It's that time of the year again, when I see small groups of students all suited-up carrying matching folders and making small talk amongst each other as they tour the medical school campus - it's interview season. We just started interviewing this month, and man do I remember it being a looong, nerve-racking season (although not as long as waiting to hear back after interviews, oh boy). I know many of you have applied this cycle or are hoping to apply soon, so for this edition of Med School Mondays I'll be sharing a few pointers for the medical school interview! Hopefully they can also apply to professional interviews in general.
What to wear: You might not want to hear this, but interviews are a time where first impressions really do matter. And before you even open your mouth to represent yourself at an interview, your appearance has already said a lot for you. Now, it's not all about looks of course, but let's just agree that you want to represent yourself as best as possible. For women, a black skirt or pantsuit is the way to go. As "boring" as it may be, interviews aren't the time to wow people with your fashion sense and trendiness. Keep it classy and simple, look sharp by getting your outfit tailored, and keep the shoes classic with a simple pointy toe (low) heel - you'll be doing a lot of walking on tours! I love these patent leather kitten heels (if you're feeling like investing in a good shoe), and these black Nine West pumps as a more budget-friendly option. Keep the accessories and makeup to the basics. I wore tailored suit jacket and pants from Banana Republic for all of my interviews and never questioned my attire at any of them (images above via).
What to bring: Carrying a well-structured handbag with you only adds to the professional look - some people prefer just carrying a leather folder and that's fine too. I love this handbag from Kate Spade, this Asos bag is another great option, and this satchel from Forever 21 is perfect for those with a tight budget (it's less than $30)! Keep in it a small notepad with questions you have for interviewers or tour guides, names of people you meet during interviews, etc., a small mirror to check yourself now and then, and whatever else you normally carry with you!
What to do: You'll get an itinerary of course, and that's what you'll follow for the day. But I'm talking more how to act. Along with your attire, people are observing your actions all interview day - during the actual interview obviously, but even during the tours or provided lunches and other activities. This doesn't mean you have to be shy, or even on your best behavior at all times, but hopefully you're naturally kind and polite, etc. Relax, smile and be positive (but don't be the annoying smart-ass). Get to know your fellow applicants - get out of the mindset that they're competition and start thinking that they could be your colleagues. When you do meet your interviewer make good eye contact and give them a firm handshake, mirror their body language as the interview proceeds (unless of course they're super awkward, then just try to be a little less awkward than them - this does happen and it's soo uncomfortable).
What to say: What you guys really want to know. And unfortunately at every school this is what will vary the most. I had not-so-good interviewers that only wanted to ask me what I would do in horribly difficult ethical dilemmas, or who wanted to figure out my family tree. Interviewers who only wanted to hear about my research, my thoughts on current health-care policy, and still others who wanted to know the "why medicine" or "what will make you a good doctor" answers. The best interviews are those that start with a question but soon become a conversation - but don't feel insecure if this doesn't happen as so much of it is interviewer-dependent. So how to prepare? For one know everything in your application and be ready to discuss any of it - work, research, classes, your essay. Know the school you're interviewing for and why it would be a good match for you. Also be ready to answer some of the typical questions I mentioned above, but don't have a super rehearsed answer - keep it genuine. You can't anticipate all of the questions, so if something comes up you hadn't thought of, don't be afraid to actually think on the spot! Come prepared with some of your own questions about the school (but not ones you can easily find on the website), keeping in mind who your interviewer is and how the interview has gone. Most of all be humble. You've done an amazing job getting this far, but you're by no means "there" yet, so don't act like it. Be thankful for the opportunity to interview and try to enjoy the day!
I hope some of you can benefit from some of these tips - best of luck with interviews and please continue asking questions and suggesting post ideas in the comments! Have a great week everyone!