I love interviewing prospective students and most of our interviewees do a spectacular job. However, here are some interview issues that may seem like common sense, but I still encounter them regularly:

1. Don't disappear. If you need to use the restroom or get a drink, tell someone where you are going, and come back. If you need to go to your car to smoke and won't be available for a while, you probably should have just skipped it and slept in.

2. When other applicants are waiting to interview, it's bad form to come out of your interview and launch a discussion about everything you were asked. No one appreciates it, especially if your main purpose in doing so is to complain. Not only are you not helping the other applicants, you are killing your chances at ever getting admitted, or even invited back to interview.

3. A moment of silence beats rambling any day. Take a minute to think about your answer before speaking. If you reflexively say "I don't know" (or some other filler statement) every time you are asked a question, it doesn't matter if you go on to provide the right answer. For instance, when I ask you something simple, like your hobbies or what kind of patients your unit accepts, I'm really baffled when you respond "I don't know," and then I don't hear everything else you say after that. It's a bad habit that won't fly in the OR, and I'm giving you another year to break it before you get accepted.

4. Don't make excuses about being the first to interview, or the last. You are trying to convince me that you will consistently perform at your highest level. Besides, there's no crying in anesthesia.

5. If something is listed on your resume, you should be prepared to talk about it. If something is mentioned in your statement, you should be prepared to elaborate on it. If you name a drug or a disease process, you should be prepared to discuss it in detail. If you found something "interesting," then you should have been curious enough to look it up. If you are a member of a professional organization, you should be reading its journal.

6. Don't say anything bad about current or former employers, supervisors, or co-workers. The same goes for schools and faculty. Never, never, never. I don't care how righteous you think you are, don't go there. When asked why you left a job or got a bad grade, you don't make yourself look better by bashing someone else.

7. Don't gossip with students or other applicants. Not about your job, your co-workers, current students, other programs. It's unprofessional and unattractive. If one of your friends or co-workers is interviewing at the same time, you will have other opportunities to be catty when the interview is over. It looks bad, and someone will notice.

8. Your interview doesn't start or stop at the conference room door. Your demeanor and behavior are on display from the moment you arrive to the moment you leave. If you are rude to my students or support staff, I can conclude that you have poor interpersonal skills and you are not a good fit for the program.