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Anyone cry at their interview?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by theunderdog, Dec 10, 2005.

  1. theunderdog

    theunderdog Medical Student (Slave)
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    I cried at my interview this past week. I got a lot of questions about how I would deal with things emotionally as a doctor. I then got asked a question about the most difficult thing I had to deal with emotionally in my life. While telling this life experience, which I hold dear to my heart, I cried....

    But at the end of my interview, my interviewer told me that he thought I could handle the emotional rigors of being a doctor.

    After the point I cried, I was uptight and really serious. I just couldn't really open up anymore becuase I thought that was the end of it.

    Any thoughts???
     
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  3. gary5

    gary5 Senior Member
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    Well, in general, I wouldn't recommend crying in interviews. However, it is socially more acceptable for women to cry than men (I didn't make the rules). So, assuming you're female, you have more latitude here. There's also male-to-female sympathy, which is unique and could have helped you here. Perhaps the least sympathy is male/male and female/female. Those combinations can be rather unforgiving with each other. Anyway, just some random thoughts. It sounds like it didn't hurt you. Psychoanalysts might say that you cried because you sensed that your interviewer would go for it (not necessarily my opinion).
     
  4. chandelantern

    chandelantern MSI at Mayo in August!
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    I had tears in my eyes at one interview and cried the minute I got to the bathroom after the interview. (I know the interviewer noticed too, because he asked me what was wrong.) I got emotional because of how big of a jerk he was being to me, and when he made some comment about "the only reason people in america wouldn't have health insurance is because they are too lazy to get it." I can't tell you the result because I was so appauled by his behavior that I withdrew my application from the school the next day (i was already in at a couple schools I knew I would be much happier at.)

    Anyway, I don't think crying in your interview is the best thing, but if you were talking about something that is really sensitive it is appropriate, and shows you are human. It also shows you care and those are all characteristics that patients want to see in their physicians. There's nothing you can do about it now, just wait and see how things turn out!
     
  5. theunderdog

    theunderdog Medical Student (Slave)
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    after the interview, i found out my interviewer was a pychiatrist! how ironic..

    i guess he knew what questions to ask me and he knew what my weak spots were.

    and yeah, i'm a guy... but hey, i'm also human.

    i think by crying, he knows that i got emotions. and you would be crynig too if you lost one of your closest friends right before graduation.
     
  6. DrZee

    DrZee Happy as Hell
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    Yea, I once had tears in my eyes for an interview question..didnt cry but held back really hard on the tears (they have a way of collecting on eyelids and then tickling your eyelashes until you blink and then they roll down...I must have focused really hard to remember it in this detail :rolleyes: ) I figured this guy is 99% a psychiatrist and me being female and him male just doesnt help at all, hes prolly read this book way to many times. I cant cry gracefully so thats just me.

    I dont think you should worry too much about it...It cant be changed now...just hold em back next time because some interviewers may become uncomfortable with someone crying in their presence and well...Good luck
     
  7. jbone

    jbone Herro!
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    My very first interview I got a little choked up. After all the crap (tests, school, people saying I would never make it, etc) it just hit me. Finally following my dreams. I was sitting there in front of these interviewers talking about what I had to do to get there and I got a little choked up :oops: . Nothing wrong with that. I know they knew I wanted to be a doctor more than anything and it worked in my favor. Accepted 4 days later. I think that is what adcoms are looking for, sincerity and genuine character. :horns:
    (must have been funny to see this big 6'7" 270 lbs. blubbering wuss :) )
     
  8. beary

    beary Pancytopenic
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    I don't know exactly how this question came up (if it was something you had mentioned in your PS, etc.) But if the interviewer just said, "What is the most difficult emotional thing in your life?" that is totally inappropriate.
     
  9. Risa

    Risa like Lisa with an R
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    I don't think I agree that crying at an interview is a concern because it could make the interviewer uncomfortable (he's a DOCTOR--they're used to dealing with all kinds of emotions) or because it makes you seem weak (humans have emotions, and sincerity in interviews counts for a lot IMO). Plus, OP, it sounds like you were talking about a pretty serious and emotional experience. I think your emotions were totally justified and totally fine.

    I'm sorry about your friend.
     
  10. gary5

    gary5 Senior Member
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    Now that you mention that he was a psychiatrist, I'd say that he asked the question to test your emotional depth. I'd say that you did well. In choosing students, I would expect a psychiatrist to look for strong interpersonal abilities, being able to relate to patients, having some understanding of personal suffering and loss.

    I had an interview with a female interviewer were I shared some things that I had not planned on sharing, things about an important relationship that had ended. I did what felt right at the time. She must have recommended me for acceptance because I was accepted.
     
  11. drmota

    drmota 2K Member
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    you're chillin. i would have given you a hug.
    -mota
     
  12. BerkeleyMD

    BerkeleyMD Senior Member
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    I totally feel for you. I lost my sister right before HS graduation and knew it was going to come up in the interviews (it was in my PS), so I prepared for it. It still got me a little during my first interview (i could just feel my voice change a bit)- the story even struck an emotional cord with my interviewer and I felt that the story touched him. But since I had ran through it a few times (mock interview) it was not that bad during the real thing. I actually had to stop during my mock interview to sort of collect my thoughts/composure (i mean, no crying.. just a little too emotionally involved).

    It came up in 3 of my 5 interviews so far and after that first one I have never felt that "choked up" feeling. If anything I feel more comfortable talking about it. Who would have thought that the interview process would have therapeutic benefits.

    My advice for you is to talk it through with yourself several times a day, then with some friends. This way, when it comes up during the interview, you'll be a little more comfortable about the subject (its not a good idea to cry during the interview, at least you can prevent it from happening next time).

    :luck:
     
  13. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    How so? Variants of that question get used all the time in interviews. Asking someone how they dealt with a tough time can be a great indication of their character.
     
  14. synapse lapse

    synapse lapse tokyo robotic
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    Are you kidding me, what the hell are you so philosophically and socially inept that you can't handle being confronted with an opposing philosophical viewpoint? Not to mention this but then you go and withdraw from a school as the result of one interviewers opinions? :laugh: This made my day :thumbdown:
     
  15. chef_NU

    chef_NU G-Unit
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    Ha, you wussies. I wouldn't want my doctor to be someone who cried no matter how disturbing something was.
     
  16. odrade1

    odrade1 UASOM alum
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    It is entirely normal to feel intensely sad about something as terrible as losing a close friend. It is even o.k. to cry about it, even if you are a guy. I found that the interview experience was so weird & emotionally confusing--in its own right--that I found myself feeling more emotionally stirred by some topics that I can usually discuss with cool, clincal efficiency. Perhaps the interview situation itself contributed to the intensity of your feelings, making them more difficult to obscure or control?

    I usually feel angry when I see someone crying, but if someone was crying over the loss of a friend, or because of the suffering of another, I would be sympathetic. Our psychiatry department is working some with narrative medicine, to help physicians articulate their feelings about their experiences as doctors. The point of this exercise is to prevent burn-out, and to further humanize physicians. I bet the psychiatrist was pleased with your interview, despite the lapse of visible control. In fact, your response may have been the most appropriate one. Having a normal human range of emotions (including grief) is something most people would want in those that they are close to, and also in their physicians. I am sure that your interviewer felt similarly.

    Best of luck!

    P.S.
    If you are dedicated to avoiding such an emotional response next time, remember that you can answer such questions with a true story of emotional difficulty *without* telling the interviewer about something that is upsetting enough to make you choke up/break down.
     
  17. SailCrazy

    SailCrazy I gotta have more cowbell
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    I had tears in my eyes during a response to a question at one interview. I realized at one point that my interviewer did too! I figured that was a good thing. (I guess it was, I was accepted.)

    I'm a guy, and don't feel badly about it at all. We're human. We have emotions.

    I can understand why someone would be upset by an aggressive/stress interview. Rather than withdrawing the next day, I might have spoken with the director/dean of admissions before leaving to see if the ideas and attitude the interviewer conveyed were consistent with the message the adcom/med school was intenting to convey. If it was, you could have withdrawn on the spot, in person. If not, maybe you'd have gotten an apology and another interview.
     
  18. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS
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    I think people should learn from this to be careful what they write about in their personal statements. Consider not writing about something that will make you cry if you aren't comfortable crying in an interview.
     
  19. theunderdog

    theunderdog Medical Student (Slave)
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    uhh.. i didn't write it in my personal statement. in fact, i didnt write anything close to this experience in my application.

    it was just a question that popped up during the interview.
     
  20. drmota

    drmota 2K Member
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    UD- you hear from tulane yet??
    -mota
     
  21. Psycho Doctor

    Psycho Doctor *** Angel
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    BerkeleyMD, so sorry to hear about the loss of your sister and theunderdog, so sorry to hear of the loss of your close friend. that is so tragic. :(

    My experience was actually pretty similar in that my fiance died and it was the whole topic of my PS, so it was hard to avoid, but it also shaped my path for pursuing medicine. On many interviews when asked about it, I held back the tears. But one interview was at the undergrad school she attended and where I had visited her many times. In addition the situation involved an emergency visit to the hospital there and the MD actually said he remembered the situation...ok that was far too much for me to handle, so i actually did break down then, and my interviewer was actually sympathetic. And I guess it didn't hurt too much as i was accepted. however I realized I could never attend the school with so many bittersweet memories.
     
  22. Shredder

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  23. princessd3

    princessd3 Senior Member
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    I've cried at quite a few interviews. When I think about all that I have overcome to be where I am today, I just can't help but feel overwhelming grattitude. For me that translates to tears. I just don't know how I will hold up on White Coat day. I know I will make my parents cry too.

    Yeah so I don't think a little cry works against you. Just don't cry uncontrollably. If you feel yourself getting choked up take a minute to regroup and start again. I have been trying to put this into practice as well.
     
  24. Austin11

    Austin11 New Member

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    No offense but you CANNOT cry at anymore interviews. My advice would be to stay away from that emotional crap!!!
     
  25. Psycho Doctor

    Psycho Doctor *** Angel
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    I don't know the details of your struggle to get where you are today, but I congratulate you nonetheless. It's an extremely difficult path fpor most and if you had hardships to overcome the reward is so much more awesome. The White Coat ceremony can actually be pretty overwhelming, especially in a situation like yours. And it's fine for you all the cry in gratitude. All the best in the future, you deserve it.
     
  26. gardengirl

    gardengirl Junior Member
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    I'm not in favor of crying or of not crying in interviews but let me share something that is somewhat related...

    My neighbor was the residency director for an extremely competitive and arguably coveted specialty. During an interview, the interviewee (male) cried or rather, teared up when answering a particular question. The interviewer did not hold it against him and in fact, during the committee meeting, when others thought the interviewee was "aloof" and "stand-offish" she was able to stick up for him. In this case, it helped him since the others' impression of him was not too favorable.
     
  27. UCDavisdude

    UCDavisdude WHITEBOY SLIM
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    what if its a female interviewer and the interveiwee was a guy. would she thinks its sweet that hes crying??bonus points?
     
  28. thatguyagain

    thatguyagain Member
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    If you cry while recollecting something emotional, then how will you deal with death in REAL LIFE??? If I was dying of cancer and my doctor broke down into tears every time I entered the office, I'd find a new doctor immediately. I'm an emotional person too (even though I'm a guy :eek: ) but come on now.....there is a time and a place.

    Not trying to be rude, I just think it is something important to think about.
     
  29. NapeSpikes

    NapeSpikes Believe, hon.
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    Get it together, people. You can treat a subject matter sensitively, but for pete's sake, don't break down in tears while a med school is making their first in-person impression of you.
     
  30. UCDavisdude

    UCDavisdude WHITEBOY SLIM
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    well, ur argument doesnt hold. when people are breaking down at interviews, i am assuming that its because they are talking about something in thier own lives, deaths and hardships in thier own families. which is much different than a patients hardships. im sure you would agree with that.
     
  31. Saluki

    Saluki 1K Member
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    I don't know... Maybe this isn't good, but if I were someone's oncologist for a long time, and I finally had to tell the patient that they only had a couple months left to live, I might tear up- I'm not talking all out bawling and losing control but just getting a little teary. I think that people want to see that their physician cares, just as long as the person isn't an emotional basketcase...
     
  32. NapeSpikes

    NapeSpikes Believe, hon.
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    I can see that happening, but hopefully you wouldn't be shedding those tears at the oncology residency interview. ;)
     
  33. NapeSpikes

    NapeSpikes Believe, hon.
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    I agree they're different, but maybe that makes it worse? It's like in the former case, you're crying because of your own baggage, and in the latter, you're crying from empathy.
     
  34. thatguyagain

    thatguyagain Member
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    Clearly the problem here is that she (possibly he) was played by a psychiatrist, but what's done is done.

    I'm going to try not to be rude on this one, but would you consider crying everytime you're faced with an "emotional" topic to be a strength? For god sakes no! The entire field of medicine is surrounded by an aura of emotional confrontations. If it's not a strenght then it's a weakness. There is a difference between being compassionate and being rediculous. For god sakes, it's an interview!!!! YOU decide what to tell the interviewer. NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. If you know there are certain topics that will create a problem, you change the subject....problem avoided.

    Amen

    There is a difference between getting teary-eyed while looking into the eyes of someone you've known for 5+ years and telling them they will be dead in 6 months, and emotionally decompensating while talking to a complete stranger that is evaluating you on how well your responce is. I don't think any compassionate human being could do the former, but I think any stable human being could do the later.

    NOTE: if we are just talking about "teary eyes" here, then that is somewhat understandable. "Crying" (which is what theunderdog said) is just absurd.
     
  35. FCMike11

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    Patients need to know there doctors are human.
    I think there is a huge disconnect in many doctors who refuse to empathize with their patients. But i also understand it, its a protective mechanism and noone can take all this home with them.

    To address the question...I do not in any means that tearing up is innapropriate, or even crying a little, but sobbing would be very odd in that type of situation.
     
  36. akatigerj

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    UGH WHY??? :bang:


    5 years!
     
  37. BHaus9

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    Holy Lazarus.

    I agree that sensitivity -- and even overt sensitivity -- can be desirabile in a doctor, but the problem is that getting weepy over your own experiences in no way attests to your ability to sympathize with those of a relative stranger. For the sake of the latter, you have to check the former at the door.
     
  38. FCMike11

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    Care to elaborate?

    EDIT: What exactly was your point in posting? Did this thread like pop up on your screen and mandate you contribute?
     
    #37 FCMike11, Oct 13, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  39. NickNaylor

    NickNaylor Thank You for Smoking
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    Definitely not appropriate in my view.
     
  40. technopoly

    technopoly The antidote for civilization
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    When I was in college, I went through a VERY hard time in my second year. I ended up in my biology mentor/ research adviser's office several times in tears (we have remained in touch/friends after I graduated). Every time I cried, and furthermore, anytime ANY of her students cried in front of her, she would also tear up. Personally, I felt "heard" because of this, not uncomfortable. I have also had a healthcare practitioner who I have had on ongoing relationship with tear up when I shared very positive news with them about something. These are both people I had long term relationships with. If this were the first time I had met either of these people, the tears would have weirded me out, but because I knew them both well, I felt that them emotionally sharing in my hardship/success was appropriate.

    Just my two cents. I don't know why either of them cried... whether it was out of empathy or that my experience struck a chord with something in their past... but ultimately the reason doesn't matter to me.

    And to get back on topic, OP... I don't think you should be ashamed/ worried about tears in an interview. It sounds like that was perfectly appropriate to the situation you are describing. Kudos for answering a difficult question honestly and from the heart.
     
  41. Stumpyman

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    It's not appropriate to start sobbing during the interview, although I don't think it's a problem to get teary-eyed.
     
  42. sirenomelia

    Removed Physician

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    +100000 Totally agree.
     
  43. Morsetlis

    Morsetlis I wish I were a dentist
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    Pretty much.
     
  44. BHaus9

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    Since this seems to be a response to my original post I just wanted to clarify my view: I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with showing compassion to other people going through hard times, especially when you are in a mentor/care provider position. I just meant to draw a distinction between compassion (which is concern for the wellbeing of OTHERS) and self-pity (which is more self-centered).

    We are humans, and cannot be faulted for feeling. However, serving in the capacity of physician means your focus should be on helping your patients cope, and that may mean putting your own problems/anxieties/sorrows on the backburner for a little bit. In an interview, you can relate your hardships, why they were meaningful, how you have overcome them, what you learned, etc. -- these all show depth of character. It's okay to wear your emotion a little, too. But what you shouldn't do is "lose control." I guess there are a lot of shades of gray, but glittering eyes are probably acceptable, whereas blowing into a hankie for five minutes probably isn't.
     
  45. technopoly

    technopoly The antidote for civilization
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    I completely agree.
     
  46. flodhi1

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    I know we are all humans and crying is healthy sometimes instead of bottling up your emotions but there is a time and place for crying. During my interview I felt like crying when sharing my experiences in Iraq and talking about the death of my fellow Marines. Deep inside I think I was actually crying but I was not exhibiting any emotions or making any facial expressions. Sometimes it's just essential to maintain your composure. I know the psychiatrist told you that he feels you can handle pressure but most likely he doesn't. Just to be nice I would try to comfort someone that is crying but I truly would be asking myself can this individual really handle it if he's tearing up in a low key and less stressful environment ( Interview hall
    ). Good luck
     
  47. ucsfstudents

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    I would think that of all people, I psychiatrist would understand. Doctors cry too, so as long as you handled the situation appropriately and were able to put yourself back together in a reasonable time period, and didn't go on emotional swings, you should be fine. So in short, I wouldn't worry about it.
     
  48. n3xa

    n3xa "the anchor"
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    I teared up driving along the Pacific Coast Highway afterwards, but not during the interview.

    I MISS DRIVING ON ROADS THAT TURN EVERY NOW AND AGAIN OK GOSH
     
  49. AZFutureDoc

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  50. ksmajmudar

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    I'm so sorry to hear about this. Similar with theunderdog and BerkeleyMD. I hope you have all found peace.
     
  51. Baron Samedi

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    On one of my interviews I inhaled a spit bubble in the middle of a sentence and started coughing uncontrollably. My eyes watered up really bad and tears started streaming down my cheeks. The interviewer asked if I was okay and I managed to choke out "yes, I'm fine"(or some inaudible variation of it) while he handed me a tissue. I went through the rest of the interview with bloodshot eyes, a red face, and tears streaming down my cheeks, as well as a messed up voice with intermittent coughs. So yes, I've cried during an interview.
     

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