3 Things That are Essential to a Positive Interview Day Experience
Congratulations! Your hard work is paying off and you are starting to receive invitations to interview. You already have a plan for how to get to the interview and where you are going to stay, now all that is left is to prepare for the interview day itself. Later this month we will have our final post dedicated to preparing for the interview itself, but today we want focus on three things you can do now to ensure that you have a positive interview day experience.
On your interview day, you will most likely be in business formal attire and wearing a suit. For most people wearing a suit is not a regular occurrence and can feel quite uncomfortable, which is not what how you want to feel on interview day. Though it may sound silly, we recommend testing out your interview outfit or outfits by wearing them for several hours at a time while walking, sitting, and standing to get an idea of how the clothes and shoes may impact your movement. Most interview days do include tours of the medical facilities and potentially lengthy walks to your interview location, so you will definitely want to make sure that your shoes are broken in as well. Feeling more comfortable in your interview day clothes will help you be more comfortable and relaxed on interview day.
Don’t Get Hangry
An interview day is typically an all-day affair. Though almost all medical schools will provide meals and snacks throughout interview day, it is important to think about what you need to do to keep your energy up for your time on campus. If you are like me, your blood sugar (and focus) tends to slow down after lunch so it may be helpful to pack a fun-sized pack of candy or energy bar to snack on during your down time. Likewise, if you have special dietary needs be sure to alert the admissions team so they can ensure there are food and drink options that work for you. We want you to be able to focus on your interviews and learning more about our program, not worrying about being hungry or sleepy, so packing along a snack or two is certainly an important part of your interview day preparation.
Practice, Practice, Practice
For many applicants the interview process is not very enjoyable. It can be a stressful time when you are doing your best to make a good impression while also trying to sell yourself to a medical school. Because of these pressures, we encourage applicants to practice simple things like small talk and making eye contact with individuals they do not know well as this can help make the interview day experience more comfortable. Keep in mind that Vanderbilt sees interviews as a chance to learn more about an applicant, not as a weeding out process, and not everyone you meet will have read your application file so be prepared to share information about yourself and ask questions of students, faculty, staff, and fellow interviewees that you meet on your interview day. Being prepared to make small talk with others (and practicing!) will definitely help you stress less on interview day, resulting in a more positive experience.
At the end of the day, our job is to make your interview day experience as positive and low stress as possible so you can focus more on learning about our program and determining if it is a good fit for you. To that end, we always welcome suggestions and feedback about how we can improve our process. Just shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is the third post in our series about medical school admissions process. Check out our first post, 4 Things to Consider when Completing Your Med School Application and our second post, 2 Things You Can Do Now to Prepare for Interview Season.