Quantcast

Crying during interview?

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

danaj48

Full Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2019
Messages
17
Reaction score
18

Members don't see this ad.
hey everyone! I am a long-time lurker and first-time poster. I just finished my secondaries and I'm waiting to hear back about interviews but I wanted to ask you guys' opinions on tearing up/crying during an interview. I find I really struggle to hold back tears when I talk about my love and passion for medicine (I know that seems cheesy but I'm not even joking). I have no idea why... I think because when I'm talking about it, especially during an interview, I am reflecting on how much I went through to get to where I am at that very second and its a mixture of relief and anxiety. Either way, it's a problem because I begin tearing up. I don't want to detach myself from what I am talking about to avoid crying because I won't sound genuine. At the same time, I don't want my interviewer to think I'm unstable. Idk what to do but I literally can't stop tearing up and I fear that during an interview, when the stakes are super high, I won't be able to hold back tears and I may just cry. I met with a doctor to write me a letter of recommendation and just talking to him about my experiences working with patients, I started tearing up. I didn't think he noticed but he sent me what he wrote for my letter of rec (even though I waived my right) and he mentioned that I teared up just talking about medicine and patients indicating my sincerity and passion, which is sweet, but I don't know if interviewers will feel the same way. Anyways, can anyone give me advice or has anyone gone through something similar? I literally don't know what to do
 
  • Haha
Reactions: 1 users

Naruhodo

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2016
Messages
429
Reaction score
581
I think it 100% depends on the situation and how you come across. I obviously wouldn't recommend fake crying, as that seems super shady, but that's also not what you're talking about. I think if it conveys sincerity, as your letter writer said, you will be fine.
I ended up waitlisted at the school where I cried during an interview, but it was also a situation where I was caught off guard by the questions. The secondary had asked about "time off" from school or work and I wrote about caring for an ailing parent. The interviewer started off by offering condolences (kind, but unexpected) and then really dug into what a terrible disease it was and whether I'd be comfortable talking about it in public (the beloved lecturer they used to have speak to student had succumbed recently). I got tearful and I think it was pretty clear I wasn't up to talking infront of a med school class. I don't blame the tears per se, but just a gentle reminder to students that anything that you send to schools is potentially fair game for questions. Be aware of your emotions at least and how you may be perceived expressing them.
Edits for many typos - maybe you can tell I'm a little tired.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

Isoval

PGY-1 Internal Medicine
2+ Year Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2017
Messages
1,811
Reaction score
3,048
I probably wouldn’t start bawling during an interview.

A few tears are probably fine.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 4 users

Moko

(super fluffy)
Staff member
Administrator
Volunteer Staff
5+ Year Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2015
Messages
2,130
Reaction score
9,518
hey everyone! I am a long-time lurker and first-time poster. I just finished my secondaries and I'm waiting to hear back about interviews but I wanted to ask you guys' opinions on tearing up/crying during an interview. I find I really struggle to hold back tears when I talk about my love and passion for medicine (I know that seems cheesy but I'm not even joking). I have no idea why... I think because when I'm talking about it, especially during an interview, I am reflecting on how much I went through to get to where I am at that very second and its a mixture of relief and anxiety. Either way, it's a problem because I begin tearing up. I don't want to detach myself from what I am talking about to avoid crying because I won't sound genuine. At the same time, I don't want my interviewer to think I'm unstable. Idk what to do but I literally can't stop tearing up and I fear that during an interview, when the stakes are super high, I won't be able to hold back tears and I may just cry. I met with a doctor to write me a letter of recommendation and just talking to him about my experiences working with patients, I started tearing up. I didn't think he noticed but he sent me what he wrote for my letter of rec (even though I waived my right) and he mentioned that I teared up just talking about medicine and patients indicating my sincerity and passion, which is sweet, but I don't know if interviewers will feel the same way. Anyways, can anyone give me advice or has anyone gone through something similar? I literally don't know what to do
You will hear different thoughts about this. In my opinion, there are times when it's not inappropriate to tear up. Medicine is a very personal journey for many of us, and emotions are a natural part of the human experience.

Having said that, the danger is when this show of emotion prevents you from conveying your story, uses up precious interview time, and/or throws you off for subsequent questions / interview(s). I also would be concerned if someone started crying if they were simply talking about their love for medicine. Now, if you were talking about a particularly emotional period of your life and how that influenced your decision to pursue medicine, that would be a different story. As an example, an applicant last year teared up as they were talking about their parent's death; they recovered admirably and their brief show of emotion was certainly not held against them. But the severity of these events need to match the degree of emotion shown, otherwise it's just poorly controlled nerves (which do hurt applicants).

Regardless of whether this is from interview anxiety or raw emotion, I would recommend repeating and rehearsing different variations of your responses out loud until you can convey your story without tearing up. This will help remove some of the raw edge off of your words, and prevent your emotions from bubbling over during the actual interview.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 10 users

SterlingMaloryArcher

Membership Revoked
Removed
2+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2017
Messages
855
Reaction score
491
Definitely try not to.

While I don't think I would hold it against someone it def wouldn't win them points.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

Tenk

Full Member
15+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2007
Messages
2,886
Reaction score
11,095
Crying is generally not ok and crying about wanting to enter medicine would actually make me laugh unless they are tears of pure terror for the hell that awaits you. In that case it would be perfectly acceptable to cry and I’d probably cry along with you.

All in all you should probably take some sort of interview training course because this sounds like it may be an issue. Definitely worth it so you don’t bomb the last step of a four+ year process.
 
  • Like
  • Haha
Reactions: 15 users
Joined
Sep 4, 2006
Messages
35,154
Reaction score
15,079
hey everyone! I am a long-time lurker and first-time poster. I just finished my secondaries and I'm waiting to hear back about interviews but I wanted to ask you guys' opinions on tearing up/crying during an interview. I find I really struggle to hold back tears when I talk about my love and passion for medicine (I know that seems cheesy but I'm not even joking). I have no idea why... I think because when I'm talking about it, especially during an interview, I am reflecting on how much I went through to get to where I am at that very second and its a mixture of relief and anxiety. Either way, it's a problem because I begin tearing up. I don't want to detach myself from what I am talking about to avoid crying because I won't sound genuine. At the same time, I don't want my interviewer to think I'm unstable. Idk what to do but I literally can't stop tearing up and I fear that during an interview, when the stakes are super high, I won't be able to hold back tears and I may just cry. I met with a doctor to write me a letter of recommendation and just talking to him about my experiences working with patients, I started tearing up. I didn't think he noticed but he sent me what he wrote for my letter of rec (even though I waived my right) and he mentioned that I teared up just talking about medicine and patients indicating my sincerity and passion, which is sweet, but I don't know if interviewers will feel the same way. Anyways, can anyone give me advice or has anyone gone through something similar? I literally don't know what to do
I have a limited amount of time to extract certain information from you, and it isn't in your best interests if I use it being empathetic and giving comfort.

Practice, practice, practice with different volunteer interviewers until you can maintain your control with this story. Don't waste your time and travel budget to make a poor showing.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 8 users

piii

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
May 21, 2013
Messages
2,125
Reaction score
4,799
I’d internally laugh tbh. Medicine is just an occupation you can be passionate about, not some spiritual journey and certainly not something I’d except almost any premed to really be passionate about.

-MS4
 
  • Like
Reactions: 7 users
D

deleted967981

I teared up in my interview when I was asked about a personal experience and how that led me to medicine. I had literally practiced that question a million times and never gotten emotional, so it hit me out of the blue and was not something I could control in the moment.

I quickly apologized, and my interviewers assured me that emotions are normal. It should be noted that this was a slight tearing up, not an emotional breakdown.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

Goro

Full Member
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2010
Messages
68,743
Reaction score
106,609
hey everyone! I am a long-time lurker and first-time poster. I just finished my secondaries and I'm waiting to hear back about interviews but I wanted to ask you guys' opinions on tearing up/crying during an interview. I find I really struggle to hold back tears when I talk about my love and passion for medicine (I know that seems cheesy but I'm not even joking). I have no idea why... I think because when I'm talking about it, especially during an interview, I am reflecting on how much I went through to get to where I am at that very second and its a mixture of relief and anxiety. Either way, it's a problem because I begin tearing up. I don't want to detach myself from what I am talking about to avoid crying because I won't sound genuine. At the same time, I don't want my interviewer to think I'm unstable. Idk what to do but I literally can't stop tearing up and I fear that during an interview, when the stakes are super high, I won't be able to hold back tears and I may just cry. I met with a doctor to write me a letter of recommendation and just talking to him about my experiences working with patients, I started tearing up. I didn't think he noticed but he sent me what he wrote for my letter of rec (even though I waived my right) and he mentioned that I teared up just talking about medicine and patients indicating my sincerity and passion, which is sweet, but I don't know if interviewers will feel the same way. Anyways, can anyone give me advice or has anyone gone through something similar? I literally don't know what to do
I can understand passion, but frankly, this is not normal. I can only recall 2-3 instances where someone cried in front of me at an interview, and they were discussing the loss of a loved one.

So frankly, tearing up about your passion for Medicine won't go over well with my Adcom. You can't afford to be emotional when you're dealing with an acting out psychotic, or trying to stauch a spurting artery in an MVA victim.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 7 users

Angus Avagadro

Full Member
Lifetime Donor
2+ Year Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2018
Messages
2,795
Reaction score
6,886
You will hear different thoughts about this. In my opinion, there are times when it's not inappropriate to tear up. Medicine is a very personal journey for many of us, and emotions are a natural part of the human experience.

Having said that, the danger is when this show of emotion prevents you from conveying your story, uses up precious interview time, and/or throws you off for subsequent questions / interview(s). I also would be concerned if someone started crying if they were simply talking about their love for medicine. Now, if you were talking about a particularly emotional period of your life and how that influenced your decision to pursue medicine, that would be a different story. As an example, an applicant last year teared up as they were talking about their parent's death; they recovered admirably and their brief show of emotion was certainly not held against them. But the severity of these events need to match the degree of emotion shown, otherwise it's just poorly controlled nerves (which do hurt applicants).

Regardless of whether this is from interview anxiety or raw emotion, I would recommend repeating and rehearsing different variations of your responses out loud until you can convey your story without tearing up. This will help remove some of the raw edge off of your words, and prevent your emotions from bubbling over during the actual interview.
Nicely said.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

shemer77

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2013
Messages
101
Reaction score
70
Tearing up unless its about a loved one seems awkward and/or inappropriate depending on the situation
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users
Members don't see this ad :)

Nugester

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2017
Messages
842
Reaction score
826
hey everyone! I am a long-time lurker and first-time poster. I just finished my secondaries and I'm waiting to hear back about interviews but I wanted to ask you guys' opinions on tearing up/crying during an interview. I find I really struggle to hold back tears when I talk about my love and passion for medicine (I know that seems cheesy but I'm not even joking). I have no idea why... I think because when I'm talking about it, especially during an interview, I am reflecting on how much I went through to get to where I am at that very second and its a mixture of relief and anxiety. Either way, it's a problem because I begin tearing up. I don't want to detach myself from what I am talking about to avoid crying because I won't sound genuine. At the same time, I don't want my interviewer to think I'm unstable. Idk what to do but I literally can't stop tearing up and I fear that during an interview, when the stakes are super high, I won't be able to hold back tears and I may just cry. I met with a doctor to write me a letter of recommendation and just talking to him about my experiences working with patients, I started tearing up. I didn't think he noticed but he sent me what he wrote for my letter of rec (even though I waived my right) and he mentioned that I teared up just talking about medicine and patients indicating my sincerity and passion, which is sweet, but I don't know if interviewers will feel the same way. Anyways, can anyone give me advice or has anyone gone through something similar? I literally don't know what to do
Don't do it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
9

907914

Crying a reasonable amount is A-OK for particularly emotional stories (dead parent, miscarriage, what have you) particularly if you have a sympathetic/empathetic interviewer.

Crying any amount because "muh passions" feels pretty extra.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

danaj48

Full Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2019
Messages
17
Reaction score
18
I can understand passion, but frankly, this is not normal. I can only recall 2-3 instances where someone cried in front of me at an interview, and they were discussing the loss of a loved one.

So frankly, tearing up about your passion for Medicine won't go over well with my Adcom. You can't afford to be emotional when you're dealing with an acting out psychotic, or trying to stauch a spurting artery in an MVA victim.

I should've clarified that my interest in medicine and love for it is deeply rooted in personal problems I had to overcome so when I am discussing how much I love medicine I'm also reflecting on my experiences that led to this career choice
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

danaj48

Full Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2019
Messages
17
Reaction score
18
You will hear different thoughts about this. In my opinion, there are times when it's not inappropriate to tear up. Medicine is a very personal journey for many of us, and emotions are a natural part of the human experience.

Having said that, the danger is when this show of emotion prevents you from conveying your story, uses up precious interview time, and/or throws you off for subsequent questions / interview(s). I also would be concerned if someone started crying if they were simply talking about their love for medicine. Now, if you were talking about a particularly emotional period of your life and how that influenced your decision to pursue medicine, that would be a different story. As an example, an applicant last year teared up as they were talking about their parent's death; they recovered admirably and their brief show of emotion was certainly not held against them. But the severity of these events need to match the degree of emotion shown, otherwise it's just poorly controlled nerves (which do hurt applicants).

Regardless of whether this is from interview anxiety or raw emotion, I would recommend repeating and rehearsing different variations of your responses out loud until you can convey your story without tearing up. This will help remove some of the raw edge off of your words, and prevent your emotions from bubbling over during the actual interview.

This was an incredibly helpful way of thinking about it thank you so much!! I will probably practice a lot because, while the tearing up doesn't waste time because I don't draw attention to it and I quickly recover, it still makes me embarrassed. Like I will tear up for 30 seconds and then be fine but I think it would be good to just control that. I tear up mostly I think from just reflecting on how much I've grown as a person. I went from feeling numb my whole life, distancing myself from others and being aloof to the complete opposite all due to the experiences I had in college, mainly working with patients. I guess I'm just still not used to myself this way and I have had so many heartfelt and deeply genuine moments with patients that literally changed my way of thinking. Idk how to explain it without it sounding cheesy but it literally changed so much about me and I've become more understanding and patient. I used to be so quick to think negatively about someone and get annoyed but now I always stop to think about what the person may be going through etc etc and I'm just proud of myself I guess because I never knew I would be where I am today. Thank you for helping me out and not making fun of me haha
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

danaj48

Full Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2019
Messages
17
Reaction score
18
I think it 100% depends on the situation and how you come across. I obviously wouldn't recommend fake crying, as that seems super shady, but that's also not what you're talking about. I think if it conveys sincerity, as your letter writer said, you will be fine.
I ended up waitlisted at the school where I cried during an interview, but it was also a situation where I was caught off guard by the questions. The secondary had asked about "time off" from school or work and I wrote about caring for an ailing parent. The interviewer started off by offering condolences (kind, but unexpected) and then really dug into what a terrible disease it was and whether I'd be comfortable talking about it in public (the beloved lecturer they used to have speak to student had succumbed recently). I got tearful and I think it was pretty clear I wasn't up to talking infront of a med school class. I don't blame the tears per se, but just a gentle reminder to students that anything that you send to schools is potentially fair game for questions. Be aware of your emotions at least and how you may be perceived expressing them.
Edits for many typos - maybe you can tell I'm a little tired.

Thank you for your thoughtful reply!!! I heard sometimes interviewers bring it up because they wanna see how you react under pressure or stress (I think it's called stress interviews) idk if your interviewer was doing that but the idea of stress interviews being an actual thing is so scary
 

danaj48

Full Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2019
Messages
17
Reaction score
18
I just wanted to say to everyone low key making fun of me, it really makes you super bad. When someone is opening up and being personal, seeking advice, the last thing you do is mock them. It worries me to think some of you may be doctors with those kinds of reactions. There will be so many times where a patient confides in you about something that may seem silly to you but actually hearing them rather than discounting them and judging them is what separates good doctors from mediocre ones. I hope that your character online is different from who you are in person.
 
  • Wow
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users

Moko

(super fluffy)
Staff member
Administrator
Volunteer Staff
5+ Year Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2015
Messages
2,130
Reaction score
9,518
I just wanted to say to everyone low key making fun of me, it really makes you super bad. When someone is opening up and being personal, seeking advice, the last thing you do is mock them. It worries me to think some of you may be doctors with those kinds of reactions. There will be so many times where a patient confides in you about something that may seem silly to you but actually hearing them rather than discounting them and judging them is what separates good doctors from mediocre ones. I hope that your character online is different from who you are in person.
I don't think any ill will was meant by the comments here, which imo were very benign by almost any standards. General advice I give to everyone: start developing some thick skin, otherwise medical training and practice will be a miserable experience. Consultants, patients, their families, nurses, etc all routinely make snide (and more rarely, overtly inflammatory) remarks. Gotta let the small things slide
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 9 users

danaj48

Full Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2019
Messages
17
Reaction score
18
I don't think any ill will was meant by the comments here, which imo were very benign by almost any standards. General advice I give to everyone: start developing some thick skin, otherwise medical training and practice will be a miserable experience. Consultants, patients, their families, nurses, etc all routinely make snide (and more rarely, overtly inflammatory) remarks. Gotta let the small things slide

While I 100% agree with what you are saying, the situation is different. It's one thing to make snide comments about a situation or someone but it is a completely different thing to make fun of someone when they are opening up. Someone can make fun of me for my work or having the wrong answer or doing the wrong thing but I actually think it's fairly unacceptable, especially for a doctor, to make fun of someone while they are being open with how they are feeling and genuinely seeking advice. Especially since this a situation where you don't have to respond to my post. It's not like this is a real-life conversation and you have to have some reaction to what I'm saying. It can be very slightly understandable to have a reaction that may seem insensitive in real life if you are thrown off by what is being said but when you are sitting and actually thinking about what to say and then typing it out, it's 100% unnecessary. I have a fairly logical view of things so to me I am kind of thinking "so what was the point to your comment? What did it accomplish? Did it add to the conversation and was it productive? Did you absolutely have to comment that? Are people better off having you said it?" I try to abide by those standards before participating in a conversation...a viewpoint I actually learned from my mentor as part of a volunteer medical program. Some of you could have easily just gone about your day but instead felt compelled to make negative comments in a situation that is already sensitive for the poster. I have a fairly thick skin but I guess I was disappointed to see the reactions on here considering that we are all pursuing the same career.
 
  • Wow
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

Dr panda

Wicked bun
2+ Year Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2018
Messages
721
Reaction score
1,378
While I 100% agree with what you are saying, the situation is different. It's one thing to make snide comments about a situation or someone but it is a completely different thing to make fun of someone when they are opening up. Someone can make fun of me for my work or having the wrong answer or doing the wrong thing but I actually think it's fairly unacceptable, especially for a doctor, to make fun of someone while they are being open with how they are feeling and genuinely seeking advice. Especially since this a situation where you don't have to respond to my post. It's not like this is a real-life conversation and you have to have some reaction to what I'm saying. It can be very slightly understandable to have a reaction that may seem insensitive in real life if you are thrown off by what is being said but when you are sitting and actually thinking about what to say and then typing it out, it's 100% unnecessary. I have a fairly logical view of things so to me I am kind of thinking "so what was the point to your comment? What did it accomplish? Did it add to the conversation and was it productive? Did you absolutely have to comment that? Are people better off having you said it?" I try to abide by those standards before participating in a conversation...a viewpoint I actually learned from my mentor as part of a volunteer medical program. Some of you could have easily just gone about your day but instead felt compelled to make negative comments in a situation that is already sensitive for the poster. I have a fairly thick skin but I guess I was disappointed to see the reactions on here considering that we are all pursuing the same career.
I would listen to mister Moko and try to develop some thick skin. Based on your posts I suspect you are somewhat emotional person, which is understandable because you are a human being, we all had terrible experiences, we all went through some **** in this life. But as a physician you should leave all your emotions, tears and fears behind the door, this sounds a bit lofty, but when you first time robe in white coat, you do make a commitment. You will have rude patients, you will be sued, you will be insulted, you might encounter aggressive patient who can (and possibly will) attack you, that is the price you pay for working with people and having the opportunity to make a difference in their lives. Don't take it personal, otherwise you will burn out. If it that easy to touch you through the online forum, I am afraid that in the real life it is even worse. Take it easy and just be above that.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 4 users

Select All That Apply

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2018
Messages
418
Reaction score
678
@danaj48 Kind of hard pressed to see which posts are making fun of you when I don't see any that exist. This is also the most serious and respectful post that I can type at the moment. I highly suggest that you view this thread over in its entirety and then reconsider your last two posts.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 7 users
D

deleted480308

While I 100% agree with what you are saying, the situation is different. It's one thing to make snide comments about a situation or someone but it is a completely different thing to make fun of someone when they are opening up. Someone can make fun of me for my work or having the wrong answer or doing the wrong thing but I actually think it's fairly unacceptable, especially for a doctor, to make fun of someone while they are being open with how they are feeling and genuinely seeking advice. Especially since this a situation where you don't have to respond to my post. It's not like this is a real-life conversation and you have to have some reaction to what I'm saying. It can be very slightly understandable to have a reaction that may seem insensitive in real life if you are thrown off by what is being said but when you are sitting and actually thinking about what to say and then typing it out, it's 100% unnecessary. I have a fairly logical view of things so to me I am kind of thinking "so what was the point to your comment? What did it accomplish? Did it add to the conversation and was it productive? Did you absolutely have to comment that? Are people better off having you said it?" I try to abide by those standards before participating in a conversation...a viewpoint I actually learned from my mentor as part of a volunteer medical program. Some of you could have easily just gone about your day but instead felt compelled to make negative comments in a situation that is already sensitive for the poster. I have a fairly thick skin but I guess I was disappointed to see the reactions on here considering that we are all pursuing the same career.
My advice was sincere and accurate. It stands and I mean it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users
D

deleted972488

OP,

I see where you're coming from. My passion for medicine also involves some very personal difficult experiences and sometimes I tear up or my voice cracks when I talk about it. As long as it doesn't get in the way of you portraying the information, I think it is fine.

I also don't think anyone here was really trying to make fun of you. They just may not fully understand your situation.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 6 users

AnMDtoB

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
290
Reaction score
505
It sounds like you just need to work on "keeping it together"

Here's a great book on that that you can probably pick up at your local library

Amazon product
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

penpenclown

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2015
Messages
157
Reaction score
369
Thick skin is 100% important for healthcare in general. I'm not particularly emotional and rarely cry, but as a CNA I was once berated by a patient so hard I went into the bathroom after the encounter and cried. That was neither the first nor the last time a patient (or nurse) was harsh to me. That's just as a CNA. Now imagine you're a physician, where your choices are life or death and you're the head of the team so a lot of anger will be directed towards you. Not to mention the harsh criticisms you'll get during training.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 4 users
Top