Happy New Year everyone! Hope you all had a great time ringing in 2013 🙂
I wanted to follow up on my previous interview post by describing the interview prep techniques I used: index cards, video-recording, and audio-recording.
The index cards served as quick and easy references before an interview. I would write the main idea on the top line and scribble my answer on the rest of the note card. I purposefully drew on examples that would attest to a certain quality or trait I possessed, such as teamwork, leadership, professionalism, and more.
For video-recording, I utilized the webcam on my laptop to pinpoint behavioral nuances. A mirror should work just as well, though the added benefit of being able to watch and re-watch the recording was useful for me. Once you get over the initial shock of watching and listening to yourself, you may begin to catch tendencies such as the use of vocalized pauses (fillers like um, uh, well, etc), use of (or lack of) intonation, and excessive body motions (extreme hand gestures, bouncing up and down, playing with your hands or hair). You may also realize that seemingly long, awkward pauses are not as awkward as they seem. I mention this because I don’t like the space of silence, which oftentimes causes me to talk quickly to fill up conversational gaps. Yet, a pause of up to 3 seconds is hardly noticeable during playback and will go far to pace your dialogue, calm your nerves, and lend to an appearance of composure (real or not).
My last preparation strategy was audio-recording, courtesy of my iPhone. The night before my first interview, I recorded various answers from my interview question list. I had a long drive to my interview, so rather than listening to the radio, I simply listened to my recorded responses. My intention wasn’t to memorize my answers but rather to gain comfortability and ease in drawing upon various life examples and key phrases.
This is a short post, but I hope it proves useful. Best of luck everyone! And yes, I do have a New Year’s resolution: to deliver my UCSF interview post sooner rather than later 😉