You got an interview!
You submitted your application for your dream job and impressed your potential employers with your resume and cover letter, and now they want to interview you. How can you prepare?
Before Your Interview
- Find out if it is a regular or “working interview” and wear the appropriate attire. (Find more information on how to dress for an interview in the “Dress to Impress” section.)
- Research the company and interviewers
- Practice your answers to common interview questions and practice answering these questions to a friend
- You can also use Big Interview, UA’s free online interview learning and practice tool, to help you prepare for your interview
- Reread the job description and highlight specific qualifications and responsibilities that align with your experience
- Study your resume and prepare a list of experiences that fit into different interview topics:
- Job background and experience – professional accomplishments, how to address mistakes at work
- Education – what you learned in your DVM program, major projects, relevant certifications
- Behavioral – greatest strengths/weaknesses, what you are passionate about, leadership style, how you give and receive feedback, decision-making process
- Skill-related – time management, communication, teamwork, adaptability, professionalism
- Company-specific – The mission and values of the company, your ideas for the position, short- and long-term company goals
- Get a portfolio/padfolio to take notes during your interview, if appropriate
- Prepare smart questions for your interviewers
- An interview is not just a time for you to show why you are the perfect candidate for the position but is also a time for you to learn about the company and if it fits you and your future goals. (Examples of questions to ask an employer are listed on the “Interviews - Other Resources” tab on VetMed Hub.)
An interview is a time to prove to an employer that you are capable, dependable, and the right person for the job. Sell yourself!
During Your Interview
- Make an excellent first impression – be pleasant, smile and give a firm handshake
- Listen attentively, maintain eye contact, and avoid nervous mannerisms
- Speak clearly and openly
- Be positive, enthusiastic, and honest
- Always act polite and professional to all people
- Take notes, if appropriate
- Don’t be afraid to ask your interviewer to repeat the question and to take a minute before you start answering it (Note: some organizations may have different interview formats, such as having the questions printed out, or might not be able to clarify the question, which is why is essential to take a moment to think over the question and how you will answer it.)
After Your Interview
- Most of the time, interviewers will explain the hiring timeline at the end of the interview but if that is not the case, politely ask if they could give you more information or feel free to follow up if you don’t hear back within the week
- Ask the interviewer for a business card
- Thank them and show your enthusiasm for the position
- Send a thank you card (or email) within 24-48 hours of your interview; a thank you card/email will leave a great impression on your interviewer! (For more information and an example of a thank you email, visit the “Interview – Other Resources” tab on VetMed Hub.)
- Write down your interview questions and responses
- Keep a running document with your interview questions and responses, especially any that you had a hard time answering, as you will likely be asked similar questions if you are applying to similar roles
- Also, make a note of anything you wish you told your interviewer but didn’t, such as success stories or specific examples of a particular question
While you wait, consider if the employer’s culture is a good fit for you. Consider their visions, goals, and behaviors and how you fit within them.
Reflect On Your Experience
- What did you notice about the culture and the environment?
- Did other employees seem satisfied and comfortable?
- Does the job you would be doing align with your values and ambitions?
Think About Your Future
- Will you be happy in this environment?
- Does the employer meet your needs for a work/life balance?
- Will your salary cover expenses?
- What types of opportunities are there for advancement in the organization?
In-Person vs. Phone/Virtual Interviews
Phone and virtual interviews were commonly conducted for initial screening interviews. It has become more convenient to interview candidates, especially for remote positions. These interviews are a bit different than the traditional in-person interview, which is why you need to think about a few considerations:
- When your virtual interview gets scheduled, please familiarize yourself with the platform that will be used (e.g., Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, etc.) and the various tools it has (e.g., Text chat, screen sharing, muting, etc.)
- Find a brightly lit and quiet space, free of distractions; pay attention to what the camera can capture and organize the space around you.
- Communicate with your household to let them know you will be doing a virtual interview
- Check your technology
- For a virtual interview, use a laptop or computer; try to avoid using your cell phone but if it’s your only option, place it somewhere where it can stay still, as having it in your hand and moving it during your interview can be distracting for the interviewer(s)
- Silence your phone (don’t use vibrate mode) and turn off any computer/app notifications
- Charge your laptop, check for computer/application updates, and find a good internet connection or reception if you do a phone interview.
- Have your resume/cover letter, paper for notes, and questions to ask
- Dress precisely how you would like during an in-person interview, even if the camera doesn’t see past your upper body; you could stand up for some reason and wouldn’t want your interviewer(s) to see you in your pajama pants!
- During your interview, look into the camera while speaking, use appropriate body language, and make sure to come across as interested and enthusiastic as possible.
Dress to Impress!
First impressions go a long way, which is why you want your first impression in an interview, whether in person or virtual, to be great!
So, how do you know what is acceptable to wear for an interview? First, let’s consider the following:
- In which industry are you seeking employment? Is it a corporate atmosphere, a private practice, large animal/food animal, wildlife/zoo? This information will give you a good idea of where to start thinking about appropriate dress.
- Visit their website or, if you have visited before, consider what the employees were wearing.
- Will it be a “working interview”? If it is, dress appropriately and have all the items you need (e.g., clean scrubs, lab coat, stethoscope, etc.).
- If you are unsure what to wear, don’t be afraid to ASK! Ask people who know the practice, others who work there, or even the person who scheduled your interview.
Once you are familiar with the appropriate dress code for your interview, find clothing that achieves the three Ps:
- Proper fit – Clothes should not be too large, small, tight, or baggy
- Polished – Clean and wrinkle-free
- Professional – Clothes and shoes are in good shape, and when in doubt, use neutral colors (black, taupe, beige, brown, blue, and gray)
Consider other factors:
- Stay true to who you are – Wear something that you feel comfortable and confident in that highlights your personality and allows you to be yourself.
- Consider an “interview” uniform – People often go into several interviews before they land the job that fits them, which could be a stressful process. Therefore, make it a little easier on yourself and create a look you can wear in every interview. For example, you can invest in several neutral-colored button-downs and a few pairs of slakes to rotate through.
- When in doubt, opt for business casual – Unless there is a specific dress code you need to follow for your job interview (i.e., a working interview), it is better to be overdressed than underdressed.
Visit UA Campus Closet!
Visit Campus Closet, an ASUA service organization that collects and then distributes gently used or new business, professional, and casual clothing to UA students, faculty, and staff! For information on distribution and dates, visit HERE.
- Why did you decide to become a veterinarian?
- What does excellent client service mean to you?
- What motivates you?
- How do you handle stress?
- How do you feel about euthanasia?
- How would you handle a situation where the client couldn't pay for the services needed?
- What are your short and long-term goals?
- If you can't figure out a diagnosis, what would you do?
- What Special skills would you bring to our practice?
- What is your greatest strength and weakness?
- If I were to ask one of your professors or a boss to describe you, what would they say?
- How do you feel about working overtime?
- What are your salary expectations?
- What do you do in your free time?
- Why do you want to work for us?
- Why should we hire you?
For more veterinary interview questions, visit "35 Veterinary Interview Questions (with Example Answers)" (Indeed.com) HERE
- What do you like the best about your job/the practice?
- What does a typical day look like? The number of appointments, length, type, etc.?
- What does mentorship mean to you and how is it approached here?
- What is the most important expectation for this position?
- What is the practice's mission or core values? (If not listed on their website or you are unable to find it during your preparation for your interview)
- How do you approach clients who can't afford essential medical care?
- Are there opportunities for professional growth or continuing education?
- How does the practice care for its employees and foster their well-being?
- What challenges is the practice currently facing?
- Where would you like to see the practice grow and improve?
- What are the next steps in the hiring process?
- Will there be a working interview?
Most hiring managers pay close attention to whether you write a thank you email after your interview. Therefore, for you to stand out, follow up as soon as possible by writing an interview thank you note.