are they allowed to ask?

Discussion in 'Surgery and Surgical Subspecialties' started by scrubbedin, Nov 17, 2005.

  1. scrubbedin

    scrubbedin Junior Member
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    I was in an interview today, and the PD asked all of us (it was a group interview) what other programs we are interviewing at. The first person started to answer...well, I'm interviewing in these geographic areas, and the PD was like "what programs, specifically?" We each listed the other programs we are interviewing at, and the PD wrote them all down.
    I was under the impression that this was not allowed (not to mention its pretty weird/unprofessional) Any thoughts??
     
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  3. Ergo

    Ergo Integrated Resident
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    Its a fair question, which you dont have to answer - if you can figure out a way to sidestep it gracefully...

    Every program has asked me that.
     
  4. toofache32

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    Why is it unprofessional or weird? Interviewees are often the only way PDs can learn about how other programs function. In my interviews we always enjoyed talking about different programs, especially if we rotated there for the real experience. Just don't talk trash about another program.
     
  5. robotsonic

    robotsonic Senior Member
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    It's bad, though, if it becomes clear from your list that you won't be ranking their program highly. For example, I just might do a couple of interviews outside of NYC (just for comparison) and if I list off where I am doing interviews, it will be painfully obvious to everyone that I want to stay in NYC.
    "So, uh, yeah, this program *is* the only one I am interviewing at in Boston, but, uh, I swear, I really love this city and want to move here!"
     
  6. Pilot Doc

    Pilot Doc SDN Angel
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    Bad for you. Not for the program. They want people who want them. I can't find any way to make the unprofessional or weird. You are interviewing for a job - discussion of other offers is a common aspect of employment interviews.

    You might be confusing the issue with the match rank rules. There are more restrictions about asking you about the rank list.
     
  7. robotsonic

    robotsonic Senior Member
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    Of course the programs will want to know if I actually plan on moving to the area. But it is in my interest to not let them find out. If the question is somehow "not allowed," then I can lie, but if the question is kosher then I have to tell them all of the nyc programs. For example, since asking about the rank list is out of bounds, we were told to feel free and lie about it if asked. Is there a reason why we have to be honest when answering which programs we are interviewing at?

    Not that I would actually lie. I'm really bad at lying and it's usually not even worth the effort.
     
  8. womansurg

    womansurg it's a hard life...
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    I agree.

    I recall the PD at a small, but good, community program in which I had genuine interest asking me this question. When I listed some regional academic powerhouses among my interviews, he closed my file, leaned back and commented, "so, we're basically your back up plan then."

    For the brief remaninder of the interview, he acted disinterested and cool. I'm sure I wasn't even ranked there.
     
  9. Pilot Doc

    Pilot Doc SDN Angel
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    I don't know that there's any central arbiter who decides which questions applicants can answer falsely and which require divulging the absolute, unvarnished truth. You can lie anytime you want - at the risk of being found out, typically with substantial consequences.

    You're almost always better off being coy or evasive or giving incomplete answers rather than lying. Program directors talk, and after the match they get a list of where everyone ended up. Every year, it's obvious some applicants were spreading the lies around. GS is a small field and it's hard to shake a bad reputation.
     
  10. Roux-en-Y

    Roux-en-Y Member
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    You know, there is such a thing as preparing for an interview and in the course of this preparation includes anticipation of certain questions...For example, if all your interviews are @ community programs but two or three. You would do well to have a preconceived notion of how you might best respond to this question...not lying, but perhaps playing up the reasons you applied to those non-community-based programs: they have a strong transplant program, your program director suggested it, whatever.

    There are many ways to structure your answer so that you aren't lying:
    Interviewer: "So we're basically your back-up?"
    You: "No sir. I'm genuinely interviewing everywhere with a completely open mind and trying to find the best fit; so far, I like XYZ about your program..."

    And IF this is the program you've HONESTLY liked best throughout all your interviews, you can say something like "as I visit places, I keep a fluid, informal list and your program has been the most impressive. It offers me XYZ. I want to be a _____ surgeon and your program will help me get there because of ABC.

    This process is NOT about hedging your bets, or trying to trick as many programs as possible into ranking you number 1 on their list, It's about finding 1-3 programs where you feel you best "fit" and doing what you can to convince that small group specifically that you are highly interested in their program. This includes but is not limited to: follow-up conversations/correspondence w/ faculty, residents; second look visits, including bringing a spouse/significant other to visit the area.

    The best thing you can do during your interviews is USE YOUR BRAIN!

    Good Luck to everyone interviewing. :luck:

    P.S.
    I AM THE MAN when it comes to putting in central and ART lines! :D
     

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