Inappropriate/Uncomfortable Interview...Should I formally complain.

SwankyLove

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Hi -

I interviewed at OHSU and I had a somewhat inappropriate interview moment. I dont really know all of the rules and perhaps, my interviewer was NOT inappropriate, I just felt uncomfortable.

Basically, her first question to me was where else I had interviewed and what I liked and disliked about their programs, cirriculum, locations, etc. I suppose this would be fine if this question was done in passing, but I tried to skirt the question politely like saying "oh I interviewed at a lot of places and really liked some of the schools programs". I skirted for maybe 3 other times she asked me and then she finally asked me to name names and tell her how many places I intervied at. All the while, writing down detailed notes of the 11 other places. When I finished I guess I only did 8 schools and she asked me about the other 3.

I just felt very uncomfortable, like being on a first date and his demanding of all the info on my exes, why it didnt work out, what I liked, what i didnt, and then him taking copious notes.

I dont know....Do you guys think I should formally complain. I got waitlisted but I dont know how much this interviewers opinion mattered or if her questioning about the schools had any part in the decision.

Also, I went on another interview and my student host told me that I probably should send in a letter cuz she may have given me a bad review and not stated why. And the school interogation may have been why.

Ok tell me what you think. :(
 

tesla123

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This seems like a touchy situation, did you meet anyone there at your interview that you could talk to about the situation? Perhaps you could call and speak to an admissions person about the ordeal and see their reaction- try not to name names and be really pleasant but state your concerns. You should also reaffirm your intent to attend that school (if that's where you want to go), it may lessen any impact your negative assessment of their interviewer may give (unintentionally). If they seem fine, than you may be able to put it into writing with no worries. Just my opinion...

Good luck :thumbup:
 

dopaminophile

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Probably your student interviewer's adivice is the best to follow because he/she knows the school and adcom better than anyone else.

I personally wouldn't complain though. I had one or two interviewers that pressed me on where else I applied. Indeed, it's uncomfortable and you can't help but think "how's this affecting my review?" However, they probably ask every interviewee that (or at least this interviewer does), which would negate any negative report on it. On the bad side, you still have a good shot at the school and you don't want to come across as a complainer. If it really bothered you, I would wait until the process is complete (i.e. you're either into the school or not for sure) and then send the letter. Don't expect to have a decision overturned though based on an uncomfortable interview.
 

SD Skunk

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i personally would not complain. actually, an uncomfortable interview can often be a blessing in disguise. it's pretty rare to get interviews like that. out of the 16+ people i interviewed with these past few months, i had two that were very uncomfortable. one of those was at yale, in which i was downright insulted. i was told that i was not going to get in, that i made very poor decisions about how i allocated my time during my summer and leave terms, that i should reconsider being a doctor, that i only got one of my internships because my dad had connections, that medicine was "immoral," that medicine is only satisfying when you find a cure, etc..., and i didn't get a chance to ask any questions. he basically insinuated a whole slew of things, and basically outright insulted me a few times. but in talking to some others, i learned that this dude has a reputation and probably means nothing by it. and i am almost positive it was just a test to see how i'd react to insults, adverse/challenging situations, if i'd stand up for myself, etc. i would not write the adcom, unless you really don't think you handled it well or you lost your cool. anyhow, i hope you get it worked out. best of luck.

p.s. i had a few interviews grill me on where i applied, where i got in, where i interviewed, etc. it was actually the first few questions on one of my interviews. best way to handle it is just be very straightforward, very honest, and always always ALWAYS keep in the forefront of your mind that this is a challenge to be surmounted. it's never a personal attack or something to get emotional to. just focus on overcoming the challenge, and you'll rock.

SwankyLove said:
Hi -

I interviewed at OHSU and I had a somewhat inappropriate interview moment. I dont really know all of the rules and perhaps, my interviewer was NOT inappropriate, I just felt uncomfortable.

Basically, her first question to me was where else I had interviewed and what I liked and disliked about their programs, cirriculum, locations, etc. I suppose this would be fine if this question was done in passing, but I tried to skirt the question politely like saying "oh I interviewed at a lot of places and really liked some of the schools programs". I skirted for maybe 3 other times she asked me and then she finally asked me to name names and tell her how many places I intervied at. All the while, writing down detailed notes of the 11 other places. When I finished I guess I only did 8 schools and she asked me about the other 3.

I just felt very uncomfortable, like being on a first date and his demanding of all the info on my exes, why it didnt work out, what I liked, what i didnt, and then him taking copious notes.

I dont know....Do you guys think I should formally complain. I got waitlisted but I dont know how much this interviewers opinion mattered or if her questioning about the schools had any part in the decision.

Also, I went on another interview and my student host told me that I probably should send in a letter cuz she may have given me a bad review and not stated why. And the school interogation may have been why.

Ok tell me what you think. :(
 

Larsitron

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Yeah, I wouldn't complain either. I mean, I think asking about your impressions of other schools is totally fair game. By the time you're interviewing at a school, they've already pretty much declared that you're academically qualified to go there. I think most questions about prior interview experiences/other places you've applied to are there to sort of check out why you liked certain places and why you didn't like others. This helps the interviewer figure out if you'd be a good match at the school and fit in with the institutional culture. I know its uncomfortable, but I don't think its inappropriate.
 

heech

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I think I have to agree... not sure what the big deal is in the line of questioning that the interviewer posed. It's not really her responsibility to make you comfortable; she's paid (in this case) to find out if you're a good choice for OHSU... for whatever reason, she believes she'll learn more about you as a candidate by asking you about your other interviews. I don't think I share that perspective, but I don't see that as being unfair or inappropriate either.
 

liverotcod

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I can see why it made you uncomfortable. But I have never understood the objection to this line of questioning. They're trying to see if you would be a good fit for their school. It's absolutely relevant where else you have applied and what you liked about those schools.

If you answer this openly, then you have earned the right to ask the equivalent questions: how do your programs compare to schools A, B, and C? What are the characteristics of successful students at this school?
 

Scarletbegonias

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hmm... I wonder what the interviewer's motive in asking you that is, especially if it was the major focus point that the interviewer made it. Personally, I would try to get around answering those questions too. After all, there are other things that reflect you and your qualifications for attending their medical school than to what other schools you applied. I don't really think the question is relevant or really fair because of the assumptions about you that might come about. A better way to get at whether you are really interested in the school for its qualifications (in other words, "whether or not you would be a good fit for the school" is to ask you what makes you interested in their school. I don't know whether I would complain or not, that's definately a tough question. I would wait to see how the application process fairs and then to complain after you know where you are going, etc.
 

opinionkitten

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did you say you had 11 interviews?! i say dont sweat this in light of the fact that youve got plenty of schools in play.

from my understanding its against the rules for them to ask about where else youve been, if this really steams you call the adcom people. two places ive been have discussed what to do if your interviewer is mean or inapropriate or whatnot, and it all starts with bringing it up to the interview coordinator/adcom person.

if you are unsure, i say this whole episode falls well with in the expected lameness one would expect to encounter in 12 interviews somewhere or another, just take it in stride. there are enough horror stories and stories of people getting in after godawful interviews to make it unclear if this will negatively affect your chances at this school. i had a less pleasant experience than the one you describe at a school i got accepted to. i doubt this will be the difference between a decision going your way or not.
 

Bigsheed920

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If you have already gotten into a school u like......just let it be water under the bridge.....like Al Pacino said in Donnie Brasco...."Faget 'bout it"
 

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I wouldn't complain either; it seems like this is fairly routine questions. They want to ascertain how what you are looking for in a med school and therefore if you are a good fit for them. i won't say it never crosses their minds where they think you'll go if accepted to all the places you interviewed at, and that is wrong but you can never know for sure why they are asking you. I suppose if it really bothered you you could have nicely asked why they wanted to know. it should not be your entire interview but I don't think it's out of line.
 

leechy

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I have to gently disagree with some of the other posters (except Scarlet). This line of questioning IS potentially harmful, because depending on your answer, the interviewer might assume, "Oh, he's already gotten all these interviews near his home... it's unlikely he'd come here if he got in" or "Oh, he's already interviewed at these higher ranked schools... why would he still come here?" And schools do base admissions partly on what they perceive to be your likelihood of coming there if accepted.

I've been asked many invasive questions on interviews - not only where else I interviewed, but also my age, political orientation, family background, living conditions, etc. In each instance, I answered the question frankly. In retrospect, I think this may have been a bad idea. As innocuous and casual as a personal question during an interview may seem, it is ultimately used to make a judgment about you. And interviewers are only human; they have their unconscious biases.

Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot you can do. If you have courage and presence of mind, you could politely refuse to answer the question right then and there during the interview. I could never bring myself to do this, because I thought that might offend the interviewer and cast a cold aura of formality on what was previously a friendly, normal-seeming conversation. And after the fact, telling the school is risky, because it might make you look like a legalistic complainer (however justified your complaint may be). I've never heard of an adcom revoking their decision, probably because that would set a bad precedent. So unfortunately, I'd say send in an update letter about your recent accomplishments and leave it at that.

When I'm a med school student, I'm going to press for a more standardized style of interviewing to eliminate some of the inherent unfairness of the interview process.
 

Kazema

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I'm with leechy. I've been asked this question a couple times and I answered it honestly and directly, but sometimes I wonder if that will be used against me. I know that if I ever become a student interviewer I will never ask those types of questions because there really is no good way to answer them unless you know in advance whether your particular interviewer won't mind it if you state that you'd rather not answer. Because even if you try to evade the question they can always just ask it even more directly, and if you just flat out refuse to answer, stating that it's your right not to disclose that information, different interviewers may take that different ways. Some might respect you for standing up for your rights, others may get annoyed with you for not answering their question.

It's just generally an awkward situation for an interviewee I think, especially since there's already a lot of pressure to perform well and impress the interviewer. The last thing most people want to do is to challenge the legality of an interviewer's questions. And maybe that's even what the interviewer is looking for, to see how you react. You never can tell with these kinds of questions, which I think is rather unfair.
 

liverotcod

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leechy said:
I have to gently disagree with some of the other posters (except Scarlet).
Kazema, leechy, I see your points. In particular, I agree that questions about age, marital status, religious beliefs, etc. are inappropriate. These are, in fact, illegal to ask in a job interview setting, although I don't know that that holds true for a med school interview.

But I've never seen anything anywhere that would suggest that asking about where else you have interviewed is in any way illegal or even immoral. To be sure many of us don't want to talk about it, for the reasons you have mentioned. And certainly some schools interview guidelines prohibit these questions. But I don't think we as interviewees have much in the way of rights regarding questions about other schools. They have, in my opinion, a legitimate desire to know what their competition is. We may desire to conceal it as a negotiating position, of course.
 

Scarletbegonias

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I haven't been in this situation before, but if you are willing and/or able to refuse to disclose your application to other schools info at an interview you could politely say, "I'd rather talk about things that reflect my qualifications for your school because...." then you could add something about how you really like their school and your reasons why you like and why you applied there. Although I know it is much easier said than done.
 

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its just her way of checking whether you can keep your cool and calm in tense circumstances

a lot of interviewers do this just to see how you react

its normal
 

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liverotcod said:
Kazema, leechy, I see your points. In particular, I agree that questions about age, marital status, religious beliefs, etc. are inappropriate. These are, in fact, illegal to ask in a job interview setting, although I don't know that that holds true for a med school interview.

But I've never seen anything anywhere that would suggest that asking about where else you have interviewed is in any way illegal or even immoral. To be sure many of us don't want to talk about it, for the reasons you have mentioned. And certainly some schools interview guidelines prohibit these questions. But I don't think we as interviewees have much in the way of rights regarding questions about other schools. They have, in my opinion, a legitimate desire to know what their competition is. We may desire to conceal it as a negotiating position, of course.
I've got to agree with Livertocod, there are lots of areas that interviewers are not supposed to tread into, but asking where else you are looking really isn't one of them. I suspect the interviewer wanted to see if you would actually be interested in going to his school, and it was your job to allay his fears and sell him on why you would prefer to go there. I thus wouldn't write any follow-up letter about it.
 

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The first time I applied to OHSU I had a horrible interview with an interviewer that took place in the library building (BICC)... sound familiar? In my case she did not like the fact that I had decided to take a MSc degree instead of a PhD. It was an aggressive, unpleasant interview. I did not get accepted I think because of that interview. The next year my interviews went fine. I did not interact with the same person though. All's well that ends well, I am graduating from OHSU this June 1st and going into internal medicine.

I didn't complain at the time. Although everytime I see that woman on campus I wish I had. At this point I would say don't make waves. But if you get accepted someplace, I would say go for it.
 

UCLAstudent

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I agree with leechy. The problem is not that she asked you where you have interviewed; I've gotten that question at nearly every interview. I do think that it is odd that she continued prodding you after you already talked about a few of the schools. Maybe you should not have said that you had 11 interviews and instead just described two or three places where you interviewed. I'm sorry that this happened to you, though! Don't sweat it about the OHSU waitlist ... recall that OHSU waitlists tons of people initially and then pulls them off the list come April (heck, I was waitlisted).
 

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Yes, a weird situation....but I agree that its prob best if you wait until afterwards to talk to someone about it, or write a letter to someone, perhaps the dean of admissions, about the ordeal. Good luck with everything though, you seem pretty well off with that many interviews!
 

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ummm... he just wanted to know what schools you were interested in... i never quite understood why people consider such information so 'personal'... sheesh.
 

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I too hated my first OHSU interviewer. The school has interviews where the committe is not supposed to know your stats/gpa. Mine are perfectly fine and above ohsu's average yet I haven't been fortunate with getting interviews at schools I wanted to interview at during this app process. So my interviewer asked me what schools I have interviewed at/and that I still had to interview at. I could tell he was trying to size up my stats from the schools that I have interviewed at and if he had asked, I would have told him since they are above his schools averages. I told him the schools I was interviewing at and since he was a UPENN grad, he was less than impressed which kinda sucked for me. Also, when I told him I was interviewing at USC (I live in so cal), he basically took that as meaning that there was no way in the world I would go to OHSU if I got into USC. Even though my second faculty interviewer was great, this guy must have written such a negative review of me that I didnt even get waitlisted by OHSU. So, I'm naturally mad since I though OHSU was a terrific school and in a beautiful city. Oh yes...he also made me wait while he read my app in front of me. I feel like complaining to OHSU but I dont know now since I got into my top choice school..but argg, some frustration is bottled up in me since except for this guy, the school/city were a great place.
 
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SwankyLove

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lakersfan said:
I too hated my first OHSU interviewer. The school has interviews where the committe is not supposed to know your stats/gpa. Mine are perfectly fine and above ohsu's average yet I haven't been fortunate with getting interviews at schools I wanted to interview at during this app process. So my interviewer asked me what schools I have interviewed at/and that I still had to interview at. I could tell he was trying to size up my stats from the schools that I have interviewed at and if he had asked, I would have told him since they are above his schools averages. I told him the schools I was interviewing at and since he was a UPENN grad, he was less than impressed which kinda sucked for me. Also, when I told him I was interviewing at USC (I live in so cal), he basically took that as meaning that there was no way in the world I would go to OHSU if I got into USC. Even though my second faculty interviewer was great, this guy must have written such a negative review of me that I didnt even get waitlisted by OHSU. So, I'm naturally mad since I though OHSU was a terrific school and in a beautiful city. Oh yes...he also made me wait while he read my app in front of me. I feel like complaining to OHSU but I dont know now since I got into my top choice school..but argg, some frustration is bottled up in me since except for this guy, the school/city were a great place.
hey ok for u, i really think u should complain. since u got into ur first choice. better word than complain is inform. someone told me that OHSU should know whats going on for their sake. other bad interviews mite scare away applicants that they want to attend their school. i guess for you, you could do them a favor by letting them know of ur bad experience and let them know that this may deter people from their school. since ur already rejected (sorry :() and got into ur first choice u have nothing to lose. u can also let them know that another student (me) also had a similar experience and applicants DO talk.

:oops:
 

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SwankyLove said:
Hi -

I interviewed at OHSU and I had a somewhat inappropriate interview moment. I dont really know all of the rules and perhaps, my interviewer was NOT inappropriate, I just felt uncomfortable.

Ok tell me what you think. :(
Interesting. This seems to be a pattern with OHSU. I also had a lousy interview at OHSU, as did a fellow interviewee I spoke with at UCI. Both of our interviewers were insulting. My sweet little fellow interviewee said she had lost her temper and talked back a little. I did not complain and my rejection followed shortly.

Unfortunately I do have experience bringing up bad interviews with the admissions office. Last week I had an unbelievably inappropriate, insulting. and cruel interviewer. He made some insinuations about my ability to go into a certain field (ortho) because I am female, bashed former profs in his department, told me my research has given me such "bad habits" that it would be better if I'd never done any research at all, bashed MD/PhDs as poorly qualified to do research, and so on......After some soul searching I brought the issue up with the admissions office. They were very grateful for my honesty and he will never have the opportunity to torture another interviewee. I have to admit, though, that I have now crossed that school off my list.

BTY, later in the interview process this line of questioning becomes more common. The only place that didn't ask me this question is Harvard and well, they probably aren't worried about their acceptees going elsewhere. Every interviewer at UCI asked me this question. I had good reasons for interest in UCI and they let me in anyways.