Your CRNA School Interview Matters Most- Here’s Why

Apr 23, 2022

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After speaking various program faculty from across the country I have learned what the golden ticket into an anesthesia program is all about.

You are not guaranteed a spot because of your 4.0 or your 10 years of high acuity ICU experience. 

In reality, your application is only as good as WHO is behind it. This process of figuring out WHO you are is not perfect. Sometimes it comes down to a whopping 10 minutes.

Your interview for anesthesia school can make or break you.

I know a lot of you are busy trying to do all the things to boost your application. Which you should be. But do not forget that doing WELL in your interview is just as important as getting the interview- if not more.

You can have a stellar application and the interview committee could be looking forward to meeting you. However, once you walk through those doors or hit enter on the Zoom meeting this is where your actual acceptance lays in the balance.

Your application will GET you the Interview but the INTERVIEW will get you accepted.

Therefore, preparation should start way before you get asked to interview.

Time and time again, I receive frantic messages from aspiring students who have recently been invited to interview who have not started preparing and now only have one month or less to do so.

Why does this happen? 

If you plan to apply, you should plan to interview

The vast majority simply think they WON’T get asked to interview. This leaves me scratching my head, a little.

You apply to a graduate program and put a year’s worth of effort, time, and money into your application (between ICU leadership roles, CCRN, GRE, Shadowing, etc.). Don’t stop after you apply!

Some schools only give a 4-8 day notification before the interview. 

4-8 DAYS… not weeks. If you had not been preparing all along you literally will not have time to do so by the time you find out you have an interview.

I also share in the anxiety that this last-minute preparation will entail for my students. I WANT EACH AND EVERY ONE of you to be successful!!

Your success depends on you preparing for your interview from the DAY you step foot into the ICU or from the MOMENT you decide CRNA is 100% the career path for you.

How do I begin preparing for my interview now?

  • Research your school and find out their interview style.
  • Network with current SRNAs (can be done by job shadowing opportunities and asking for connections or by attending open houses)
  • Invest in ICU pharmacology books and pathophysiology books like Marino’s ICU BOOK. You should be challenging your knowledge when you see unfamiliar drips or disease processes. You should be asking WHY and HOW in these situations. Learn as you work.

I know the application process is BUSY and leaves very little time to study also. This why learning as you work will set you up for the most success. However, once you hit submit on your application, PLEASE do not take a leave of absence. Study and prepare like your future depends on it. Because…. It does.

I have heard over and over from interview panels that sometimes unimpressive applicants do great in the interview and gain acceptance while surprisingly impressive applicants bomb the interview and get rejected.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

I try to tell my students the interview is like preparing for the world series, a TED talk, or a championship game. You need to PRACTICE! Most of us do not routinely interview all the time and possibly have only done so less than a handful of times in our adult career.

This means you will not be ready for that TED talk or championship game unless you have been preparing all along.

Talking about yourself is challenging for most of us because we do not spend a lot of our time self reflecting. Sometimes self-reflection can be disappointing or even hard.

However, I encourage you to get to know yourself. Your strengths and weaknesses. Once you identify your weaknesses come up with a plan to experience them more often and try to adapt or change so you can make improvements. By putting yourself into situations that you are uncomfortable you will grow and learn from them. You can then use these learning points to express growth when your interview panel points out your perceived weak points or asks you to do so as a self-identifying exercise.

Do not underestimate the power of practice and remember one, two, or even three NO’s does not mean it is over for you. It is all practice until it is not and you get that YES.

Now let’s nail that interview!

Important Links

Check out the Mock Interview Library, the 5 Day Interview Prep Challenge and more inside CRNA School Prep Academy here!

Grab your FREE copy of 150+ interview questions here! 



    1. Ryan David Dodd says:

      Great content!

      1. Jessica - CRNA School Prep Academy Team Member says:

        Thanks, Ryan!

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