After many long months agonizing over your grad school applications, the end is in sight! First of all, CONGRATULATIONS! Landing an interview with any school is a huge accomplishment and something to be proud of. I can remember receiving those emails and being so utterly excited while at the same time being terrified. I’m sure many of you can relate when I say that I despise interviews. I mean of course everyone loves to talk about themselves, but an interview feels more like a test of how well you can think on your feet than anything else.
What are multiple mini-interviews?
Multiple mini-interviews (MMIs) are designed to provide a more reliable assessment of an individual. Rather than attending one lengthy interview with multiple interviewers in the room, an applicant rotates between 8-10 stations where they are asked a different question and are given a set amount of time to answer and discuss it with the interviewer. The benefit of MMIs is that it gives you a fresh start each time you rotate.
This blog post is for anyone who is preparing for their MMIs (multiple mini-interviews). These are the things I did to prepare for my MMI interviews for dietetic masters programs/grad school.
Review Your Resume/CV
You’re awesome. I know that, you know that, and the admissions committee knows that. But sometimes, you need a reminder. During these interviews, the committees are going to be looking at how you apply your previous experiences, whether they’re academic, professional, or volunteer, to hypothetical scenarios. And you might be thinking “why do I have to jog my memory on my experiences, I lived them!” The answer is easy: people have a hard time remembering things when under pressure.
When you’re put into a room with a stranger who holds your fate in their hands and they ask you even the simplest of questions, it can be so easy to draw a blank. Refreshing your memory on your experiences can help you be more prepared for any type of interview.
Know the Program You’re Applying To
Believe it or not, people can be untruthful in their applications. Gasp, the horror! If you said in your application that you love this school and this program, you should be prepared to answer questions about the program. I mean, you should be familiar with the program anyways if you applied for it!
Reflect on Your Values and Interests
In an MMI, an interviewer is not going to ask you how to calculate an enteral feeding regime. They are not going to ask you to recite all of the amino acids or make a meal plan. At this point in the application process, the committee has already seen your transcript, they know you are competent in the academic portion of dietetics. These interviews are meant to get a feel of who you are as a person and your character. What do you value about the dietetics profession? What do you think needs to change? What should be the biggest priority in dietetics at the moment? These are questions you might be asked.
I’m going to let you in on a big secret. Dietetics heavily emphasizes a client-based approach and working within a client’s circle of care. What do these 2 terms mean?
A client-based approach means you put the interests of the client above all else. You respect their opinions and listen to their wishes. Counselling is done using a collaborative approach, and you recognize that all patients are different and individuals.
Working within a client’s circle of care means that you are collaborating with other healthcare providers to ensure the highest quality of care for the client and recognizing when something is outside of your scope of practice.
Allow Time for Silence
A common misconception is that silence during an interview is the worst thing that can happen. I’m here to tell you that it’s not. An interviewer would much rather you take some extra time to craft a thought-out and eloquent answer than be babbling on for the entire interview trying to fill the silence. Quality over quantity.
If you find yourself in the MMI drawing a blank, let the interviewer know you need a second to organize your thoughts, and then speak. You will look way more professional doing this than rambling on or trailing off in your sentences because you don’t know what to say next.
During your MMIs, you will get 1-2 minutes at the beginning of each rotation to read the question and make notes before speaking to the interviewer. My biggest tip is to write point form notes that you can use to jog your memory about key points you want to address during your interview, rather than trying to write a complete script that you follow word for word. Not only will you run out of time, but you will look very odd reading your answer directly from your notepad.
Have Questions Ready
Very rarely will you require the full amount of time allotted for each MMI, which means there will be time at the end of each interview where you are alone, with the interviewer. I recommend having questions ready to ask the interviewer if you find yourself with extra time. It may be a question about the program or the university. You don’t even need to have 8 different ones, the perk of having separate interviews is that you can ask the same question to every single interviewer.
Practice, Practice, Practice
With all of those tips in mind, the biggest tip I have for you is to practice! If you know you don’t interview well or that you get extremely nervous and anxious during MMIs, do not let the actual interview be the first time you experience an MMI. While I was preparing for MMIs, I attended my school’s MMI prep sessions and also had a friend role play with me as if I was in an MMI. This was probably the most helpful thing for me, because I knew what to expect and how quickly the time flies during the process.
So now that you have all the tips and tricks to crush those interviews, what are you waiting for? It’s time to put these tips into action. I can’t wait to hear all about your successes and hope that this blog post was helpful!