NHS Admin Interview Questions and Answers With Examples

NHS Admin Interview Questions and Answers

This blog post will focus on supporting you,  in successfully navigating an NHS administration interview. Administrators play a vital role in the NHS. They provide the vital operational support required for all the functions whether it be strategic, clinical or project. In this blog post we’ll look at some of the most common and challenging NHS admin interview questions and answers, with examples.  So, that you’ll hopefully  find the interview less challenging and stressful.

What Does an NHS Admin Do?

An NHS admin is part of the operational support function within the Hospital Trust or Clinical Commissioning Group . This means that they’re usually undertaking non clinical roles. However, they still have to interact with clinical professionals such as surgeons, nurses, therapists and also have to deal with patients across the department that they work in. Understanding key clinical terminologies is imperative, even if you’re an admin.  Before attempting any NHS  admin job interview questions you need to make sure that your basic clinical knowledge is up to scratch. This will ensure that as an admin you’re able to optimally communicate across all clinical functions within the hospital and of course therefore more effective in their job your job


What Are Interviewers Looking For in an NHS Admin Interview?

Interviewers are looking for a number of key qualities within an NHS interview for an administrator position. I would list them as the following for NHS admin interview questions and answers:

  1. An understanding of the Trust values – particularly important in a values based interview.
  2. A demonstration  that you understand the role.
  3. Demonstrating that you have the relevant experience For doing the role by providing examples within your responses.
  4. Showing the right level of enthusiasm and motivation for the job. This can be showcased through the adjectives and verbs that you use, such as, I’m passionate I’m driven I’m  extremely excited so on and so forth.  Secondly it’s important to showcase a positive energy and a happy demeanour in the way that you conduct yourself within the interview. 

If you’re ever preparing for an NHS admin job interview then I would highly suggest that you consider job interview coaching to gain that key advantage over the competition. 


How to Prepare for an NHS Admin Interview?

The preparation for an NHS interview whether it be administration or otherwise, starts even before you apply, because, as you might know the application process within the NHS is a taxing expereince. There  is an application that you have to complete alongside a supporting statement, and also, a strong possibility of being required to provide a written response to competency and behaviour questions with answers up to 250 words. So, if you’re applying to the NHS it means that you are serious!  Therefore if you’re focused to win, then you’re preparation for interview start even before you are shortlisted. 

So, what should this prep consist of? Well firstly, you should be understanding the trust values (as I’ve said many occasions). Secondly, you should have your competency stories prepared.  If you’re not sure which stories to prepare. A good strategy is to have an example prepared for each Trust Value because it’s very likely that they will be assessed in the form of a competency question.  Also, common questions like why have you applied for this role what do you know about us should be pre-prepared and ready to go.

If you’ve prepared right, and managed to give a great performance which then results in a job offer. It’s crucial that you’re able to negotiate salary offer to achieve the best possible salary for yourself!


NHS Admin Interview Questions and Answers With Example

Below or a list of some key NHS administrator interview questions. It’s important to follow some of the techniques that I’ve listed so that you can provide the strongest possible answers. NHS administration interview questions may seem simple on the surface but do require thought and reflection as well as an engaging narrative to draw the interview in and keep them hooked.


1) why do you want to work for (nhs admin)?

This is an important question because they want to understand your motivation behind wanting to do the role. The NHS is a demanding environment to work in. Therefore, if you’re going to join you have to be somebody that’s really and truly is passionate, as well as possesses the resilience required to succeed in the role.  So, when it comes to answering this particular question you have to ensure that your motivations are clearly demonstrated in the response.  You can follow this up by also highlighting how the Trust values align with your own personal values and finally highlight some key qualities and experiences that you possess that would be important for the role.  

Try to make those key qualities and experiences short and sharp because sometimes people do fall into the trap of providing a long-winded answer which causing it to lose its punchiness and resonance with the interviewer.


2) What do you know about the Trust/CCG?

Doing your research going into any job interview is fundamental. It is interview prep 101, and should be one of the first things you look to do when preparing. Now with the NHS being such a large organisation and your local Trust or CCG likely being one of the biggest employers in the area.  Your answer really needs to be specific so don’t only focus on the Trust,  but more importantly your research should really hone in on the specific function of the department that you are going to be working in.  So, for example if you’re in oncology you should be highlighting some knowledge and understanding of what kind of treatments take place in the hospital,  as well as, the various sub functions within the oncology department.


3) What is your favourite NHS/Trust value, and why?

For all NHS admin interview questions, knowing and understanding the trust values are a crucial part of any NHS employee’s role,  also one should be living those values in their role.  Therefore, it’s very likely that in an interview you are going to be quizzed about your level of understanding and application of the trust values in your real life. 

In this particular question you need to ensure that first you fully know and understand what the trust values are. Pick one that you like you’re able to explain why you like it and ideally present an example to evidence when you have applied this  value in your day-to-day professional life.


4) What is your understanding of GDPR?

If you have an administrator job within the NHS it’s very likely that your job is going to consist of looking after patient data. Patient data is possibly the most sensitive personal information a person can have and the fact that within the NHS you are handling such information it’s very likely that they are going to assess  your level of understanding of  how you handle the data.  In these types of NHS admin interview questions you should really know what GDPR stands for, the key tenants of GDPR and in what scenario you should be reporting A potential data breach.


5) What would you do if your colleague calls you on an urgent matter, but you are, at the time, handling sensitive information?

It’s very likely that Depending on your admin role that they might want to have a deeper dive into your  knowledge. One of the ways that interviews like to assess this is by presenting an hypothetical scenario. Now with a hypothetical scenario there are usually fundamental do’s and don’ts. If you were to make a mistake on you could potentially fail the question or even the interview. However, there are also other actions that you might take which are open to interpretation. What’s important in the latter is that you are able to justify why you have taken that particular decision because then at least they can see your rationale.


6) Tell us about a time when you had conflicting priorities, how did you successfully manage to deliver on them without compromise?

As an NHS administrator being able to manage multiple activities at one time is part of one’s day-to-day job. Therefore, your ability to manage multiple priorities at the same time becomes extremely important. This is particularly pivotal because usually your role can involve carrying out tasks for multiple people within your department.  This of course means that for each person that’s made a request to you, their request is the most important to them. The way to approach answering this question is to firstly ensure that you way up the risks with each priority, then how long each action might take, and finally a plan or a strategy that you will utilise to be able to juggle each parity and successfully complete both without compromising on either.


7) Provide an example where you’ve had to deal with a difficult or angry patient or customer?

In an admin role it’s very likely that you are going to be coming into contact with patients particularly if your role is on the front desk such as in reception or as a patient coordinator.  Your ability to successfully navigate A potentially volatile situation and be able to deescalate is something that the interview will be impressed by.  In such NHS admin interview questions, make sure that you demonstrate some key qualities such as your ability to listen, your ability to keep your composure in that intense situation and not take things personally to show empathy and being solutions oriented. 


8) Provide an example where you worked well as part of a team and achieve an important objective?

Teamwork of course is a key part of being an administrator, and is one of the most important NHS admin job interview questions. This is due to teamwork is ubiquitous within the NHS.  In a hospital setting not only are you working as part of the administrative team, you are also part of a wider clinical, operational and project team as well. The way to showcase excellent teamwork requires you to present several qualities within the answer. The first, being your willingness to take on the difficult role presented within the team.  Secondly, your willingness to support your team members and those that might be struggling.  Showcasing your proactive nature by seeing where else you’re able to help when or if you finish your work earlier than expected. Finally, adding to creating a positive team culture and environment. 

Also it’s very likely that in the interview itself that you will be interviewed by future colleagues of your team, therefore knowing how to dress for an interview is vital so that you impress your colleagues and look like you’re someone who will fit right in to the team!


9) Provide an example when you had to deal with a pressurised situation? 

When looking at developing NHS admin interview questions and answers. It’s important to recognise that the NHS is a pressurised high intensity environment to work in. Particularly in a post-Covid environment where waiting lists are long and of course there are shortages in staff.  Therefore, the interviewer really wants to assess your ability to handle such intense pressure. So, when answering this question try to use an example where an unusual amount of pressure has been created for example a deadline has been moved to a closer date or there are staff  shortages which  has made the tasks that the team are trying to achieve more difficult.  

What you have to try to show in your actions is how you manage to organise your time,  how you delegate responsibilities, and how you created an optimised process so that you were extremely efficient in the actions that you are undertaking to complete your task. Saving time and being more efficient under pressure. It’s also important here to demonstrate emotional management despite the stressful environments.  This can be done by talking about how you kept yourself motivated, how you try to relax on your breaks, so on and so forth.

Farhan Raja

I'm Farhan, the Founder and Coach at JobInterviewology.com, one of the world’s leading Career and interview Coaching specialists. Bringing over a decade of industry experience and a passion for guiding individuals in their career journeys. As an Interview and Career Coach, I've authored the eBook '10 Simple Steps to CV & Resume Success,' directed a leading UK CV writing specialist, and pioneered the iPREP interview coaching methodology.

My career and interview coaching has spanned over 10 years across diverse industries, from IT giants like Google and Microsoft to vital sectors like Civil Service & NHS, Pharma, Finance, Engineering, Automotive, Construction, Logistics, Banking, and Management Consulting. I've had the privilege of assisting professionals in presenting their best selves, and targeting roles at renowned companies like Amazon, GSK, EY, Shell, Rolls Royce and more.

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