5 Things I Wish I Knew Before My Medical Interview
1. It is a longer day than you think.
Try to eat something even though you might be nervous. Although they may say it will only take two hours, it is usually 3-4 hours by the end of it. Your nervous energy burns a lot of calories and you need to be focused to perform at your best. You don't want tummy grumbling throughout your answers.
2. Try not to overthink things.
People become transfixed on things such as attire. Of course, try to be well groomed and dressed, men usually in a suit and tie and ladies in a conservative dress but beyond that it doesn't really matter. Interviewers will focus on what you say and think, you won’t be marked down for the tiny scuff on your shoe. Similarly, don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. You need to focus on yourself, your body language and your performance.
3. Don’t change your thinking or behaviour
Be yourself! We know it is a cliche, I can see you clicking away as we speak. But this extends quite deeply into your approach to interview preparation. You don't need to come up with all the solutions, issues, stakeholders and consequences. Don't forget the interview is fundamentally trying to select people that have the characteristics of great doctors, not automated robots that follow rigid structures to their detriment of their personality. That is why our training is so important for students. Learning how to blend rules, with personality and nuanced communication is difficult.
4. It is not as daunting as you think
Everyone wants to build it up, almost as though you're walking into the dragon’s den. And to some extent that is true, but ultimately, the people are there to help you through and help you perform at your best. Yes, there are little traps along the way but they aren’t there to torture you. Be on your toes but don’t psych yourself out.
5. Use your time wisely
DO NOT allow one bad station to ruin your whole interview process. These are indeed high-pressure situations but you need to compartmentalise each station. Do not let the past affect the future. If you have a bad station you need to let it go, as hard as that maybe. Brief meditation between stations or just shutting your eyes if you have a break station is a good way to calm yourself down for 5 seconds or 7-8 minutes. The whole thing is over quite quickly so by taking that time to compose yourself it will aid you in the remaining stations.