Exclusive Interview with Master Advisor, Dr. Katzen on Interview Do’s and Dont’s

 

During our recent MedSchoolCoach webinar, “Establishing Your Brand: How to be Unique When Applying to Medical School”, Dr. Mehta, CEO of MedSchoolCoach, spoke with Dr. Katzen, MedSchoolCoach Master Advisor, about his take on major do’s and don’t’s for students on the medical school interview day. Read more about these necessary tips from a previous admissions committee member below!

Dr. Mehta:  Are there any do’s or don’t’s for the interview day that you think are absolutely necessary for an applicant to know?

Dr. Katzen:  Sure. Let me go through a couple of basics. I always say that, first of all, you’ve been given the opportunity to interview and you need to look at the interview as a formal opportunity. I think it’s important to realize that everybody who conducts an interview whether they’d be a staff or private physician, resident intern or medical student is doing it voluntarily and I emphasize that because I think at the beginning and the end of the interview, you should thank whomever it is for taking the time to interview you.

The other thing I’d like to point out is that I think at the end of the interview, as the interviewer, I should not remember what you wore; in other words, I think you should dress professionally and appropriately. A couple of other points, I think when you introduce yourself and come in to the interview, you should introduce yourself with your first and last name. If you introduce yourself and say, “Hi, I’m Robby,” you’re already demeaning yourself a little bit and putting yourself in an unnecessary inferior position.

Throughout the interview, you don’t want to brag but you want to put, if you will, your best foot forward. This is your day to shine. And when you get questions such as “Tell me about your biggest fault,” I think you should really think about that in advance. And that whatever fault you might want to bring up because we all have faults, at the end of that, we should almost audibly hear a comment in a sentence where you tell me how you’ve grown or how you’ve changed and that is no longer a fault.

And most importantly, you should not sound rehearsed. It’s more important that you are relaxed and I think you can be most relaxed if we anticipate or help you anticipate some of the questions and you just think more in terms of themes of what you’re going to talk about rather than the specific words or specific sentences. If you’re talking about yourself or your own accomplishments or places you’ve been or things you’ve done, I think just remembering a couple of key words is much more efficient and safer as opposed to trying to actually memorize a one-page or more speech.

Dr. Mehta:  Great. Thank you.

Dr. Katzen:  Sure.

What Does a Student Interviewer for Medical School Look For?

The medical school interview process can be near wracking. It is a high stakes situation; you’ve studied hard in college, done well on the MCAT, put your all into your extracurriculars and now it’s time to speak about it all in front of a physician! It’s so important to understand what medical school admissions committees are looking for in their students, so we sat down with Dr. Mili Mehta, a former interviewer at Columbia University, and got her perspective on the medical school interview.

For me, I’m always looking for people who are genuine about their interest in medical school and the activities they have done which have lead them to that point. It is easy to tell when someone is passionate about the things they talk about, whether it is community service, research or extra-curricular activities. There are a lot of things people do to try to get into medical school; hopefully each of these things you have done has had a meaningful impact on you and has led to a genuine interest in the field. I would let that part shine through in an interview.

The other thing I am looking for is someone I would want to be my medical school classmate. Are you someone who is going to be supporting your classmate while they’re studying? Are you someone I would like to collaborate with and learn from? Are you someone who will enrich my experience during medical school?

I am also looking for people who can communicate well, because I think this is the most important thing in patient care; having the ability to talk to your patient and get your points across clearly. So in the interview I am looking for someone who makes good eye contact and can have a pleasant conversation. That is really important to me when I am conducting an interview.

“The other thing I am looking for is someone I would want to be my med school classmate. Are you someone who is going to be supporting your classmate while they’re studying? Are you someone I would like to collaborate with and learn from? Are you someone who will enrich my experience during medical school?”

MedSchoolCoach’s advisors can get you ready for the interview! Our mock interviews are conducted with actual physicians who have been on admissions committees, so they know how you can stand out. Click here for more information about our interview preparation.