With dental school interviews coming up, we want to review 5 very common questions and ideas on how you can respond. Let's jump right into it!
1. Tell me about yourself.
When you walk into your interview, this will be the first actual question you will be asked. Not only does the interviewer want to get to know you a little more, but they also want to learn what you think about yourself. What is your story? What is important to you?
So what topics should you address in this question? That really depends! What is unique about you? What do you want the interviewer to know? We would recommend answering this question with a story. You could briefly mention where you grew up, your family, where you went to school, your hobbies, and what you enjoy doing in your (very limited) free time. We would recommend giving an answer that is about a minute long. PRACTICE ANSWERING THIS QUESTION! You will be asked this during every single interview. Practice in the mirror, practice in the shower, practice with a friend, but practice practice practice! You can also practice with us. After a while, you should feel this answer come out very naturally.
2. Why do you want to be a dentist?
This is another question you will be asked at EVERY interview. This question goes back to your motivation. Why did you decide to pursue this career? Once again, the best way to answer this question is through a story. Think back to the experience you had that made you say, "This is exactly what I want to do!". The interviewer needs to feel confident that you really understand what dentistry is all about and that dentistry is your passion. They would hate for you to invest so much time and money into a career that you're not going to enjoy.
3. Why do you want to come here for dental school?
Just as before, this is another question that you will get every time. Be honest. Why did you apply to that school specifically? But, let's be honest, many times we apply to some schools just because they are in a cool city or we just wanted to apply to a couple more schools to be safe. If that's the case and you don't know much about the school, learn about it!
Check out their website, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Google them. The things that the school is proud of and excited about will be out there. The best thing you can do, though, is to reach out to someone who is a student at the school you're interviewing with. Give the student a call and ask questions. "What do you like most about the program?", "Why did you apply to school here?", "What has been your favorite thing you've done in school?". If you've done this, when you come to your interview, you can truthfully say something along the lines of, "I spoke with a student here named ___________. They told me about ____________, which really got me excited to come here." This will show you really have researched the school and are interested in attending. Once, again you'll be sharing a great story about your experience with a student who is currently attending the program.
4. What is your greatest strength?
This question requires a lot of self-reflection. You might not know what to say if you were asked this right now. If you're really struggling to come up with an answer, consider asking your roommates, friends, significant other, or parents. They can give you lots of great ideas about what your best characteristics are. As you ask more and more people, you may even see a pattern come up between them all. If you're still struggling, you could even take a personality quiz (like the Myers-Briggs test). In your results, you can read a little more about yourself to get some ideas. In your interview, you might even be asked to name up to 3. It's best to have a couple of characteristics ready, just in case.
5. What is your greatest weakness?
When answering this question, it is very important to phrase your answer just right. You should be completely honest about a weakness (now in the same breath, you might not necessarily be your "greatest" weakness-for example, if you're very impatient with others, you might not want to choose that as your answer). What you want to portray in your answer is a weakness you have, but that has allowed you to learn something or grow in some way. For example, maybe you are too independent, but you learned while studying for tests in college that teamwork is so important and really allows you and everyone to be better off. Another example might be that you don't like change very much, but you had a professor that changed assignments and shifted due dates constantly. You could explain although it makes it hard for you when change occurs, you have learned to be more empathetic towards others' circumstances and understand that change allows us to become better.
Want to practice your interview with someone who has been through the experience? Schedule a mock interview with us!
What are you most nervous about for your interview? What interview question do you think is the hardest to answer? What tips do you have for pre-dents who are getting ready to interview? Let us know in the comments below!