Interviews…getting on the course and/or getting a job

I thought the subject of interviews would follow on nicely from my previous topic of job hunting. Most (if not all) universities will interview during the application process, as a limited number of students are taken each year. At Surrey University the number taken is about 35-40 a year (out of around 300 applicants!) but all universities will be different. Interviews can range from a whole day of group/solo activities to a 10-20 minute one-to-one discussion. My interview was one-to-one with the head of the nutrition and dietetic department, lasting about 15 minutes, and I was very very nervous as I wanted to get on so much!

From memory the questions I was asked were:

  • Why have you chosen to study dietetics?
  • Why have you chosen this university?
  • What do you think the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist is?
  • Tell me about some dietetic work experience you have done
  • Do you enjoy cooking?
  • What would you cook for me if you were hosting a dinner party? (A strange one this, I spun it round and asked if she might have any allergies/intolerances/dislikes!)

After that I had to wait to receive a letter stating whether or not I had a conditional/unconditional offer. My offer, as I was currently studying the foundation year degree to get onto the course, was that I needed to achieve 75%+ overall to get a place. Scary!

As for job interviews, my first ever one is coming up very soon, so I can’t speak from direct experience. I can however speak from the experience of friends and colleagues, and also the mock interview that some hospitals give you in your final placement.

Typical questions include:

  • What attracts you to this role?
  • What are your main strengths and how would you apply these to working as a dietitian?
  • A question about your clinical placements
  • Advantages and disadvantages of working in a MDT
  • Clinical-based situation questions on (most commonly): refeeding syndrome, dementia, prioritisation, dealing with complaints, IBS, enteral feeding, group presentation work, disagreeing with a consultant’s plan for a patient or overrunning with a clinic
  • CPD plans (i.e. any plans for attending study days, further education etc)
  • Audit experience (you should have some from placement)
  • Working with students (how would you deal with it, would you change the way it was structured from your own experience)
  • Clinical governance (what does it mean to you?)
  • What would you want from the department?

I am currently (in prep for my interview) compiling a list of all questions I imagine they might ask me and how I would answer them! Hopefully this will help 🙂

If anyone else knows of any relevant questions used in a dietetic interview please let me know!!

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