An Interview with Doctor Maddy
Dr Maddy is a successful top-ten scoring anaesthetic CT1 for the August 2022 intake who we interviewed to provide some helpful advice for people aspiring to anaesthetics.
So can you tell me overall what you thought of the interview process?
Overall this past year I thought it went very smoothly. Different people had different experiences of the day depending in which region you’re interviewed in. I was interviewed in the North west region and it was run very smoothly on the day, I was held in a little holding room before the interview, the two interviewers were very friendly, the questions were all straightforward and speaking to other candidates the questions were all fairly standardised with a little scope for personalisation. Overall I thought it was a fair process.
Was there anything that surprised you or that you wish you had known before sitting the interview?
No. I thought the college were quite clear on the things the expect from an interview. You can look at the scoring matrix beforehand. Nothing massively deviated from that.
How did you prepare for the interview?
So I got my interview feedback from the previous year when I applied and didn’t get in, and I highlighted the major areas where there was a shortfall in my actual skillset. So my preparation actually started a year ago which maybe is not all that helpful for people reading this. I also went back and looked through the things I already had but I maybe hadn’t highlighted the things that I could have done. So areas where I could have highlighted teamwork a little more, or things that might have shown my practical skills that I hadn’t just picked out the experience I already had.
When I was practicing I sat down with one of my consultants at work that I get on with really well and he doesn’t have any issues with giving honest feedback.
Did you have an anaesthetic job before?
I didn’t have a job in F1 or F2 but I did know I wanted to do it so I went on all the taster days, conferences and things like that. It was highlighted in my first interview that I hadn’t had an anaesthetic job so I applied for a 6 months ITU job in my FY3 year.
How did the second time you prepared for the interview differ from the first?
I think I was a lot more relaxed going into the interview because I had practiced my answers so many times. And I also felt the pressure had come off a little bit. I mean I hadn’t got in in the previous year and the world hadn’t fallen in so I did a JCF job which I really enjoyed. I had a really good year of experience so it just kind of put it into perspective and then I locumed for 6 months.
I had a really good year and I knew if I didn’t get in there was a whole load of stuff out there that I could do that I would really enjoy so it really took the pressure off.
How can you encourage your peers to give you more honest or better feedback?
I would probably ask them to be more objective and use the scoring matrix and Highlight whether you hit this box or that box rather than just saying ‘it sounded really good’. There are easy marks to be gained such as a structured A-E assessment, utilising the MDT etc.. they’re all easy points. Maybe using the scoring matrix and marking each other more objectively would be good.
If you had any top tips for people applying this year what would they be?
When anaesthetists are interviewing you they are looking for a future colleague rather than someone who just ticks all the boxes on paper. Remember that your interviewer may very well have to work with you in theatre for 10 hours so they don’t want someone who is a complete square. If you can find any commonality with the interviewer or have a sense of humour and don’t look like a complete robot, then they’re more likely to see you as human and wouldn’t mind sitting with you for hours at a time.
There is a question at the end of the interview which is, ‘what are you proud of’. In F2 I had said I was really proud of all the projects I had done during the year and I had already talked about all that stuff. Thinking back, that kind of non-specific question gives you the opportunity to show who you actually are. This year I talked about how I re-joined a jazz band when I moved down to London and about re-finding myself as a musician which I got really into again. Other consultant anaesthetists have said they’re often more impressed with things that are a little bit different when that question is answered.
How can you prepare in FY1/2?
There are loads of things locally you can do, e.g. anaesthetics skills days, getting involved in teaching early, going to conferences. Everything I have submitted to a conference has been accepted. I submitted something in F2 thinking it was rubbish and it got accepted and presented at a national conference. All the projects you’re doing look for ways to spin it towards anaesthetics. I did a project on colorectal surgery and I presented it at the Royal College of Anaesthetists as I managed to change it to be more about perioperative care. Everything you do, even if you don’t think its anaesthetics related, try to shoehorn it into anaesthetics.
What are you most looking forward to about anaesthetic training?
I am kind of just looking forward to doing a job that I’m actually excited to do. Its nice being in a team of people who are enthusiastic about the specialty. Its nice to just do what I want to do from now on. Hopefully I will like it!