative will often be present in the interview room, but will not participate in the scoring process.


There will always be a minimum of two interviewers/selectors on any given interview station/panel. Interviewers are asked to score independently, but can discuss candidates’ performances with their co-interviewer(s)/selector(s). Hence, scores awarded by interviewers on the same interview station/panel may vary, and on occasion do so considerably. At the end of each day of interview/selection, all scores awarded during the day are reviewed by the interview panel, a lay chair and the recruitment lead, and any significant discrepancies in scores between interviewers are highlighted and discussed. Where discrepancies in scores are deemed to be justified - specifically, each interviewer has scored consistently within set scoring parameters - the score stands; where deemed not to be justified, the score is amended. An amendment is a reasonably rare occurrence, given interviewers are trained to score consistently. It is not unusual for candidates to be awarded scores that vary between interviewers.

With regard to scoring across interview stations, it is common for candidates not to be equally strong in all areas and this tends to be reflected in their scores across stations, which are devoted to different competency areas.

Candidates should also be aware that on an interview station which scores communication skills, the clinical knowledge displayed will not necessarily be scored. It is therefore possible to display a considerable level of clinical knowledge on an interview station that primarily assesses communication skills, and still achieve a low score.

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