7 PA School Interview Mistakes to Avoid

PA School • June 16, 2023

Interviews can be nerve-wracking, but with proper preparation and awareness, you can avoid these pitfalls and present yourself in the best light. In this video I will discuss some common PA school interview mistakes to avoid.

7 PA School Interview Mistakes to Avoid

Are you preparing for your PA school interview? The interview process can be nerve-wracking, but with proper preparation, you can increase your chances of success. Today, we will discuss common PA school interview mistakes and provide insights on how to avoid them. By being aware of these pitfalls, you can practice to present yourself as a professional candidate. So, let’s dive into the seven PA school interview mistakes to avoid:

Failure to do your research

One of the most critical PA school interview mistakes candidates make is failing to thoroughly research the program they have applied to. With the potential of applying to numerous programs, it can be challenging to keep track of each one’s unique features. However, if you receive an interview invitation, it is crucial to revisit the program’s website, social media channels, and connect with current students to gather more information. Understanding the program’s mission, faculty, curriculum, and opportunities for students will not only make you more knowledgeable but also demonstrate your genuine interest during the interview. Doing your research shows the admissions committee that you are invested in their program, which can greatly enhance your chances of acceptance.

Inappropriate body language

Whether your interview is in person or conducted over Zoom, your body language plays a significant role in creating a positive impression. Ensure that you maintain open and friendly body language throughout the interview. While using hand gestures can add personality to your communication style, it’s important not to overdo it. If you prefer to have more control, you can fold your hands and place them on your lap. Regardless of your hand movements, maintain good eye contact, smile, and speak directly to the interviewer. Avoid fidgeting, excessive movement, and looking down during virtual interviews. Instead, focus on maintaining good posture, open body language, intentional eye contact, and clear, confident speech.

Not understanding the role of a PA

Although it may seem obvious, many candidates stumble when asked to explain the role of a Physician Assistant (PA). It is crucial to have a clear understanding of the profession and the responsibilities it entails. A vague answer comparing PAs to doctors will not suffice. Be prepared to articulate that a PA is a nationally certified and licensed medical practitioner who can diagnose, treat illnesses, prescribe medications, and order diagnostic tests in collaboration with physicians and other healthcare team members. Demonstrating in-depth knowledge of the profession and its various aspects, such as PA roles, leadership, and advocacy, will significantly strengthen your interview performance.

Lack of motivation for applying to PA school

While it may appear cliché, the admissions committee wants to know what motivates you to pursue a career as a PA. Beyond the commonly mentioned reasons like flexibility and the ability to change specialties, you must delve deeper into your personal motivations. Reflect on why you are drawn to healthcare and helping others. Consider the specific population you aspire to serve. It’s crucial to communicate your genuine passion and drive during the interview. This allows the admissions committee to understand how their program aligns with your aspirations and how you can contribute to the field of healthcare.

Failing to ask questions

When the admissions committee asks if you have any questions, the answer should always be “yes.” Having three to five well-thought-out questions prepared demonstrates your interest in learning more about the program. Ask questions that cannot be easily found on the program’s website or in promotional materials. Inquire about the students’ perspective on the program, potential future changes, or unique opportunities offered. This not only showcases your curiosity but also helps you assess if the program is the right fit for you. Remember, the interview process is an opportunity for you to evaluate the program as much as it is for them to evaluate you.

Being overconfident

Confidence is essential during interviews, but striking a balance is crucial. Avoid coming across as arrogant or aggressive. While you should be proud of your accomplishments and qualifications, ensure you maintain humility. This balance is particularly important during group interviews where it is crucial to respect others and not dominate the conversation. Showcasing confidence in yourself while displaying modesty can leave a lasting positive impression on the admissions committee.

Neglecting to be yourself

Perhaps the most significant mistake candidates make is not being true to themselves during the interview. PA programs value authenticity and want to see your unique personality shine through. Avoid the temptation to provide robotic answers and instead let your genuine self emerge. Share your motivations, aspirations, and experiences that make you stand out from other applicants. Engage with the interviewers, maintain eye contact, and express yourself naturally. Remember, being yourself is the best way to establish a connection with the admissions committee and increase your chances of success.

In conclusion, avoiding common PA school interview mistakes is crucial for securing acceptance into a program. By conducting thorough research, demonstrating appropriate body language, understanding the PA role, showcasing your motivation, asking insightful questions, maintaining a balanced level of confidence, and being true to yourself, you can significantly enhance your interview performance. Remember to practice your responses out loud, seeking feedback from peers, family, or utilizing mock interview services, as this will help you gain confidence and familiarity with the interview process. Good luck with your PA school interviews!

Also read: How to Ace your MMI Interview for PA School

About me:

I’m Michele Neskey, aka The Posh PA. Welcome to my YouTube channel! My mission is to provide personalized guidance, education, and motivation to build confidence and promote wellness for aspiring physician assistants and beyond.   

Having been a PA for 17+ years and helped hundreds of students gain acceptance into PA school,  I understand the admissions process. I know what they are looking for, and I can help you tailor every component to make you shine, giving you the BEST chance of getting accepted to a program.  But it doesn’t end there. I create personalized plans for PA students and practicing PAs including test-taking strategy for the PANCE, contract negotiations, and tools to overcome and prevent provider burnout. 

My goal is to get you into a physician assistant (PA) school & survive the rigorous program, help you prevent burnout as a practicing PA, and help you take care of yourself so you can be the best version of YOU for your patients, family, and most importantly YOU!