Many health professional programs invite applicants to interview for acceptance to a program as the personal interview gives the admissions committee a chance to evaluate and understand you holistically as an applicant. During the interview, you are evaluated on traits including your ability to communicate and interact, social consciousness, maturity, personal integrity, tolerance and service to others, among others.
When a school invites you to an interview, they are indicating an interest in selecting you. The interview gives both of you the opportunity to exchange information to determine if you are a good “fit” for each other.
The interview process for health professions programs varies widely between professions and individual schools. In all cases, the interview allows the admission committee to learn more about your experiences, assess your problem solving and critical thinking skills, and evaluate your interpersonal skills and your motivation for the profession. Below you will find information on the different interview questions, types, and styles you may encounter.
- General: General questions include typical interview questions about your strengths and weaknesses, for example. “Tell me about yourself” is the most common question to begin an interview.
- Behavioral Based: Interviewers ask Behavioral Based questions to determine how you managed certain situations in the past to determine if you would be able to handle them and perform well in the future as an employee at their organization. It is important to use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Results) method anytime you are providing an example to help answer behavioral based questions. Using diverse and honest examples from all of your experiences helps them know and understand you are in tune with your experiences.
- Individual Interviews: During this type of interview, you will meet one-on-one with your interviewer. The interviewer may be a faculty member, admission office staff, professional in the field, a current student, or a member of the community. The full interview process may consist of only one individual interview or you may have several individual interviews throughout the day.
- Panel Interviews: Panel Interviews typically involve several interviewers meeting with you at once. These may be in a “question and answer” type format where each panel member asks their own question, or “scenario” format where you will discuss situations with the entire panel.
- Small Group Interviews: In Small Group Interviews, multiple applicants are interviewed at once by one or more interviewers. Again, these may be in “question and answer” format, where you may be asked questions individually, or “scenario” format where you will discuss situations with the group as a whole.
- Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI): An MMI typically consists of six to ten timed short through which applicants rotate, meeting with a new interviewer each time. At each station, the applicant is presented with a new question, scenario or task. The MMI approach uses these stations to assess specific skills and qualities that cannot be measured using standardized written exams or by reviewing coursework transcripts. An applicant should focus on developing their ability to formulate a logical, thorough response within a strict timeframe.
- Open: the interviewer has seen the file
- Semi-Open: the interviewer has seen a portion (usually the personal statement)
- Closed: the interviewer has never seen your file (expect lots of open-ended questions)