Doctors in the spotlight / Getting work

Career advice for locum doctors – interviewing for salaried and partnership positions


interviews

In time, most locum doctors will want to advance to a more permanent position. This means finding the right practice and selling yourself effectively. Once you’ve found an opportunity, the most important thing to prepare for as a candidate, is determining what value you can add to the practice and working out how you can communicate this in interview.

You might want to consider a clinical skill or an enhanced service that will be of use to the practice population. This requires an understanding of the local area, so make sure to do your research well in advance of applying for a position. You might want to think about taking over an unpopular clinical or administrative area such as quality and outcomes framework, mental health or women’s health.

Looking for locum work? Network Locum is a free service that helps you find jobs in your area

Then there are the necessary, basic qualifications that most shortlisted candidates are likely to have— it will be useful to have membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners, diploma of the Faculty of Family Planning. Other qualifications will be much less useful in the applications process.

You should also make an effort to develop local contacts. Make contact with trainers, course organisers, local salaried GPs, current or ex-GP registrars. If you can, chat to the departing doctor. Try and determine what sort of person they are looking for and whether there are local candidates expecting to take up the position. Good relations in an area with both staff and patients will also be an asset that will make you more appealing to your potential employers.

Jobs are often offered to locums, so it’s useful to maintain a good relationship with practices. Network Locum’s reputation system can help you to develop relationships and get repeat work with practices and prove your value to other practices, helping you find permanent work later in your career.

When preparing your CV, keep it short and informative, making sure to highlight the most relevant and most recent experience. If it’s not relevant to this particular job then leave it out. Have a colleague who is experienced in your field proofread it, as misspelled acronyms and erroneous terms will cast doubt on your professional experience. Always include a personalised cover letter that emphasises the key points of the CV and states why you would be a good fit for the job. Don’t just state your skills, explain why they would be of benefit to that particular practice.

On your informal visit, try to meet the key players at the practice, but don’t be too persistent if they are busy. Try and get a feel for how the practice functions and how well managed it is. This is an opportunity to see if you want to work there as much as it is to try and convince them that you’re a suitable candidate. Don’t just look at the practice itself, take a look at the surrounding area to see if its a place you’d enjoy.

When it comes to the interview itself, there is no bank of questions, if you’re called in for interview then there’s clearly something they like about you, so make sure you know your strengths and can talk about them at length. Another thing they’ll be looking for is how well you can fit into the practice, will you be able to work well in the team?

This isn’t just about your ability, it’s also a test of how personable you are. So make sure to give a holistic view of yourself. As well as your clinical and professional skills, make sure to present yourself as cheerful and friendly. Give the impression that you would deal well with stressful situations that will occur with colleagues and patients. Again, overall focus on what you can bring to the practice, don’t just state your skills, tell them how they would be useful for their specific situation. This is where the informal visit can come in handy, to find out extra details about the practice.

The golden rule is to make sure what you can talk about whatever is in your CV. Always have questions for your interviewer.

Further information on interviewing: http://www.pennine-gp-training.co.uk/life-after-training.htm

Looking for locum work? Network Locum is a free service that helps you find jobs in your area

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