Wondering how to prepare for a video interview? Read on to learn more about virtual med school interviews and how to get ready for them!
Medical school video interviews have become increasingly standard, especially since most companies have begun operating online. Though video interviews can still be stressful, they’ll never match the terror of realizing you’ve spilled coffee on your crisp white dress shirt 5 minutes before an important meeting.
Nevertheless, online interviews may make you feel nervous if you’re used to the traditional format. We’re here to tell you how you can use video tools to your advantage! We’ll review tips on how to ace your video interview using style, confidence, and organization. So, let’s get into some tips for your medical school interview prep.
Let’s review the two types of video interviews. Though there are plenty of interfaces, your virtual meeting will always be either pre-recorded or live.
Pre-recorded interviews are one of the most commonly used methods among schools today. Typically the candidate will have a set time to submit a video of themselves answering a list of pre-prepared questions.
Pre-recorded interviews work wonders for jittery candidates, as you won’t actually be speaking face-to-face with anyone. The AAMC Video Interview Tool for Admissions (VITA) is one such platform allowing candidates to respond to text prompts; however, applicants only have one chance to record each answer!
Live interviews are conducted at a set time when both parties are available. You may meet virtually with one or more interviewers to answer questions and chat in real time.
We’ll review some of the most commonly used video interfaces used by schools today.
Formerly known as Google Hangouts Meet, Google Meet is easy to use and a good option for hosting large meetings or group interviews.
The main advantage of using Google Meet is its connection to the rest of Google’s services, such as Google Docs, Drive, and Calendar. This relationship makes it easy for users to plan meetings and update information on their events.
Google Meet is simple to navigate and free to use. Just be sure you’re not using the Gmail account you made in 5th grade for your Google meeting!
Often used within medical companies due to its high level of security, Microsoft Teams is another free video conferencing software. Due to its connection to Microsoft software, any company that relies on other Microsoft extensions will likely gravitate to Teams for its meetings.
Teams offers chat functionalities and the capacity to host up to 10,000 members. While we promise you won’t be in a video interview with 9,999 other applicants, you can bet that this capacity means a quick interface with a stable connection.
Another great feature of Teams is its mobile compatibility, making it easy to participate in an interview anywhere.
Loom is a free, lesser-known Chrome browser extension that has grown in popularity over the last few years. If you’re sending a pre-recorded interview that hasn’t specified which service to use, this could be an excellent option!
Loom allows users to record videos of their screen, face, or both simultaneously. It comes with an easy-to-use editing tool to crop sections of your video. When you attach a Loom to an email, you can see when the recipient has opened your video, which is a unique feature that gives this service a leg up, among others.
AAMC Vita allows applicants to pre-record answers to submit to medical schools. All med schools requiring an AAMC Vita interview also require a live interview. You’ll receive six text prompts you must respond to in video format.
You’ll have one minute to read each question and up to three minutes to respond. Be careful; you only have one chance to answer!
Important note: These services are compatible with Chrome, but not all are compatible with Safari, Firefox, or other browsers. Ensure whichever online interviewing service you use is compatible with your browser.
Invitations for medical school interviews usually start going out in late summer or early fall, but they can extend all the way into winter or even the following spring.
While interviews are typically scheduled between August and February, it's important to note that each medical school operates on its unique timeline and follows its own specific processes.
Once you’ve sorted out what type of medical school interview you’re participating in, follow this eight-step guide to acing your video interview from the comfort of your own home.
Your backdrop and lighting are more critical than you may think! Find a neutral background in your house with little to no color or distraction. A neutral living space or simply a plain wall works great. In terms of lighting, try your best to face a natural light source.
If possible, avoid yellow or dim lighting, and do not face away from the source of light. Think of your backdrop as an extension of your attire; clean, simple, and professional is always the way to go.
Pro tip: Set your laptop on a couple of books so you’re at eye level with your camera; you don't want your interviewer starting at the inside of your nose!
As is crucial in any interview, try your best to relax. It’s normal to feel stressed before your medical school interview, but remember that confidence is key. Although this is an important step in the admissions process, it’s also a conversation. Try a de-stressing routine and get plenty of rest to ensure you present as confident and collected.
When it comes to acing your interview, preparation is key! Do plenty of school research to ensure your answers are relevant and thought out. If you have access to your interview questions before your live or pre-recorded video interview, outline your answers.
If not, the AAMC has a prep question list on its website, which could be helpful for an on-the-spot interview. Remember, interviews are mainly about judging your character. The more prepared you are, the less likely you’ll be nervous.
Also, prepare for questions you can expect, like behavioral questions and medical ethics questions. To answer them effectively, use the STAR method: Situation, Task, Action, and Result, for clear, concise responses that reveal your qualities effectively.
This will help you get ready for your medical school interview by ensuring you're prepared to respond to questions thoughtfully and confidently.
Want to practice with real interview questions right now? Check out our Medical School Question Generator here!
This may seem obvious but should never be overlooked. Even if you feel silly, rehearse your answers in front of anyone who’ll listen, even if you’re practicing in the mirror. Mock interviews with a med school admissions expert can elevate your interview skills and make practicing easier – you’ll also receive actionable feedback to improve!
Before your interview, it’s crucial to know your software and ensure everything works. Test your microphone, webcam, and internet connection. You can test your wifi speed by running a speed test, and if your connection is poor, it may be a good idea to directly connect your laptop to the router or use data for the duration of your interview.
Give yourself time to play with the program hosting your interview if you’ve never used it. This will help you understand what to do during your interview so you won’t be confused at the last minute.
Many applicants wonder how to dress for video interviews. We’re not saying to bring out your Sunday best, but you want to look professional. Dress in something that makes you feel comfortable, professional, and stylish. Even though you’ll be seated, we also advise against wearing PJ bottoms!
Avoid wearing headphones, as they can be distracting. Instead, choose a quiet location and use the built-in microphone on your computer throughout the interview.
Being at home might make you feel more relaxed to do things you usually wouldn’t do in an in-person interview, like checking your phone. Treat this as seriously as you would a traditional med school interview.
To ensure you stay engaged, close other tabs on your computer unless you need them for the interview, and set your phone aside. Just as you don’t want to distract the interviewer, you don’t want to distract yourself!
Once you’ve calmed your nerves and feel prepared, you can record with confidence. Whether you’re live or pre-recorded, now is the time to put your hard work to the test!
Be sure to put steps one through four into effect. Remember to breathe and maintain your composure to show your interviewer how you handle pressure.
In the era of online interviews, here are some simple yet effective strategies to ensure your success in virtual medical school interviews.
Getting ready for your virtual interview? These key strategies will help you build confidence and be well-prepared.
Practicing interview skills is crucial. Conduct mock interviews with a friend or mentor to simulate the actual setting and record sessions for self-assessment. Focus on enhancing body language, tone, and clarity for a confident and polished presentation during your interview.
Thoroughly research the medical school. Explore their values, mission, curriculum, unique programs, and recent achievements to align your responses with their ethos. Demonstrating this understanding showcases your genuine interest and suitability for their community.
Having your materials well-organized and easily accessible is a practical step to ensure a smooth interview. Keep a printed copy of your resume and personal statement nearby for reference.
Additionally, gather any notes or key points you'd like to touch on during the interview. This preparation can help you seamlessly incorporate relevant details into your responses, making your interview more structured and comprehensive.
Consider seeking feedback from peers or mentors experienced in video interviews. They can offer valuable insights and advice for your medical school interview to enhance your performance and presentation.
Prepare insightful questions to ask the interviewers about the medical school. Beyond generic inquiries, tailor your questions to demonstrate your genuine interest and understanding of their program. Inquire about specific opportunities for research, clinical experiences, or community involvement.
Medical schools may inquire about current healthcare issues, policies, or ethical dilemmas during your interview. Staying informed about these topics is essential. Regularly read reputable news sources and journals related to healthcare and medicine. Consider joining relevant
The following tips will help you navigate and excel during your virtual medical school interview.
Pay close attention to your nonverbal communication during the video interview. Maintain an upright posture, offer genuine smiles, and use appropriate facial expressions to convey enthusiasm and interest. These nonverbal cues can enhance your overall impression and show your engagement in the conversation.
Practice good virtual etiquette throughout the interview. Wait for the interviewer to finish speaking before responding, and avoid interrupting. Use polite language and maintain a respectful tone throughout the conversation. Treating the virtual interview with the same courtesy as an in-person one reflects well on your professionalism.
Virtual eye contact is crucial in video interviews. Ensure that you look directly at the camera when you're speaking, as this creates the impression of making eye contact with the interviewer. It's a subtle yet effective way to show your attentiveness and connection.
Craft compelling stories that illustrate your experiences, qualities, and values. Share anecdotes that make your responses memorable and demonstrate your skills. Storytelling can help you stand out and provide a deeper understanding of your background.
Be adaptable to the interview format. If it's a live interview, take a moment to reflect before responding to questions. For pre-recorded interviews, practice recording and reviewing your responses to improve your delivery and message.
Efficiently manage your time during the interview. Keep an eye on the clock to ensure you provide thorough yet concise responses within the allocated time. Effective time management showcases your ability to communicate clearly and concisely.
Avoid rushing through your answers. Embrace mindful pauses when necessary to gather your thoughts and respond thoughtfully. This practice helps maintain well-structured responses and avoids excessive rambling.
While preparation is essential, remember to be authentic and let your personality shine through during the interview. Admissions committees want to know you as a person, not just your qualifications.
If the interview format permits, you can enhance your explanations or illustrate your points with visual aids or props. This can be particularly useful for conveying complex ideas effectively.
After the interview, send personalized thank-you emails to each interviewer. Reference specific highlights from the interview to express your appreciation and continued interest in the medical school. This post-interview courtesy demonstrates your professionalism and gratitude.
Mistakes happen; interviews rarely go entirely according to plan. However, there are many things you can do to avoid mistakes! We’ll discuss what to avoid to ensure you have a smooth discussion.
This isn’t the time for winging it! No matter what program you’re using, be sure to familiarize yourself with it at least an hour before your interview begins. In the world of video interviewing, technical difficulties are the equivalent of showing up late—avoid them as much as possible.
Everyone has things going on—be sure to pencil in your interview to work around your household. It may not eliminate distractions, but giving family and housemates a fair warning can help minimize background noise in your space.
If you forget to do this in advance, try putting a sign on your door or sending a text to let everyone know your interview is about to start.
Distractions are sometimes inevitable. If something happens, be sure not to play it off. Interviewers generally prefer you to own the distraction, apologize and move forward.
According to career coach Ashlee Anderson of the Wall Street Journal,
“The more that you do, or turn off your audio or video as a knee-jerk reaction, that could actually be more detrimental than the distraction itself.”
She continues to say
“You definitely want to address it and not pretend like it didn’t happen. You want to make sure that you’re able to say, ‘Oh, my bad, that happened,’ and move forward after that.”
Still have questions about med school video interviews? Then check out these FAQs!
The answer to this question varies based on the type of software you’ll be using, but generally, video interviews are designed to assess your soft skills and personality. If you’ve reached this stage, the med school you applied to was impressed with your application.
Video interviews can last anywhere from 15 minutes to over an hour. How long a video interview lasts depends on the school you’re interviewing for, its format, and whether it’s live or pre-recorded.
According to the BBC, “In asynchronous video interviews or AVIs, applicants film themselves answering a predetermined set of questions, with no human interviewer present.”The main advantage of using this method is time-saving for companies and schools, though they can feel somewhat impersonal.
Avoid wearing headphones, as they can be distracting. If you have to wear headphones, stick to sleek earbuds rather than large over-ear headphones. Ensure you test your earbuds (sound and microphone) before using them for your interview.
Dress cleanly and professionally in neutral or muted colors. Try to keep loud colors and patterns out of the screen; this includes the background. The main focus of the interviewer’s eye should be your face and personality; save your funky sweater for friends and family!
The AAMC VITA is used by about one-quarter of medical schools. Check your school’s website to see if you need to participate in a pre-recorded interview!
For a medical school interview, bring your interview invitation, photo ID, interview schedule, and contact info for the coordinator. Carry copies of your resume and personal statement, a notebook, and a pen. Dress professionally, prepare any needed tech for virtual interviews, and pack personal essentials like water and snacks.
In a medical school interview, aim for 1-2 minute responses for most questions. Keep it concise and clear. For MMIs or scenario-based questions, about 1 minute works. Complex ethical scenarios may allow for slightly longer responses but don't exceed 2-3 minutes. Practice in mock interviews to refine your timing and clarity.
Video interviews are a great tool to speed up the interviewing process and help your interviewer understand your character without meeting in person. Once you get the hang of your software, it’s time to prepare for your med school interview.
Remember, the interviewer wants to grasp your personality and passion for attending med school. If you can pre-record your answers, you won’t be speaking face-to-face but should still treat it like a live interview. If your interview is live, prepare with mock interviews and research.