Continued… If you do make it to the room, you sit down with an interviewer and try to relax. In books and handouts about interviews, they often suggest that you have friends interview you or even tape yourself to see if you have any ticks or mannerisms that will compromise your composure. I can’t think of anything in the world that would put me more in my head than knowing that in an interview I do something distracting like tap my foot or blink. There is something to be said for just being yourself and hoping that it is enough considering that’s the person who will be a doctor, not Interview Version You (who is a tool anyway).
The actual structure of the interview ranges. I had faculty interviewers, deans, students, panels, old, young, researchers, clinicians, I think I was interviewed by a stapler at one school. And within those people, some don’t see any information about you, some see only your personal statements, and some see everything. Then they ask you questions based on what they can see. They are generally straight forward; if you put it down on an application, they will ask you about it. Still, some will ask weird questions no matter what. I was asked what was on my mp3 player and what did that say about me. I was asked, in reference to my personal statement highlighting how I was looking forward to the detective work in medicine, what I thought daily medicine was really like; essentially he was saying, “medicine is fucking boring”. I had several interviews stopped for phone calls, and not the patient-in-need calls, but the Timmy-calling-to-get-picked-up-from-soccer-practice calls. One interview was stopped for 5 minutes to talk about a hawk that had recently set up residency outside the interviewers window. All in all, you leave the interview well dressed, emotionally exhausted, and almost always thinking it went well but knowing that only one in two get the crown and a chance to thank their parents. I can only hope I am that lucky gal.