33 NHS Band 8 interview questions (plus 3 example answers)

Updated 20 March 2023

The National Health Service (NHS) has a banding system based on experience and position for healthcare roles. The band indicates the salary expectations and experience requirements of the position. If you're applying for a Band 8 job, knowing how to prepare for the interview can help you succeed. In this article, we explain what NHS Band 8 means, list 30 Band 8 interview questions by category and give you example answers to three additional ones.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

What is NHS Band 8?

The NHS banding system applies to employees who aren't doctors, dentists or senior managers. It has nine levels, Band 1 being the lowest and Band 9 the highest. Higher bands have greater experience requirements and increased pay. Roles in the banding system include nurses, psychologists, clinical scientists, podiatrists, paramedics, therapists, technicians and care, finance, human resources and administrative staff.

Each band has two salary levels based on experience. Band 8 roles consist of those who have less than five years of experience and those with five years or more. Band 8 includes four categories, namely 8a, 8b, 8c and 8d. Each has a higher salary than the previous one, meaning Band 8d earns the most and 8a the least. Band 8 roles include consultant podiatrists, dental laboratory managers, nurse consultants, strategic managers, consultant clinical scientists and chief nurses.

Related: How to get a job in the NHS: steps, examples and skills

10 general Band 8 interview questions

At the start of the meeting, the hiring manager may ask some general Band 8 interview questions. These are often about yourself, your motivations and your knowledge of the role you're applying for. They're useful for interviewers to develop rapport with you before proceeding to other question types. Give concise and informative answers that align with public healthcare values and the job's requirements. Below are some questions you might encounter:

  1. Can you tell me a little about yourself?

  2. How did you find out about this vacancy?

  3. What is your primary strength/weakness?

  4. What is your main area for development?

  5. What separates Band 8 from lower bands?

  6. How would you rate your managerial skills?

  7. What are the main values of the NHS?

  8. How do you think the staff you lead would describe you?

  9. What makes you the right candidate for this position?

  10. What motivated you to seek this position?

Related: 42 NHS Band 7 interview questions (with 5 example answers)

10 experience and background questions

Band 8 is the second-highest band on the scale, which means the interviewer expects demonstrable experience. Depending on your career background, they're likely to ask you about previous jobs within and outside the public healthcare sector. They may base their enquiries on the information in your CV, so review it when preparing to identify possible questions. As Band 8 staff often have leadership responsibilities, the interviewer may evaluate your managerial ability by enquiring about your work history. Give answers that are concise and relevant, providing examples where possible. Some questions to consider include:

  1. Could you please explain your CV?

  2. What was your first managerial or leadership role?

  3. Which previous job has prepared you best for this one?

  4. Why do you want to leave your current job?

  5. How have you integrated NHS values into your work?

  6. What managerial training or qualifications do you have?

  7. Have you ever successfully influenced a senior manager to make positive change?

  8. How do you ensure that patient outcomes inform your work?

  9. Can you tell me about a time when you made a mistake? What did you do?

  10. Have you ever successfully turned a challenging situation into a positive experience?

Related: How to answer interview questions about previous experience

10 in-depth interview questions

In-depth interview questions allow hiring managers to assess your capabilities and thought processes. For instance, they may describe a hypothetical situation and ask how you'd handle it. These questions are often closely related to the job's responsibilities, so review this information as part of your preparation. Consider your response carefully and break it into distinct parts, explaining and justifying each with examples where possible. Here are some in-depth questions the interviewer might ask:

  1. What do you expect is going to be the most challenging aspect of this job?

  2. Two of your team members are disagreeing. What do you do?

  3. A patient submits a complaint about a team member. How do you handle it?

  4. What do you intend to do to improve the quality of care for our patients?

  5. Which qualities are most important for Band 8 positions? How do these differ from lower bands?

  6. How would you approach departmental change from senior managers?

  7. How would you demonstrate NHS values in this position?

  8. Can you describe NHS change management principles and how you'd apply them?

  9. You receive a task you've never done before. How do you approach it?

  10. Do you have any questions for us?

Related: Hypothetical interview questions (with examples and answers)

3 questions with example answers

Below are three additional interview questions for a Band 8 position, together with an explanation and example answer for each:

1. You suspect there's been a breach of patient confidentiality. What do you do?

This question has two main elements to it, one of which is the importance of confidentiality and the other being your approach as a leader or manager to address it. The interviewer is assessing if you understand the importance of confidentiality. They also want to see how you'd tackle a workplace breach. Answer by providing a structured and evidence-based response that prioritises patients, giving an example.

Example answer: 'If I suspected a breach of patient confidentiality, I'd start by identifying where it occurred. If the patient is willing to discuss the matter, I'd ask them to provide details of who caused the breach, what information they revealed and whether they gave explicit permission. If it's clear who the individual was, I'd meet them to discuss the issue.

I'd present the information at that meeting and explain the breach's severity. I'd also explain the importance of confidentiality to our core values, such as its role in preserving patient dignity. Based on the nature of the breach and its severity, I'd consult the relevant guidelines to determine how to proceed.'

Related: How to describe experience in handling confidential information

2. Have you ever given your team a task they didn't want to do?

A key aspect of leadership is being able to motivate your team. While this is relatively simple when they want to perform certain tasks, it becomes more challenging when they don't. The interviewer wants to know you're familiar with how to approach this. Cite a successful example from your experience and explain the process. If you lack such an example, treat this like a hypothetical question and explain what you'd do.

Example answer: 'I've always been fortunate to have teams willing to cooperate, even with undesirable tasks. Despite this, I'm aware of the issue and have seen how important it can be. If I found myself in this situation, I'd discuss the matter openly with my team. Although I'd emphasise that the task was necessary, I'd ask them what I could do to make it easier for them. I'd demonstrate concern and understanding for their views and take steps to support them while explaining why the task is critical for our dedication to patients.'

Related: 35 tough nursing leadership interview questions and examples

3. If you could gain one new skill, what would it be?

The interviewer may ask this question or one like it to determine how well you understand your abilities. Your answer shows you have self-awareness and know how to evaluate workplace skills, enabling you to identify the most important ones to develop. Name an aptitude that's beneficial for the role and justify your answer. Mention what you're already doing to address this skill gap.

Example answer: 'If I could gain one new skill, I would choose to multitask. I find I'm most comfortable when I can focus on just one job at a time, and I typically organise my work on this basis. Despite this, I know that being able to multitask better would enable me to be more efficient with my time in some scenarios. I've been experimenting with checklists and reminders recently to find a workable approach, which has been successful.'


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