Monday, October 24, 2011

Interviews....can't live with 'em can't live without 'em!

You get so excited when you find out you have been selected for an interview, that you have the urge for a mini-celebration!  Then the anxiety sets in and the sleepless nights start.

Then the preparation and the trying on of the "perfect outfits" for the all important interview.  Skirt or slacks?  Flats or heels?  Since most of these choices are subtle and probably are not ever as important as how you present yourself in person to the interview committee, here are a few of my interview prep techniques:
super helpful book.
  •  Scour web sites such as these for common interview questions  (here are a few of my faves)
  • ordered this book--
    The Ultimate Guide to Getting Into Physician Assistant School, Third Edition
  • Then I made a list of basic questions and wrote out potential answers for myself.
  • I went over the school's web site carefully.  Reviewed faculty names and pictures. Looked over their PANCE passage rates and other pertinent facts about their program.
  • Prepared questions I could ask of faculty/interviewers about their program if given the opportunity (and I was).
  • Read up on current issues facing the PA profession.  
  • Practiced answers to "behavioral questions" that I hear are popular in interviews.
  • Went to bed early and slept well the night before.
  • Made sure my confidence was in gear but not in overdrive--don't want to seem cocky or too sure of oneself.
  • Practiced making good eye contact
Though I over prepared for my first interview, I felt good that day.  I wasn't nervous. I made sure to offer my hand to shake whenever appropriate, spoke to other applicants while I waited and generally worked on being relaxed and genuine.

Some of what I read indicated that being genuine, likeable and trustworthy  is the most important part of interview.  After all, they have basically already assessed your academic ability to accomplish the work in the program or you wouldn't be invited to interview!
This seemed to be true at my first interview at D'Youville College in Buffalo, NY.  The director assured all the nervous applicants right from the beginning that this was our chance for them to get know us individually and that this would be the basis of the questions asked of us. 

The interview started off with everyone writing bullet point answers to ten questions.  Only one of them was a behavioral question.  All the others were basic garden variety:  "What is the difference between the PA and NP education process?"  "Why do you want to be a PA?" etc.   Then we were interviewed in groups of three.  At first this felt strange to have other applicants in the interview with me.  But the advantage is it gives you a moment to compose yourself and your thoughts while the others are speaking.

If you have an interview scheduled, pat yourself on the back!  You have made it through the initial step of a very rigorous process and the odds are now in your favor.

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