Make Your Dental School Interview Count

May 8, 2015

When it comes to dental school interviews, you rarely get more than one chance to make an impression. Very few if any dental schools will call any applicant for a second interview. What this means is you have just this one chance to wow the interviewing panel and make your dentistry dreams come true.  So what can you do to get the outcome you are looking for?

We’ve put together a few tips, suggestions and guidelines that can help you sharpen your interviewing skills.

Pre-Interview Day Preparations 

Don’t wait for the day before the interview to figure out how you are going to get to the interview venue. Make a note of the address in advance and figure out your mode of transportation, how long it will take you to get there and what time you need to leave home. Decide what you are going to wear and keep the entire outfit ready. Keep all of your certificates, mark sheets and appropriate documents together in a folder so you are not looking for anything at the last minute. Make sure that on the day before the interview you are well-groomed and have everything ready to go.  

In The Interview Room

As you walk from the door to the chair into the interview room, the interviewing panel will have had sufficient time to form that crucial first impression. Make sure it’s a good one – walk in confidently with an open, relaxed posture and a smile. Introduce yourself to the interviewers and wait to be asked to sit.

Students in their Gap Medics scrubsEstablish good eye contact. When you are sitting, sit up straight and look the interviews remember to establish good eye contact with all persons in the room. When answering questions, do not keep your eyes fixated on the person who has posed the question. Instead move your eyes around the table so you are replying to the entire panel and not just to one person.

Smile. No matter how nervous you are, smile. Smiling establishes a positive connection and breaks the tension in the room, making it less stressful for everyone.

Mind your non-verbal communication. This is one of the areas that many students tend to overlook with disastrous consequences. They practice what to say but do not give a thought to their body language. If your body language does not convey the same message as your words, you will come across as insincere. The best way to make sure you get it right is to spend time practicing in front of a mirror till you are confident that your body is conveying the same message as your words.

Don’t rush through your responses. Take a moment to compose your answer and then reply. Do this even for the simplest question. The more you think about your reply the more impressive and compelling it is likely to be.

Thank your interviewers before you leave. You know you’ve made a positive first impression and have had a good interview. Don’t jeopardise it now by rushing out of the room after the interview. Take a moment to shake hands with each of the interviewers and look them in the eye as you thank them for taking the time and for giving you the opportunity.