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Help with interview questions NHS MLA(12 Posts)
Hi . I've managed to secure an interview for a Laboratory Assistant role in the virology department at a local hospital. I'm not great at interviews as I don't have a great deal of confidence in myself. I'm 34 and worry they may prefer someone younger. I studied at college for an access to HE diploma and this is the career I really want for myself. Does anyone know what type of questions I might be faced with. I'm going to look through the job spec and role so I can match my experience in previous jobs with that but I am so nervous. Any advice would be brilliant and greatly appreciated.
Not sure about the technical questions, but NHS interviews are normally values-based, and you're expected to answer in the STAR format (situation, task, action, result). The interviewer will be wanting to see if you are the right 'fit' by asking you questions that see how you match up to their values. So for example 'Tell me about a time when you had exceeded expectations'. There will also probably be a diversity and inclusion question.
The interviewers will score each of your answers. The candidate who receives the highest score overall should be the one who is offered the job.
Thank you for that. I went for another interview in a different hospital and they asked 'tell me about a time that put you in a difficult situation and how you rectified it' or along those lines. I can't remember anything about the interview apart from that and the 'tell me about (this regions) NHS'. I know I have all the relevant experience for the role, it's just wording it right on the spot that worries me.
I work in an NHS lab, and whilst I've not been involved in the interview side the important questions for someone at MLA level will be related to health and safety knowledge. (Ie gloves and lab coat - safety glasses if necessary). Noting that your happy to work with any specimens presented to you. Having some knowledge of working to ISO regulations is good. And obviously awareness of confidentiality and data protection. At MLA level, we get a lot of candidates hoping for career progression. It is nice to know that candidates have aspirations, but the interviews will want to know that you're not going to just take the job for 6months & leave for something better. So alluding to looking for something long term is always good. (Even if in reality it's not what you want). I don't work in virology-so I can't help specifically with that. But it's worth finding out a little about the lab, what kind of equipment they use, and what tests they do. And of course... lots of enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.
In our lab we usually do a little test of the persons ability to correctly read / copy a request card and sample. (I have also had to do this at interview for a different position many years ago) There will often be very minor discrepancies between them to see if you're checking properly so if faced with this be very careful to check NHS numbers match. Name spellings etc.
You will almost certainly be taken for a tour of the lab after your interview, when you relax and guard is let down a bit. This is something I've done lot of.
Just remember - the person taking you around is as much interviewing you as the panel, and the feedback is very much valued. We have had brilliant candidates at interview that based on the tour have been immediately eliminated.
Things I like -enthusiasm for the job. Asking questions about the different things you can learn. Wanting to know how many people are on your team. Talking generally about why you want the job and it appeals to you!
Hope I've been some help. Good luck!
My manager is always impressed if somebody has either been for a look around prior to the interview, or asks to look around the lab at the interview.
We are really hot on Information Governance/Data Protection Act/Caldicott Principles so you will most likely be asked about maintaining patient confidentiality and who you can give information to. Also, maintaining accurate notes on who you have given results to, getting them to repeat results back to maintain accuracy.
Ability to follow SOPs to the letter is important, and ISO regulations as mentioned. Basically there are very structured ways of doing things in the lab, some of which are national guidelines some of which may be particular to this lab. If you can give examples from another job or talk about how you would be able to work this way.
Some awareness of COSHH even if you’ve never had to use it in another workplace if you can show you know what it stands for and some basic principles.
Examples of when you have had to manage your own workload and maintain accuracy. Urgent things will come up and you will have to rearrange your workload, you may be doing something important then have to stop to answer the phone so times you have had to do this in other jobs.
Show that you would understand when you are not able to deal with an enquiry by yourself. State that you would pass a call on to a senior when necessary.
Thank you so much for your replies. They're all really helpful. I have been to look around the laboratory at the other hospital I applied for but I may see if I can go see this one next week (interview the following week). The last interview I went for I didn't even get past the panel interview stage. I really hope I do better this time.
Can I also ask, how high can I go if I want to base my career around this laboratory. I was going to be doing a biomedical science degree at the local university but I would much rather work my way as high as I could go. I know of many people out of work after working through a degree.
It would depend on the role - BMSs at our lab are a Band 5 or 6 depending on experience and if they have a Masters. Something like Quality Manager is a 7. Management 8a/b depending on exact role. I’m not sure about the higher-ups, but that would be very senior as in Service Manager.
DarkDark, I'm entering at bank 2 so I could go as far as bank 4 without a degree? What would the role at band 4 be known as? I would love to be able to complete a degree whilst working if it was at all possible.
Band not bank.....on my mobile
Band 3 would be an MLA supervisor in our Trust and 4 would be the Manager of Central Reception i.e. over all the MLAs.
The Department I work in doesn’t have this role (but funnily enough we do the same things but that’s another story ) but other departments have band 3 and 4 MLAs who do more technical duties, so take on some things that would previously have been done by a BMS.
Thank you everyone for your info and advice. I've emailed the lab manager to ask if I can take a look around this week. I'm hoping they can fit me in although I have left it till last minute, I honestly wasn't even expecting an interview. I will pop on here and update for anyone that may be interested.
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