It is unlikely that you will receive a job offer in medical
physics without first
attending an interview. The secret of a successful interview lies in
preparation, so it’s worth spending a little time doing your homework.
Good employers understand the pitfalls of interviewing,
such as the tendency of managers to recruit in their own image, but the process
is slowly becoming more structured, sophisticated and fair. If you stick to a
few guidelines, you'll have a good chance at your next job interview.
Before the interview
Sound preparation is essential. It may sound like common sense but many people,
especially the less experienced ones amongst us, make the fatal mistake of not doing their homework
before walking into an interview.
Research the department – look at its website and find
out what machines they use, what planning system, are they looking to expand or are they commissioning any machines
Prepare answers to the standard questions that form the basis of most interviews .
Be ready with a few questions for the interviewer. This
shows you’re keen and confident.
Check the format of the interview and find out who will
be interviewing you – expect to have to face an
interview panel of up to six people.
Make sure you dress smartly and look the part.
Re-read your CV and application letter and take
Plan your journey and check for any potential delays.
Try to get there at least 20 minutes early because it takes time to navigate through most hospitals until you find the
At the interview You must make a good impression in the crucial first few moments, so be
sure not to damage your chances before you begin:
Get to the interview room at least five minutes early. If
you are going to be unavoidably delayed, make sure you let your interviewer
know, so have their telephone number handy.
Give a firm but not bone-crushing handshake. There is
nothing worse than the "limp fish" handshake.
Always switch off your mobile phone/pager before you
enter the interview room.
Some interviewers try to provoke a reaction, often drawing
candidates into an argument, or simply turning them into the proverbial rabbit
in the headlights. Expect interviewers to throw a few trick questions your way.
Some common ones include:
What are your weaknesses?
What would your colleagues say are your weaknesses?
Describe a situation when your work was criticised.
Remember, success here depends more on not getting
flustered and thinking on your feet than having the right answer. Above all, be
honest – and give reasons for your past behaviour or responses. Medical Physics
to hire scientists, not robots.
The style of interviews varies dramatically, but here are
a few key points to remember:
Be friendly and courteous to everyone you meet from the
receptionist onwards – you never know who might have a say in your
Use positive body language.
When answering questions, relate parts of the job
description to relevant experience on your CV.
Make the most of your research and quote it where
If you face a panel interview, make sure you talk to
everyone rather than directing your answers at one person. Try to establish eye contact with each interviewer in turn.
Find out as much as you can about the job. For example,
who would the employee report to and why is the situation vacant.
No need to discuss salary - this will have been made
clear on the job advertisement.
Always let the interviewer finish speaking before
giving your response.
When the interview is over, remember to ask when you
can expect to hear back. Ensure they can easily contact you by mobile, email or whatever is appropriate for you.
After the interview Take stock of your overall interview performance, learn from the
experience and prepare for the next step. If you have a bad feeling about how it went or answered some questions
incorrectly its not the end of the world. You can be the most competent physicist in the world but if you have an
"off" day then you won't be selected. Take comfort from the fact that you got some useful interview practice and will do
better next time.
Try to remember the questions, write them down and note how you answered them.
They could crop up again in future!
If you feel it’s appropriate, email the interviewer to
say thank you for the interview, but be careful not to be too pushy for a
Remember to use any criticism constructively to improve
your chances next time.
Relax, if you don't get this one there'll be others.