Interviews are a crucial component of the application process for medical schools. So it makes sense to feel nervous before the big day. But do not worry. With careful planning and persistent practice, interviews can stop being so intimidating and start being enjoyable.
Med school Interviews require planning and preparation, just like any other step in the application process for medical school. You must put in extra effort and time to ensure that you make the most of your medical school interview preparation.
This article is a list of interview etiquette that you must abide by during your medical school interview.
10 Etiquette Tips for a Medical School Interview
During the interview process for medical school, admissions officers look for applicants who exhibit maturity, empathy, and exceptional interpersonal skills. They already know who you are. They are now interested in your personality and interpersonal skills.
Interview rules can change. The formats also vary.
Some medical schools conduct individual, one-on-one interviews; others do panel interviews. You may interview alone at specific schools or with a group of other applicants at others.
This crucial advice can help you prepare for the best medical school interview you can, regardless of the format of the interview you face.
1. Show Up On Time
It would help if you planned to be at the interview site between 20 and 30 minutes before registration.
If you are traveling alone, provide more time, so you have time for parking and navigation.
Give yourself a chance to get something to eat, drink, or use the restroom before the interview starts. Sit quietly and calm your breathing before the interview to prevent looking hurried or uneasy.
Additionally, getting there early allows you some breathing room in case of traffic to the interview site. So be ready and give yourself more time than you think you will need.
2. Dress Appropriately and Conservatively
Dress appropriately because your evaluators will look at it to see if you are qualified for the job.
Suppose you show up in your t-shirt or jeans for the interview. In that case, you are conveying that you do not care about it or even about maintaining a minimal level of decorum.
You want to avoid appearing like one of the students who has spent the last 20 hours in the library gorging on pretzels and soft drinks, even though you are on a college campus.
3. As Soon As You Arrive On Campus, Turn Off Your Mobile Device
It should be evident that you are ready when you arrive at the interview location. Hence, there is no need to use your mobile device.
An hour before the interview, double-check if you have turned off your mobile phone. Of course, you do not want it ringing or making noise during the interview.
However, it can also be a cause of distraction not just to you but to the interviewer. Let this serve as a reminder to turn it off.
4. Ensure You Have Researched About the School / University
It will help you demonstrate your enthusiasm and genuine interest in entering the university’s medical school during your interview if you browse the school’s website beforehand.
You should be able to talk about the teaching method at the med school (and how it fits you). Include also any memorable aspects of the course and any clubs and extracurricular activities offered by the university that you are interested in.
How would you contribute to the larger student body, and how would you be a productive part of the med school?
Knowing about medical school should assure you that this is where you want to spend the next few years. This enthusiasm should consequently come out in your interview.
5. Be Kind and Respectful to Everyone You Meet.
Remember to be polite and pleasant to everyone, including the office staff, any new students you meet, and your interviewers. You will collaborate with others in a team as a doctor, whether in an office practice, a substantial academic teaching hospital, or a small community hospital.
Be polite and show that you understand that everyone plays a crucial role in the admissions process on the day of your interview. It is common for your guide to provide the admissions committee with input about you. Therefore, be sure to leave everyone with a good impression of you.
6. Be Honest
In the brief time they spend with you, the admissions committees for medical schools hope to gain a sense of who you are.
Many interviewers have already read about you and are familiar with your background, educational history, and summertime volunteer activities.
They want to get a sense of who you are during the interview. They are attempting to determine your personality.
7. Be Enthusiastic and Passionate at the Same Time
Interviewers are looking for candidates who strongly desire to become doctors.
To become a doctor, one must have a lot of passion and dedication and endure many years of arduous labor. It would help if you exhibited this zeal, ambition, and excitement for your work.
If you do not make an impact by keeping your head down and speaking in a monotone, your chances of being granted admission will be low.
Consider your interactions with patients and other events that helped you make this decision. Make sure the interviewer can see your enthusiasm and commitment in the way you communicate.
8. Take Your Time in Answering the Interview Questions
Some colleges utilize interviews to assess how you handle pressure. They intentionally place you in an awkward situation so they can watch how you behave and communicate.
Common strategies include bringing up personal concerns, rambling off a list of knowledge questions like those on game shows, or expressing disdain for practically everything you say.
If an interview question takes you off guard, do not be afraid to think it out for a second before responding.
Ask for clarification if a question seems clouded in confusion. You will come across as intelligent and eloquent if you take the time to ensure that your response is well-conceived and well-spoken.
9. Make and Leave a Good Impression
First impressions are important. Therefore, refrain from starting the interview off poorly and force yourself to spend the entire time digging your way out of a hole.
When you initially arrive, introduce yourself respectfully. Make eye contact, smile, and attempt to recall the interviewers’ names.
Do not worry if you have trouble remembering names. What matters is that you were approachable and introduced yourself (they may even empathize, given the volume of names they have to navigate during interview season).
Remember to give your interviewers one last handshake before you leave to express gratitude for their time.
10. Send a Thank-You Note (After the Interview).
After each interview, remember to send a letter of appreciation or thank you to the admission committee. You can address one letter to the full committee or multiple separate ones.
In addition, it is a good idea to jot down a few quick notes right before you leave, including the names of the interviewers and some of the subjects you discussed.
The school will put your name on a “hold” list if they are still unsure of their decision to admit you. This indicates that before welcoming you, they want to observe how the rest of the application pool looks. You can send additional materials to support your application if you are on the hold list.
Medical School Interview Attire: General Guidelines
The attire you choose will aid your medical school interview because making a good first impression is essential. Therefore, consider how you would want your doctor to look when deciding what to wear for your medical school interview.
It is best to dress professionally and modestly while avoiding outfit selections that can offend you or go against your personal style.
Here are a few guidelines to help you select the best attire for your medical school interview.
Specific general notes apply regardless of gender, even though we have some particular recommendations for feminine and masculine looks. For example, the finest colors for foundation items in apparel are soft, complementary hues or white, with neutral tones like gray, navy blue, black, or cream as a second choice.
Natural fibers are preferred but not required. Ensure the fabric breathes well enough to stay comfortable in a warm interview room. It should be sufficient to keep you warm in a slightly more relaxed setting.
Make-Up and Accessories
Makeup and accessories should be kept to a minimum. If you decide to apply makeup, keep it subtle. Focus on enhancing your natural features rather than a more striking or glamorous appearance.
In general, shoes should be black or brown to match your outfit. Most importantly, though, your shoes should be comfy. Avoid wearing extremely high heels or shoes that have yet to be worn because you will probably be standing for a long time during the interview.
Again, suppose you decide to wear jewelry or other accessories. In that case, they should be subtle, unobtrusive, and enhance your outfit rather than being the focal point of it.
If you like, you can wear your long hair down or pull it back as long as it looks tidy and polished. Keeping longer hair pulled back, at least partially, will prevent you from accidentally touching it while conducting the interview. Your hair should not cover your face.
Finally, if you plan to get a haircut rather than just a trim before your interview, attempt to schedule it a few days in advance. In the first day or two after getting a haircut, especially if it is a new style, we also tend to touch our hair regularly (and subconsciously).
Shorter hair should also look neat, professional, and clean. If you typically wear your hair short, having a haircut a day or two before the interview should be acceptable if it is only a trim or touch-up.
Be aware that scent-free regulations are becoming commonplace in most organizations, including universities. So, on the interview day, avoid perfumes, colognes, and strongly scented lotion or aftershave.
This includes soap/body wash, hair products, shampoo, and conditioner (particularly for individuals with longer hair).
Check your items before your interview to determine whether they have an overpowering aroma. If they do, please use unscented products instead—causing the interviewer to experience an allergic reaction would not be an excellent first impression.
Even if no one has allergies, strong smells might detract from the center of attention, which should be you because our sense of smell is so sensitive.
Ensure you have taken a shower or a bath on the morning of the interview. You should use deodorant and keep your skin and hair clean. The majority of us perspire under stress even in great weather, so be careful to dress appropriately so that you remain presentable and fresh throughout the day.
Try pouring cool water over your hands immediately before entering the interview if you experience sweaty or clammy hands when you are anxious. This frequently suffices to prevent clamminess for several minutes. A tissue, handkerchief, or cloth can also be kept in your pocket to covertly wipe your palms before shaking someone’s hand.
What to Wear on the Day of the Medical School Interview?
Male and female interview attire has typically been a little more formal. Darker hues and subdued patterns are typical of such a dress code. This is representative of the proper clothes used by medical personnel in a hospital setting.
Think about the message you want to portray while choosing your look for the medical school interview. You are not trying to show off your impeccable sense of style or impress the interviewer with your choice of brand or price point. In reality, you aim to show the medical institution and the interview process the respect they deserve.
Simply said, making an effort to dress tastefully shows respect for the interview panel.
For your reference, here is the recommended attire to wear during your medical school interview.
What Should Men Wear at a Medical School Interview?
Men have fewer options for clothing than women do. There are few menswear options to be aware of, except for avoiding linen (which creases extremely readily and can stretch) and white suits.
Your attire should be relaxed, self-assured, and empowering on the interview day.
We advise men to wear suits, blazers, or sports coats. Our first preference is to wear a suit. Still, a sports jacket or blazer with business dress pants might be a terrific alternative if money is tight.
Men should also dress in “safe” and conventional colors, such as gray, black, or navy blue. Before your interview, ensure any new or used suits are adjusted or altered as needed.
A formal, light-colored button-down is the most excellent option when determining what shirt to pair with your suit or jacket.
Although it may be effective for some candidates, it is generally best to avoid patterns and vibrant colors. Tie it up every time (or bow tie, depending on your style). Always tuck your shirt in.
Pants and Belt
Men should wear fitted pants that closely match the jacket’s color if they do not have a suit or are wearing a jacket with pants.
Dress pants are the way to go, and wearing jeans to a job interview is never appropriate. In addition, all men should wear belts, and the perfect belt and shoe color match.
The best footwear for an interview day is a pair of dress shoes that matches your belt. You will walk a lot on the interview day, so make sure to break in any new shoes.
Avoid wearing scuffed or too-casual footwear, such as loafers, boat shoes, or sneakers. Dress socks that fall mid-calf should match your shoes and belt.
There are typically fewer accessory options for men. We advise you to wear the same accessory that you usually wear.
For example, if you regularly wear a watch or other conservative accessories, that would work. Consider putting on a tie clip and cufflinks if your clothing calls for it. Do not wear hats.
What Should Women Wear at a Medical School Interview?
Women have numerous options when choosing what to wear to a medical school interview.
But, no matter your choice, be sure to dress professionally while still feeling at ease. Your attire should give you a sense of empowerment and self-assurance.
Most women automatically consider wearing a suit to a medical school interview, which is a fantastic option. However, wearing a suit can frequently be a simple alternative, regardless of whether you select a classic or modern fit.
This is because the jacket and pants/skirt may be purchased as a set, requiring no mixing or matching. Although classic hues like blue, gray, or black are secure, by all means, wear a colorful business suit if you feel at ease and discover one.
T-Shirts and Tops
Select a classic shirt or blouse that fits snugly underneath your suit jacket if you are wearing one. Think about adding a burst if you are wearing a conventional color.
Avoid wearing anything with a too-low cut. It is ideal for tucking your shirt in unless your outfit calls explicitly for an untucked shirt.
Pants or Skirts
Skirts and pants are appropriate to wear, and our advice is to wear whatever makes you feel most confident and at ease. For example, wear knee-length or longer if you wear a skirt (no mini-skirts).
Try to keep with a timeless style and fit when wearing pants. Whatever you choose to wear for your bottom, make it comfortable to stand, sit, and walk around in.
This is an excellent choice for your medical school interview because many lovely professional outfits are available.
Consider looking at shift dresses, which go well with heels and open-toed shoes. A cardigan or jacket in a complementary color or pattern can also be worn with a dress.
The standard recommendation for hospital staff is to wear closed-toe shoes, but polished open sandals are sometimes appropriate. The most crucial thing is to wear comfy shoes because you will walk a lot on interview day.Before wearing them to your interview, break in any new shoes, and make sure they are not “noisy shoes” that might be distracting when you walk. Keep your heels low and without spikes. We advise wearing knee-high pantyhose or socks with pants and tights with any skirt or dress.
While wearing some jewelry is acceptable, avoid going overboard! For example, if you wear earrings, they should be modest styles or studs. On the other hand, rings you wear daily, such as engagement and wedding rings, are acceptable.
Necklaces and bracelets are also appropriate, though smaller and discrete pieces are usually preferable. Avoid big statement pieces that can be distracting, if at all possible.
On the day of your interview, a scarf may also look well, depending on your attire and personal fashion.
On the day of the interview, professional makeup is appropriate. It may include concealer, foundation, light eyeliner, mascara, blush, lipstick, or lip gloss. We advise you to wear the kind and quantity of makeup you typically do daily.
While some people would rather not wear any makeup, others could do so regularly. Use your discretion once more regarding what appears professional and what makes you feel your best.
Bag or Purse
Bring a bag, briefcase, purse, or business backpack to carry your necessities. This is fine if you must bring your suitcase while traveling. During your visit for the interview, you can leave any heavy and bulky items with the admissions office.
5 Types of Attire to Avoid for a Medical School Interview
To ensure that you dress for success on your medical school interview, you must also remember the kinds of outfits to avoid. While anyone can choose the attire they want, having the wrong clothes can cause the admissions committee to cross your name off their list.
Here are the types of attire to avoid for a medical school interview:
1. Trendy Clothes
You are not interviewing with Vogue. Therefore, it is not the moment to show off your style sense.
Avoid attempting any flashy new haircuts that are currently in style. Instead, keep it half up, down, in a low bun, or in a ponytail. A basic headband will also do.
2. Clothes with Big Logos
Logos are distracting in a medical school interview. It is obtrusive and labels you in the same way as it labels the article of clothing.
3. Sandals and Flip Flops
You do not want the interviewer to be able to see your toenail polish during your interview.
Wear conservative clothing and closed-toed shoes. Aim for a 1-2 inch heel as another shoe recommendation.
4. Anything Too Short
This goes not only for skirts but for dresses…and pants too. If you wear a skirt, practice sitting and aim to have, it land slightly above the knee. Otherwise, skip it.
5. Revealing Clothes
Revealing clothes are a big NO in med school interviews. Practice bending over, being careful not to let your shirt gape open. What if you drop something?
Remember, it is a med school interview, not a party.
Additional FAQs – Interview Etiquette for Medical School
Can I Wear a Dress to a Medical School Interview?
Overall, it would help if you looked decent and professional, whatever you choose to wear.
What Do I Wear to a Zoom Medical School Interview?
Wearing the right clothes gives you confidence. But, at the same time, it shows that you respect the admissions committee.
Is There a Dress Code for Medical School?
Avoid wearing casual attire, such as shorts, flip-flops, and tank tops. Even while you do not have to dress sharply every day, it is still crucial to present yourself well. Scrubs may be necessary for some clinical situations.
Should I Cut My Hair For a Med School Interview?
On the other hand, some schools might be more accepting of various looks, so feel free to wear whichever hairdo makes you feel most at ease.
The rule of thumb is to do your research to find out. After all, you want to make a statement with your words, not your appearance.