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What to expect at interview


The shortlisting is carried out by a panel of appropriately qualified professionals who will represent employers, professional bodies and higher education institutes (who deliver the MSc programme). The panel will shortlist against agreed criteria that is based on the skills, knowledge and values that are required for the training scheme. Scores will be ranked and the individuals with the highest scores will be invited to interview.

If you are an 'in-service' applicant you will go straight through to interview, as you are already employed in a post that will become your training post if you are successful.

If you are a 'direct entry' applicant you will proceed to shortlisting if you have been successful in the application/tests stage. Once shortlisting has been done you will receive one of three emails via Oriel:

  • Interview - this means you have been successful and have been invited to interview. You must respond to this notification within five working days, confirming that you will be attending. You will then be able to book your interview slot online. No travel costs will be reimbursed when you attend an interview.
  • Shortlisted reserve - this means you are on the reserve list and could be called for interview if any of the shortlisted candidates withdraw. This could happen at short notice so you must be prepared to attend when asked. As a reserve candidate you will receive an email asking you to log into Oriel and choose your sub preferences (location/employers), these must be within the specialism for which you have applied. 
  • Shortlist unsuccessful - this means that you have not been shortlisted and your application will not progress any further.

If you are unable to attend your interview please inform the School via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at least three days before your interview date.

What is the Guaranteed Interview Scheme (GIS)?

This scheme is a commitment to guarantee an interview to any applicant with a disability, who meets the minimum entry criteria for the STP (as defined in the Equality Act 2010). If you are a disabled applicant wishing to apply under the GIS, please make sure to tick the 'yes' box on the online application form which refers to the scheme. 

What applicants can expect if they are invited to interview

Our short video shows you what to expect when you attend an STP interview; further details on the interview process are also available below.


Documents to bring with you to interview

When you arrive at the interview venue you will undergo a document check, this will include a verification of your ID and your right to work documentation (if applicable). 

You must bring with you the documents listed below; please note that you must bring both the original documentation and one copy of each of the items.

  • Passport
  • Two forms of photographic identification ie. driving licence or passport
  • Visa/Home Office documents if non UK/EEA
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination certificate or alternative evidence of English language proficiency if applicable (please contact us if you need more information)

If you are unable to bring a passport as evidence of proof to the right to work in the UK, the government UK Visas and Immigration website has details on what alternative documents will be accepted instead.

Attending your interview

You must arrive at the interview venue at least 30 minutes before your start time, as your document check will need to take place before you go onto the interview circuit. If you are running late please telephone us on 0121 695 2529; it may not be possible to offer you a later interview time and your interview may not go ahead. You will be given an ID badge which must be visible during your time on the interview circuit and you should expect to be at the venue for at least 2 hours. However you must also allow for any potential delays that may occur during the interviews when making your travel arrangements.

Should you find that you are unable to attend your interview, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as soon as possible and no later than 3 days before the interview date.

At the venue

If you have a hearing impairment that may have an impact on your interview, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. a minimum of 10 days prior to your interview date and we will notify you if hearing loops are available. Any additional requirements such as sign language support must be arranged by the applicant; the School will be able to offer support and guidance on this if required.

What will the interview circuit be like?

Your interviews will take place on a circuit of four 'stations'. Each station will last 10 minutes and have 2 interviewers who will ask you some questions. The interviewers will use these questions to probe and challenge your answers if they feel they need further information. Similarly, if the interviewers are satisfied with the answers given the interview will finish. You must stay at that station until you are prompted to move to the rest area, which is between each station. You will have 2 minutes rest before moving onto the next station/interview. This is repeated until you have completed all 4 stations. Watch our short video above to get a feel for what the circuit will be like.

You cannot take any notes with you onto the interview circuit and you are also advised not to discuss the interviews/questions with other applicants until you have left the venue.

The stations are designed to explore your knowledge and skills:

Station  Area covered
General aptitude for science and understanding of scientific services in society
2 Specialism specific questions to assess scientific knowledge and skill
3 Specialism specific questions to assess scientific knowledge and skill
4 Values and behaviour and leadership and management with a focus on potential

The outcome of your interview

You will be informed about the outcome of your interview via an email on the Oriel system. You will also be able to view your interview scores and ranking. In-service applicants will be notified as above however a copy of the email will also be sent to their manager.

Please remember that when you accept an offer of a post you are committing to three years training at that location; you cannot move locations once you have accepted a post.  

Further details about the interviewing process for applicants is available in our guidance for applicants (PDF 157KB).