Here are some things to do before and on interview day.
Before the interview:
🌟 Be able to have a conversation about everything listed on your resume.
If you aren’t able to speak in good length about any experience, don’t include on your resume. I made sure I was able to articulately discuss my research in a way people who aren’t familiar with the field would understand. I also practiced explaining my volunteering and other unique extracurriculars. Be able to answer:
– Why did you do it?
– What did skills or lessons did you learn?
– How did you grow?
🌟 Practice answering common interview questions.
This prevents you from rambling and ensures that you get every point you wanted to address.
🌟 Research the purpose and mission statement of each program.
This allows you to tailor your responses to the school or even program (DO v. MD).
🌟 Prepare an elevator speech.
Having a sales pitch about yourself comes in handy for a variety of situations. In the context of interviews, it helps transition the initial awkward small talk into the actual interview.
One of my interviews was completely blind, so they began with “Tell me about yourself.”
Having a semi prepared speech answers a lot of the things they’re looking for, and can guide the direction of the interview. In discussing your past, present, and future, include where you came from, what made you pursue medicine, whether there was a particular moment you realize medicine was for you, what drives you, what your values and priorities are, your current and future goals, and where you see yourself in a few years.
🌟 If programs offer the zoom equivalent of a pre-interview dinner or social hour, attend!
Usually it’ll only be you and current students. You’ll be able to ask any questions you have about the program and get unfiltered answers. This is a chance to meet your potential classmates and calm your nerves come interview day.
🌟 ~BE YOURSELF~
Everyone gives this cliché advice because it’s worth listening to. You’ve made it this far through the application process, and admissions committees liked what they had to see. Now they want to know who you are beyond the numbers and the essays.
🌟 Dress to Impress
First impressions are important, and how you choose to present yourself can determine the tone of your interview. Now that interviews are online, it goes beyond what you choose to wear. Consider your background and make sure to tidy up your surrounding area.
🌟 Don’t lie
Back in the days of in person interviews, I had a friend whose resume stated they played piano for X years. The interviewer asked them about it, then brought in a whole piano for them to play a song. You never know what’s going to happen, so be honest.
🌟 Put a positive spin on a negative experience.
Some interviewers might ask about a difficult situation you had to overcome or a class withdrawal or low exam score. Keep a good attitude and focus on discussing the positive aspects of the situation. What’d you learn and how did you grow?
🌟 Ask questions
You’re interviewing the program as much as they are you. Asking them questions can help you determine whether the program is a good fit for you later on. Some examples:
– How does the administration care for the well being of students?
– What academic and mental wellness resources are provided for students?
– What diversity and inclusion programs are there?
– What is the structure of the curriculum?
– Is there mandatory attendance?
– Are grades pass/fail or numerical?
– Are there research opportunities?
– How much dedicated time is given for board preparation?
– What are common specialties that graduates match into?
– Have there been accreditation issues?
– How does the school assist students who don’t do well on national examinations?