Getting an interview invitation is a huge accomplishment in the medical school admissions process. A good performance in the interview can secure your chances of acceptance. However, interviews are often intimidating and nerve-racking. Read below to learn some of the most common faux pas and ace your interview.
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There is no denying: interviews are harder for the introverts. Admissions Committees know this, and often cut timid applicants a bit of slack. However, it is important to put your best foot forward in being outgoing and engaging. If conversation keeps dying down after short responses on your part, and/or if the interviewer has to make an effort to keep the conversation going, chances are this is not a good interview. Remember: the interviewer wants to have a memorable and easy conversation as much as you do!
Some students appear surprised when asked about a specific experience during the interview (even though it was written in their application), either because it took place years prior, or presumably because it was not so meaningful to them. They wind up not being able to articulate it. You should feel very comfortable with the content of your application, and be able to talk about all experiences with ease and knowledge. If this seems obvious, you would be surprised! Moreover, make sure you are comfortable explaining why an experience made you grow, or how it was meaningful to you.
Despite point number two, nothing is worse for an interviewer than the applicant who recites parts of his or her application while answering a question. Unless it is a blind interview, the interviewer already read what you wrote. Now he/she wants to hear something different. Along the same lines, it doesn’t look great to make a comment, however interesting and mature, that was previously rehearsed at home. Trust us: it is very evident when an applicant has practiced saying something before. Even if the comment is genuine, it feels contrite and forced. Thus, perhaps it’s best to avoid reading your entire application right before the interview. Make sure you maintain a natural demeanor the day of, and talk from the heart, not from your memory.
Some applicants will talk a lot, or their personalities will be overly strong, such that they wind up not allowing interviewers to go through his or her questions. More simply, sometimes applicants dominate the conversation and the interviewer is no longer the one in charge of the interaction. This tends to rub interviewers the wrong way. Being extroverted is nice, yet no one wants a future physician who is too overbearing. Be sensitive, cognizant, and humble about your role in the interview.
Naturally, medical schools want to accept applicants who want them. When applicants have done their research about a school and are able to ask specific questions about the institution, it is impressive. That said, don’t assume that showing you did your homework with focused questions is the only way to go. It is perfectly acceptable to go for broader questions (e.g. what they find is the institution’s best strength). But avoid leaving the interview room without posing any questions at all—that invariably comes across as lack of interest in the school. If you don't have any idea what to ask, for some suggestions.
To your success,
Your friends at BeMo