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Top tips for DCT interviews

Blog Author Anurag Srinivas

Blog Date 11/02/2021

​Anurag Srinivas takes a look at how you can prepare for virtual Dental Core Training interviews.


Part of COVID-19’s impact on Dental Core Training (DCT) has been to make all interviews for National Recruitment virtual for the first time ever. This is a whole new format and it is difficult to predict exactly how they will be conducted and assessed.


Thankfully, we can assume that many of the same qualities and skills will still be tested. And although the process may be daunting, you’re not alone in preparing for this. Based on the last few years of national recruitment, I’ve put together some top tips for DCT interviews. I hope this gives you a good starting point and a bit more confidence as you prepare for your interview.


With clinical questions, keep it simple

“Don’t worry, you’re not expected to have specialist level knowledge.”

In your answers to clinical questions, keep it simple. Focus on investigations and tests, differential diagnoses, risk classification, prevention and ordering your treatment plan. The examiner is looking for you to be able to think clearly and assess clinical situations. So, take a breath before answering and remember that sometimes “doing nothing” could be the right answer.


You should be aware of definitive treatment options. But don’t worry, you’re not expected to have specialist level knowledge. To prepare, look over guidance documents published for commonly occurring clinical cases. This guidance could be from NICE, SDCEP or maybe even specialist bodies e.g. BSRD, BSPD, BOS, BAOS, BAOMS, to name but a few.


Don’t forget essential revision

When revising clinical governance, professionalism and quality improvement, make sure you:


  • Can differentiate between quality improvement, audit, service evaluation and research‐ definitions would be useful
  • Know the definitions and protocols for the following:
    - 7 pillars of Clinical Governance
    - GDC Standards for the Dental Team
    Other GDC guidance documents - for advice on how to manage professionalism issues
  • Have researched indemnity providers’ websites for useful information on how to manage common clinical situations.


Know your own projects inside out

It’s also essential that you are prepared to talk about your own projects. I suggest you make sure that you can answer the following questions thoroughly:


  • Why did you do the project?
  • What role did you play?
  • If a change was involved, what was the change and how was it implemented?
  • What were the outcomes? (Learn the specifics)
  • How did you measure success?
  • What action will be taken as a result of your project?
  • What would you do differently?

Relate the questions asked to your own experiences. You need to know them inside out and be confident in your answers. You have picked up more than you think during your training! And remember, if the questions are getting really difficult, take heart, that means you’re probably doing well.


Be prepared and presentable

On the day, it’s important to make a good first impression. Looking professional and well-presented will help set the right tone for the rest of your interview. Imagine you’re preparing for an in-person interview. You wouldn’t go to one wearing an old t-shirt, jeans and slippers, so don’t do it for a digital one either.


Before the interview, read through all the instructions for how to set up and participate in the virtual interview. Check your internet connection and make sure you’ve followed all the rules ‐ don’t get caught out on something silly before you even start your interview!


Looking ahead

Remember to register for and tune into the webinar on 3 March 2021: Dental Core Training ‐ Portfolio Development and National Recruitment. We’ll be discussing all things DCT Recruitment: SJTs; interviews; preferencing; and how to make a stand‐out portfolio. If you have any questions, you can submit these prior to the webinar, or on the evening.


Once you’ve finished the interview, close your laptop and relax. Offers won’t be out for another month, and you’ll have done what you can to impress the examiners. Now it’s time to get back to making the most of your DF/DCT year. This is a challenging time for all of us, but I hope you are also enjoying it!


Best of luck!


Anurag Srinivas


Anurag Srinivas
Trainee Representative of the CCHDS Executive