Be aware that from the time you arrive until the time you sign your contract, you are being interviewed. This goes for any social hours, social network pages, emails, phone conversations and nonverbal communications you have with any person at any level at that program facility. Be professional and appropriate at all times, whether you are in an interview, social after hour, or in the powder room.
First Impression – Interviewers make initial impressions at first sight, so the first few minutes are critical. They will spend the next minutes during your interview to check out and try to disprove or prove their first impressions.
This also applies to pre-interview impression(s), so be aware that employers are looking at social network profiles to get a sense of your personality, and that email account names and phone ringtones should also reflect your professional side.
Be friendly– your smile is important – Yes, it is a serious affair, but you can still smile when appropriate. Smiling the entire time makes you look self-conscious and insecure – but most importantly INSINCERE. Do not make the mistake of being aloof or uninterested. Every year a student comes through who thinks that acting superior comes across as being professional and intelligent, but it come as across as being difficult and unmanageable. Be enthusiastic about being there. Most administrators, faculty and residents want people who are full of energy and enthusiasm.
Look the person in the eye – Not looking someone else in the eye leaves a very bad impression of your abilities to adequately socialize with others. Questions come up for the interviewer: Do you have something to hide? Does this person have difficulty with authority figures? Is this person shy – or a little strange? How will this person interact with patients? How will this person get along with the team?
Be kind and respectful of office personnel – If you think you are not discussed after you leave, think again. Always be patient and kind to office staff even if they are abrupt with you. The office staff can really sell you. Staff can also help you make sure you pronounce your interviewers’ names properly prior to your interview and will give you contact information for follow-up.
Be Confident. Use a firm handshake – This is your first exchange where first impressions are critical. You want to have a firm handshake but not a bone crusher. This sends the message that you are trying too hard and are therefore not sure of yourself.
What I am surprised about is the limp, lifeless handshake among students. What message does this send to the interviewer? It would not be impressive to come across as meek or unsure, but worse would be if it came across that you are afraid to touch others. You will be touching people all day everyday as a Resident, so you don’t want your comfort with touching patients to be a concern to the director of a training program.It can be very difficult to know what your handshake feels like to other people so you need to practice with a partner. Basically remember that if you offer your hand to others, your thumb should go up and your fingers should wrap around the other person’s hand so that it grasps the other’s hand. If you just stick it out there without grasping and just move it up and down, that is not a warm greeting suggesting that you are really happy to see that person. It says, “I am frightened and want to get away as soon as I can” or “Yuk, do I have to touch you?”
Add a handshake when you leave along with a salutation that says you were very glad to meet them and thank them for the opportunity to interview.