Tips for Interview Season
It’s officially interview season and while we have heard and read about the proper ways to interview for jobs, medical school interviews are a little bit different. During my husbands’ preparation for medical school interviewing he worked with an admissions counselor from an Osteopathic school to help develop his interviewing skills. After a bad application cycle he quickly went through his application and reached out to one of his schools for notes on his interview. The next spring and summer he spent reworking his application and preparing for new interviews. Here you’ll find the few tips and things that we learned from this admissions counselor that they’re either looking for or suggested to my husband. These tips do not reflect the opinions for every school and they may not all be correct, however, they are what worked in his situation.
Prepare for your Interview
This may seem like a given however, many people do not put enough effort into their interviewing skills as other parts of their applications. There are countless message boards that share the bad experiences of some premed students during their interviews. Do you best to prepare like you would for an exam.
Understand the Schools You’re Applying To
This means you should learn about their culture, their tradition, their mission and goals. Do you see yourself as a good fit? This is important for not only the school but for you. When you’re figuring this out, write down the different adjectives you think of when discussing X school and reasons why you fit in there. Also be sure to know about different important campus clubs or academic support groups that you might be interested in!
Stay Up to Date in the World of Medicine
Pay attention to hot topics in the world of medicine. You’re aiming to become a doctor so you should be curious about new things in your field. Also develop opinions or at least thoughts about controversial topics. My husband had a discussion on assisted euthanasia during his interview and while he never said his stance on it he was able to discuss the ethical dilemmas and different schools of thought around it.
Let Them Know That You Know It’ll be Hard Work and Why You’re Prepared
This is important for both nontraditional and traditional students. Be prepared to discuss how you’re ready to handle the workloads, the stress, and academic material.
Be Aware of Your Presentation
I’m not talking about how you’re dressed and groomed, however, that is important. Your demeanor and voice are very important as well. Make sure that when you’re interviewing that you aren’t monotone and you’re relatable. You don’t want to be too comfortable in an interview and you shouldn’t “buddy up” with the interviewer but let them know that you’re someone that they can relate to, your peers will be able to, and your future patients.
Know Why You’re Choosing DO vs MD
My husband only applied to DO schools so this was something that came up during his interviews because the Osteopathic schools want to know that you understand their philosophy. So if you are applying for DO, make sure you can discuss why osteopathy and how do you align with this philosophy.
Be Excited and Passionate
Let them know that medicine is something that you live and you’re passionate about. But also connect with the interviewer on things that are not medicine.
Be prepared with a few questions for the interviewer. This lets them know that you’re thinking about the school and you want to learn as much as you can.
Answer the What is Your Weakness Question with a Weakness!
Do not spin a positive trait as a weakness. Use this opportunity to talk about something that you’ve struggled with and what steps you have done and are doing to fix them. This shows the interviewer that you’re realistic, you can look at yourself and see room for improvement as well as accept helpful and constructive criticism.
Bring an Extra Letter of Recommendation
If you’ve been working in a new place and developed a very strong relationship with a mentor in the field I would recommend asking them for a letter of recommendation if you think one of your letters weren’t spectacular. My husband developed a great relationship with a doctor who graduated from his top school, he became a mentor for my husband in the year gap between application cycles and it just made sense in his situation to ask for a letter. The interviewer was happy that my husband brought the letter in because it was an insight from someone else as to how my husband has grown and developed academically and professionally between the two cycles.
Everyone is different and your needs are different in the interview process. These are just a few recommendations based upon what we learned in our process. Good luck and happy interviewing!