We’ve all been through interviews. I still remember standing nervously in a local Waterloo restaurant, knees weak, arms heavy, manager was eating spaghetti. Kidding, there was no spaghetti but the nerves were very real for my first job interview. Fast forward 10ish years and there I was feeling the same way before my Physiotherapy School Admission interview at McMaster University. Over the next few months I would partake in two other interviews at the University of Alberta and the University of Toronto. Although the nerves were real, when I look back I can clearly identify a few strategies I utilized to help me through them and ultimately get accepted to PT school.
Strategy #1: Lean on others within your circle of trust
First and foremost, lean on others within your circle of trust. What do I mean by that exactly? Before even beginning your preparation for PT school interviews, come up with five individuals who you can rely on during this process. This group will be your go-to practice partners, before interview pep-talkers, and most importantly, your comfort crew. These individuals will help to ground you, keep your emotions at bay, and help you be your best self before your interviews. Personally, I ran practice interviews with my group which helped immensely. The night before interviews I would have a phone call with those I knew could comfort me and help with the anxiety I was experiencing. To show your best self and succeed in interviews, you must be prepared for the big day. Your group of five will help you get there, so choose wisely who they will be.
Strategy #2: Ask yourself what the interviewer wants to know about you
Next, ask yourself what the interviewer wants to know about you. Don’t brush past this because it is a major key to success. So dig deep when thinking about this. Analyze the university program itself, ask current students about the program, and ask yourself why you’re a great fit for their program. Practice presenting this information and be ready to incorporate it into answers during the interview itself. While I prepared for the McMaster University PT admission interview I often asked myself how I demonstrated self-directed learning strategies throughout my undergraduate degree, as I knew this was a characteristic that was valued by McMaster. As I said, dig deep to understand what the interviewer wants to see in you. It will take you from being a good candidate to a great one.
Strategy #3: Practice answering questions out loud
Lastly, practice answering questions out loud. I repeat, talk to yourself out loud when practicing these answers. If you are like me, you are not used to speaking for a few minutes at a time. It feels weird, awkward, and honestly a little uncomfortable. Prior to my interviews I would practice answers to generic interviews all the time. Walking to school, driving to the grocery store, in the shower. For a few months I became that guy that was seen talking to himself. But guess what? It worked. I gradually became more comfortable speaking for multiple minutes at a time. Additionally, the flow of my answers became elite. On interview day I felt more comfortable hearing my own voice which helped me feel at peace and on top of my game. Trust me, it will feel weird at first. But after a while it will help.
Try these tips out, I hope they help for you. For more resources and help with interviews, reach out to us here at PhysioSchool.ca! We have an entire PT Interview Course dedicated to providing you with lectures, worksheets, and practice interview questions to ensure you are on your A game come the big day. Happy interviewing!