How To Get Over Interview Jitters and Excel Your Way to PA School

It’s officially interview season!

     We have received quite a few emails and messages over interviews recently, mainly getting over the nervousness before a big interview. It’s understandable. All of you have poured time, sweat, energy, maybe some tears to get to this place, to get to this scenario. You have taken time away from your family, friends, taken detours in life to achieve the goal of becoming a PA. It takes hard work and tenacity to get here. We get it. But, the goal isn’t to get interviews, the goal is to be admitted. Admittedly, the stakes are high and it is absolutely understandable that you feel nervous to get over the last hurdle between you and your future as a medical provider.

     That given, understand that most of the hard work of PA school admissions is behind you! You’ve excelled through tough undergraduate courses like Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, you’ve put in your time for ‘hands-on healthcare experience’ hours, you’ve completed the vague process that is CASPA, and most importantly, from a large pool of applicants, you’re the few who are selected for an interview! This is a massive accomplishment in itself. You now have an approximate 1 out of 3 chances in being admitted to PA school. So, before you psych yourself out, understand that most of the tough, gruelling work is behind you.

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     This mentality of achievement will change your perspective towards interviews. The main reason most applicants feel nervous before an interview is insecurity. Insecurity that they are not good enough, insecurity that they are not prepared enough. But guess what, you’ve beat out most of the contestants in the field. Be proud of yourself, stand tall, head up! Go in to the interviews with the mentality that you’ve beat most of the competition. Always have a positive outlook! Instead of envisioning all the negative consequences of the interview, think of the positive ones. Think of how you’ll get to meet your future fellow classmates at the interview, how you’ll get to meet future professors, future clinicians you can network with, how you’ll have stimulating conversations with your interviewers, envision getting a phone call/email stating that you’re admitted to the program. Changing your perspective and mentality is half the battle. There is a great quote by Henry Ford where he said, “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right. Self confidence is a powerful and empowering thing that can change your life. So, before you head off to your interview, be in a positive, confident mindset!

     As mentioned before, insecurity can also come from believing that you are not prepared enough. This is something that you can absolutely change! Because you’ve gotten this far in the application process, there should be no reason why you aren’t prepared for the interview. Do not procrastinate now! Preparing thoroughly for 1 week can change the next 60 years of your life. Prepare your 2 minute elevator speech, go through most commonly asked questions during interview and truly prepare introspective, thoughtful answers, go through several mock interviews. We, here at ‘The Humerus PA’ provide a 90 minute, intense Mock Interview workshop. You can have mock interviews with your family, friends, significant others. Make sure to get a lot of reps in. There should be no reason to be under prepared. This, as we say in medicine, is a modifiable risk factor!

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     Last, but not least, you’re not the only one being interviewed. This is a 2 way interview, in the sense that you are also interviewing the school to see if it is a good fit for you. Again, this mentality takes an immense amount of pressure off of you, because you’re not the only one being judged. You also will be doing the judging. So, switch seats with your interviewer and grill them back to see if this is a potential match for you. This interview should be more of a conversation, a 2 way street. This, in itself, relieves the pressure on both parties.

     There was a scientific study done, and multiple articles, a TED talk have been presented on the effect of body positioning on confidence. The ‘Superman’ or the ‘Wonder Woman’ position, standing tall, feet spread beyond shoulder length, hands on your waist, head held high, has shown to decrease cortisol, thereby decreasing stress and anxiety, and increase in testosterone levels in the body, increasing confidence. Give this a try in the restroom before walking in for that extra nudge!

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Check out our previous article here to prepare for your interview. If you need our services, click here. As always, we are available to answer any questions, concerns. Send us an email or DM us through our IG @thehumeruspa.