Tips for Online Medical School Interviews

Tips for Online Medical School Interviews

1 year ago by Stan

Due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, many universities will be conducting medical interviews online. An online interview is very different to an in person one, and requires a specific approach. This blog outlines some key tips.

1. Get your set up right

Make sure you set up your device in a quiet location, away from distractions, and with a good, stable internet connection. Ideally have a backup device (such as a tablet or phone) in case of any issues. If possible, have a plain background or one with minimal photos, posters or books. You could ask your sixth form for a quiet room to conduct your interview in if you can’t guarantee parents or siblings will be quiet during your interview.

Ensure you have a professional appearance, matching what the medical school has specified in their interview invitation. Often a suit is not required.

Familiarise yourself with the platform and understand its functions – including how to mute/unmute yourself, how to enable webcam sharing, and relevant audio settings (especially if you are going to use headphones). The last thing you want to be doing in an important medical interview is fumbling with the computer! Log on to the platform with plenty of time before the interview’s scheduled start time.

2. Practise

It goes without saying that with any interview you need practise, but this is especially true with an online interview! Try to get a teacher, friend or doctor you might know to run a short interview for you using the same platform that you will be using on your interview day. Ensure you attend any practise sessions the medical school will be running and don’t hesitate to ask about the process in any Q+A sessions.

3. Pause

In a virtual interview, it can be difficult to judge if and when the interviewer has stopped talking. A pause can feel like an eternity, and you may be tempted to fill the gaps by speaking. Avoid this urge and allow extra time to ensure that the interviewer has finished their question before you respond. Take the time to formulate your answer so you can deliver an insightful and structured response.

4. Engage with the interviewers

It is even more important in a virtual interview to engage with the interviewers, given there is physical distance between you. It can be difficult for interviewers to appreciate your enthusiasm and passion via a screen, so make sure you are even more expressive. You can use appropriate gestures (ensuring they are visible to the interviewers), ensure you smile often, and exude an energetic persona.

5. Keep your eyes on the interviewer

Aim to look at the webcam as much as possible. On a laptop, if you look at the person on the screen and not the camera it can make you appear to be distant or looking elsewhere. Ensure you are at a well-matched height to that of the camera, and practice looking at it!

6. Gather everything you need

Your interview might involve a maths station or a station in which you need to watch or read something, after which the interviewer will ask questions. Make sure you have a pen and plain paper handy to write down anything you need. However, make sure you don’t keep looking down and away from the camera when answering your questions.

If you have a personal statement section or a specific form that you have submitted (e.g. R+R form for Keele) make sure that you have it with you (if allowed) or at least read it before your interview to remind yourself of its content.

Most importantly throw yourself into it! Interviewers want to see who you really are and not just a face behind a screen, have a bit of flair, don’t be afraid to show your passion and remember that there are lots of others in the same situation as you, with the same worries. Good luck!