The Vet School Series: Interviewing

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It's that time of year again, vet school interviews time!!!  I can’t believe it’s been three years already since I was interviewing.  This can be incredibly stressful, I know, but I'm going to try to ease at least some of the fears or concerns you may have.  I'll start by saying I had 5 interviews, 4 in person and 1 over Skype.  Prior to these interviews I had done 3 phone interviews, 3 panel interviews, and 1 one-on-one interview.  This was over a 3 year period so I was comfortable but not completely confident in my interview skills.  To combat this I sought help from my university's career services center, which offers mock interviews.  I found this very helpful, I was able to tell them what I was interviewing for and they prepped common vet school interview questions.  It was set up very similarly to a real interview, then after he went through what I did well, what I could improve upon, and general tips.  I highly recommend attempting to find something like this prior to any kind of interviews because an outside perspective can be very helpful, even if you feel like you don't have anything to improve upon.

There are a lot of resources to find typical questions that are asked during interviews so I'm not going to cover that, but I will say it isn't a bad idea to research current topics in the field and prep answers to common questions you find.  A tip I got for answering scenario questions like "tell me about a time when ..." was STAR, this will prevent you from rambling and never actually answering the question (which I tend to do sometimes).  It stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result.  Basically, you word your answer so it covers those points in that order to fully answer the question without unnecessary information taking up your time.  It also was calming for me to take a second and think through the question with that approach so that I could form an organized answer quickly.

The next big part of interviews is how they're set up, this seemed similar from school to school for me.  For the in person interviews it was a full day event with the interview, a tour, financial aid presentation, lunch, and words from a student panel and Dean of the school.  All 4 of my in person interviews felt very relaxed and I was able to ask the current students any questions I had.  The tour is also important because you want to be able to see yourself on the campus and feel comfortable there.  

For the day of the interview I brought a tote bag with snacks, water, a padfolio, a pen, my ID, makeup for touch-ups, and an extra pair of pantyhose.  The ID was super important because some schools required it for check-in.  I took my padfolio and pen out of the tote for the interviews so I could jot any notes or questions down.

In regards to interview attire, business professional dress is a must.  Even during a Skype interview you want to look the best you possibly can.  For every interview I wore this burgandy Express skirt suit (try to wear a color if you can because everyone seems to wear black!), nude pantyhose, nude pointed toe heels, and a blue or white Brooks Brothers button down (they don't require ironing so they're amazing to pack!).  I curled my hair and left it down, though it was tucked behind my ears so it wouldn't fall into my face.  My jewelry was one ring, a pearl necklace, and pearl earrings.  I did my makeup as I would for a casual event with a light nude lipstick (color: Syrup) and nude eyeshadows.

Some schools have other events before or after the interviews, like a dinner.  I would follow the same dress code for these events as well unless it is otherwise stated.  I wore mauve dress pants, a thin black belt, nude pointed toe heels, a white button down, and a wool coat.

Interview Dinner Outfit

Interview Outfit

Interview Outfit

Skype interviews are a little different just because you don't physically go anywhere but the rest remains basically the same.  My biggest tip is to try to reserve a space somewhere, I chose my university's library study rooms, that you can sit with a plain background behind you and where you will not be disturbed.

I hope this calmed some of the anxieties you may have had, if not feel free to reach out!  I would love to hear about your experiences or what you have coming up!
XOXO, Cierra
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