I asked the students I was interviewing for the class of
2021, “Why do you want to go into dentistry?” Being on the other side of the
interview table was relieving, but also enlightening.
But now, as I talk to potential dental students who have
upcoming interviews, they always ask me what the “right” answer is to certain
questions. Well here it is: there isn’t
one. Yes, we listen to your answers. Yes, we like to hear certain thoughts
and we do pull from what you say to see if you are a fit for the school, but
that’s not all we look for. In fact, that’s not even half of what we look for. Sitting through interviews these last
couple of years, I have realized the main requirement for a good interview: be
yourself and be confident. Being able to carry out a full conversation with
your interviewer is key, whether it be about dentistry or last night’s football
game. Interviewers want to feel like they connect with their interviewee, and they
want to be able to feel like they can see this person in the hall a year from
now and strike up a conversation.
Having now interviewed a number of dental school candidates,
I can offer several tips:
yourself and know yourself: Talk about what makes you unique as a person
and as a student. Share stories and how they made you who you are today. Share
your hobbies and interests and how they made an impact on your life.
interview type: Contact the school and find out the format of the
interviews. Know if you are walking into a one-on-one interview or a group
interview. Practice with a mock interview.
common questions: No matter what school you interview at, there are still common
questions that you should be prepared for. Be ready to clearly share why you
want to attend the school and why you want to pursue dentistry. Make sure to be
compassionate and thoughtful.
questions: Have a few questions to follow up after the interview. Ask about
certain programs within the school that interest you.
up: Ask for a business card or contact email afterwards. Send a thank you
card or email to your interviewers. Let them know you appreciated taking the
time out to interview you.
So go in there, be yourself, be confident, and rock the next
interview that comes your way!