Getting prepared for interviewing is key. How do you do it? Anticipate questions, prepare responses but remember to stay relaxed . Interviews are for them to get to know you but also for you to see if you will be a good fit. Interviewing in a lot of ways is like a first date. You have to see if you are compatible.
1. Be yourself.
Easier said than done.
A good way to prepare is to reflect on what you’ve done, and how it’s equipped you to move onto residency. One of my favorite sites that offers advice on prepping for interviews is The Muse. Even though their articles are not directed toward medical or dental residencies, the information is on point. Check out their article on how to answer the prompt, “Tell me about yourself,” which is often one of the first and more challenging prompts at an interview.
2. Look for compatibility.
In order to have a successful and satisfying experience in residency, you want to be at a program that jives with your expectations and values. There is no perfect program, but there are many which offer a variety of attractive attributes to prepare you for your future.
3. Balance is fundamental.
In the interview, it is important to maintain professionalism and respect, without a doubt. However, do not be afraid to share your personality. If they don’t ask you questions directed at your hobbies, goals, or interests, find some way to work it in. Having a life outside of dentistry isn’t just practical, it is important for showing community, social skills and well roundedness.
4. Confidence with gratitude.
Everyone at the interview has already demonstrated on paper that they deserve to be there. It’s important to carry yourself confidently and be clear in your answers, however also remember that it is a privilege to get an interview, that should not be taken for granted.
5. Crash with friends or use house renting sites.
I am a huge advocate for reaching out to friends or friends of friends to have a place to stay. However, when I did that I realized that sometimes your friend’s place is not as close or convenient, and can make your commute to the interview longer or more stressful. Just remember that you want to allow plenty of time the morning of the interview to allow for traffic, parking, public transportation delays, and finding your way around the building.
6. Take names, take notes.
After your interview, be sure to make notes on what you liked and what you did not. Additionally, you want to remind the program of yourself even after the day is over. Make sure you write a thank you card or note to the program after the interview. Showing gratitude and appreciation is professional but also shows you truly care. Mention the strengths of the program and how you see yourself fit in.
Overall, interview season can be stressful. If you are well prepared, you will be more calm and focused when it comes time to interview. Good luck!