Guidance for your HSST interview

It is natural to be nervous before and during the interview, try not to let those nerves get to you by ensuring you prepare well.

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The Higher Specialist Scientist Training (HSST) 2022 interviews will be delivered online. All interviews are designed to be fair, equitable and transparent and all processes will be applied consistently.

In accordance with the Equality and Diversity Act 2010, if you need any reasonable adjustments that relate specifically to an online interview, please email us at hcsapplicants@hee.nhs.uk immediately. Full guidance is available in the Disability Confidence policy.

If you are a non-UK/EU/EAA applicant, please email us at hcsapplicants@hee.nhs.uk as soon as you are notified of your allocation, with scanned copies of your:

  • Visa/Home Office documents
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination certificate or alternative evidence of English language proficiency

If you are relying on non-UK qualifications, you must also email us a scanned copy of your UK ENIC statement of comparability.

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How will the interview be arranged and conducted? 

Once you have received your invitation to interview, please confirm your acceptance as soon as possible. Your interview will be held via Microsoft Teams and you will be emailed a link closer to the interview date.

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Preparing for your interview 

Here are some tips and things to consider before your interview.

  • Make sure you are familiar with the HSST programme, its different components and what it means for you, in particular the research and leadership elements, academic and professional qualifications and workplace assessments.
  • Although ten minutes are available for your presentation, you do not need to fill the whole ten minutes with content and slides.
  • Remind yourself of what you wrote in your application, on how you meet the requirements.
  • Think about what type of questions you may be asked and how you might answer them; you may wish to hold a mock interview with a colleague.
  • Make sure you have a quiet space free from interruptions, for example children, pets and doorbells.
  • Be of a professional appearance; generally this means smart office-style clothing.
  • Have a glass of water available during your interview; if you need a bit of time to think while answering a question, take a sip of water which will also help to relax your nerves.
  • If you need a bit of time to think of the best answer, please do so.
  • Be aware of your body language.
  • Try to be as professional, motivated, interested and confident as possible.
  • Be open and honest, if you do not know the answer then let the panel know. The panel are experienced interviewers who will know if you do not know the answer.
  • Do not worry if the panel are silent while they write notes.
  • Be enthusiastic but don’t constantly interrupt the panel.
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Technology requirements for your interview

You will need access to a computer or tablet with the camera and microphone enabled, together with a stable internet connection. We recommend that if you are not familiar with Microsoft Teams you do a trial run with a friend, colleague or family member to ensure you know what to do on the day. Make sure you are familiar with the share screen function, so you can share your presentation. In the event of any difficulties with sharing your screen, staff from the School will be able to assist you.

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Joining the interview

Join the interview promptly; we recommend at least five minutes before the interview time. Make sure to introduce yourself to the panel members. Do not use the chat function during the interview unless you are prompted to do so, for example in the event of technical issues.
If there are any technical issues you may need to leave the meeting and re-join to solve any problems. If this happens, please do not panic, the employer and the School are aware that technical difficulties can occur and we will work with you to resolve the issue.

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At the start of the interview

At the start of the interview you will ask you to confirm your identity. You will need to show, by holding up to the camera, your photographic ID such as a passport, driving licence, BRP or NHS ID card. If you do not have any photographic ID you may show your birth certificate. Make sure you have these ready at the start of the interview.

You will be asked to confirm that you are alone in the room. The interviewers will ask you to sweep your camera around the room, to ensure you are the only person present. You will respond to questions without referring to technology e.g Google. If you do have any assistance the interview will be stopped and your application rejected. You are not permitted to refer to any notes or to make any notes during the interview. You are also not permitted to record the interview.

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During the interview

The interview can last up to 55 minutes. You will have 10 minutes for your presentation, which the panel will then ask you questions on.
After that the panel will ask you 7 questions, of which 4 are leadership questions and 3 are specialist scientific/clinical questions. The questions are taken from a bank of approved questions and were set by members of the healthcare science profession and quality assured by the School. They align with the person specification for the programme. The interview questions will consist of questions about specialist science and leadership, values and behaviours. At the end of the interview the panel will explain the next steps. You will not receive a decision at this time and you will be asked to leave the meeting.

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After the interview

You will be informed of the outcome of your interview via Oriel, as soon as possible after the interview. All scores are quality checked and reviewed before sending out the results. There is no need for you to contact the School during this time.

If offered a post on the HSST you will be given a 48-hour window to confirm your acceptance via Oriel. If you accept the post, the employer will proceed with pre-employment checks. All further correspondence will then be between you and the employing organisation.

Good luck with your interview. If you have any further queries, please email hcsapplicants@hee.nhs.uk.

Last updated on 1st June 2022