Here is Part 3 of 3 in my series on Interview Tips.
During the actual interview, bring your A-game! You have prepared, and you are ready for this; but just in case you’re freaking out, here are some helpful tips.
- Be kind to those around you. The moment you walk onto the campus, it’s on. Be kind to those around you because you never know who may have been eavesdropping or passed by you in the hallway. I would hope you are a kind person on a daily basis, but seriously folks, for interview day, be nice! Open doors; say thank you; wish someone a great day!
- Be punctual. Trust me, I’d rather you be there 30 minutes earlier than you should be. The day has a schedule many people rely on, and it’s not nice to have to wait on you. If you’re going to be late or if there’s an unforeseen event, let the program administrative assistant know ASAP via email or phone. It’s a good idea to request a phone number for someone in the program just in case there are any issues that come up prior to interview day.
- Do not use your cell phone. Most find it rude and unacceptable. You will be okay without your phone for a few hours. I put mine on “do not disturb.” I check my phone when I’m in the restroom in case there were any emergencies or flight changes that I need to tend to. If I notice there may be something I need to monitor, I let someone know (resident, coordinator, PD—whoever is with you) so that it doesn’t appear I’m being rude.
- Don’t be afraid when answering questions to say something along the lines of “as written in my personal statement” or “as mentioned in my application.” It shows you’re strong, passionate, and confident in how you’ve presented yourself and what you want to share because you’ve already written it for them.
- The beauty of pause. When being asked a tough question, it’s okay to pause or even ask for a moment to think. Say something along the lines of, “I apologize, but may I have a moment to contemplate?” We are not perfect, and no one expects you to be. I think it’s brave when someone asks for time or pauses instead of rambling and turning the whole situation into a train wreck.
- Ask questions. Researching programs, a point I made in the last post, now leads me to this. Toward the end of each interview, most interviewers will ask you if you have any questions about the program. You should always have 1-2 questions prepared. You don’t want to appear disinterested or unprepared, and quite frankly, you should have questions if you plan to spend 3+ years somewhere.
- Strong Ending. There’s something to be said for interviewees who express their gratitude. Just be a nice person. Say thank you in person and then after whether in written or email format. Deliver a firm handshake.
Good luck—happy interviewing!