Guidance for the STP interviews

Essential information for STP applicants who have been invited to interview.


STP 2023 interviews will be delivered online through a video-conferencing platform by the employing trust. All interviews are designed to be fair, equitable and transparent and all processes will be applied consistently.


Interview offers and notifications

If your status on Oriel shows either ‘interview’ or ‘shortlisted reserve’ you will be considered in the allocation of interviews. However, this status does not guarantee that an interview will be allocated to you.

Interview offers are allocated based on an applicants:

  • shortlisting score and rank – in the event of two applicants being ranked at the same level, tiebreakers are applied based on individual score criteria
  • preference for location/employer

An interview will be offered to the highest ranked applicant that has selected that post. The only exception would be due to special circumstances being granted. If that applicant declines or is not successful at interview, the offer of an interview will be processed again and matched to the next highest ranked applicant available. This continues until all posts are filled or the pool of applicants has been exhausted. Initial interview allocations are expected to be issued between the 4th and 12th May.

If you are matched to an interview you’ll receive this offer via Oriel. The term offer is in relation to an interview and does not qualify as an offer of a training post. Any offer of a training post will depend on the interview and if you are successful your status in Oriel will change to offer made. You will then have 48 hours (working hours) to accept or reject the offer.

Applications that have not been matched for an interview at this time, will remain in the reserve pool and your Oriel status will remain unchanged. Interview reserves will only be contacted should an interview become available and will be offered to the next highest ranked applicant for the specified interview location. If no interviews become available, your status on Oriel will remain unchanged.

Interview notifications

Keep a regular check on Oriel as all notifications for interview will be sent via this system up until the interview arrangements, which will be through direct communication with us and the training centre.

You will only receive one interview allocation with a single employer. You will not have the option to hold the allocation whilst waiting for a preferred one; only one post will be made available to you. If this expires or you reject it you will not be allocated another post. This will be the end of your application for this year.


After accepting an offer for interview

Once you have accepted the offer of an interview on Oriel, your contact details will be sent to the employer. The employer will contact you directly to arrange a date and time for the interview. This will either be via email (please check your junk/trash folder) or by telephone which may come through as a withheld number.

You will be given at least two days notice wherever possible and we encourage employers to interview early. However, if you have an important event, such as an exam, you may ask the employer for an alternative date. The interview invitation will be sent from either the Trust holding the interview or the MSC Recruitment team at the School and not via the Oriel system. Check your email junk/trash folders in case the invitation is forwarded into one of these folders. If you do not receive the invitation by 4:00pm the day before your interview, please contact the Trust holding the interview.

How will the interview be conducted?

Your interview will be held using an online platform such as Microsoft Teams. The interview panel will consist of two panel members from the employer and a possible observer from the School. The observer is only there to ensure standards are met and guidance is followed, they will not be judging or assessing your performance. The panel members will be qualified and experienced staff working in the department where the post will be based, and at least one member will be a scientist.

At the start of the interview a member of staff from the School may be present to ensure everyone is able to join the interview. They will silently leave soon after the interview commences.


Preparing for an interview

Here are some things to consider before your interview.

  • Make sure you are familiar with the job description and person specification.
  • Think about what type of questions you may be asked and how you might answer them.
  • Prepare some questions to ask the panel if time allows – however, be careful not to ask for information that has already been provided or discussed during the interview.
  • 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.
  • Be aware of your body language.
  • Try to be as professional, motivated, interested and confident as possible.
  • Don’t worry if the panel are silent while they write notes.

Technology requirements for your interview

You will need access to a computer, tablet or smartphone with the camera and microphone enabled, together with a stable internet connection. If you are not familiar with Microsoft Teams we recommend that you do a trial with a friend, colleague or family member to ensure you know what to do on the day.


Joining the interview and during the interview

We recommend that you join the interview at least ten minutes before the interview time. Introduce yourself to the panel members and 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 and re-join the interview 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.

At the start of the interview

At the start of the interview the panel members 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
  • biometric residence permit (BRP)
  • NHS ID card
  • university 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, and that you will respond to the questions without referring to technology (e.g Google). The interviewers will ask you to sweep your camera around the room, to show you are alone for your interview. If you do have any assistance then 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.

During the interview

The interview can last up to 50 minutes. The panel will ask you questions taken from a bank of approved questions. The interview questions will consist of questions that are scientific and leadership based, and values and behaviours based.

Keep your answers clear, concise and focused. A panel member may ask you follow up or confirmation questions. If you go over time, a panel member may interrupt you so that they can move onto the next question. The panel may also conclude the interview early if they feel they have obtained enough information to assess you. Please do not refer to your application form when answering questions or assume the panel know the details on your application form. The interview is your chance to demonstrate the breadth of your knowledge and experience, and not to simply reiterate the information on your application form. If time allows at the end of the interview, you will have the opportunity to ask questions. If you do not have any questions then it is acceptable not to ask any.


Interview outcome and allocation process

After your interview you will be contacted by the School and informed of the outcome of your interview.

There is a minimum cohort number required for applicants who applied to the following specialities and offers will not be generated in Oriel until all recruitment is finalised:

  • Reconstructive Science
  • Ophthalmic and Vision Sciences
  • Clinical Scientific Computing
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Clinical Informatics

If you are successful your details will be sent to the employer. This could take up to 4 weeks. The employer will then start their employment processes. References will be checked by the employer and not by the School.

Subject to successful pre-employment checks, you will be an employee of the training centre and you will stay in their employment for the full three years of training. Once your details are sent to your new employer, the School’s involvement ceases.

If you are unsuccessful following the interview you will leave the recruitment process. You will not join the reserve interview list and there will be no opportunity for a further interview with a different employer.

Interview feedback

You can obtain interview feedback free of charge by emailing and attaching photographic ID. Feedback consists of interview question responses and any additional comments.

You will receive your feedback within approximately one month. However, we cannot start to process requests until all allocations have been completed.

Last updated on 2nd May 2023