The Interview

The Interview

The interview seems to keeps changing year on year. It used to be that there was a prioritisation task where you were given some request cards and you had to talk through them from the point of a radiologist.

In general, there are some key things that remain relevant.

1. Portfolio

They’ll quite literally have a look through your portfolio. Essentially making sure you tick each of the things they require. For my interviews in 2011 we needed:

If there’s nothing to really discuss, then they won’t really talk to you. It could be quite awkward sitting there while they go through your things. For some people you just sit outside and if they have any particular questions about your portfolio then they’ll call you in.

I guess all portfolios are the same in essence, which is why you have to think out of the box a bit. That doesn’t mean that you can make a page of funny jokes and expect to be taken seriously. Put things that are interesting.

To be honest I didn’t have much, so I put in things like photos of my Mt Kilimanjaro climb. Certificate of taking part in the London to Brighton Cycle. Print screens of a marginally successful app I made for medical students. A copy of a journal I helped kick start at university. As you can imagine…it wasn’t exactly full of publications. In a way I think that is what helped my application. At the porfolio station I was invited in and they mentioned my climb to Kilimanjaro and congratulated me on it. At the end of the application process the college want to employ colleagues they’d be happy to work with. It’s never a bad thing to come across as an interesting person.

That’s not to say that if you have publications etc that you should forget about it. On the contrary, put all of it in, just don’t be afraid of being different.I’m sure you have something interesting to put in the portfolio.

2. Why you want to do radiology

This is where you really have to sell yourself. There’ll be two people asking the questions and you have to come out with the answers. As with any interviews there are a few simple rules you should adhere to:

Be confident

Come across as a friendly person (which I hope you already are). A course I went to about interview skills used the idea of being ‘sexy’. It sounds silly, but it’s often quoted that you should employ the same skills you’d use to talk to someone you like at a party. Obviously some people are better at it then others.

Try and think like a radiologist!

You have to be able to get your mind frame to in radiologist mode. Not clinician on the ward mode. This is careful balancing act, because you aren’t a radiologist (yet!). Try not to act the way you think radiologists act. Hopefully you’d have done a taster week by now and have a fair idea as to what I mean.

There’ll be general questions as to why you want to do radiology in the first place. Questions about the future of radiology, the challenges ahead etc.

Here I’d urge you to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket. If they ask you what kind of radiology you would like to do, avoid saying ‘interventional radiology’. Think about it, everyone applying will want to do it, or think about doing it. Probability is the people interviewing you are not interventionalists and have to sit through the entire day listening to people tell them why they want to do interventional radiology. Be general. There is nothing wrong with saying – I love scans…

You need to be aware that in essence radiologists do have specialist interests, but most will have to do general work. By that I mean, a chest radiologist will still need to be able to general CT/MRI/Ultrasound work as well as their own specialist interests.

This would be your argument as to why other specialities couldn’t take over your job. For example cardiologists doing cardiac MRI. Being a generalist radiologist you still need to be cardiac MRI and a cardiologist won’t be able to do as good a job as you…because the cardiologist might miss the lung lesion behind the heart. As a radiologist, you can’t do that. You need to see it and act on it.

Radiology is a very different specialy to anything else. Everyday you are doing something to with imaging. Be it Ultrasound/MRI/Flouroscopy/CT. The things you do everyday as a registrar are things you’ll be expected to do as a consultant. It’s not like the repiratory registrar who spends a large chunk of their professional career doing chest drains and then the day they become a consultant, they don’t have to do them anymore. As a radiology trainee you’ll be surrounded by imaging. You won’t the kind of doctor answering a bleep, filling out forms, talking to relatives etc.

This is where the question – What will you miss about clinical medicine may come in?

It’s an interesting question and you have to be careful how to answer. Don’t sit there and start reeling a long list of the ward work you’ll miss. You can mention some (but not much) and your conclusion needs to be that you won’t miss it all that much…after want to be a radiologist don’t you?!

For questions with respect to teleradiology, academies vs the rest, the future of radiology, training are a radiologist in general please read the relevant sections of this website. Hopefully there’ll be something useful or some food for thought to help you answer those questions. If there are any specific questions, drop me a message and I’ll do my best to answer your questions.

3. Research

For this, I’ll be honest. Look in this book called Medical Interviews (2nd Edition): A comprehensive guide to CT, ST & Registrar Interview SkillsIt’s what I used and just seems to explain things really well. If you don’t have it, then get it!

4. Ethics Scenarios


These are your bog standard scenarios. Registrar walks in drunk, you overhear sensitive information, someone threw a dog a bone etc etc. Again the standard interview books will give you a run down about all this stuff. However, with the addition of the Professional Dilemma paper this might become less relevant after a while.

After the interviews…you wait and hear your verdict…do you have a job? and where?