5 Tips for Navigating Virtual Medical School Interviews

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In this strange new world we’ve all had to make a few adjustments to our daily lives due to COVID19, interviewing for medical school virtually being one of them! Here are some tips to help with navigating virtual medical school interviews:

1. Optimize your lighting

The interviewers only get to see you through your video. Make sure they see you in the best light – no pun intended! Ensure your room is well-lit. Even if it is bright outside and there is a window in your space, most rooms will still need some artificial lighting (ring light if you’re an Instagram pro, lamps, ceiling lights etc.) Make sure you are not back-lit. If your main light source is behind you, turn around so that it is in front of you. If that is not an option, put an equivalently bright light source in front of you to balance it out.

2. Figure out your fidget

Most people have nervous twitches and fidget, especially when under pressure. Unfortunately, these little movements can be quite distracting on video. If you can, just be aware and don’t do it. If you are like me and can’t do that, find a substitute fidget that isn’t visible on video. My go-to is having some toy cars or golf balls under my desk and playing with them using my feet. 

3. Record yourself (and watch it!)

This is awful – words can’t describe how much I detest watching myself on video, BUT IT IS NECESSARY. You are your own best critic. By watching yourself, you will very quickly figure out what you do well and what you need to work on. Record yourself with the computer you plan to use, in the space you plan to take your interview, with all the lighting your plan to use, and wearing the outfit your plan to wear. Figure out what works and what doesn’t (i.e. does the colour of your shirt blend in with the wall behind you? Are you the right distance from your camera? Etc.)

4. Test your tech

Tech problems can throw you off your A-game, but are preventable for the most part. If given the opportunity to try out the interview platform, do it! (Read about all the features, click every button, troubleshoot any incompatibilities beforehand – get familiar with the platform) Run all the updates on your computer, or make sure they don’t start running during your interview and slow your computer down. If using a wi-fi connection that is shared with other members of your household, see if you can kick them off for the duration of your interview (convince them to go for a long walk, or at least do something other than streaming shows in HD!), and/or have some dedicated wi-fi bandwidth for you.

5. Have a sight for sore eyes

Eye strain is real. It is exhausting to look at the screen for the entire duration of your interview. Have an object or picture in front of you, at a farther distance than your computer, that you can look at when your eyes need a break, but not appear to be overtly looking away from the camera. 

Virtual interviews are a new ballgame for most people, interviewers and interviewees alike. If it feels strange to you, you are probably not alone. I hope these tips were helpful and wish you all the best for your upcoming interviews! 

Check out our other blog on interviewing virtually:
Online Medical School Interviews During COVID-19: Tips & Advice
Book your online interview prep consultation today!