Careers Countdown

Careers Countdown  

Specialty Applications 2017

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Prepare to be interviewed!

Practice makes perfect every time, so practice with your peers, your seniors and your educational supervisor. You will find a list of possible interview questions at the bottom of this webpage below:

It is good to think of a few examples of clinical scenarios, team working situations, and to think about how to answer questions about what motivates you. Below is a useful technique:

Concentrate approximately 50% on the A - Action part of the answer, as it shows what you actually did. You should aim to talk about what you did, rather than using 'we'. Using 'we' demonstrates your team-working skills and it is fine to mention it occasionally, but using 'I' will demonstrate that you were acting autonomously.

You should spend approximately 20% of your answer on the R - Result part. Here you can reflect on what you have learnt from the situation.

Selection Centre Training Videos: Now available for Specialty Trainees through Trust's Intranet sites!

Health Education England in conjunction with AGCAS, have produced a number of selection centre preparation videos for doctors in training. The videos are now accessible to all doctors in training and have been placed onto most Trust intranet sites throughout the South London and KSS region.

The videos include:

Portfolio Interview: Candidates are questioned about the content and format of their portfolios.

Structured Interview: Candidates are asked questions on clinical, ethical and management scenarios by a panel of assessors.

GP/Role-play Station: The candidates are given a brief and a few minutes to prepare for the assessment, in which they conduct observed interviews with a patient, family member and colleague.

Presentation: This video shows how applicants, from a short list of topics, prepare and then give a brief presentation followed by questioning from the assessor panel.

Simulation station: The skills of the candidates are tested in this case using a simulated patient.


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Specialty applications opened on Wednesday 9th November 2016 and will close on Thursday 1st December 2016 at 4pm.

It's application time!

Make sure you allow enough time to complete the application form; it usually takes longer than you would think. It is also good to complete it in a few sessions, so that you can review it with fresh eyes. The STFS careers team have written some tips on filling in application forms. You can download the application form tips here:

Make sure that you have the person specifications to hand when you complete your application form. These can be found here:

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Specialty applications will be opening from Wednesday 9th November 2016 and will close on Thursday 1st December 2016. Academic Clinical Fellowship (ACF) applications will be opening from Monday 10th October 2016 and will close on Monday 7th November 2016. Until then we are sending you regular suggestions about how to maximise your chances of success.

Person Specifications

Person specifications for 2017 have now been released: The person specifications tell you what the recruitment panel are looking for. On the selection criteria page there are essential and desirable criteria columns.

  • Can you meet the essential criteria?
  • How many desriable criteria do you meet?
  • What could you do to make yourself more desirable?

Having a Plan B

The applications to specialty will be opening very soon, so you need to decide how many specialties to apply to. It is good to have two or three options. Choose one of these as your Plan A, but keep the others as Plan B or C.

Research (Borges and Savickas, 2002) has found that no one personality is suited to any one specialty i.e. you may be equally happy in any of your shortlisted specialties. Even if you are certain of the specialty you wish to pursue, it is still recommended to have a Plan B. For some Plan B may be considering what to do if you aren't successful in your specialty application first time.

  • How can you make yourself more competitive next time?

If you are unsure of which specialties to apply to, try out the decision making exercises on the Health Careers website.

Reference: Borges, N. J. Savickas, M.L (2001). Personality and medical specialty choice: a literature review and interrogation. Journal and Career Assessment, 10, 362-380.

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Academic Clinical Fellowship (ACF) applications will be opening on Monday 10th October 2016. Specialty applications will be opening on Wednesday 9th November 2016. Until then we will be sending you regular suggestions about how to maximise your chances of success.

Plan Ahead - get your Curriculum Vitae (CV) ready

One thing you can do in advance is to start preparing your portfolio and CV. Although you do not submit these at application time, many of the specialties require you to have these ready for the portfolio station interview. You can prepare these early and then use them to help you answer the questions on the application form.

Some guidance can be found on the Health Careers website:

This is the 4th of 5 countdown messages from the STFS Careers team, to see the previous messages click here.

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Have you arranged a taster?

Organising a one week specialty taster helps you with career exploration, and demonstrates your commitment to a specialty at interview.  For help on how to arrange one discuss with the foundation administrator or manager in your postgraduate centre.

Assess where you are in the 4-stage career plan:  

There are over 60 specialties within a medical career, so have a think about what’s right for you. The Health Careers website can help you with the 4-stage model.


This message is from the STFS Careers team. (Should you have any questions about the above content please contact the STFS Careers team).