The Interview Process
Preparation before the Interview:
1. Research the school you are interested in and be prepared to talk about what they have to offer as it relates to you and develop questions you may have about the institution.
2. Be able to share your desire to become a pre-health clinician. Describe specific key points that make you qualified to be a doctor/ dentist/ vet/ optometrist/ chiropractor/ etc... Try not to be too general. Be clear when defining points that you think make you one of the strongest candidates. For example, use experiences that you encountered during your related experience or volunteer hours, such as "I spent 150 hours in the _____ pharmacy and I have a good idea of what a pharmacist deals with on a day to day basis."
3. Have a few stories or narratives that show your abilities and strengths to enter your chosen profession. Make sure the examples touch on your strengths, describe the skills you possess, and explain how you plan to achieve your desired goal.
4. Have a few questions ready to ask the Interviewer if you have the chance. These questions can be specific or general; however, they need to indicate the interest you have in the school and/or profession.
5. Lastly, you must practice. Have a mock interview where you have someone ask you questions? It is also helpful to record yourself in order to see how you portray yourself and also to hear yourself give answers. You should not simply memorize answers, but you should go into the interview with some clear ideas on healthcare issues as it relates to your area of interest. Interviewers want to know that you put some thought and effort into your interview; however, they want to know that you can think on your feet." Being prepared will help reduce anxiety and nervousness.
The Actual Interview:
1. Make sure you dress the part.When in doubt, go conservative: solid color suits (or jackets) with matching ties; dress pants/skirts; closed toe shoes (NO FLIP FLOPS) and polished dress shoes; groomed hair/nails. Remember that first impressions are very important. If you are inadequately prepared for the interview, you could also be assumed to be inadequately prepared as a clinician.
2. Leave your cell phone in the car! Do not make/send or receive calls, text messages, or emails, during ANY part of the interview day, regardless of how relaxed you may feel.
3. Sit down once you are offered seating. After you sit down, place your hands in your lap, and try to sit as still as possible. Do not shake your legs and fidget with your hands, portray professionalism, sit up straight, and maintain appropriate eye contact.
4. Think before you answer a question. There is no penalty for taking a breath and thinking about your answer. A little bit of silence is okay.
5. Be careful not to use "filler words" such as "like," "you know," "um," "such as." It is better to have a well-thought out answer or pause before answering, than trying to fill the silence with um's and like's.
6. Try to be specific and concise. The Interviewer will hear many students answer similar questions and he or she needs to hear something that will allow you to stand out above the rest. Be honest with them when answering questions. Remember when they ask you why you want to be in a health profession tell them a specific reason and use an example. Make sure that it demonstrates your understanding and skills in the profession.
7. Try to leave your nervousness at the door. Allow the adrenaline to work to your advantage throughout the interview. You want to try to keep the energy level on high, so use your nerve to your benefit!
8. Have coordinated answers. Incorporate your responses from previous questions to develop fully your strengths and knowledge of the health profession. In order to support your claims use examples from your experience. You need to leave the interview knowing that you gave the Interviewer as much information as they needed to show them that you would be successful in your profession of choice.
9. Have some insight about the interviewing school. Know the strengths of the school. Are there any specific details that you enjoy about the school? If the professional school is well known for a particular area(s) of study, be ready to discuss it.
10. Ask questions, ask questions, ask questions. When you ask questions, you show that you are interested in the program. Ask questions during the interview, not simply at the end.
11. Remember to be alert at all times. Be honest with whomever you are speaking. Some schools allow for current students to talk to some interviewees. Avoid making the mistake of taking this time lightly. Use this time to your advantage. Interviewees could lose the opportunity to attend the school of choice due to their behavior during this time. Current students are often a strong part of the interview process. NEVER USE YOUR CELL PHONE DURING THE INTERVIEW PROCESS - PERIOD! You should act as if you are being interviewed until you return to your car.