I just want to start this post by saying that I hope everyone had a lovely, relaxing time over the festive period! Unfortunately, for many of us it’s now late January. And this means that it’s back to school, work, university. For some of you reading this blog post, it might also mean you’re preparing for your Graduate Scheme Interview or Assessment Centre, so I thought it would be useful to share some insider tips.
There are lots of things about interviews which I could tell you, and which you probably already know – do your research on the NHS, use the STAR technique, prepare examples beforehand, make the NHS leadership model/framework the basis of your answers and make sure you consider how you demonstrate your core values.
Whilst all these techniques are helpful, I’m not sure if any of them would be my top tip. My number one piece of advice is to treat your interview like a conversation. Prior to the interview, talk to your family and friends about your experiences at university, or in the work place. Don’t rehearse an answer for them, just talk, and get them to prompt you with questions if they feel you’ve left out any key pieces of information.
When you get to the interview, don’t panic, and don’t become flustered if a question you weren’t expecting arises. Just pretend that you are telling a family member, a friend, or a new colleague about yourself and your experiences. Reflect on those experiences in the conversation, and highlight things you did well, or what you have learnt from experiences which haven’t quite gone to plan.
Also, within the NHS Grad Scheme, many members of the interview panel are ex-trainees. They understand exactly how you’re feeling, and they’re not there to make the interview a scary or uncomfortable process – they can empathise with you, and make sure that they get the best out of you.
For some reason, it’s very easy to forget that an interview is simply a conversation with another human being – and I sometimes think that reminding yourself of this fact is the best thing you can do in an interview scenario!
It’s hard to give tips for an assessment centre, as a lot of it can just come down to luck on the day!
I think again, the best piece of advice I can give is just to enjoy yourself, be yourself, and don’t try to ‘be the ideal candidate’.
The great thing about the NHS Graduate Scheme Assessment Centre is that you’re actually given, and marked on, your reflection period at the end of the day. This part of the assessment centre is key. If there’s something you felt went wrong, say it, tell your assessor what you have learned, and tell them how you’d improve next time. You don’t have to be perfect, as no one is!
I hope you potential candidates out there have found this helpful!
If you’d like any more hints, tips, or have any questions about the Graduate Scheme, I’m always happy to be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Good luck everyone!