Did you know that a UCLA study found 93 percent of a person's communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal communication, i.e. body language?
When you consider the numbers,
being aware of your nonverbal language becomes essential
in communicating yourself effectively to an interviewer.
Not all med schools offer applicants a chance to
interview. But for those schools that do, it's an
integral part of the process. "The interview provides a
glimpse of a candidate's skills in social interaction
and communication effectiveness, and also how well the
applicant can work with others," says Senior Consultant
Wayne Shelton, Ph.D. "The committee wants to know not
just the academic potential of the applicant, but their
aptitude for being an effective participant in the
Most students applying for the top-ranked med schools
will face the interview in some form or another. So how
does a student successfully communicate their message
without contradicting what they say through poor body
language? Check out these tips:
The interview starts when you
enter the building – and ends when you exit. Be
aware that you're undergoing evaluation as soon as
you walk in the door. Poor behavior, a bad word or
inappropriate comment to the receptionist or even an
unfamiliar person in the lobby can easily get back
to the interviewer and the
So, make sure you are punctual (or arrive early) and
use the time to calm your nerves and compose
yourself. Don't conduct a last-minute review of your
notes or questions, but instead get a feel for the
environment and make sure you're comfortable. Create
the impression that you're relaxed in the face of
Always give a firm handshake.
If you can, make sure your hands are dry and give a
polite, firm and sincere handshake. Otherwise,
clammy, limp, noncommittal handshakes only show your
nervousness and anxiety. If possible, try running
your hands under warm water for a moment and dry
them off. This will keep your hands from being cool
and clammy and be warm and dry.
Master the little things. How
you dress, your conduct, and your posture all say
something about you. All of these things should
reflect your confidence in your abilities and should
communicate that to the interviewer.
When you talk, be concise – don't
ramble. Use a natural tone and don't deviate
from your normal speaking rate, volume or rhythm.
Practice answering generic questions by talking to a
mirror and make note of how you talk. If you have points
you wish to make, pick the appropriate time and work
them into the conversation. Don't get
sidetracked – and don't dominate the conversation.
"I remember one candidate who, upon my first
question to him, didn't stop talking for nearly
forty-five minutes," says Wayne. "Needless to say,
his inability to be concise and to engage in a give
and take conversation did not work in his favor."
Answer the question, be concise, and allow the
interviewer to respond. "Once you're done, be quiet
for the moment. It's the interviewer's job to carry
the conversation, not yours."
There's a lot more to the med school
interview than just the non-verbal message. But if you
can demonstrate your confidence and sincerity in this
'silent message', then it only reinforces you as a
strong applicant, and makes you that much more appealing
to the school of your choice.
Are You Ready for the Interview? Our consultants can
help give you the insight and advice you need through
mock interviews in
order to prepare you for the real thing. Call us at
1.800.809.0800 (+1 703.242.5885
outside the US and Canada) or email us to find out more about our services.
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