Due to COVID-19 restrictions, you should expect the majority of interviews to take place online. The dates that interviews are being held vary from university to university, though they will take place between December and March, with the majority being held in January and February.
Introduction to virtual interviews
The programme used will vary between each university, thought the majority will be using Zoom or Microsoft Teams
Ensure you have a working microphone and camera. It is always best to do your video call form a computer or laptop with a webcam than using your phone/tablet. It can appear less professional to take a video call from your phone, but if you have no other option, take steps to reduce the issues this may cause, such as having it positioned somewhere stable so it is not moving around as you hold it.
Make sure you will be doing your interview somewhere similar to exam conditions - private, quiet and you won't be disturbed. It is usually advantageous to wear headphones on a video call as it will produce clearer audio and minimise any unexpected background noise.
Test your internet connection. Most platforms will provide information on the internet speed required for an effective video call. Many free internet speed sites can be used to test the speed of your internet connection if you are unsure.
Contact the university if you have any concerns about your technology
Ensure that you have a professional background i.e. not mess or pictures
Opt for a plainer background to reduce distractions.
Consider the use of a virtual background it you are unable to find one that works for you.
When considering lighting, it is better to have your light source coming from in front of you. This will allow the interviewer to see your face clearly and prevent any unwanted shadowing or darkness.
Dress how you would for an interview even if it was in person - even if you are at home in your room a dressing gown and pyjamas is not the look you want to show!
Make sure your camera shows enough of you - a good aim is chest and shoulders upwards
It is easy to think you can 'cheat' by having things up on the screen or in front of you, but it will normally show if you are reading off a prepared answer in the same way interviewers can often tell in person if you have pre-memorised an answer!
Each university will provide guidance on how their interviews will be carried out and what to expect. Get used to how long you have to answer each 'question' or 'station' and prepare your answers accordingly.
Make sure you know whether you are required to move 'rooms' within your call or whether interviewers will come to you.
The issues that Covid have presented to healthcare, like you having to do your interview virtually, are hot topics of discussion within medical practice currently. Be prepared to discuss how the pandemic has affected the delivery of healthcare to patients but also teaching and education.
Have an awareness as to what your medical schools plans are for transitioning to face to face teaching during the pandemic before your interview.
The subject of virtual teaching presents many possible interview discussions which other students will have not faced in previous years, so be prepared for these. These could be linked to your personal strengths and weaknesses, and discuss topics such as how you manage your work-life balance during online teaching. They could also be focused on telemedicine and ask how remote medicine and changes made during the pandemic will positively and negatively benefit patients in the future.