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By Sanam Darougar Farshidi
While most applicants spend a significant amount of time thinking about what they are going to say in a heath professional school interview, less attention is given to the non-verbal cues that affect your ability to impress the admissions committee. In the next two entries, we will discuss some of the important non-verbal cues that can help you ace your interview whether you are applying to medical school, PA school, dental school, or pharmacy school. Lets begin by considering how your non-verbal communication can help you come across as confident:
It goes without saying that confidence is key. While an interview to determine your candidacy for medical school or PA school may be a tense experience, there are ways you can exude the confidence needed to impress your interviewers. After all, how can you be trusted with managing patient safety and making split decisions about people’s lives, if you can’t even handle the stress of the initial interview?
Being confident is an essential trait in medical professionals, so emitting confidence is a must in your interview for any health professional school. Though the tips shared above are all ways you can appear more confident, other non-verbal cues can also transmit your level of confidence or lack thereof:
Consider non-verbal verbals – Non-verbal communicative tactics include how you speak, intonation, and voice nuances. In order to project confidence when you speak, be concise in your sentences and refrain from over sharing.
Keep your tone of voice moderate, ensuring your voice is not too high pitched or so soft spoken it’s difficult to understand you. If you have an accent, ask for help practicing interview conversations with a friend. Allow friends to give you advice on ways you can improve your sentence structure among other things.
Adopt pauses – Taking a pause between questions shows you are comfortable enough with yourself to allow for a thoughtful response to form before it’s spoken. Jumping to answer questions can make you appear as though your answers have been fully developed beforehand, thus eroding authenticity and credibility. Pauses are a sign of confidence, not weakness.
Be the best version of yourself – It may seem like a cliche, but your number one priority in a health professional school interview should be to show the interviewers who you are. With your application, personal statement, secondaries, and test scores already submitted and reviewed, the medical, dental, or PA school interview is your one chance to humanize your application and show the interviewer who you are as a person.
You want to present the best version of yourself, and the only way to do that is by being your authentic self. Being yourself not only takes the pressure off, but it also shows the interviewers that you are comfortable and satisfied in your own skin.
Appearing Low Maintenance
This non-verbal cue is more relevant today than ever before. In an ever increasingly digital world, our urge to remain affixed to our phones can make us appear frivolous, unprofessional, and out of touch. Before you go into your interview, turn your phone’s ringer on silent, put it away, and do not touch it until you are not only out of the building, but are a safe distance away.
For more about Non-Verbal Communication in the Interview, see the second part of this entry.
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Sanam Darougar Farshidi is Director of Client Relations for the medical marketing and education agency, BroadcastMed, Inc. She is a communication expert with experience teaching communications and public speaking to students and professionals of all ages.