As interviews for residency, medical school, or even job interviews approach here are 5 tips on how to have a successful interview!
1. Arrive 10-15 minutes early
In the military, we consider 15 minutes early: on time and on time we consider: late. If you use that same philosophy, you will set yourself up for success for the rest of your career. Consider taking the route you will take the morning of the interview the night before to determine how much time will be needed. Always factor in an additional 20-30 minutes to buffer for traffic. Arrive early and use this time to review your application, CV, and research. You will be expected to know everything that is listed, so use this time to review. Alternatively, you can meet with other applicants or speak with the staff and learn first hand about their program.
2. Remember the whole day is an interview.
Some of my interviews, for example Harvard, lasted all day from 7am-5pm. Remember someone is always watching you from the moment you walk into the building until the moment you leave. Be nice to everyone, from the front desk clerk to housekeeping. The last thing you want on your interview day is for someone from ancillary staff telling one of the interviewers negative things about you.
3. Have an extra CV on hand
This will come in handy during the interview as documents become lost all the time. Having an extra CV or application with you just shows the interviewer that you came prepared.
4. Have a list of pre-written questions to ask
When I interviewed applicants during medical school, the applicants who had several questions to ask stood out. Does who did not have any questions to ask raised red flags. And I always brought this up during our committee meetings. Research the school or program that you are interviewing and determine what things that you like about the program and what things don’t you like. Keep this tally for each program and when it comes down to ranking each school, you can refer back to it instead of trying to remember each detail about each program. Use the things that you didn’t like about the program and turn them into questions for clarification to ask during the interview.
5. Be yourself
This is probably the most important thing that you can do. The fact that you received an interview means that you fit the programs criteria on paper. Now, the program just wants to know if you will be a good fit in person. Don’t try to be something that you aren’t, just be yourself. Interviewers can see through this and can see who is not being themselves. Just relax, enjoy the interview and be yourself.
Remember, you put in all of the hard work. Now it’s just time to showcase and sell yourself. Good luck!