Interview preparation for physiotherapy jobs in the NHS

When I moved to London I had no idea how to get a job as a physio . I had no help and that meant I had to do all the research on my own . I started applying for jobs even before I was registered and I did land up with an interview . It was not in London but still I went for it to get an idea . The purpose was not get a job coz it was far from London .

I gave my first ever interview for NHS and got selected as a Band 5 rotational pre registered physiotherapist.I had no NHS experience whatsoever and took up the job to learn about NHS. It meant living away from husband , alone in a completely different city in a different country . It was difficult but I did it .NHS keeps you extremely busy , I had no time for anything else . It was a lot of hard work , my weekends meant traveling from Lincolnshire to London and back .

Within a couple of months I got registered. I was a band 5 rotational physio , but my goal was to get a job as a static MSK physio . I started looking for jobs again ,as a static MSK physio in London. I used to come home and apply for all the jobs . I went for all the interviews possible all over England . The second interview i gave was for a band 6 community Physio,it wasn’t the role I was looking for but I wanted to get an idea about the kind of questions they ask for senior positions.I could answer the physio questions but failed at few of the NHS questions( 5 out of 10 were NHS based).Questions which are mentioned nowhere and you can only answer if you have worked with the NHS.

For a person like me who had not studied and lived in UK and had no idea about how NHS works ,it was difficult to prepare but not impossible.It took 7 interviews( 5 out of 7 interviews I cracked )to get what i wanted. With every interview i learnt so much and it helped me to  prepare for the interview i needed to crack ( band 6 static MSK physio ) .

The learning is always go for an interview even if you are not prepared and is not the exact profile you are looking for.There is always something new to learn and for me there was a lot.

A few commonly asked questions for band 5 rotational physio-

1-Tell us about yourself(strength/weakness) and why should we hire you.- You need to sell yourself here,tell all the good stuff.

2-Communication skills and where are they important- You need to talk about written and oral communication . How you explain to the patients (condition/treatment) and maintain patient record in the notes for future reference.

3-What is KSF?You can read about it here .

4-Challenges in the job? You can talk about long working hours,physical and emotional challenges and how you deal with them and get motivated by them and how a patients smile keeps you motivated.

5-Conflict with boss ? You can talk about how you try to understand the other person’s perspective. Collaborative solution.

6-What is clinical Governance? You can read about it –here . Read about all the components as they would ask you to explain them.

7-What is an audit/clinical audit? Have you ever done an audit ?Read about it here.

8-COPD and its management and treatment.

9- Management of Colles fracture.

10-Breath sounds-Normal and abnormal.

11-How do you deal with challenging patients?You can answer with an example.

12-Parkinson and its management .

13-Falls clinic.


15-Management of fracture neck of femur.

16-Management of TKR and its complication -Follow up question-DVT.


18-What would you do if a patient falls during treatment?

19-Why is MDT important?Give an example how you worked with other MDT members.

20-What would you do is a stroke patient asks for a drink? Check notes (Speech therapist )for swallow.

21-What would you if there is a conflict between you and the consultant over where a stroke patient should go after discharge? Try to convince if he is not convinced ,write in the patients notes what you think is best for the patient and where he should go after discharge and that you have explained it all to the consultant.

22-If a patient(in community) complaints about a colleague ,what would you do?

23-Risk assessment in community .

24-How do you deal with obese patients?read about it here NHS

Band 6 MSK physio questions-

Apart from the common questions mentioned above,few of the specific MSK questions are-

1-Red flags in Back pain-You can read about it here.Follow up questions-Cauda equina syndrome,saddle anaesthesia.

2-What would you do if a patient is referred to you for knee pain by GP and GP has not seen the patient?Follow up any specific condition(eg Patellofemoral pain syndrome)- You need to talk about -Knee pain assessment ,differential diagnosis and special tests.Talk about it in detail-Present history-mechanism of injury,past history,family history,medications,social history,observation,differential diagnosis,special test,management.

3-What is subacromial Pain?Shoulder pain assessment and differential diagnosis and special tests.

4-Radiculopathy test.

5-What do you do if a band 5 is coming late to work? You can talk about finding the reason and suggesting a solution and if the problem continues taking the necessary formal steps.As a band 5 you would complaint to your band6 or 7.

6-Any new technique you learned ?

7- Evidence based approach?

8-Where do you see yourself in 3 years? Be honest –  I always answer I see myself as a band 7 static MSK physio and still get selected for other roles.

9-How do you deal with stress?


Make notes for reference .Be thorough with the conditions and theirs signs/symptoms and management . Always ask questions if you don’t understand the question properly,don’t hesitate.Be confident,it’s just an interview.

It’s a lot of hard work if you have not studied in the UK . I had to sacrifice a lot of things , go to unknown places for interviews, live alone for sometime , say no to vacations( I needed leaves for interviews) . I used to love planning vacations , but I had no time for that,my husband started doing it  . I had literally no time and energy for anything else in those 6 months . It’s a bit difficult if you are married and not 23/24. Eventually it all works out for everyone , so just don’t give up .

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