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Core Surgery Interview

A Useful Core Surgical Interview Guide for Aspiring Medical Trainees

Aspiring surgeons are expected to possess a specific set of skills, talent, as well as personality, honed through years of training under the watchful eyes of industry experts. The training, though challenging as it seems, is not the first step to becoming a competent surgeon. To get into the training pool, every aspiring surgeon must first learn the ropes through a core surgical interview guide.

By addressing common mistakes and areas often taken for granted, you are on your way to putting yourself out there amongst a pool of competent individuals vying for a spot for the same training program as you.

However, becoming a competent surgeon requires more than just taking notes from a core surgical interview guide. You need to be able to learn how you manage your portfolios and excel in answering common surgical questions as well as navigating through different clinical scenarios by providing your medical insights in each unique situation in a comprehensive manner. By doing these things, you can increase your chances of selection on the actual interview.

Prepare a good portfolio

While many applicants overlook the task of preparing their portfolio, this is actually important to get into the surgical training program. It’s important to note that most interviews beyond medical foundation applications will require you to bring a portfolio of your achievements. What you need to include in your portfolio and how to structure it accordingly are usually provided on the organisation’s website you are applying for.

Interviewers may go through your portfolio before the interview, but you will also often have your folder in front of you in a portfolio station of the interview. As a result, keeping an organised portfolio and being able to go through each section quickly and find the relevant page presents a good image to the interviewer. That said, you can get significant portion of marks when interviewers notice how organised and aesthetic your portfolio is. Keeping it succinct and intuitively laid out, therefore, scores you points both directly and indirectly. Buying a professional folder with coloured coded dividers is a good investment

Know yourself

To become an effective team member who can work with other professional doctors and nurses in the operating room, you need to have a solid grasp of your identity as a person and as a professional. During the medical interview, you will be asked questions about leadership and how to become a team player. To answer this question, you need to know yourself well— your personality, strengths and weaknesses, values, motivations, experience, career aims, and skills. People who do not have insight into these features tend to answer questions arrogantly, or grossly undersell themselves.

Use other peoples’ praise

It’s important to tell the interviewers your achievements and qualities you possess without sounding arrogant. However, in practice, this can be quite tricky. For example, you might get asked what your best trait is. You can answer this question but avoid sounding arrogant by citing what others have said about you in your core surgery interview.

Be aware of body language

At the very moment you enter the interview room, all eyes will be on you. For this reason, you need to show everyone that you are dependable and an important asset to the team asset. You may shake hands if the set-up allows for it. Remember to maintain eye contact throughout the interview. If you are facing a panel, always include all the assessors in your answer delivery. Try to compose yourself and express your ideas as fully as you can. Try to relax, but not completely still. Be natural. Try filming yourself while practising. You will quickly notice your little quirks! Finally, don’t forget to wear a smile!

See both sides

When pressed to answer questions that are ethical in nature, remember to take the perspective of both sides. Every scenario is designed to make you think. It would be best if you never committed yourself to a definitive answer immediately. If the first word out of your mouth is an absolute ‘yes’ or ‘no’, does it look like you’ve weighed the debate properly? Perhaps not. It can be tempting to blurt out an automatic response, especially if it’s something that you feel strongly about. But as part of the evaluation, you will also need to keep your emotions in check.

A better course of action is to first discuss arguments both for and against, before coming up with a balanced conclusion that appreciates the nuances of the scenario.

Preparing for the interview by way of reading and gaining knowledge from various resources can help you achieve your goals set by this core surgical interview guide. As you bulk up your knowledge base, your confidence and familiarity in answering questions become more and more precise. Still, more importantly, you also become physically and mentally prepared for the task ahead of you. With a solid CV and portfolio to back you up, you’re a force to reckon with when you step through those doors for your first challenge to becoming a surgeon: your interview.