Monday, 6 February 2012

...Suit Up!

It’s interview time! Good luck to everyone! Here’s a few pieces of advice to think about as you journey towards the big day.
- It all begins with the Perfect Suit. Without the Perfect Suit, it is harder to feel confident, comfortable and professional the Day Of. I brought my mom shopping with me and we did not rest until we had found an attractive, classy, mom-approved suit that made me feel like I could stomp it out on the interview runway. By “attractive,” I mean that it was modest, fashionable and fit well. The Perfect Suit is not a short skirt and a cleavage baring top; nor is it hemmed too short and paired with your father’s paisley tie from 1972. By all means, show your personality but above all, be professional and you will be confident! 
- It is so important to be a proficient communicator. I recommend running through pretend scenarios in your mind the weeks before the interview. Practice your responses in front of the mirror. Note the way you look when you speak. Do you maintain adequate eye contact? Do you smile? Is your voice the appropriate volume and tone? Do you hum and haw a lot? Is your response well structured? Is it easy to follow? Do you explain your thought process and rationale clearly?
- At the beginning of the interview, I began to feel quite unwell. And then I got the oddest sense of vertigo. I felt like I might fall down and start writhing in pain before I had even begun! But I pushed through and got accepted even though I felt, physically, miserable. So expect the unexpected the Day Of but don’t let that shatter your confidence.
- You will be nervous. That is normal. Make sure you do your deep breathing and drink water. I also recommend a suit jacket to hide the pit stains of agony which will slowly blossom to the size of dinner plates through the course of your interview.
- I became most nervous when I first encountered the other potential applicants, a sea of black suits. It may be intimidating but do not be afraid. They are just as nervous as you. Many of them may be your potential classmates. Think of them as your future friends, not your competition.
- Talk to the students who go to the school. They will probably be nice and chatting with them may set you at ease.
- Be professional even when you are not being directly interviewed. People are still watching you. Professionalism is key in medicine.
- I have the urge to finish this post by telling you to “have fun” and “be yourself” – both of which are very true. But basically, I think the best piece of advice I could give you is to know yourself and to allow others (especially the people interviewing you!) to know you. Be transparent, be easy, be comfortable.
Let me know how it goes!