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Online Medicine University Interviews: Common Pitfalls & How to Avoid Them

Advice & Insight From Interview Specialists

Not setting up in an appropriate place

This is an obvious potential pitfall and the first that should be considered. You are being given the choice of where to interview, and should take this opportunity to frame yourself in the best possible way. Choose a well lit, neutral space that will make you seem professional. Whilst it may be tempting to position yourself in your ‘favourite place’ or a place that you think will in some way make you seem more impressive, you should try to stick with as simple a backdrop as possible. A plain wall with a plant, for example, avoids being totally unremarkable whilst remaining neutral.
 
If the lighting is dark, the interviewer will not be able to see you clearly enough and as such will miss visual cues. If the lighting is too bright, or you have a light source behind you, you might appear washed out, or, conversely, hard to see. Check your location setup thoroughly and run practice video calls to avoid any problems.

​Not checking the connection

You should take the initiative at the outset of the interview by asking your interviewer if they can see and hear you clearly. This shows that you are proactive rather than reactive, and have given thought to the setup of the interview. If there are any technical challenges present, you will then be able to quickly adjust or restart the meeting as appropriate.

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Not acknowledging tech difficulties

If tech difficulties arise, you should acknowledge them promptly. Difficulties may include a substantial audio lag, audio interference (like an echo), video interference, poor video quality, or a screenshare failure. You should acknowledge any issue as soon as you notice it – as with checking the connection at the outset, you should try to appear proactive and confident. Acknowledging problems also provides a more human interaction between you and the interviewer – it is more likely that they will bond with you over frustration with the technology than view it as a negative. 

Not speaking clearly enough

Due to audio problems – or poor microphones and speakers – you are likely to be less easily understood than you would in-person. Therefore, practise speaking clearly and enunciating your words. Try to speak slower than you might normally, and leave pauses between phrases. Make sure that your mock interviewer can clearly understand you beforehand – or even record yourself via video and listen back, to understand how you could improve your manner of speaking. 

​Not understanding the technology

Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Blackboard Collaborate and even Skype may all be new platforms for many – your interviewers included. However, there’s no excuse not to appear familiar and confident with them. You should be able to join meetings, adjust your mic / webcam mute and volume, and screenshare easily. Be practiced with adjusting the settings as you don’t want to forget how to change them whilst in an interview. Be aware of the differences between the various platforms – e.g. whether you will be provided with an invite link, meeting code, and/or password. You may also be admitted to a ‘waiting room’ before your meeting begins. 


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Not having a good enough quality camera or microphone

This seemingly simple issue should be resolved beforehand. If you don’t think that your webcam or microphone is good enough, find one that is. Whilst it may be a challenge to find another, you don’t want your medical school interview being ruined due to poor audio quality.

Not having fast enough internet, or having connection problems

This goes hand-in-hand with webcam, microphone and internet quality. You should thoroughly check your setup by video calling a friend or family member for a mock interview, from the exact same location that you will use for your internet, using the exact same software. 

Not having tested your setup beforehand

This goes hand-in-hand with webcam, microphone and internet quality. You should thoroughly check your setup by video calling a friend or family member for a mock interview, from the exact same location that you will use for your internet, using the exact same software. 

Further Reading....

Online Medicine University Interviews: Common Pitfalls & How to Avoid Them

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