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How to answer interview questions?

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by rosemma, May 2, 2007.

  1. rosemma

    rosemma MSU CVM c/o 2012

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    I know that everyone says you should answer honestly to questions in an interview because people can tell if you are lying. I don't think I would have a problem with coming up with most answers other than, "Why do you want to come to vet school here?" Of course for some schools I could answer truthfully and there would be no problem, but for others, if I were to answer truthfully, I would have to say:

    Because the tuition was cheaper and I don't want to be in debt forever
    It seemed like one of the easier ones to get in out of state
    I really like this location and I don't want to be too far from home

    So, how do you answer?

    Also, we have to prepare for interviews, obviously. How should I exactly do this? I feel like I have been thinking about questions and answers 24 hours a day. At this point, I can't even sleep anymore. Do I need to read up on common problems in different animals? I just have no idea what I am supposed to know. Where can I learn about more?
     
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  3. cyrille104

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    Whoa, whoa, let's just relax for a month or 6 before worrying about this :p
     
  4. rosemma

    rosemma MSU CVM c/o 2012

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    Sorry, I was doing a lot of vet stuff today and I just like to be ahead of schedule on stuff. I figured I would rather do a little preparation each day then try to cram it all into a week before each interview (if I get any).
     
  5. sofficat

    sofficat AU CVM c/o 11

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    first recommendation- RELAX!!! interviews are so the people can meet you, talk to you and get to know YOU. Yes you should prepare/practice for you interviews, but don't obsess about it.
    second- be honest, but be honest in a way that makes them like you :) research the school, find out what you like about it, then if they ask you something about why you want to attend- tell them, just don't tell them all the reasons (ex- you're a cheap school). also, telling them you like their location isn't a bad thing. you want to be close to your family, you like the city/country location, etc.
    third- like i said before, do some research so you know something about the school, it's history, etc. that way, when answering questions, you can throw in facts about the school and sound all smart n stuff
    fourth- prepare questions ahead of time. people like to hear themselves talk, and it's no different with you interviewers. plus, it sounds like you have come prepared and may even be weighing your options, like you are so great all cvm want you so you need to hear why this particular school is better than the all the others you were accepted to :) ok, so maybe not that cocky, but you get the idea.

    ok- if i think of anything else, i'll let you know. good luck- and again... relax!!!
     
  6. QTkitty

    QTkitty CSU PVM class of 2011

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    Yea I think you need to relax for a little while... you don't want to over think your answers anyway. I only ended up interviewing at KSU but before then I was able to find a ton of questions by google-ing "veterinary interview questions" or something along those lines. For your worry about how to answer the "why here" question, you don't have to tell the schools that they're your top choice and you're just dying to go there or anything. I think they get that too many times anyway and know they're being told what people think they want to hear. When I was asked at KSU I definitely had my top choices but told them (honestly) that I wasn't sure where I wanted to go yet as I hadn't visited all of the campuses and still had some research to do but that I was greatly impressed with what I had seen at their school. Make sure to tell them the good things about their school that made you want to apply. I think you can be honest without saying "well, X school is my top choice but if they don't accept me your school will do as well". (I was accepted at KSU).
     
  7. ri23

    ri23 OSU CVM Class of 2011

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    I agree with Cyrille. Interviews won't come around until December (and those are usually the earliest ones). Don't start worrying about interviews until you are finished with your VMCAS (and then you should really take a little time off from worrying!). If you start thinking of all of these things now you are going to drive yourself absolutely crazy.
     
  8. sofficat

    sofficat AU CVM c/o 11

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    i was asked what i do for fun. a doc of mine was asked what her favorite color was and why, and what her fav sports team and why. like i said before, they just want to get to know you.
    my hardest ques was about animal testing... how i felt about using animals to practice on in vet school and then euthanizing, and where i think we should get the animals from, and how i would feel if i knew they raised the animals for that purpose. everytime i answered the question they threw a 'well where do you think.... well how would you feel....' I think they just wanted to try to keep me on my toes and keep me talking to see how i handled the stress.
     
  9. chris03333

    chris03333 Veterinarian

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    Ditto...but I would actually say don't worry about interviews until you actually get an interview invitation:idea:

    Because depending on where you go to interview, the interview style will differ drastically, so no point prepping until you know whom you are prepping for:thumbup:
     
  10. zygote

    zygote Class of 2011

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    I would also agree that there is plenty of time to prepare, focus on your applications and there is still plenty of time for the interview. One thing I would recommend is that don't worry too much about medical questions, worry more about the personal questions like strengths/weakneses and things you've learned from your experiences becuase these are likely to come up, while medical questions can be random and they can't expect you to know everything.
     
  11. PdxYOSHI

    PdxYOSHI Oregon State 2011

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    Seems like lots of schools have gone to the behavioral/personality type of interviews where there are virtually no technical questions. Concentrate on what your personal strengths are, ex. how you handle stress, conflicts with co-workers, or ethical situations such as animal safety violations. Lots of schools even have example interview questions on their websites. And ditto to what everyone else said about relaxing!! You may not even need to interview. I was accepted at my state school without interviewing :) so you might be freaking out over nothing.
     
  12. twosoakers

    twosoakers Addict & Western U '11

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    you can research behavior-based interview questions--most ask how you would perform in a particular situation. that's how i prepared. google it.
     
  13. AuburnPreVet

    AuburnPreVet AU CVM Class of 2011

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    Prepare answers that fit you, for all of the commonly asked questions you can find online, etc... You need to get yourself to the point where people can ask you random (off the wall) questions, and you can spit something half way decent out easily. When prep'n I had people ask me random interview questions - at random times - to see what I could spit out off the top of my head. I think it really helped out, since I did get a few "odd" questions asked.

    Have a few points that YOU want to make sure you explain to them. Even though they are asking the questions, you can have a somewhat hidden agenda of things you'd like to bring up. Questions like "tell me about yourself" for example, are a GREAT place to make yourself shine.

    I got several "what do you do to relax/have fun" etc questions - which can be the hardest (for me). Honestly though, if you don't let yourself get frazzled it really isn't that hard to let them get to know you, and make yourself shine a bit.

    Last but not least: I was talking to a friend (just the other day) who didn't get in this application cycle - and she was saying that she bombed her interview at AU. For example, they asked if she had done anything "unique" and she asked "what do you consider unique" etc. Don't over think the questions, just come up with something, organize it, and express it to them. Make eye contact, smile, and be sure to give each interviewer a firm handshake as you enter/exit the interview room. And, rotate your eye contact so that each interview gets some direct eye contact time. In my AU interview, probably 70% of the questions were asked by one adcom member (who sat in the middle)... :luck:
     
  14. Sassygirl

    Sassygirl OSU CVM Class of 2011

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    Dude; chill. If you start freaking out in May you're going to have a bleeding ulcer by fall.
     
  15. AngiePants

    AngiePants ISU VetMed 2011

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    Wholeheartedly agree that you should relax. Think about how you would answer the usual questions that each school will ask (there's a list of typical questions somewhere on another thread) but I wouldn't script anything out. You want to be able to remember your answers so come up with a trigger for each question. If you try to script anything and you forget it during the interview you're going to panic and then everything is lost at that point. I would definitely google responses to typical behavioral type questions just to get a feel of how you should answer (STAR approach is what I was advised to use). And if you're still anxious this early you can always do a few mock interviews (maybe start with friends first then work you're way up to strangers). I don't know if your school has a career resource center that will do mock interviews for you, I would look into that as well. Good luck to you.
     
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  17. InfiniVet

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    To answer the question "Why this school?," without being tacky, you do about 20 mins of googling their staff names and facilities.

    You say:

    Because I admire Dr. ____ 's responsible example of contributing back to the community by running the free/spay neuter days this school holds once a month.

    I've had my share of bad teachers, but this school has 3 senior lecturers, Dr. X Dr. Y and Dr. Z, that repeatedly win teaching awards and I'm really looking forward to being exposed to this standard of quality education.

    or

    Since my true passion lies in equine medicine, I simply can't imagine myself anywhere else - especially because you guys have that new _____ machine, I'm excited to learn how to use that. <-- easier to use this one AFTER the tour.


    Good luck!
     
  18. Angelo84

    Angelo84 Tufts Class of 2011

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    Worry about getting VMCAS filled out and submitted first. Several schools do not interview at all ( the ones I know are Iowa and Cornell) but in any case interviews are not in the near future and most are in February not December. Schools don't get you VMCAS until half way through october so it takes some time for them to get to interview time. As far as how to answer why here? Look though the schools website and find a few things that you like about the school. Also for questions that specific schools ask there is an interview portion of this site that has what various people have been asked. I would look that over once you have been offered an interview or some time in January as some schools do not give you much notice for the interview (ohio especially I was notified on Friday for an interview on Wednesday). The hardest questions I were asked were how would three of your friends describe you? and what accomplishment are you most pround of to date?

    Good luck and take a break!
     
  19. rosemma

    rosemma MSU CVM c/o 2012

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    First off, thanks to all of you that replied. Those were some thoughtful answers and helpful too.

    Secondly, I think my posts must have come off WAY more stressed sounding than I actually am. I don't really feel stressed at all. I just decided to take a day and go over stuff for the application because I am totally done with school now. I was looking at different schools to try to figure out where I want to apply - which is what made me think of when they ask me just that - why I applied. I am not stressed out in the least and I most likely won't do anything for a very long time.

    Also, I know my state school interviews people before December and (not to sound cocky) I really don't have any idea why I wouldn't get an interview there. So, I just want to make sure I am prepared and get these questions out of the way now before I have a week to go and am rushing around. I don't have a lot of free time. I won't have a free week. I work 50 hours / week plus have volunteer stuff to do. This means I have to organize my time WAY ahead of time just to fit stuff in.

    Lastly, I had one more question - what do you think (besides visiting the school) is the best way to get to know the school and its strengths and weaknesses? Also, did everyone really visit all the schools they applied to ahead of time? I don't really have the money to do that.

    Thanks again for all the responses - I really appreciate it!
     
  20. ri23

    ri23 OSU CVM Class of 2011

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    Are you from Michigan?
     
  21. InfiniVet

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    No its not practical to visit each school and yeah, you won't truly ever know lol. It also depends on what field you are interested in. You can certainly talk to students/staff, but its subjective opinion. Can look at rankings too, if you like, but they don't seem to hold much water.

    Just make your most concerted effort to research the area & local culture, look up admissions info, financial stuff, and any facilities that stand out. Is the school noted for specializing in any particular area? Minnesota has the reputation for being the end-all say-all of Llama medicine. Who knew? lol

    If I were interested in being a racetrack veterinarian, I'd know the major racing states are CA and FL, regardless of the school's academic strengths - I'd have primo access to track medicine experience. Then I'd logically apply to Florida, knowing that although California Davis is a fantastic school, I'd probably have no chance of getting in with my GPA, and Florida is cheaper. :laugh:
     
  22. ckitten

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    as far as honesty answering the "why here" question goes, I basically told them just that it was a good school, was not too expensive, was in a good location--all the "bad" answers--and admitted that a different school was my dream school but that I wasn't accepted there. And I still got in.

    As far as picking schools, I applied to two based on location and expense and one that had a really good reputation in my interest area.
     
  23. VelcroSky

    VelcroSky U of MN Class of 2012

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    Or I have found that one simple response seems to be appropriate for just about any question. That response being 'yogurt', of course.
     
  24. animalallergy

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    i had two really hard questions. one was "what do you think about making horse into produce?" (!?!?!?!?) and the other i knew they were going to ask was "what kind of books do you like to read?" i knew they would ask me that because i knew they would ask what i like to do in my spare time to relax, and i like to read. I was reading this really good, "intellectual" book for once (i usually read harry potter and trash) so before the interview i was going to answer with that book. they asked me, i went blank, so after a loooooong pause i said "i'm sorry, i like harry potter" and they laughed and started chatting to me about harry potter. i got in so, oh well...
     
  25. ZoeyBay

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    haha i did the same thing, i had some smarty-pants classical book i had been reading, but all i could come up with was "I like to read Harry Potter."

    they gave me the same reaction - chuckled at me and then we chatted about it for a bit. i got in as well, so i guess Harry and the gang have pulled through for a couple of us now. :)
     
  26. wildfocus

    wildfocus DVM/PhD student

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    :laugh:

    what do you like to read? yogurt
    the hardest moment of your life? well i gotta say my yogurt period.
    have you been involved in triage? during the yogurt crisis, yes.
    what is the most serious issue facing vet med? the influx of yogurt.
    what is your greatest fear? yogurt, of course!

    ps - i love hp too (even though my literature snob of an so makes fun)!
     
  27. VelcroSky

    VelcroSky U of MN Class of 2012

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    Oh man, now I have to start reading the Harry Potter books. A friend of mine once told me that HP was a great way to pick up women. He said whenever he read them on the train women would start talking to him about it. Now you're telling me it will get me into vet school too?
     
  28. Pennymare

    Pennymare Ohio State Class of 2011

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    Hmm, the magical influences of Harry Potter! :biglove:

    And although I agree that it's early to worry about interviews, I would add: Remember that you can take a few moments to think before you answer! They appreciate thoughtful responses---not robotic, fast ones. My strategy for my interview was to pretend it was a 'normal' conversation...I asked questions throughout (when relevant and if I had thought of a good point).

    I agree that folks should try to prepare and remember a final question---behaviorally, it might make you look a bit better. However, it's not the end of the world if you can't think of one....just try to be friendly :)
     
  29. seaturtlegirl

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    I agree with everyone's advice here. Just be yourself, and try not to be nervous! Answer honestly - don't worry if you're not totally sure to the answer of a question. They don't expect you to know everything! And remember - your interviewers probably went through the same thing themselves! :)

    All of my interview experiences were great except one. The people were sooo nice, and understanding. Remember, they KNOW you are going to be nervous! Try not to worry, be familiar with your own life experiences and how you handled them. Know basic stuff - vaccines, current issues - avain flu, mad cow, horse slaughter, basic treatments required for companion animals and when they are usually done - eg, dentistry. Know your personal standpoint on ethical issues, and stick to them, whatever they are.

    Interestingly, at Mississippi, I was asked what I would do if I caught a classmate cheating...only to find out later that their poilcy is if you don't turn someone in, you can get kicked out yourself! Good thing I answered that one the right way!

    Don't worry too much yet! You'll be fine! :thumbup:
     
  30. texlaevis

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    I would even venture to say that the only stuff you really need to know is what's in YOUR APPLICATION. If you've never worked with horses they won't expect you to know about horse vaccines... but if you put in your application that you have extensive clinical experience with horses they might.

    Maybe it was just the schools I applied to, but I was only asked ONE veterinary "technical"/clinical question in any of the three-- and it was about swine/ethics. I have never touched a pig before in my life (except my neighbor's potbelly) so I just told them I'd need to be more familiar with the species/do some research before answering. It made for a somewhat awkward moment as they stared at me and waited for me to give them something more, but I wasn't going to bullshlt my way through an interview. I got in-- so either they liked that I'd admitted I didn't know, or the technical questions weren't important enough in their mind to decide whether I'd get in or not.
     
  31. mkata

    mkata Cornell CVM 2011

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    If you are from Michigan, you could get an interview in mid-october at the earliest. They gave me a week to prepare and get a suit! It was a little stressful, but quite do-able.
     
  32. InfiniVet

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