Do interviewers ever ask about content in letters of recommendation (LOE)?

p0gono

2+ Year Member
Jul 24, 2015
589
473
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Are details recounted by letter writers ever brought up during an interview? I know my application well, but I could see this being a wildcard.
 
Last edited:

Spector1

Orbis non Sufficit
5+ Year Member
Jun 29, 2011
1,808
1,907
Status
Pre-Medical
I dont think so.... unless there was some discrepancy between what you said you did (on a project, research, etc) and what they (your letter writer) said you did.
 
  • Like
Reactions: p0gono

GrapesofRath

2+ Year Member
May 5, 2015
5,320
3,803
Status
Non-Student
LORs by their definition are supposed to be confidential. The option of you seeing the content of your letter is entirely within the power of the person writing it; no medical school would ever hold it against you if the professor writing the letter didn't show you what they wrote.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Goro

phuynh94

5+ Year Member
Mar 27, 2013
626
1,068
Lavender Town
Status
Medical Student
You're technically not supposed to know what your writer said about you, so I can't imagine what kind of question you'd get. Maybe just a side comment like "strong (or weak) letters," but likely not even that.
 
OP
p0gono

p0gono

2+ Year Member
Jul 24, 2015
589
473
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Hmm, yeah I know they are confidential. I was thinking more along the lines of a letter that contains a story of some kind, and having an interviewer ask for your perspective on it (similar to how they might for events you bring up in your essays). It seems unlikely but possible, unless there is an unwritten rule against it.


Edit: a story involving you
 
Jul 3, 2015
10
4
My interviewer read a couple of segments from my LoR and asked me to explain why it said I had "poor interpersonal skills".

In retrospect I'm really grateful because the person who wrote that spontaneously offered to write me one for this cycle too.
 
  • Like
Reactions: p0gono

PugsAndHugs

5+ Year Member
Oct 7, 2014
427
608
Status
Medical Student
My interviewer read a couple of segments from my LoR and asked me to explain why it said I had "poor interpersonal skills".

In retrospect I'm really grateful because the person who wrote that spontaneously offered to write me one for this cycle too.
Why use their letter if they have negative things to say about you?
 

Strudel19

5+ Year Member
Jul 14, 2011
511
189
Status
Pre-Medical
I would imagine so that he knows to definitely not use their letter. Wouldn't that be something to know someone wrote you a bad letter?
 

gonnif

Only 389 Days Until Next Presidential Election
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2009
20,477
31,156
The Big Bad Apple
Status
Non-Student
If one of your letter writers brings up something, such as the negative mentioned above, or goes on in about a positive skillset that you didnt mention (ie always seemed to help others in class), the interviewer certainly may want to inquire and get your take on it. It is perfectly legitimate.
 
  • Like
Reactions: p0gono

avgn

Lv 30, HP 85
2+ Year Member
Jul 21, 2015
1,813
1,762
Blackthorn City
bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net
Status
Medical Student
My interviewer read a couple of segments from my LoR and asked me to explain why it said I had "poor interpersonal skills".

In retrospect I'm really grateful because the person who wrote that spontaneously offered to write me one for this cycle too.
I hope you understand that this is somewhat of a fatal flaw in your mission to become a physician and that besides hiding it from admissions committees, you're taking steps to understand why you came across this way and how to fix it. Poor interpersonal skills make poor physicians. Fact.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Goro

steelersfan1243

5+ Year Member
May 9, 2013
435
561
Status
Pre-Medical
I hope you understand that this is somewhat of a fatal flaw in your mission to become a physician and that besides hiding it from admissions committees, you're taking steps to understand why you came across this way and how to fix it. Poor interpersonal skills make poor physicians. Fact.
Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.
 

Scarlet Spider

Irredeemable
Feb 14, 2015
42
44
Third Coast
Status
Medical Student
Are details recounted by letter writers ever brought up during an interview? I know my application well, but I could see this being a wildcard.
They were brought up in some of my interviews (usually making generic positive comments about the letters), but I did have one interview where I had a lengthy discussion about the contents of one of the letters.
 
  • Like
Reactions: p0gono
OP
p0gono

p0gono

2+ Year Member
Jul 24, 2015
589
473
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
They were brought up in some of my interviews (usually making generic positive comments about the letters), but I did have one interview where I had a lengthy discussion about the contents of one of the letters.
Interesting. Was it fact-based or more about your perspective?

I ask mostly because a letter writer shared her letter with me after she submitted it and she told a story that I remember somewhat differently. I don't think it will matter for that case, but it has me curious what could come up elsewhere.
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
53,605
78,823
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
Because the writers have the subjects sign off on seeing the contents, they have the right to expect med schools not to reveal the contents to the subjects of the LORs. if we blebbed out their contents, then the writers would no longer write, or no longer write for candidates to particular schools.

So, at my school, our wily old Admissions dean tells us specifically do NOT directly discuss LOR contest with an interviewee, or disclose the name of a writer.

If we see something in a LOR that concerns us, like, say, A candidate is not a good team player, then we have questions prepared on this subject. It's never, ever, Dr Jones says that you're not a good team player....."

Are details recounted by letter writers ever brought up during an interview? I know my application well, but I could see this being a wildcard.
 
  • Like
Reactions: gyngyn

Scarlet Spider

Irredeemable
Feb 14, 2015
42
44
Third Coast
Status
Medical Student
Interesting. Was it fact-based or more about your perspective?

I ask mostly because a letter writer shared her letter with me after she submitted it and she told a story that I remember somewhat differently. I don't think it will matter for that case, but it has me curious what could come up elsewhere.
The whole thing basically revolved around comments about my social skills.
 
OP
p0gono

p0gono

2+ Year Member
Jul 24, 2015
589
473
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
The whole thing basically revolved around comments about my social skills.
Well that certainly sounds awkward for anyone, with or without good social skills.

You'd think the interviewer could have thought of a more graceful way to evaluate that aspect of you. (I wouldn't be surprised if they were lacking in that area, too.)
 

StudyLater

2+ Year Member
Jan 4, 2015
1,993
1,252
Status
Pre-Medical
Well that certainly sounds awkward for anyone, with or without good social skills.

You'd think the interviewer could have thought of a more graceful way to evaluate that aspect of you. (I wouldn't be surprised if they were lacking in that area, too.)
Well, idk about anyone else, but I personally hate when someone is smarter than me. Therefore, I usually have to think of some way to peg them as inferior. Social skills -- weapon of choice.

I also never consider that they just sincerely don't want to talk to me.

Anyone who doesn't talk to me like I like has Aspergers. Fact.