‘Have you thought about the questions you will be asked by the selection committee?’ asked a friendly consultant colleague shortly before I attended my first interview for a senior registrar post. My application had been deeply considered, I thought, and I felt myself to be well prepared for success. My failure to get the job was an unexpected blow, but also one from which I subsequently learned some important lessons. Retiring to commiserate with the successful candidate over a cup of coffee, I was lucky enough to obtain by chance some helpful feedback on my sorry performance that afternoon. I had, I learned, conveyed an impression of ambivalence about wanting the job, and worse, uncertainty about the direction of my future career. I was amazed. However, subsequent conversations with a nonmedical friend who was the veteran of many such encounters (from both sides of the interviewing table) soon revealed the many ways in which I had doomed myself to failure. I determined to do better next time, and set out to gather as much expertise as I could. I present the fruit of these researches here, in the hope that they will prove useful to others in a similar position.
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