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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 June 2007, 13:30 GMT 14:30 UK
'They told me a PhD didn't count'
Matthew says he is thinking of going abroad
The campaign group Fidelio says many highly-qualified young doctors have been overlooked by a new computerised recruitment process. Matthew Daniels describes his experience.

Matthew, 31, took his undergraduate degree at Nottingham University, where he graduated with a first - coming second in his year.

He then went to Cambridge where he wrote his PhD on cancer research, before deciding he wanted to specialise in cardiac problems.

He gained a Senior House Officer position, from which he applied to a specialist training post. He had four interviews, but did not receive any offers.

"I was surprised because essentially I was applying for pretty much the same job as I already had, which I had got through open competition," he says.

I thought I'd got a pretty good CV

He says he felt particularly let down by the interview process, which felt much like a "box-ticking" exercise.

He said he was told by one that his PhD did not count as a qualification for the purpose of the application, but a course in resuscitation - "which anyone could have done" - did.

He is also angry that not one of his interviewers read any of his references from the people who worked with and who could describe his accomplishments.

He was also asked to bring a "portfolio" of his work to the interview, but there was no guidance on what this should contain or when it would be read.

Consequently one interviewer would spend the duration of the time leafing through hundreds of pages of material.

Having become a father for the first time two weeks ago, he says he is particularly concerned about securing a future for his family.

He may still receive an offer in the second round of applications due to start shortly, but at present says he "has no idea where he will be in six weeks", when postings begin.

He has been offered a one year fixed term contract but describes this as a "dead end" because at present it will not lead to a place on the specialist training schemes which end in consultant positions.

"What will it be worth in a year's time? People like me will be virtually unemployable."

Going abroad, he says, may be the only option.

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