Interviewing Tips

  • Extend a firm handshake to everyone you meet while looking him/her straight in the eye. Continue with good eye contact. Eye contact is important when you are dealing with patients and so it is important to an interviewer that you show that you have good eye contact. Although you may think there could be cultural issues here, health professions programs want to know that future practitioners will have good eye contact when talking to patients.
  • Many students say that the hardest question to answer is “Why do you want to be a doctor?” The difficulty really lies in one’s self-consciousness about an answer that seems to be trite and too much like everyone else’s answer to the same question. Don’t worry, interviewers are accustomed to this. They are more interested in the sincerity of your answer than in some unique assemblage of words.
  • Be honest. Look the interviewer in the eye and answer the questions as they come. Ask some back. Be interested and interesting. Don’t be afraid to say that you don’t know.
  • More and more, interviewers are acting like recruiters. They are representing their school to a potential student — you. They want you to go away with a positive impression of the place. Even if they are forced to review with you a disappointing academic or MCAT record, suggesting that you might not be admitted, they may give you solid tips on how to improve for a successful application to their school the following year.
  • If you have a weakness in your application and an interviewer asks about it, you should explain it honestly without appearing to offer excuses. Then drop it and move on with the interview. Do not dwell on that negative area.
  • Appropriate dress for medical/dental school interviews is the same as for a job interview. Remember, the medical profession is still a conservative one. You want to present a neat, not overly fussy or over-dressed appearance. This means suits for men, and simple dresses, suits (with skirts or pants) or other two-piece combinations for women. Also women, don’t wear short skirts. Avoid excessive jewelry, makeup, or perfume/cologne (women and men). Men, leave your earrings at home. Body jewelry (other than earrings for women) should not be worn. Hair should be clean, neat and kept out of your face.
  • Pressure interviews. What are they? No school has a policy to conduct pressure interviews. If you sense that you are having or had a challenging interview, it may be the result of your over sensitivity to some weak element in your application, but it is unlikely to be the school’s intention to “put the pressure on.” If you believe you have had a serious problem with an interviewer such as blatant sexist or racist remarks or any other inappropriate remarks, please see a health professions advisor as soon as possible to discuss it. Many admissions deans would like for you to report a serious problem with any interviewer to the dean or director of admissions right away, i.e., the day of the interview or soon after. They may be prepared to offer you an alternative interviewer immediately.