Recruitment season is almost over! In the last post of our series, we asked fellows to give their best advice on self care and avoiding interview fatigue.
Sarah Park (SM) is a first year U.S. Regulatory Sciences fellow with MCPHS/Biogen. Erin Gorse (EG) is a second year Global Commercial Strategy: Oncology fellow with MCPHS/Sanofi Genzyme.
What are some self care tips that candidates can take advantage of before interviews begin?
SP: Remember to take breaks throughout your day! Find out what stress management techniques work for you and practice them throughout the day. Listen to music, go on a walk outside, read a book, write in your journal, meditate, etc.
EG: Create as much of a routine for yourself as possible, but be flexible to adapt when need be. Make sure you also schedule time to eat, sleep, exercise- everything you need to take care of yourself! You can’t expect to be able to stick to the same schedule you always have and will likely be nervous, but control the “controllables.” Plan for what you can, but be ready to be flexible- and be okay with that! Also, spend time with friends, family, or your support system when you can. Maybe schedule a virtual dinner, movie night, or video game session.
What can candidates do to be successful and not feel overwhelmed during the interview process?
SP: Planning your days and interview times accordingly will help to mitigate the risk of being overwhelmed. Give yourself ample time between interviews to reorganize your thoughts. Practice with your friends, practice with your mentors, and practice alone! You are less likely to feel overwhelmed when you are more prepared for your interviews.
EG: 1.) Make sure you plan ahead! Create your company and position information sheets while applying, so by the time interviews come around, you have already done the heavy work of investigating companies and roles. Distill each position you apply for to a sheet that takes you 2-5 minutes to skim ahead of each interview so that you are in the right frame of mind for each discussion. By doing the hard work ahead of time and knowing each position well, you’ll be able to focus on your answers in real time! 2.) Spread out your interviews. Even though we are not in-person, 30-minute breaks between interviews should be a minimum to allow yourself a chance to breathe and get ready for the next discussion. Have a calendar app ready and up to date to schedule additional rounds as needed. 3.) Keep the background, your attire, and workspace as professional as you can. If something happens that you can’t control, feel free to acknowledge it and laugh it off. I’ve seen more animals, kids, etc. in the past few months on all of my calls. It is funny and human, and people understand. Try to prevent it, but know if something does come up, we’re all human and have all been there.
Any other advice for candidates?
SP: Strategize when setting up your schedule. There is no “right” way to schedule your interviews, but try to schedule them when you will be able to think and communicate best. Best of luck!
EG: Breathe! Practice interviewing with friends and mentors. Hearing and verbalizing the questions and answers is different than writing them down or thinking it through, and practicing may help keep nerves at bay. Lastly, prepare hard ahead of time, but trust your preparation when you get in there.