Written by Safiya Zaloum
Your work experience might have been a while ago, so it’s important that you remember exactly what you did. Hopefully you made some notes or kept a work experience diary at the time. If you didn’t make any notes at the time, try to make some now to cover as much as you can remember.
Revisit your notes to remind yourself of key things you did/observed and lessons you learned. If you have a lot of notes, condense these to make sure you highlight the most significant things at your interview and don’t ramble.
Remember that your interviewers are far more interested in what you learned from your work experience than in what you actually did. When it comes to work experience, quality is more important than quantity!
To ensure your discussion of work experience is focused, think about it in advance and decide on the most important points to make. For example, you might want to choose some memorable cases or incidents that you observed. You should also think about the Doctors and other healthcare professionals you saw in action. What qualities and attributes did you notice? Did you observe someone breaking bad news, explaining test results, dealing with an angry patient, demonstrating empathy, etc?
You should also show that your work experience gave you a better understanding of how the NHS functions and what it is really like to work in the field of Medicine.
Go through your Personal Statement before the interview to check that you remember everything you mentioned. Interviewers might use your Personal Statement as a basis to ask you questions about your work experience, so it won’t look good if they bring something up and you aren’t sure what they’re talking about.
Also consider if there’s anything else you would add to your Personal Statement if you wrote it now. Have you done any additional work experience since it was submitted? If this is the case, make sure you mention your new experience in the interview, because they won’t know about it already from your Personal Statement.
Your work experience is like any other interview topic – the more you practise answering common interview questions, the better you will get at talking about it.
However, you should avoid scripting answers and learning them off by heart, because this will stop you from sounding genuine. Make a list of key points that you aim to cover and use this to practise giving answers. You might also find it useful to practise different variations of questions that could come up with friends.
Check out our guide to common work experience interview questions, with model answers you can adapt to reflect your own experience.
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