Makeen Baroudi

19th June 2020

Introduction To Interview Etiquette

  • What to wear for an interview?
  • How to answer interview questions?
  • What to do if you can’t answer a question?
  • How can you prepare for an interview?

1. Introduction

In this article we discuss interview etiquette in general. The advice given here applies to any interview situation, not just medical interviews, however, some specific advice will be given for medicine too.

2. What To Wear For An Interview?

Smart or smart casual is good enough for your interview. Just make sure that you don’t wear too many colours or something flamboyant. General rule is that you can’t really overdress for an interview (unless you actively try to!), but you may always underdress.

You can find free UCAT resources and free practice questions here on our website.

3. How To Answer Interview Questions?

We talk in detail about interviews and how to prepare for them in our interview guide. But here are a few general tips on how to answer a question in an interview.

First of all make sure that you fully understand the question. There is nothing worse than answering the wrong question, especially if you know the answer for the right question. So one way to make sure that you are answering the right question is by repeating the question out loud back to the interviewer. Moreover, too much of this may seem a little bit annoying so instead of repeating the question you can answer in full sentences.

For example, if you are asked “why do vaccines cause controversy”, don’t rush and say, “Because some people may have been misled”. But say “I believe that vaccines may cause some controversy because some people have been misled”. This way the interviewer can correct you if you answer the wrong question. If you don’t answer in full sentences, you answers may be confusing to the interviewer.

If in any doubt to whether or not you have understood the question ask the interviewer to repeat the question for you. Interviewers will happily do that. Though maybe don’t do it for every question, it may not be appreciated.

4. What To Do If You Cannot Answer An Interview Question?

There are two reasons why you may not be able to answer an interview question. You did not understand the question or you do not know the answer.

If you do not understand the question, this can be more easily solved. Simply ask the interviewers to repeat the question to you. Or, ask them to give you an example of what they mean just to be certain. This may help give you an idea of what the uestion is actually asking you. Once you have an idea, you can paraphrase it to the interviewers in your own way to make sure that this is the question they are asking.

If you do not know the answer to the question, this is a little bit tricker. We recommend that you don’t completely give up and say that you don’t know the answer. Moreover, you can always say something like, “I’m not exactly sure about this particular detail but I know a similar situation where…”. The point is that you want to make it look like it is only a coincidence that you don’t know the answer and nothing for the interviewer to be concerned about. This is why you talk about the “similar situation”. It is so that you can offer an alternative and show that you are still aware of what they are asking.

Of course this may be rare, nevertheless, it does happen and you need to be equipped to know what to do. Please note that sometimes the interviewers may deliberately keep increasing the level of difficulty of certain topics/questions. In this case they just want to see how far they can stretch your knowledge, and what you do when you don’t know the answer to something.

5. How can you prepare for your interview?

For medicine, things such as knowing your personal statement well enough, being on top of health news are all helpful. Moreover, we discuss this in more depth in our interview guide and our interview service.

Makeen Baroudi

Product Manager

Hi guys, I hope you enjoyed reading this blog page. We at TheMedicalGeeks try and pass on the lessons we learned whilst getting into medical school.

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