Thursday, November 12, 2009

Interview Tips!

Today I feel like posting in my blog despite having a bit of work to do for tomorrow. I will make this one brief and hopefully informative.

I have noticed people are starting to get interview offers and I reckon giving out some tips should be useful.

IMPORTANT: REFLECT REFLECT REFLECT! AND EXPAND ON YOUR ANSWERS!

1) Look around the city before going to the interview! A common ice breaker question would be: "Why *City*?" Make sure you find something to talk about the city/university. Nothing better than completely messing up the first question. It is a great time to help yourself calm the nerves as you SHOULD know the answer.

2) Look at the medical course that the university offers. A common question would be something like: "Why this university?" This would be the perfect to time to show off your knowledge about the university and the course. Shows that you are keen and you know where you applied.

3) Please have something to say when they give you the good ol' vague question: "Why medicine?". I personally hated this question because it is SO vague and you could basically talk for ages. A great thing to remember when answering is to try and pull in stuff that you wrote in your personal statement. For example you can talk about your work experience/volunteering helped you discover more about medicine/educated you about the career. Also draw in positives such as your skills that you have picked up helping you to succeed as a doctor. Make sure you try to keep the answer short despite it being a difficult task. Just give a summary and make sure you cover the important points and cover some of the stuff in your personal statement.

4) Read the news especially about the NHS/health. In some interviews - the like to ask you about something recent that happened in the NHS or a recent medical advancement. The day before just go on BBC or something and read up on some stuff. Don't pick the hardest thing you saw in the news...pick something that actually drew your attention and that you find interesting so you can actually talk about it in the interview.

5) Reflect on what skills a good doctor should embody. This is a pretty common question. They could ask you to name a skill or they could name a skill and ask you to talk about that skill. Remember to always try and relate the question to yourself. If they ask you about empathy - find something that you have done which helped you develop empathy/care for people. Something like working at the hospital or care home would be good things to talk about. Remember in an interview the interviewer wants to know about YOU and how capable you are to becoming a doctor. Show that you are three dimensional and do other things other than go to school.

6) Be prepared for an ethical question. There is no right or wrong answer....actually none of the questions have a right or wrong. Do not fake an answer...answer honestly because interviewers are smart. Don't think you can actually outsmart them. The best thing about ethical questions is to prepare a structure on how you will answer it. Remember to look at both sides of the argument! Don't just completely ignore the other side of the argument as it is important to acknowledge it.

7) Some interviewers like to play the "Good Cop/Back Cop" game. Ignore it and be patient! They may ask very similar questions where you will have the same answer. Don't get frustrated and just answer the question with different wording. Sometimes it'll get annoying but some could be testing how you cope in stressful/annoying situations.

Random Tips:

1) Dress professional/well.
2) Be awake! (I must admit I did fall asleep in the waiting room though) - but be awake during the interview!
3) Don't fidget during the interview - it is distracting.
4) Know your personal statement - they will draw stuff out from it and ask you about it.
5) Smile!
6) Don't ask "dumb" questions at the end. I know some will argue that you will sound keen if you ask a question but seriously most of the answers can be found on the university's website/prospectus. If you really have any questions before the interview - call up the admissions office to ask or if an upper year is taking you around for a tour - perfect time to ask questions.

To be honest I didn't find interviews that hard as they are asking questions about YOU and only you know yourself the best. If you do your research and know the course and genuinely want to go the university you'll cover the factual questions. Just relax. The minute you tense up you get what I call "brain farts". Avoid it because you'll find yourself saying "um" and "uh" for the next what feels like hour. Plus it gets awkward too when the interviewers just stare at you waiting for an answer. Oh and don't rush your answers...make your answers concise and to the point, but at the same time show that you have reflected about it and try and draw positives to yourself.

Anyways I should get back to working. Hope this post helps. I know it is brief but I really don't know what else is there to cover about interviews. When you get an interview it is technically like you got your foot in the door, you just need to get the rest of your body through. They won't ask for an interview if they aren't interested in taking you. Quite simple.

Good luck!

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