Goro’s guide to interviews

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Goro

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Pull up a chair and grad a cold one.

Interview season is here! Finally, here’s your chance to strut your stuff and show people why they should let you into their medical school. We take admissions interviews very seriously. Getting an invite means that we think you are academically prepared for medical school, and you meet the minimum demands of the profession's humanistic side by your numerous ECs.

The good news is that by getting an interview, you’ve survived a huge cut. Most interviewees represent 10-20% of the total applicant pool. And, at many places, just by setting foot on campus, you’re going to be accepted. But do NOT be complacent! People can and do bomb the interview.

Here’s some advice from experience gained over a decade of interviewing.

First, know the format. Some are 1 on 1, some are 2 on 1 or more. The interviewers may have your file, parts of your file, or be completely ignorant of what’s in your file. You may be also interviewed in a group of fellow potential students (which is how it’s done at my school). Your interviewers will most likely be faculty, with or without medical students on the panel, perhaps a layperson from the community, or a clinician not on the faculty.

You can get an idea of what the format is like, and the types of questions you’ll be asked by reading the Interview Questions section for the schools in SDN's Interview Feedback section: (http://schools.studentdoctor.net/schools/?view=medical).

For starters, here’s what you need to carry into the interview room:
-People skills.

-Being able to speak understandable English.

-Demonstrate that you know what you're getting into.

-Be familiar with the school. You’ll have to come up with a better answer to “why here?” than just “you invited me” or “I couldn’t get into (#1 choice school here).”

-Be yourself!

Be confident. Be poised.

-Know what's in your file.

-Listen carefully. I will ding interviewees severely if I ask them X and they answer Y. Here’s one example: sometimes I ask people what their hometown is. They interpret this as an opportunity to tell me their life story, when the question really was "so, Jack/Jill, where are you from?"

Be prepared to get stressed. Some people are sweetie pies, and some are hard-asses (like me). We deliberately rattle you to see how you handle stress. But there’s a difference between being probing, and being unprofessional.

Now, I'm sure someone is going to chime in that "yeah, but interviews are stressful", as if that’s going to excuse a poor performance. No doubt they are, but so is tying off a spurting artery on a MVA victim, or dealing with an acting-out psychotic patient. Thus, with all the people we interview for our limited number of seats, the seats go to those who display grace under pressure. Panic is not an option for a doctor; clear-headed thinking is.

Do not lie. We have your app in front of you (most of the time). We’re pretty good at catching liars. For example, Medicine can be a small community sometimes, and so your interviewer may actually know the person you shadowed.

If you’ve done research, you can very well expect to be asked about it. You should have an understanding of what you did, how you did it, what you found (if anything) and why you did it. If you were merely a tech following orders, and never engaged in any independent thinking, don’t pretend that you did.

Gravitas counts. Faculty and students don’t merely look at you as a potential student, but as a potential colleague. I try to image the interviewee wearing the white coat. I want to be comfortable with the idea of this person touching patients. I have a clinical colleague with a more earthy criteria: “would you want this person to do a prostate exam on your dad?”

Do NOT be arrogant. People who think that they're God's gift to Medicine do not go into Medicine.

We know the interview tricks, so please don’t try to digress the question from X into what great team player you are or how prepared you are. You’re more likely to get smacked back to the center.

If you’re in a group interview, pay attention when other people are speaking.

After the interview is over, don’t get your hopes up just because the interviewer is being polite. We're specifically told not to give any tip-offs that might give false hope. Any one interviewer’s comments could also be worthless, because the AdCom as a whole, or the Dean might overrule that interviewer.

Here are some things that get people rejected immediately:
Being unprofessional for any reason. This would include addressing a faculty member by their first name, or being rude to staff. The Admissions Office staff aren't there to hang up your coat or run to Starbucks for you. Another is chewing gum during the interview. If you have a dry mouth, suck on a lozenge instead. Even worse: Not taking the interview seriously, like showing up poorly dressed. This is suit and tie time (and nice dress/outfit/suit for the ladies). You're going into character. Yes, if the airline loses your luggage, we understand that.


Not making eye contact is also a no-no (yes I'm aware that in some cultures, one does not look elders in the eye, but this is the USA and you need to look people in the eye here).

Any hints of immaturity will be lethal for your chances. We expect you to be thoughtful and self-aware.

Would you admit the gal who, when asked a hypothetical, "What would you do in this situation?" answers, "Oh, that wouldn't happen."

Showing that you're greedy.

Showing any hint of entitlement. This includes the “I was accepted to XSOM, so what are you going to do for me?” The answer will be “Good luck and have fun at X.

Being clueless as to why you're choosing Medicine as a career.

Doing this because your mom/dad wants you to be a doctor (or don't think you can be doctor). Completely lacking people skills (4.0 automatons are a dime a dozen, really).

Showing that you're more interested in research than Medicine. This might be OK at Stanford, but it won’t fly at most other schools.

Still being the hyper-gunner...I rejected a 4.0 gal who wanted to answer the questions I asked of another person in the interview panel. I don't want to admit someone who will be in my office whining about how they got a 95 on an exam and deserved a 96.

Having a flat affect. This might be due to medication, or a mental or personality disorder. You ever meet someone who could never crack a smile? I don't want someone like that touching patients.

Copping an attitude. I asked a woman why she didn't have any volunteer experience. She replied that she was too busy working. Fair enough, some people have lives, but she copped an attitude while delivering this, and I just wrote down "reject".

Coming in with scripted answers and being unable to deviate from said script.

Being ill-prepared for fairly common interview questions (e.g. Why this school? Why Medicine?)

Thinking that always circling back to your accomplishments and how great you are impresses us.

Making excuses for misdeeds. We had rejected someone once who had some fairly benign misdemeanors, but chose to blame it on the policemen who gave him the tickets.

Being too shy or nervous.

Don’t do show and tell. I don’t want you pulling out a binder with your resume or portfolio. Let your application speak for you.

Being a babbling idiot. These are those people who can't answer a question concisely. I've sure you've met people like this...why bother using one word when ten will do? I suspect that these people are thinking for an answer while they're speaking, so the mouth is going while the brain tries to come up with something.

It’s OK to gather your thoughts, but it’s not OK to blank out. This group includes the people who do something like this (and I am NOT making this up!): goro: So tell me about this thing you did in Honduras? Interviewee: Well, we went there for a mission trip and...what was the question? goro: (thinking: reject!)
Or the guy who, when asked "How does your hobby relate to the practice of Medicine?", and can't even say "It doesn't", and definitely can't even BS an answer, but sits there in a coma?

During the interview day:
You’re interviewing the school as much as they’re interviewing you. You’re potentially going to give $250K+ and four years of your life to this place, so be sure to ask them questions especially to the students there, such as “why did you come here? Why didn't you go to the other schools you interviewed at? What are the best things? What are the worst things?” Ask this of Faculty too!

AFTER the interview:
This is where we, the Adcom comes in. We meet and go over the candidates. For >75% of you, you're in. The other 25% we talk about. Many of you will have passionate advocates. We look over and discuss anything problematic, like a low sGPA, or how you were a tad shy or nervous. If you're a borderline candidate, this is where a great set of LORs or essay may save you.

Unless the school specifically welcomes LOI or updates, your work is done. If you're waitlisted, don't pester them, lest you be seen as someone who can't follow simple directions, or feel so entitled that the rules don't apply to you. People do get off wait lists, but one more LOR, or having just gotten new job at the hospital isn't likely to convince the Dean of Admissions to move you up.

EDIT: And please, don't think you're God's gift to Medicine, and start wondering one month into the cycle as to why the schools haven't fallen all over themselves sending you secondaries or IIs. You're competing with 7000-15000 other applicants. Give the Admissions staff time to wade through the pile to get to your app. Start worrying if you haven't heard anything by Thanksgiving.


And always have a Plan B.

And good luck! I hope to meet some of you.

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This is amazing! Thanks for all your contributions to SDN, Goro!
 
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Thank you Goro!
 
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Really helpful. Thank you so much, Goro!
 
Goro the advice listed here is absolutely on-point. Thank you for taking the time to put this together and for doing it in a manner that we can all digest!
 
Thank you Goro!

Something I've wondered..is it a bad idea to speak of your former self in a bad light?

For instance, I'm a non-trad. My early college performance (2002-2004) wasn't so hot. If I were asked a question along the lines of, why go back to school to pursue medicine now, or some variation of that....would it be ill-advised to talk about how I simply wasn't mature, committed, etc. when I was an undergrad, but time/experiences have changed that blah blah blah..
 
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Thanks Goro!


2 questions:

1. Is it ok to bring a water bottle into the interview room to avoid dry mouth?

2. Do hand written thank you cards ever come off as brown nosing?
 
75% of interviewees are in? Clarification por favor? Do you mean to say, of those who are ultimately admitted, are in without discussion, and 25% of those are also ultimately admitted go under some sort of more intense scrutiny. @Goro
 
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Very nice post! It's always nice to know what your interviewer may be thinking. Well done!
 
Re: Always have a Plan B...
Absolutely a good thing to do in day-to-day life, but career-wise, I don't have a Plan B. When I choose to aim for something, I put everything towards it. If, later, the cost of continuing to pursue medicine becomes too high, either financially, chronologically, or personally, I will reevaluate and find a new goal. Then that will become Plan A and I will pursue it 100%. I see no reason to have multiple capital-P Plans simultaneously.
 
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At my school, I'd say ~75% of the people we interview (~500), we accept for >100 seats. Approximately half of those go elsewhere. It's a black art how our wily old Admissions Dean manages to get the right number of people into the seats we have without overbooking. I have no idea how he does it.

Other schools might be more stringent, but I don't have the accepts/matriculants numbers for other schools. All I can say is that at, say, Columbia, they interview ~1000 people for 168 seats. So I guess they accept about ~300-350.

Maybe the sage @gyngyn and @LizzyM can let us know how it is at their schools???

75% of interviewees are in? Clarification por favor? Do you mean to say, of those who are ultimately admitted, are in without discussion, and 25% of those are also ultimately admitted go under some sort of more intense scrutiny.

Sure. I was a ***** when I was 18-22. I cringe at what my former self was. I sure would let that goro date my daughter, that's for sure. We understand that the you of now is not the you of then.


Something I've wondered..is it a bad idea to speak of your former self in a bad light?
For instance, I'm a non-trad. My early college performance (2002-2004) wasn't so hot. If I were asked a question along the lines of, why go back to school to pursue medicine now, or some variation of that....would it be ill-advised to talk about how I simply wasn't mature, committed, etc. when I was an undergrad, but time/experiences have changed that blah blah blah..


Yes. FYI, at my school, supply bottled water. Thank you cards come off as being polite. Mostly they're ignored.


2 questions:
1. Is it ok to bring a water bottle into the interview room to avoid dry mouth?
2. Do hand written thank you cards ever come off as brown nosing?[/QUOTE]

Suppose you go through the app cycle and don't get a single interview? What will you do? Suppose you get shut out of three consecutive cycles? Then what will you do? A seat in medical school is not guaranteed for you, not matter what's in your packet, save a six figure donation check.

Re: Always have a Plan B...
Absolutely a good thing to do in day-to-day life, but career-wise, I don't have a Plan B. When I choose to aim for something, I put everything towards it. If, later, the cost of continuing to pursue medicine becomes too high, either financially, chronologically, or personally, I will reevaluate and find a new goal. Then that will become Plan A and I will pursue it 100%. I see no reason to have multiple captial-P Plans simultaneously.
 
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Pull up a chair and grad a cold one.
-Listen carefully. I will ding interviewees severely if I ask them X and they answer Y. Here’s one example: sometimes I ask people what their hometown is. They interpret this as an opportunity to tell me their life story, when the question really was "so, Jack/Jill, where are you from?"

I think many good interviewers engage the interviewer and add more substance to their responses than only the minimal answer required. How boring would it be if the interviewer just responded with the name of their hometown? I think, to a reasonable extent, elaborating on questions and briefly alluding to relevant stories isn't necessarily a bad thing. Of course one shouldn't respond with their ENTIRE life story... With that being said, the nature of your interviewer is pretty random (some might be very sensitive and others not) and makes admissions unpredictable even if you play all your cards right.

We know the interview tricks, so please don’t try to digress the question from X into what great team player you are or how prepared you are. You’re more likely to get smacked back to the center.

Once again, I think it isn't necessarily a bad thing to elaborate on what you learned. If asked "tell me about playing sport X", then, in my opinion, good interviewees will respond to the question but also go one step further and talk about some valuable lessons they may have learned. Obviously, this is not to say that interviewees should say "Oh by the way, it showed me that I'm awesome at being a team player." Even digressing slightly may be okay in certain scenarios (maybe playing sport X led to a critical turning point in part Y of your life).
 
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Thanks Goro! Can anybody help when a applicant should start to get nervous about a lack of interviews? I have a friend ;) who had a lot of fun 10 yrs ago in undergrad (scraped by just north of 3.1 cum and science GPA and 26 MCAT) - on the other hand has awesome LORs from DO, 2 MDs, and 3 Professors. Has been in Biz Dev in Biotech for the last 8 years and has awesome ECs. So when should this friend start getting nervous?
 
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Quick question. What is an acceptable amount of time to gather my thoughts if a question stumps me? Is anything longer than a few seconds too long?
 
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Suppose you go through the app cycle and don't get a single interview? What will you do? Suppose you get shut out of three consecutive cycles? Then what will you do? A seat in medical school is not guaranteed for you, not matter what's in your packet, save a six figure donation check.

Re: Always have a Plan B...
Absolutely a good thing to do in day-to-day life, but career-wise, I don't have a Plan B. When I choose to aim for something, I put everything towards it. If, later, the cost of continuing to pursue medicine becomes too high, either financially, chronologically, or personally, I will reevaluate and find a new goal. Then that will become Plan A and I will pursue it 100%. I see no reason to have multiple captial-P Plans simultaneously.
Oh, I have no illusions about garnering a spot in any given admissions cycle. I have multiple plans for how to achieve my goal, (which is what I was trying to get at with the day-to-day life bit) but I don't have multiple goals. If asked directly, I will certainly answer the hypothetical 'what would you do if you could never do anything healthcare related' question, but I would not consider my answer to be a career Plan B, because I don't plan to do it. I do, in fact have a plan for if my first app cycle fails and if my second, revised app cycle fails. I don't yet have a solid plan for if the third one fails. However, none of those are a plan to find a passion for something else. You don't plan for passion. I didn't plan to become interested in medicine; it just happened, organically, during a completely different phase of my life and with little warning. And I will not pursue something that I don't have that drive for.

I am not naïve enough to think that there is only one career I could be passionate about and happy doing. However, I am also not naïve enough to think that finding a real passion is easy to do, or something you can force to happen. So I don't have a plan for it, because I can only make plans for what to do with the interest and motivations I currently have.
 
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Even expressing the idea that you can consider other options is a positive one. It's up to you deal the realities. You at least would get the positive nod from me, but I have interviewed and rejected people who say "I'll keep on applying until I get in" because these people mistake determination for competence, and are, frankly, immature about it.


Oh, I have no illusions about garnering a spot in any given admissions cycle. I have multiple plans for how to achieve my goal, (which is what I was trying to get at with the day-to-day life bit) but I don't have multiple goals. If asked directly, I will certainly answer the hypothetical 'what would you do if you could never do anything healthcare related' question, but I would not consider my answer to be a career Plan B, because I don't plan to do it. I do, in fact have a plan for if my first app cycle fails and if my second, revised app cycle fails. I don't yet have a solid plan for if the third one fails. However, none of those are a plan to find a passion for something else. You don't plan for passion. I didn't plan to become interested in medicine; it just happened, organically, during a completely different phase of my life and with little warning. And I will not pursue something that I don't have that drive for.

I am not naïve enough to think that there is only one career I could be passionate about and happy doing. However, I am also not naïve enough to think that finding a real passion is easy to do, or something you can force to happen. So I don't have a plan for it, because I can only make plans for what to do with the interest and motivations I currently have.


March would probably be the time to start thinking about the next app cycle for DO schools, but I'd say Nov/Dec for MD schools.

Can anybody help when a applicant should start to get nervous about a lack of interviews? I have a friend ;) who had a lot of fun 10 yrs ago in undergrad (scraped by just north of 3.1 cum and science GPA and 26 MCAT) - on the other hand has awesome LORs from DO, 2 MDs, and 3 Professors. Has been in Biz Dev in Biotech for the last 8 years and has awesome ECs. So when should this friend start getting nervous?


I don't have a stopwatch when I do this...so I'd guess that >5-10 seconds would be the limit. you know, sometimes "I haven't a clue" is NOT a bad answer!
Quick question. What is an acceptable amount of time to gather my thoughts if a question stumps me? Is anything longer than a few seconds too long?




 
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At my school, I'd say ~75% of the people we interview (~500), we accept for >100 seats. Approximately half of those go elsewhere. It's a black art how our wily old Admissions Dean manages to get the right number of people into the seats we have without overbooking. I have no idea how he does it.

Other schools might be more stringent, but I don't have the accepts/matriculants numbers for other schools. All I can say is that at, say, Columbia, they interview ~1000 people for 168 seats. So I guess they accept about ~300-350.

Maybe the sage @gyngyn and @LizzyM can let us know how it is at their schools???

We need to make 3 to 3.5 offers to fill 1 seat. We are chasing after the cream of the crop and the typical applicant we admit has six offers or something like that.
 
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What is the best way to prepare for interviews? I'll definitely review my application and PS, and will have questions ready for my schools. I have a few mock interviews scheduled and have been youtubing videos like crazy, but is there something else I should do?
 
We need to make 3 to 3.5 offers to fill 1 seat. We are chasing after the cream of the crop and the typical applicant we admit has six offers or something like that.
Do you have anything to add off the top of your head Lizzy? Thanks!
 
Yesssssssssss. ** Bookmarks for the hundreds of interviews I'm anticipating this year **
 
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At my school, I'd say ~75% of the people we interview (~500), we accept for >100 seats. Approximately half of those go elsewhere. It's a black art how our wily old Admissions Dean manages to get the right number of people into the seats we have without overbooking. I have no idea how he does it.

Other schools might be more stringent, but I don't have the accepts/matriculants numbers for other schools. All I can say is that at, say, Columbia, they interview ~1000 people for 168 seats. So I guess they accept about ~300-350.

Maybe the sage @gyngyn and @LizzyM can let us know how it is at their schools???

75% of interviewees are in? Clarification por favor? Do you mean to say, of those who are ultimately admitted, are in without discussion, and 25% of those are also ultimately admitted go under some sort of more intense scrutiny.

Sure. I was a ***** when I was 18-22. I cringe at what my former self was. I sure would let that goro date my daughter, that's for sure. We understand that the you of now is not the you of then.


Something I've wondered..is it a bad idea to speak of your former self in a bad light?
For instance, I'm a non-trad. My early college performance (2002-2004) wasn't so hot. If I were asked a question along the lines of, why go back to school to pursue medicine now, or some variation of that....would it be ill-advised to talk about how I simply wasn't mature, committed, etc. when I was an undergrad, but time/experiences have changed that blah blah blah..


Yes. FYI, at my school, supply bottled water. Thank you cards come off as being polite. Mostly they're ignored.


2 questions:
1. Is it ok to bring a water bottle into the interview room to avoid dry mouth?
2. Do hand written thank you cards ever come off as brown nosing?

Suppose you go through the app cycle and don't get a single interview? What will you do? Suppose you get shut out of three consecutive cycles? Then what will you do? A seat in medical school is not guaranteed for you, not matter what's in your packet, save a six figure donation check.

Re: Always have a Plan B...
Absolutely a good thing to do in day-to-day life, but career-wise, I don't have a Plan B. When I choose to aim for something, I put everything towards it. If, later, the cost of continuing to pursue medicine becomes too high, either financially, chronologically, or personally, I will reevaluate and find a new goal. Then that will become Plan A and I will pursue it 100%. I see no reason to have multiple captial-P Plans simultaneously.
[/QUOTE]

Fix your typo about dating ur daughter. Its annoying me. Thanks haha.
 
At my school, I'd say ~75% of the people we interview (~500), we accept for >100 seats. Approximately half of those go elsewhere. It's a black art how our wily old Admissions Dean manages to get the right number of people into the seats we have without overbooking. I have no idea how he does it.

Other schools might be more stringent, but I don't have the accepts/matriculants numbers for other schools. All I can say is that at, say, Columbia, they interview ~1000 people for 168 seats. So I guess they accept about ~300-350.

Maybe the sage @gyngyn and @LizzyM can let us know how it is at their schools???

75% of interviewees are in? Clarification por favor? Do you mean to say, of those who are ultimately admitted, are in without discussion, and 25% of those are also ultimately admitted go under some sort of more intense scrutiny.

Sure. I was a ***** when I was 18-22. I cringe at what my former self was. I sure would let that goro date my daughter, that's for sure. We understand that the you of now is not the you of then.


Something I've wondered..is it a bad idea to speak of your former self in a bad light?
For instance, I'm a non-trad. My early college performance (2002-2004) wasn't so hot. If I were asked a question along the lines of, why go back to school to pursue medicine now, or some variation of that....would it be ill-advised to talk about how I simply wasn't mature, committed, etc. when I was an undergrad, but time/experiences have changed that blah blah blah..


Yes. FYI, at my school, supply bottled water. Thank you cards come off as being polite. Mostly they're ignored.


2 questions:
1. Is it ok to bring a water bottle into the interview room to avoid dry mouth?
2. Do hand written thank you cards ever come off as brown nosing?


We accept about 3 to get 1. Almost all of them have multiple accepts.
 
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Is there anything in particular I should take with me to the interview? Resume and things of that nature?
 
I was asked in an interview (for a volunteer surgical internship) about something new in science that I thought was interesting. I said "hmm.." and couldn't think of anything to say, after a few seconds of silence, they said something like "we can come back to that..." and we moved on. At the end I gave them an answer, but I didn't end up getting the position. I think it was a bad interview for me overall (every question was something like "what would you do if you won 10,000 dollars?" or "what would you do if a waiter brought out your steak well done when you ordered it rare.." which I just couldn't answer in any decent manner, I was expecting things like "what kind of surgical specialty are you interested in?") but that 5 seconds of silence really slammed the door shut.

What could I have said, "I can't think of anything, can we move on and maybe I can answer it later?"
 
Thanks Goro! I saved your guide for my Plan B interviews too.
 
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Great stuff here! Extremely helpful
 
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Lots of helpful information here. Thanks Goro!
 
We need to make 3 to 3.5 offers to fill 1 seat. We are chasing after the cream of the crop and the typical applicant we admit has six offers or something like that.

I believe we have a similar ratio, though I'm not sure of the actual numbers. A lot of our applicants are also understandably applying to other top schools and have multiple acceptances to pick from at the end of the day.
 
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Thank you so much! It helps tremendously to have an idea what interviewers are looking for and what to avoid.
 
Didn't know that being invited to an interview was being seriously considered. I thought "qualified applicants" referred to all the applicants that had the minimum requirements. Guess I was closer than I thought when I was invited last year to one interview.
 
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Thanks for doing this @Goro . One question I have is what is a good length to shoot for when responding to those few expected questions like "tell me about yourself" "why medicine" "why this school" etc. Are you just looking for a 30 sec blurb? Will you get bored if I go for 2-3 mins?
 
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Didn't know that being invited to an interview was being seriously considered. I thought "qualified applicants" referred to all the applicants that had the minimum requirements. Guess I was closer than I thought when I was invited last year to one interview.

You're not wrong either. My state school has a point system to get an interview. As long as you make it past the bare minimum, you get an interview. All that matters is how you are assessed by the committee at the end.

This is more of a school dependent thing.
 
Awesome stuff, Goro. Thanks for posting this, I appreciate it!
 
This is a terrific post!

Due to recent events, I have a comment about the part about how to address people during an interview - again this is intended as a commentary NOT a challenge:

This discussion takes place in 2014 as the transgender equal rights movement is well underway yet still in it's early stages. Changes in societal tradition are underway and have partially taken place*. In some workplaces, and during some interviews, it is considered to be politically correct to call interviewers, ADCOMs, bosses, your company's CEO, etc. by their first names and/or to ask how a person likes to be addressed. For example, sometimes people ask, "How would you like me to address you? Do you prefer to be called by your first name or Mr./Mrs.?" This is because, labeling a person as Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss. without being aware of their gender identity may involve making an assumption about gender that may or may not be accurate or offensive to them. (I believe that I come from an area of the country and from an occupation where these changes are much further along. However, they are spreading into the medical field quickly.)


*Examples of change (lots of very recent change):

"Out" people are speaking and being heard (What/Who is Transgender - scroll down): http://www.transpeoplespeak.org/ http://www.masstpc.org/media-center/transgender-101/ (Or if you just google transgender celebrity, a bunch of examples will pop right up. In the past, this was NOT the case.)

Insurance companies are covering, and no longer excluding, coverage for transgender and intersex people (as often): http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/finding-insurance-for-transgender-related-healthcare

What is intersex, how common is it (some people born this way choose to identify as non-male/female): http://www.isna.org/faq/frequency

Equal rights laws are passing: http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/blogs/bostonspirit/2012/07/massachusetts_transgender_equa.html (Employers are following suit by changing their policies, educating employees, promoting tolerance, etc.)

Public officials are changing medicine: http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/20...er-patients/a9OPrvqdUPmRoiAQugVwEO/story.html
 
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Gauss, this is completely irrelevant. Maybe you got post confused with the "schools looking for LGBT students thread"??

Your interviewers are going to be, for the most part, PhDs and/or MDs/DOs. Their gender is completely irrelevant. This is a professional setting and you act accordingly. You're not interviewing for a job...it's a career that starts at a professional school. The person you're talking to is not yet your peer.

And our Admissions Deans and staff aren't *****s, they have, at least at my school, placards or name tags for the interviewees. So if Jane comes in, and her tag says Jane, even though she started life as a John, I call her Jane.

I'm worried about you, Gauss. Have you taken the MCAT yet? Watch out for the VR section, especially reading comprehension and critical thinking.



This is a terrific post!

Due to recent events, I have a comment about the part about how to address people during an interview - again this is intended as a commentary NOT a challenge:

This discussion takes place in 2014 as the transgender equal rights movement is well underway yet still in it's early stages. Changes in societal tradition are underway and have partially taken place*. In some workplaces, and during some interviews, it is considered to be politically correct to call interviewers, ADCOMs, bosses, your company's CEO, etc. by their first names and/or to ask how a person likes to be addressed. For example, sometimes people ask, "How would you like me to address you? Do you prefer to be called by your first name or Mr./Mrs.?" This is because, labeling a person as Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss. without being aware of their gender identity may involve making an assumption about gender that may or may not be accurate or offensive to them. (I believe that I come from an area of the country and from an occupation where these changes are much further along. However, they are spreading into the medical field quickly.)


*Examples of change (lots of very recent change):

"Out" people are speaking and being heard (What/Who is Transgender - scroll down): http://www.transpeoplespeak.org/ http://www.masstpc.org/media-center/transgender-101/ (Or if you just google transgender celebrity, a bunch of examples will pop right up. In the past, this was NOT the case.)

Insurance companies are covering, and no longer excluding, coverage for transgender and intersex people (as often): http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/finding-insurance-for-transgender-related-healthcare

What is intersex, how common is it (some people born this way choose to identify as non-male/female): http://www.isna.org/faq/frequency

Equal rights laws are passing: http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/blogs/bostonspirit/2012/07/massachusetts_transgender_equa.html (Employers are following suit by changing their policies, educating employees, promoting tolerance, etc.)

Public officials are changing medicine: http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/20...er-patients/a9OPrvqdUPmRoiAQugVwEO/story.html
 
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This is a terrific post!

Due to recent events, I have a comment about the part about how to address people during an interview - again this is intended as a commentary NOT a challenge:

This discussion takes place in 2014 as the transgender equal rights movement is well underway yet still in it's early stages. Changes in societal tradition are underway and have partially taken place*. In some workplaces, and during some interviews, it is considered to be politically correct to call interviewers, ADCOMs, bosses, your company's CEO, etc. by their first names and/or to ask how a person likes to be addressed. For example, sometimes people ask, "How would you like me to address you? Do you prefer to be called by your first name or Mr./Mrs.?" This is because, labeling a person as Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss. without being aware of their gender identity may involve making an assumption about gender that may or may not be accurate or offensive to them. (I believe that I come from an area of the country and from an occupation where these changes are much further along. However, they are spreading into the medical field quickly.)


*Examples of change (lots of very recent change):

"Out" people are speaking and being heard (What/Who is Transgender - scroll down): http://www.transpeoplespeak.org/ http://www.masstpc.org/media-center/transgender-101/ (Or if you just google transgender celebrity, a bunch of examples will pop right up. In the past, this was NOT the case.)

Insurance companies are covering, and no longer excluding, coverage for transgender and intersex people (as often): http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/finding-insurance-for-transgender-related-healthcare

What is intersex, how common is it (some people born this way choose to identify as non-male/female): http://www.isna.org/faq/frequency

Equal rights laws are passing: http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/blogs/bostonspirit/2012/07/massachusetts_transgender_equa.html (Employers are following suit by changing their policies, educating employees, promoting tolerance, etc.)

Public officials are changing medicine: http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/20...er-patients/a9OPrvqdUPmRoiAQugVwEO/story.html
That just seems unnecessary for most interactions, and certainly irrelevant to the valuable points which Goro was kind enough to put forth for us here.
There is no need to get angry or defensive if someone simply uses the wrong pronoun when there was no malice intended, regardless of whether you are cis, trans, straight, or anything in between or beyond. The interview is supposed to be about how you will contribute to the school, reflect well on them professionally, and make a great doctor, not whether you have a gender-neutral name and you cut your hair a little short this time...making it about that would not help you to demonstrate your fit or your capabilities. The majority of pronoun selection can be done automatically without injecting an entire, new ritual into the situation and perhaps detouring the interview from where it should go, and if people are gracious about correcting and accepting mistakes, the few cases where initial impressions are wrong also do not have to become an issue.

Obviously it's different if you specifically request to be called 'she' and they blatantly, repeatedly refuse to comply (though I would still say act professionally throughout and then note the inappropriate behavior later), but for the most part, recognize that mistakes happen, misunderstandings happen, and everyone can still move past this and have a good interview day. And again, this thread is not about those hypothetical outlier cases with a disrespectful interviewer.
 
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Being unprofessional for any reason. An example is addressing a faculty member by their first name.

Is this bad enough to get you automatically rejected? I had an MMI style interview in which the interviewers were wearing name tags that did not have any salutations. I greeted all interviewers by the first name on their name tags - even the two MDs who interviewed me :(
 
Is this bad enough to get you automatically rejected? I had an MMI style interview in which the interviewers were wearing name tags that did not have any salutations. I greeted all interviewers by the first name on their name tags - even the two MDs who interviewed me :(

They wouldn't be wearing name tags with something they wouldn't want you to call them by.
 
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im very happy to know people are rejected for immaturity and not being professional even if everything else is fine.
 
I feel like I would actually like to be interviewed by Goro :D
 
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im very happy to know people are rejected for immaturity and not being professional even if everything else is fine.

I'm going to assume this is sarcastic (if not, apologies for disagreeing). I think people should be rejected for immaturity, as the path of medicine requires quite a bit of maturity. If people are not mature yet, they should wait on med school for a little bit. From the adcoms perspective, immaturity carries more risk, as they might not have the determination etc to push through medical school and beyond during the tough times. Moreover, if immaturity comes off in the interview, it might also come off when interacting with patients, which is one of the most important duties of a doctor (and a problem that many young doctors face just by their appearance... if they are emotionally immature, it might damage their relationship with older patients).

However, I do agree with you about the professionalism aspect. One could argue that professionalism is important as you are trying to go to a professional school, and I definitely see the merit in that. I don't think that should lead to an auto-reject, which seems excessive to me. Yes, perhaps one mark of many, and maybe it should even count against the applicant. An auto-reject from a breach of etiquette does strike me as harsh, especially since all applicants don't go on SDN, so they might not know the customs.

Edit: I also wanted to emphasize that I found the guide to be quite helpful. Thanks for the many invaluable contributions @Goro
 
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I was being truthful.
 
Gauss, this is completely irrelevant. Maybe you got post confused with the "schools looking for LGBT students thread"??

And our Admissions Deans and staff aren't *****s, they have, at least at my school, placards or name tags for the interviewees. So if Jane comes in, and her tag says Jane, even though she started life as a John, I call her Jane.

I'm worried about you, Gauss. Have you taken the MCAT yet? Watch out for the VR section, especially reading comprehension and critical thinking.

Apparently, they have a sense of humor too. I laughed out loud. Great response.
 
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I feel like I would actually like to be interviewed by Goro :D

I had a dream once where I was interviewed by Goro.

I was so nervous in the dream that it didn't dawn on me it was Goro. This is despite being interviewed by a black cat and being asked indirectly about things I've told him privately here, but are not on my application. Near the end of the interview, it dawned on me who it was, then I woke up. Never did find out if I was accepted to his school. ;-)
 
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