Each university interview process will be slightly different but there will be a lot of similarity between them as well. For most interviews there will be a number of different people asking you questions. These might represent different elements of the course, for instance someone from the clinical side (a midwife), a supervisor of midwives and a lecturer from the university.
The Traditional Interview
Interviews often include three types of questions:
- Traditional interview questions
These will cover why you want to become a midwife and what you think your strengths and weaknesses are.
- Research based questions
These ones may be used to show you have done your homework, so it’s best not to be caught out. You aren’t going to be expected to know anything in-depth about the duties of a midwife but to show good preparation it is worth reading round the website to learn more about the course, and perhaps seeing if there is anything current in the news about the profession that you should know about.
- Behavioural or competency based questions
These questions explore your behaviour, how you have acted in the past. The panel will be interested to know how you have approached things in the past as they can then make inferences from this about how you might behave in the future. This will help them determine how successfully you may be as a midwife.
These types of questions can be the most difficult to get right if you aren’t prepared for them. They can be much harder to answer than you might think because you really have to think on your feet.
You can recognise these questions by the way they are worded:
‘Please provide an example of a time when you have….?’
‘Please describe a time an occasion when you have…..?’
‘Tell us about a time when you….’
For these sorts of questions you will need to think about your personal experiences of work, study or any other aspect of your life and describe a situation where you have done something yourself. To provide a great answer you need to describe:
What the situation was e.g. ‘I was working at xxxx as a xxxxx’
What the task was e.g. ‘my manager told me there was a problem with xxxxxx and asked me to xxxx’
What your action was e.g. ‘I decided the best approach was to xxxx because xxxx. I did this by xxxxx.
What the end result was e.g. ‘the actions I took meant that xxxxx happened’
It’s easy to get the wrong end of the stick with these questions and answer them incorrectly. For example:
‘Tell us about a time when you have gone out of your way to help someone else?’
Example poor answer
‘I think helping others is important because…….I know I am a helpful person because I always…..’
Example good answer
‘Last year I was involved in xxxx. I was responsible for xxxx. One of the things I had to do was xxxxxx. I noticed that xxxx was struggling because xxxxx. I did xxxxxxx and provided further support by xxxxx. What happened then was xxxxx and the impact of this was xxxxx…’
Can you see the difference?
By asking you to provide a real life example of what you have done you are providing insight into how you might behave in the future which is consistent with what you have descried. This will help your interviewers decide if you are right for the job or not. beware though, its hard to get this right! if you want to be on the safe side, get in touch with us here and we can check your answers over in advance
Common interview questions
1. Why have you chosen to become a midwife?
2. What is the role of a midwife?
3. How will you cope with the pressures of university work and placements?
4. What appeals about this university?
5. How would you deal with a stillbirth?
6. Why have you chosen midwifery rather than nursing?
7. What do you know about the Nursing and Midwifery Council?
8. If a woman had made a decision about her care which you thought would put her or her baby at risk, what would you do?
9. What have you researched prior to your interview and what resources did you use?
10. What will the best and worst parts of being a midwife?
11. What skills are needed to be a midwife?
12. What are some of the current issues facing the profession that you are aware of?
13. Can you describe a time you have worked well in a team?
14. How do you manage your time?
15. Have you done any work experience to prepare yourself for the course?
16. What does non-judgmental care mean to you?
17. Do you know anything about the 6 C’s?
18. What support do you have?
19. Can you think of a time you have shown respect for someone else?
20. Can you describe an occasion where you took steps to make an improvement?
You won’t be asked all of these! There will also be other questions we haven’t listed which you may be asked.
Do all universities look for the same sort of people?
Each uni will be looking for different qualities depending on what they specialise in. Some uni’s look for mature students, some prefer school leavers. So there isn’t really a consistency. Make sure you read about the university and the course to get a sense of what their priorities are and what they value. Most are likely you be interested in finding out more about your attitude towards learning, your awareness of the role of a midwife, your motivation and your achievements.
Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI)
Quite a few universities are starting to use this approach to interviewing. Think speed-dating, but interview style! It might sound quite pressured but reports are that it’s also enjoyable, so don’t be too alarmed if you find out the uni you have applied to uses this style of interview.
How it works
There will be a series of booths or stations (4 – 6 usually) set up in a large room. You will be directed where to go first, and there an interviewer will ask you a question. This question will be designed to assess you on a specific skill or personal quality. You will usually have 5- 10 minutes to answer before its time to move onto the next station. Each interviewer stays put, so they ask all the candidates the same question. This makes the interview process consistent for everyone, as everyone is asked the same question by the same person, and their answer evaluated by the same person.
Before starting this type of interview it will be explained what you have to do and where you have to go so don’t worry. It probably won’t last more than about 45 minutes, so you can expect between 4 and 6 questions usually.
Questions often change day to day, so don’t expect to have the same ones as a friend may have had yesterday!
In addition to standard interview questions, sometimes the MMI can cover scenario based questions. For instance, in a briefing at the start of the process you might be shown a video clip about something relevant to patient care. You would then be asked one or more questions about this at one of the stations. Alternatively, when you arrive at a station the interviewer might simply describe a scenario to you, and then ask you questions or encourage discussion about this scenario. The scenario won’t need you to demonstrate any clinical or technical knowledge.
What are they looking for?
You’ll need a wide range of positive qualities to be a good midwife. Some of the qualities and values universities look for are:
- Enthusiasm for the course and profession
- A practical approach to solving problems
- Ability to think on your feet
- Critical appraisal of new information
- Effective communication skills
Making yourself stand out
Having examples to back up the things you want to say about yourself can make all the difference to your interview. It is much more compelling to say ‘I am a really good team player. A time I demonstrated this was when…’ than simply saying ‘I’m a good team player’. This is what most interviewees will do, but you need to stand out!
- Arrive on time or you will stand out for the wrong reason!
- Be prepared with your record of achievement or all relevant paperwork in one place
- Dress smartly
- Be clear why you want to be a midwife
- Be ready to answer questions about the profession
- Know the university you have applied for, go to the open day
- Have one or two questions ready to ask the panel
- Demonstrate some wider reading by discussing something topical in midwifery or health care
- Be yourself; practicing your answers in front of a mirror or recording yourself on your phone will help you see how you are coming across.