How to Ace Your Interview
William A J Ross Jr., MD
You did it! You have gotten an interview with the medical school/residency program/job of your dreams. Now what? In order to actually get the position you are after, you must interview well. Here are some interview “essentials” to help you make this process as anxiety-free as possible.
Every interview has at least one thing in common…you. Knowing your own strengths and weaknsses is a critical part of answering questions about, you guessed it, your strengths and weaknesses. A successful format for answering the question “What is your greatest weakness?’ , for example, is to mention a strength, then a weakness related to that strength, and then a correction for the stated weakness.
Research, Research, Research
With the incredible amount of accessible information online, it is criminal not to have sufficient background information about the institution and/or individuals that you will be interviewing with. Know as much as possible about the history, mission, vision, and future plans of the institution. Know where the prospective interviewers were educated and trained, as well as their various specialties and interests. Check the website, Google names, do whatever you can to have a thorough idea of who you will be speaking to and what is important to them.
Treat People the Way That You Want to be Treated
Remember that your “interview” starts with the first phone call, email, and/or text to the prospective school/program/job. ALWAYS be cordial and professional. You never know the influence of the person you are talking to/ corresponding with. Be nice! If “nice” is not your natural demeanor, then there is no time like the present to practice.
Practice Makes Perfect
Practice answering questions BEFORE you get to the interview. Practice in the mirror, record your responses, practice with a friend or mentor. Prepare ahead of time how you are going to answer the most common questions. The more you practice, the more relaxed you will be during the interview and the better you will represent yourself.
Dress for Success
Try NOT to be remembered for you attire. You want the interviewer to focus completely on your answers. This means solid, neutral colors. Brown, blue, gray, and black for suits and dresses with red as an accent color are common and project professionalism.