Hey folks, I'm not applying for dental school however I actually interview candidates at one of the UK Dental Schools (I won't say which one)
I'm fully aware that most of the interviews this year are virtual and I've come across a couple of things whilst I've been interviewing so I thought I would give a helping hand to anyone who is about to interview
1) If you don't know the answer to a question you are allowed to think. A great trick for this is to take a pause and have sip of water to allow yourself to think about what you're going to say
2)I cannot stress this enough, check that you have a strong internet connection. Each interview (whether that's an individual interview station or the entire thing) has an allocated amount of time where you'll be kicked out of the room (if it's on Zoom) once that time has been reached. If most of the interview is spent saying "Can you repeat what you said the internet cut out" you give yourself less chance to impress. Its only usually if there is total internet loss that you'll be given the chance to repeat things so just be wary
3)Check the lighting in your room. Its a minor thing but in terms of first impression, a nice bright room with natural light entering makes the world of difference.
4) Try and focus the webcam/camera so its at eye level and that you're sitting slightly away from the screen otherwise I'll be staring up your nose for the whole interview
5) Following on from point 3 try and maintain eye contact with the interviewer even though its a virtual interview. Constantly looking around the room when you're talking gives off the impression that you're disinterested and this is the last thing you need
6) Check your microphone is clear. No one cares if you're wearing wired or wireless headphones but make sure you're clear
7)Wear what you would wear for an in-person interview, even if you are at home. First impressions count and you want to stand out from all of the competition
8) Finally, if you're going to talk about anything dental, whether its to do with ethics or something you've seen on work experience or whatever make sure you know what you're talking about. The reason I say this is, there's a fine line between looking impressive and looking like you don't know what you're talking about but you've quickly searched something online. Always be prepared for a follow up up question. For example, if you say you've seen oral cancer, it's worth knowing that it's linked with smoking and other risk factors etc etc
Ultimately we're looking for a student we think will make a great dentist. we have no access to your personal statement (well I don't) and no access to your GCSE or A-Level grades. You have a short amount of time to impress a complete stranger and by working on the really easy bits you can give yourself the best chance
Good luck everyone!