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Pursuing a career in the medical industry is no easy task. It takes years of schooling and practice before someone is ready to call themselves a doctor. In order to reach that point, medical school is a must. There are many different aspects of applying to medical school that can be stressful, but the interview process outweighs them all. After so many years of learning and preparation, the future of a person’s entire career can be dependent on this single interview.

There is no specific secret to success for these interviews, but there are many ways you can prepare your overall professionalism before diving in to help give you the upper hand. They can also help instill a sense of confidence simply by knowing just how prepared you are. The interview process only lasts for a short period of time, so be sure to put your best foot forward and take advantage of every minute you have.

Preparation

  • Know the in’s and out’s of your CV like the back of your hand. Be ready and able to explain the details of your education, past experience, and any research-based materials that you have listed.
  • Maintain eye contact throughout the course of your interview and engage in the conversation before you.
  • Take deep breaths to calm your nerves before entering the interview, and don’t forget to smile! Often times people are so nervous they forget to show their personality throughout the interview, which can ultimately harm their chance of admission.
  • Before jumping to answer a question, take a small pause beforehand to formulate an answer in your head, allow your thoughts to organize themselves, and ultimately calm your nerves.
  • Try not to fidget. This is something you can practice beforehand, especially if you are someone who fidgets when they are nervous. Walk through your answers with your hands clasped, or find another trick that works for you to keep still and demonstrate a sense of confidence.

Present a Professional Appearance

Having an overall professional appearance is the first sign to your interviewer that you are a good candidate. This is not to say you cannot put your own personal spin on your outfit, but make sure it follows some basic guidelines.

  • Be sure to have an overall cleanliness including your personal hygiene, your clothing, and your glasses, if applicable.
  • Try not to wear anything that is too flashy in terms of accessories that may distract your interviewer.
  • Always dress conservatively! For men, stick to a classy suit and tie. For women, stick to something that is both professional and conservative.
  • Maintain good posture throughout the interview by sitting up straight.

While normally dress is very personal and individual-based, it’s best to stick to the conservative side for your interview considering most interviewers are trying to assess you as a professional. Patient surveys frequently comment on their desire to see a well-dressed physician that looks clean, neat and professional, so project that persona in your interview.

Dr. Arnold Peter Weiss is the R. Scot Sellers Scholar of Hand Surgery; Chief of Hand Surgery; Vice Chairman & Professor, Brown University. He is the former Dean of Admissions at Brown University Medical School (2004-2012).