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The pointlessness of the partnership interview

I have taken to applying for all partnerships that I see advertised. This is due to a mixture of desperation for permanent employment and enthusiasm for job interview experience. But mainly just desperation.

I have taken to applying for all partnerships that I see advertised. This is due to a mixture of desperation for permanent employment and enthusiasm for job interview experience. But mainly just desperation.



There is hardly an abundance of partnerships available just now. I see one advertised a week, always in dodgy areas with ailing partners desperate for retirement.

Despite the unappealing nature of these posts, and because of the dearth of partnerships, there are dozens of applicants. Last summer felt easier. More partnerships, nicer areas and better opportunities. I even had a decent application to interview ratio. But now the posts are dwindling and so is my ratio.

And yet, in spite of this, I am now pretty familiar with the partnership interview formula. Despite all the variables between practices, the interview and the questions are fairly predictable.

The first half of the interview follows the same format:

"Why do you want to work here?","Why should we hire you?", "How would you describe yourself?", etc.

This is the selling stage. You will be assessed on your ability to suck up and tell them how wonderful they are, while at the same time exaggerating your good points to the point of sounding almost employable. It's all contrived, formulaic, kiss-ass stuff and the skill is to do it while still maintaining a degree of dignity and integrity. No small task.

The next 25% focus on the academic parts of the CV:

"How did you enjoy your registrar year?" "Which hospital posts did you enjoy the most?"

This is when you lie about how great being a registrar was and how it has been perfect preparation for life as a partner. It also gives you the opportunity to tell them how important the vocation of medicine is to you, despite the fact that if your numbers came up on the lottery, they wouldn't see you for dust.

Its bog standard stuff and its difficult to see how a practice might separate the wheat from the chaff based solely on a response to these questions.

However, the other 25% of the interview can be more telling but is wholly dependent on the capriciousness of the interviewing partner. Some revel in asking obscure political questions, or focus on specifics related to their practice. Most practices however, take the easy route and base the rest of their questions around the "soft" stuff. That section of your CV which has been embellished and exaggerated to within an inch of its life.

The selfless charity work (I gave £10 to comic relief), the sporting background (I watch Match of the Day), the university political career (I was president of our faculty pub quiz team), and the interest in foreign travel and culture (I go to Spain for my holidays).

And, when all this is done, you hope to have impressed them enough to give you a job. But be warned, it is extremely competitive and disappointment is likely. All you can do in the meantime is work hard, improve your skills and try to add to that growing CV. Now, what is CV talk for "enjoys a good lie in"?

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