National Recruitment ST1 up to 90

Interview Guidance


We are currently collating a list of the all the ST1 posts throughout the UK and you will be given the opportunity to rank the posts that are available.  The posts will be published within Oriel from the 11th of February 2020 and an email will be sent notifying each candidate that the posts, also known as preferences, are available to select. You can access this information under “My Applications” on your applicant dashboard within Oriel (where you submitted your application).  The list of posts will be available to preference until 10:00 am on 26th of February 2020.  Please ensure that you have made your selection by this deadline as offers will be matched to candidate preferences.

Date of Interviews

The interviews will be held on the 7th of February 2020 at the Mercure Holland House Hotel in Bristol.


Mercure Holland House Hotel, Redcliffe Way, Bristol, BS1 6SQ

Link for directions to: Interview Venue  

Travel – Getting to the venue

Transportation links to Venue: -

  • Railway station - Bristol Temple Meads - five/ten minute walk from the station to the venue
  • Airport – Bristol International – direct bus (Bristol Flyer) from the airport to the railway station
  • Coach – Bristol Bus Station

Limited parking is available at the hotel.  There is also public parking nearby.

Note: The timeslot booked incorporates the entire process and is the time of arrival at the Hotel not the start time of your interview.  


During the recruitment process we have exclusive use of the Mercure Holland House Hotel. 

Candidates requiring accommodation must not stay at the hotel and are advised to seek alternative accommodation in the hotels nearby. 

There are lots of hotels in the area and we have included links to two nearby.

Preparing for your interview

You will be required to bring the following to your interview:

  •   A paper version of your portfolio
  •   Documentation to verify your identity

Paper portfolio

Please bring a paper version of your portfolio.  A list of contents is available on the national recruitment website.  It is essential that you refer to the list of contents and follow the list precisely as marks may be deducted for including unnecessary information.

The link provided is for ease of reference, but we recommend viewing the national recruitment website for the full information.

Layout of the portfolio

All documentation must be supplied within the portfolio, including copies of certificates.   No original certificates need to be provided in the portfolio unless they easily fit into the A4 portfolio format.  Clear A4 copies of the certificates are acceptable.

Please file the information under the headings specified in the list of contents and strictly in the order listed.    

Please ensure there is no patient identifiable documentation included.

Guide to portfolio Size

Below is a guide to the size of an ideal paper portfolio

 Good Portfolio 2        Too much Portfolio 2

Verification of your Identity

We are required to verify your identity at the interviews.  Please bring your original passport and photocopies of the front & inside cover and the signature/photograph page of your passport.  The copies will be retained, and the original will be checked and returned to you.


As part of the national application process candidates have been asked to provide the names of three referees.  References will only be requested if an applicant is offered and accepts a training post.  The purpose of the reference is to confirm employment history and to highlight concerns. 

You will have the option to change your referee’s details until the point of offer.  The details can be amended through your applicant dashboard within Oriel.

If no offer is made or the offer is declined referees will not be contacted.

Note: You are not required to bring your references to the interview.

Facilities at the venue

Refreshments: The interviews are being held in a hotel in a central location within Bristol.  You will be at the hotel for several hours and we recommend that you bring something to eat and drink.

Refreshments can be purchased on-site and there are also shops within walking distance. 

Drinking water will be available but please help us to be more environmentally aware with reducing the amount of single use plastic bottles that we waste by bringing your own filled reusable bottle of water to take with you through the process.

Arriving at the interviews

The timeslot that you have booked encompasses the whole process and is your arrival time at the venue NOT your interview start time.  When making travel plans please keep in mind the process from start to finish may take up to three hours.

On arrival at the hotel please report to reception. 

You will be directed to a cloakroom area to leave non-valuable luggage and coats before proceeding to the registration room to begin the interview process. Please only bring essential personal belongings to the interviews as the cloakroom area is not secured.

Any coats or bags brought through to registration will need to stay with you throughout the interview process.

Structured Interview

Stage 1

On arrival at the interviews you will be asked to register, and your identity will be verified.  The copies of your passport will be retained, and the original will be returned to you.

Your paper portfolio will be collected so that it can be taken to the portfolio review station.  Please refer to the list of contents for the portfolio and follow the instructions carefully as failure to do so may result in a reduced score.

If you bring a mobile telephone and/or watch that connects to the internet, into the interview process itself we will securely store the items until they are returned to you at the end of the process.

You will be given a name badge and you will be given details of the interview process to follow.

Stage 2


Duration:  40 minutes

The cohort of candidates which are being interviewed at the same time will be collected from the registration room and taken to the preparation room.  Candidates will then be briefed on the preparation and the interview process and given 40 minutes to prepare for the structured interviews to follow.

The preparation will include a number of scenarios to read and a published paper to review. 

Stage 3

This is the interview, itself.  There are two stations and all candidates will progress through each station in the same order. 

There are two interviewers in each station who will mark candidates. There may also be an observer who does not mark.

Portfolio Review

Whilst the face to face interviews are taking place each candidate’s paper portfolio will be examined by two panel members for 20 minutes. 

The portfolios will be assessed and scored against pre-defined criteria.  The maximum score that can be awarded for the portfolio is 100 points.

Candidates will not be asked questions about their portfolio within the interview process.  Please remember all documents must be inside the folder.

Station A (Critical Appraisal and Improving Patient Care)

16 minutes

2 panel members

There are two discrete sections in this station. 

Critical Appraisal (8 minutes)

You will have been given a published paper to read and review during the preparation session, as well as the primary questions that will be asked about the paper.  The panellists will have positive and negative indicators to listen out for in your answer.

Maximum Score 30

Improving Patient Care (8 minutes)

You will be asked a series of questions related to improving patient care. You will have the opportunity to prepare for these questions during the preparation session.

Maximum Score 40

Station B (Communication & Clinical Knowledge)

16 minutes in length

2 Panel Members

There are two discrete sections in this station. 

Communication Scenario(7 minutes)

This scenario will involve role-play with an actor.  You will have been given a patient history to read as part of the preparation.  Communication skills will be scored within this section.

Maximum Score: 40 points

Clinical Knowledge  (9 minutes)

There will be primary clinical questions in this section which will be followed by supplementary questions.  The questions will involve identifying clinical signs or describing the results of an investigation. 

The clinical questions will involve viewing photographs on an iPad. 

Interviewers will encourage candidates to answer the questions as quickly and succinctly as possible to give them the best chance of covering all the questions in the allotted time period.

Maximum Score 50 points

Total Score

The total score will be compiled from the scores awarded in each of the interview stations (maximum 160), the portfolio review (maximum 100) and a proportion of the score achieved in the multi-specialty recruitment assessment (maximum 40). 

Following the interviews, a ranked list of candidates will be produced.  The ranking will be allocated based on the total score achieved and the performance within individual questions. 

Candidates that do not achieve a minimum score overall (180 out of a total of 300) or a minimum score in two or more questions across the interview stations (12 out of 30, 16 out of 40 or 20 out of 50) will not be given a rank or included within the offer process. 

Stage 4

Following the interview, you will have the opportunity to speak to the consultant ophthalmologist who leads the selection process.  Your portfolio will also be returned to you and will also be asked to provide feedback.

The whole process may take up to three hours from your time of arrival.  Although we do our best to keep to the schedule at times the selection process may be delayed, and it is useful to keep this in mind when booking return travel.

We have outlined the interview structure and scoring, although unlikely, we do reserve the right to vary the process and scoring.

Decline an interview slot

If you wish to decline an interview there is a facility to withdraw on-line through Oriel.  We also request candidates email: sevrecruitment.sw@hee.nhs.ukor telephone 01454 252610.


All candidates will be contacted by 5:00 pm on the 26th of February 2020 with the outcome of the interviews.

Claiming Expenses

Travel expenses will be re-imbursed in line with the national expenses policy and should be claimed through the on-line expense system, Selenity.  Please refer to the expense policy before making any travel or accommodation arrangements.  Full details are available from the links below and on the recruitment website.

Link:  Expense Policy 

Making a claim through Selenity

All candidates are required to claim their expenses through an on-line system called Selenity.  Initially you must register with the system and then you can go on to claim expenses.

How to guides are available from the links below to assist you with this.  Please remember you must submit all claims no later than 28 calendar days after the interviews. 

Link:  Guide to registering with Selenity

Link:  Guide to making an expense claim

Making a Complaint

If you have any comments or complaints about the ophthalmology selection process please email  sevrecruitment.sw@hee.nhs.uk and we will investigate your concern in line with the complaints policy.

Health Education England has also initiated a central confidential email address (mdrs.confidential@hee.nhs.uk) for applicants to raise concerns about the recruitment process that fall outside of the national complaints policy e.g. fraudulent submissions by other applicants.  It is not to be used as a way of raising a complaint and bypassing the process detailed in the complaints policy.