Many UK and international medical schools are transitioning to an asynchronous medical interview format. If your selected medical school conducts this type of interview, then you have to be prepared for what awaits you – and know how to put your skills to use to present yourself as their dream candidate!
An asynchronous interview is a one-way interview process where the candidate and the interviewer are not online simultaneously. It is a fully automated interview with pre-recorded questions in contrast to online interviews using videoconference technology or in-person interviews occurring in real time and with human interaction.
Some UK medical schools use asynchronous medical interviews in their selection process. Imperial College London typically implements an online asynchronous section as an interactive e-module where candidates will record and upload a video on the day of their interview. It will take place on a third-party platform.
Many international medical schools are also preferring this format. As such, the University of Nicosia uses asynchronous interviews in order to select its medical students.
The University of Nicosia Medical School, which interviews students from all over the world, initially conducted panel interviews (online or in person). It then transitioned to virtual synchronous MMIs, where a candidate would meet an interviewer online. The responses were recorded and sent to independent assessors.
The most recent cutting-edge development is the launch of the asynchronous MMIs for the following programmes: Doctor of Medicine (MD-6) and Graduate Entry – Doctor of Medicine Degree (GEMD). The asynchronous interview process is an automated and pre-recorded interview, whereby only the candidate accesses an online platform (without the presence of an interviewer). It involves the audio-visual capture of their responses via a web camera under time constraints. These responses are subsequently sent to individual reviewers for scoring.
The asynchronous interview is far more flexible as it allows candidates to interview with ease from a suitable location and at a convenient time. Thanks to that, applicants can avoid costly travel to university sites and accommodation expenses.
In addition, the structure of asynchronous virtual interviews allows reviewers to evaluate the candidate at a convenient time.
Online interviews also provide the opportunity for candidates worldwide to apply to medical schools. This means that universities can expand their pool of applicants regardless of physical boundaries and increase their chances of finding a perfect fit.
Asynchronous medical interviews also ensure standardisation and objectivity without the interviewer’s influence. They give equal opportunity to all candidates and reduce bias in the interview process.
Students also normally feel more comfortable expressing themselves in their familiar environment compared to an intimidating setting of a face-to-face interview.
Asynchronous virtual medical interviews rely on technology – meaning that tech issues could arise during the process, adding potential stress to an already daunting interview experience. The University of Nicosia Medical School uses a platform with online support through a chat bot to assist with technical problems.
In addition, the virtual format might not work for everyone. Some candidates may feel that they can express themselves better in a face-to-face interview instead of talking to a camera.
Finally, students do not have the opportunity to ask follow-up questions or interact with the interviewer during the asynchronous process, which could prevent them from getting more information about the course or university directly.
Asynchronous medical interviews require the same degree of preparation as panel or live interviews – however, you might need to focus on slightly different things in order to succeed.
The interview is automated (the questions are pre-recorded) and asynchronous, without the presence of an interviewer, which means that your responses will be recorded to a webcam. Your responses are timed and the countdown timer starts once the pre-recorded question has been read.
You may take notes before you answer, however, keep in mind that this time is usually part of the response time. You are encouraged to use as much of the time allotted to answer the question. Focus on the question being asked and include only relevant information.
Prepare your discussion topics and practice what you’ll say in response to standard interview questions. Refer to our free interview question bank with examples and tips.
Make sure you have a clear and clean background, good lighting, as well no sound or camera issues in advance. Test how loudly you need to speak and whether the sound quality is optimal. During the interview, look straight into the camera to give a fully engaged impression – try to locate it at your eye level to avoid the distortion of your face features.
Dress formally and aim to look relaxed and confident – you know this! Sit up straight, smile and speak slowly. Avoid mumbling, playing with your hair, moving too much or talking too quickly – all of these give out nervousness and can make you more anxious than you already are.
Pause before answering any question – it will give you time to collect your thoughts and answer with authority. Don’t rush through questions – but also don’t drag them along! Give each question the attention it deserves and move on to the next.
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