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Skilled interviewers use scenario-based questions to understand whether you are a good fit for their organisation, team, role, or training program. Questions are designed to evaluate your ability to assess, judge and choose the most appropriate actions in response to a hypothetical workplace situation. They are an opportunity for you to demonstrate how you think, communicate, problem solve, your attention to detail and professionalism, and that you are a ‘safe’ doctor and more.

While many of you are familiar with these types of question, we feel it is important for you not to be complacent. Once more, we want to remind you that planning, preparation, and practice really does underpin a confident and impressive interview.


You can start to plan by analysing ‘how’ you would behave or act and what your priorities would be when considering the common themes/topics which are regularly examined in medical interviews, some examples are listed below:

  • Errors & mistakes – yours or others
  • Conflict management – patients, colleagues, seniors, patient’s family
  • Professionalism
  • Advocacy
  • Ethics and integrity
  • Risk management
  • Occupational health & safety
  • Managing difficult people
  • Stress and fatigue
  • Feeling overwhelmed / out of one’s depth
  • Teamwork and leadership
  • Quality management and innovation

You also need to reflect on what are the current hot topics relevant to your craft group or role level that might be a focus in the interview. There are always new topics that emerge each year.


It is also a good opportunity to brush up on how you structure your responses, ensuring you embed techniques such as signposting and the use of ‘SPIES,’ where relevant. As in your preparation for behavioural questions it can help to use a version of S.T.A.R. (also known as C.A.R. or S.A.C.)  to help structure your responses for maximum impact, and to ensure the interviewers attention is held.


Practice is key! Ensure you schedule time to practice with others and when you are practicing by yourself be sure to say your response out loud  (not in your head!) and to time and record your answers where possible, factoring in any information you know about the structure of the interview. Refer to our suggestions in How to ace Behavioural Event Interview (BEI) questions.

A couple more tips:

  • Situational Judgment or scenario-based questions are hypothetical. Reflecting on actual experiences you have had that mirror the scenario presented can help you prepare for this type of question. However , whether you refer to your experience in your answers is for you to judge and may or may not be relevant for some questions.
  • Make sure you answer the question asked, not the one you prepared a response too! So be sure to listen to the interview question and clarify any points if required before you jump into solution mode. Having interview content that is adaptable and flexible supports you to do this.
  • Finally, make sure you talk through the key considerations and explain how you would use information to make informed decisions on how you would react.

If interviewing is not a strength for you the good news is that it is a skill you can acquire. To help you build muscle in this area you can schedule an interview training package.

 with one of our team. Or if you believe you are tracking well and want to test your preparedness you can schedule a ‘Practice Interview’.

If you have any further questions, please email us at [email protected].

Further reading in the 'it is interview season' series