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Interview blunders

Discussion in 'Pre-Pharmacy' started by chibipinkbunny, Feb 18, 2007.

  1. chibipinkbunny

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    At the risk of sounding like an idiot I thought I'd share a few of my interview blunders. I was at the UCSF interview the other day and when the interviewer asked where I lived in relation to another city I couldn't tell him.:( I come from a really small town and I guess I just never bothered to look at my location on a map. When he saw that I commuted home 2.5 hours every week to work, he asked me what road I took to get home, I told him I'd been doing it for so long that I just did it. I felt like such an idiot afterwards! Also, I didn't really ask any questions afterwards. It's not that I'm not interested in the school, I asked a few questions in the general information session, so why would I reask them? In addition to this I would do just about anything to go to UCSF, so what more do I need to know? How important is it to ask questions, and did I totally screw myself over here? Then at the UCSD interview I had a hard time telling them how I could handle the rigors of a tough courseload. I mean I wasn't going to tell them that I pull all-nighters a lot because I'm studying so much. I did tell them that I do a lot of time saving measures like studying while I walk or ride the bus, but maybe they thought I was lying. It is true, but perhaps it sounds a little odd ^_^' Ha, ha, well it's over. Guess I'll improve on these things next time around. . .
     
  2. gaba101

    gaba101 Doctor
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    I don't know about the parts where you could not answer questions about your relative location...but I do know that unless my interviewee had a spectacular interview with me, I took into consideration the fact that they didn't really ask ME any questions when I wrote their interview evaluation. I mean, it's the last hting that happens before the interview ends and I write the eval. Of the few people I interviewed, the best one I had was one where she just shined in her interview before the "do you have any questions for me?" part and then followed that interview with just simple (but not stupid--i.e. can be found on the school's website) questions. Hope you did not get me as your interviewer :) When were your interviews and what time?
     
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  3. OP
    OP
    chibipinkbunny

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    I interviewed for UCSF Thursday, Feb. 15th at 4pm, and UCSD on Feb. 10th. I did ask one question actually, I asked how long the clinical rotations were, but yeah that was it. . .So it's taken as not showing interest in the school? I guess I didn't want to risk asking stupid questions, and I wasn't sure what would be considered a good question.
     
  4. doublehh03

    doublehh03 Senior Member
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    dont worry, i felt the same way about UCSD when they kept telling me in my interview how tough their curriculum is. all i told them was i know how to set priorities and my best quality is time-management and balancing things out. now all i really hope is they see my GPA and know i can handle a tough courseload. so i came out not feeling that great about it b/c of that.
     
  5. tashka

    tashka New Member
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    I think, not remembering your location and other details has little relevance. You could just laugh it off. It happens. But you should ask questions about the program-the more the better. Sure, you know that you would do anything to get to this school, but did you show this to them? They have no way of knowing. You have to show enthusiasm, interest for this particular school. Question about difficulty of course load also should be answered, you could present yourself in favorable light. The main point is, you should answer every question that is asked of you. It does not have to be perfect, but the conversation should be flowing. Practice interviewing at home or with a friend-it might be very helpful.
     
  6. gaba101

    gaba101 Doctor
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    without sounding like an ass, "good" questions to ask your interviewers are not "stupid" questions, which are ones that can be found on the school's website (i.e. how many people are you accepting, what courses do you offer, is the PCAT required, etc). A "good" interview question engages the interviewer and shows the interviewer sounds fully interested, is mature, and has obviously done his/her homework by not asking questions that can be found on the website. Now, if you felt you had already asked such "good" questions at the info session, ASK THEM AGAIN AT THE INTERVIEW if you have no other good questions to ask--I, nor most interviewers, was not at your info session, so I won't know you're repeating the question. Even as a pre-pharmacy student interviewing for pharmacy schools, I always made sure to go into an interview with more questions than I intend to ask in case the interviewer doesn't ask me any more questions and I must kill time. Not to say your interivew is horrible w/o them--it all depends on how the rest of your interview went.
     
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  7. gaba101

    gaba101 Doctor
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  8. doublehh03

    doublehh03 Senior Member
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    i know this is a dumb thing to ask but i'm not the "interviewer" so how do you define an interviewee "shining" in her interview? can you be specific?

    b/c alot of people i asked said they feel good about their interview. i haven't really talked to any who said they didn't feel good. the reason i ask this is if everyone "thinks" they do well, how does the school differentiate the good from the bad
     
  9. gaba101

    gaba101 Doctor
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    diff people have diff standards. mine would be described in the post right above yours.
     
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  10. tashka

    tashka New Member
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    Gaba, I agree with the points you make. For my recent interview I actually wrote all the questions down and brought them with me. And I pretty much did all the things you mentioned, but I kind of did them intuitively. I don't like awkward silences. But my interviewers were friendly too. They were genuinely interested in me. And I tried to show interest in them and the school.
     
  11. cdpiano27

    cdpiano27 Senior Member
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    I do not know about pharmacy interviews, but job interviews in my field are different. They are ONLY LOOKING for certain answers like it is an exam. And I hate this. I try to be myself and they do not like it, because the interviewer expects a very, very specific answer. And later when I called them back up for advice, they tell me, no, you said this, and we were looking for "...." like it is some type of exam with correct and wrong answers when they are just behavioral, very open-ended questions.

    And the problem is, most other people are int'l students and THEY MEMORIZE before going into the interview. I can see why they do it if they are afriad that they will mess up with English. But I do not have those same issues, so I like to just go in and tell my own special stories. Some are a little outside of the field (but definitely answer the question), but I find them interesting and engaging. After all in high school I had a great interview at Harvard that eventually got me called off the waitlist at the last minute. My SAT scores were good but marginal according to their average of 1500 for them at the time. So yes, I know that my stories have worked in the past.

    Should I really be memorizing, and copy my friends? I do it for exams a lot, but I hate putting on an air of a person that I am not!

    I like spontaneity a lot in an interview.

    What is your opinion?
     
  12. doublehh03

    doublehh03 Senior Member
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    pharmacy interviews are NOT job interviews. job interviews most of the time are NOT conversational. for instance, you want to interview for a research asst. position. they're not gonna ask you what you do for fun, they want to know if u can perform PCR, transfect and blah blah.

    i mean, in my colorado interview, i brought up lipitor as the #1 selling drug and my interviewer joked that he thought it was viagra. pharmacy interviews are more informal. u just need to dress formal :laugh:
     
  13. gaba101

    gaba101 Doctor
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  14. PCATtaker

    PCATtaker Class of 2011
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    Agreed with the poster above. They are two totally different interviews.
     
  15. Requiem

    Requiem Senior Member
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    Pertaining to pharmacy school, the only school I applied to I was accepted into - so I can only draw on one experience. However, i've also interviewed for jobs as a tennis and guitar instructor, so I have some experience.

    I really like what gaba has been saying, very honest straightforward advice.

    The interview I had, i'll be honest, went really well. Sometimes it's just the interviewee's personality, or what specifically the interviewer is looking for. Essentially what you have is a two person interaction, both of whom are strangers to each other. How do you deal with complete strangers?

    I was prepared for the interview in the sense that I thought over past situations i've been in case I was asked to draw on them on the spot (I was..) so I wouldn't draw a blank - but for the most part a huge chunk will be spontaneous conversation if it's natural.

    I feel really lucky because I see how badly people struggle with interviews (I've been on both sides, as the guy giving tours before/after interviews and sitting there waiting), but y'know be articulate, be relaxed and friendly.

    I hate to say there's an "IT" factor, but even from the tours I could tell which students would interview well based on their interaction with me, yet again another situation with two strangers forced to converse. Sink or swim.


    For example - if I were in your position where for some reason I didn't know where I lived (that's a whole other ball game) I would've cracked a joke. Hey, I'm not gonna lie to ya. I'm in the middle of nowhere. Whatever road leads to nowhere, take that and you'll end up at my place.

    Sitting there awkwardly and silently just sucks to be honest.
     
  16. eleanor_rigby

    eleanor_rigby Member
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    I always thought it'd be best to wait until the end of the interview to ask questions. When I had my first interview last year, the entire interview was supposed to be 20 minutes and the interviewers cut off the interview at 15 past in order to ask me if I had any questions.

    As an example, let's say they ask me what I like to do on my free time and i give them my answer. As a followup to my answer, would I be interrupting them in order to ask right then and there what sort of activities (academic/non-academic) some of current pharmacy students partake in during their free time? (assuming its a student/faculty or student/alumni interview)
     
  17. gaba101

    gaba101 Doctor
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    THe key to a successful interview is smoothness. Like what the previous poster was saying, you don't need to be in an interview room to tell who are the successful interviewees. The successful interviewes are your future pharmacists who can talk to anyone and think on their feet to quickly turn an awkward situation (where do you live? sitting in silence for 5 min, etc) into a more comfortable one--you will encounter this daily in your days of Intern pharmacist and Registered Pharmacist. That to me is a successful applicant who has demonstrated to me s/he will make a great pharmacist.

    In your case, if you just answer the interviewer about what you do in your free-time, it is pretty much a dead-end 1-way conversation (actually, that's not even the correct term b/c a conversation is 2-way). After this, supplement your response with a nice transition statement and ask a related question. This shows you can think on your feet, engage the interviewer (or your future patient), and show interest in the school.
    gotta go
     
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  18. doublehh03

    doublehh03 Senior Member
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    i don't really agree. some schools have interviews around 20-25 mins and they have a set # of questions to ask. so most of the time (or at least in my interviews) they respond IMMEDIATELY after your response w/ another question (either building on what you said or a new question). so if you ask them like "what about what do you do for fun" it's gonna interfere a little bit. sure you can ask if there is "silence" during your interview but it's rare unless you answer w/ really short answers (like 1-2 words).

    so that's why they have time for interviewees to ask at the end. u can show interest by asking really intriguing questions beyond basic ones. that's how i feel peresonally from my interviews. i never have time to even do what you said b/c the interviewer IMMEDIATELY asks me another question after my response.

    i mean if they ask me what i do for fun, i say basketball and why? then they ask a follow up question about that like at my colorado interview, he asked if i follow the NBA. then i talked about the denver nuggets and blah blah. u know what i mean?
     
  19. OP
    OP
    chibipinkbunny

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    Ha, ha, well after reading some of these responses perhaps I gave off the wrong impression. I didn't sit there awkwardly for several minutes at any time during the interview. Yes I did feel like an idiot when I couldn't tell him where I lived. But when I told him what I tell most people, which usually makes them laugh, the student interviewer laughed but the interviewer did not. He seemed nice, but he also seemed serious. I am a part time ballet teacher, so I'm used to communicating with people, and trying to make awkward situations not so. I guess I wish I could have done things differently, but in no way did I sit there for an extended period of silence. Things didn't feel awkward so much as I felt like an idiot after the interview; that was more so my point. I don't think I conveyed that either, I was just analyzing my performance in retrospect. I'm a bit of a perfectionist at heart, and I was being very honest with myself. Thank you for the advice though, ha, ha, I just wish I had learned of it sooner ^_^'
     
  20. GoTeamVenture

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    There is some really great advice for interviews in this thread. I Appreciate everyone who contributed. They may have missed the point of the original post, but they answered many questions that I've had about interviews. Thanks.:thumbup:
     
  21. Eleen

    Eleen You'd think...
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    I agree. Thanks to everyone for taking time to help. My nerves are slowly being calmed.
     
  22. dumbguy

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    when it comes to blunders, i'm the man.

    I am the king of blunders.

    UCSF: Professor asked me what other undergraduate schools I would choose. I told them UCSF. PRofessor immediately corrected me and told me UCSF does not have an undergraduate school. Damn.

    UCSD: Student interviewer asked me what was the most recent book I read since I put in my supplemental application I liked to read. Big mistake! I haven't read a book in 1 year. Only textbooks! I had to make up a book and said Harry Potter books. :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: Damn.

    Midwestern CPG: Interviewer asked me why I would like to attend the school. I told them I've been living with my parents for 26 years and that I needed to get away from them and attending an out of state school would help. I tried to be too funny during my interview and the interviewers didn't take me seriously. Big mistake. Damn.

    I learned many things about what not to do in an interview but it was a painful experience.:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
     
  23. tashka

    tashka New Member
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    To the OP: I am glad that things were not as bad as they seemed. Interviewers definitely don't expect perfection from applicants. Hopefully the result of your interview will be good. Many people who think that their interview went not so good actually get accepted.
     
  24. evilolive

    evilolive Member
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    ...lol. I sympathize for your miserable experiences, but in some sort of screwed up way (and if it didn't count at all) it's actually kind of amusing! It was either that or the way you wrote your post made me chuckle :) I'm sure some schools will see past those mistakes and only take them as nervous chatters.
     
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  25. senzabee

    senzabee Member
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    I think everyone is right. There are great interviewees that make great conversation with the interviewers and make it a delightful experience. But I think most of them understand that you are nervous, and stumbling a little is just a part of that. I'm sure if you asked every P1 out there how their interview experience was, you will most certainly find that they all though they faltered somewhere and have stories to tell. You can't do anything anymore, so just relax :D
     
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  26. pharmhopeful

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    I'm glad that you can just take it all in stride and laugh. I can relate.
    My first interview was at UOP and I kept on saying "um" to the point where I pointed it out to the interviewer. AND, beyond that, there was a formatting error on my CV that cut off a bunch of words on one of my volunteer activities that I didn't catch until 2 days before the interview (I had just printed a saved file from a PC using my mac, and the formatting got screwed up. Words weren't cut off in the middle, but the paragraph was NOT a coherent set of sentences. I was SO embarrassed!). I had to point it out to them and offer them an updated, non messed up CV when I walked in.

    At UCSD my interview went well for the most part, but I was so taken aback by the essay question that I totally choked and didn't really answer the question.

    And get this--at UCSF, the folder they gave me snagged on my cuticle of my thumb as I walked into the interview room and I started bleeding (like, a lot) during the interview and had to ask for something to stop the bleeding. I ended up using the student interviewer's napkin and it was all good, but later on that day, my shoulder started to get really sore. I think the whole time I was applying pressure to the wound, I was hunching my shoulders. I must have looked so ridiculous!!!

    If the student who interviewed me is checking this thread, I swear I don't always sit like that! LOL!

    My WSU interview is over a month after my UCSF interview. I am going to be out of practice--not to mention totally bogged down from working full time and taking classes on the side! I hope I can pull it together for one more! This thread has been very helpful :)
     
  27. Pharm47

    Pharm47 Just keep running...
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    My blunders:

    At my Pacific interview:

    Interviewer (Dean of Clinical Ed): Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

    Me (thinking about a sunny Saturday afternoon 5 years from now): Well, I'd like to be hanging out with my family, maybe bbqing and/or playing soccer-

    Interviewer (interrupting me): No, where do you see yourself professionally in 5 years?

    Me: Oh....(scrambling to think of something and totally caught off guard).

    At my USC interview:

    Interviewer (some prof): So what motivated you to pursue pharmacy?

    Me: Well, I was always interested in the sciences...blah blah...and my brother-in-law recently graduated from a PharmD program, and in talking to him I found that...blah blah blah.

    Interviewer: So you chose your profession based on interaction with ONE person???

    Me: Uh...no, I also shadowed a guy twice....(lame!)


    I guess it turned out alright...I got accepted to both!
     
  28. dumbguy

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    USC: "so it says here on your supplemental that you volunteered at 2 pharmacies. What were the names of the pharmacists you volunteered with?"

    Me: Being nervous that I was, I totally went blank. I volunteered 1 year ago so the names weren't fresh off my mind.
    "Uh uh, I think it was Dr. Tran and Michael"

    USC: "Oh, so you call one of the pharmacists by first name and the other by Dr.?"

    Me: "yeah, the other one is more informal."

    USC: "So it says here on your supplemental that you took a pharmacology class. So what does (i forgot, some kind of chemical name for a drug) do?"

    ME: I took the class 6 months ago. "Uh, I don't know that off my head but I do know that Adderall works by releasing more dopamine which causes the attention span to increase"
    :thumbdown: :eek:
    :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
     
  29. pharma868

    pharma868 New Member
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    Interviewer: How does biology,chemistry and physics relate to each other?

    ME: I cant figure out what physics have to do with biology and chemistry but all i could think about physics is machineries. What!
     
  30. fmbzp5

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    My fiancee interviewed last Sat. and was talking to one of the other applicants. That girl said she basically found school difficult and doesn't do well on tests. I do not think that went over too well when trying to show what a good applicant you are.


    it is like those older car insurance tv commericals "we all do dumb things"
     
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  31. fsupharmguy

    fsupharmguy Junior Member
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    UCSF interviewer: What will you do if you don't get accepted to pharmacy school?

    Me: Well that's not a valid question since I've been admitted to 2 programs.
     
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  32. doublehh03

    doublehh03 Senior Member
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    now that's funny
     
  33. aboveliquidice

    aboveliquidice No sacrifice - No victory
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    Interviewer: You came all the way from Florida! How was the trip?
    Me: What an adventure - slept in the airport, met my first meth addict on the max line, and dialed 911 for the first time to assist a lunatic.

    only hours after my interview did it dawn on me that the events sounded like make believe. Why couldn't I just have said "it was excellent". Even today - I still cant get over the events before my interview.

    1. Flight delayed due to weather
    2. Suitcase smashed and suit all wrinkled.
    3. Due to delayed flight - missed last MAX train to hotel = sleep in airport
    4. Finally find one-day-cleaner service - but must have suit there by 9
    5. First Taxi service can pickup at 10 = walk 2 miles in 30 degrees to press suit
    6. While walking back from cleaners - get approached about a woman being attacked in hotel across street
    7. Have to wait for police to arrive - at which time the person who made the accusations has disappeared. = explain imaginary attack to disgruntled police.

    All of this transpired the day before the interview... now who would believe that - I mean really... Next time - I'm gonna lie

    ~above~

    Edit: Completely left out the Meth addict - Once on the first MAX train at 545 AM - The only other person riding the train was an addict. He sat down next to me and asked for money - when I explained to him that I had nothing for him - he proceeded to become more agitated. Finally - someone else boarded the train - and he chose to accost them instead - what a good time...
     
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  34. pharmhopeful

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    ROFL!!!! Oh man, I love it. :laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:
    That makes me feel better that I haven't heard from them yet....
     
  35. pharmhopeful

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    Wow. That's quite a trip. I like your story :) I don't think they'll think you made that up.... that's a little too out there. I'm sorry all that stuff happened to you right before your interview! How stressful!
     
  36. MarcoPolo

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    I enjoyed reading this thread. It is entertaining while informative for those of us that are expecting to have an interview.

    One question I have also is for instance if the interviwer asked me " what are some of my personal strengths and weaknesses" Do I just tell him, X,Y,Z and actually elaborate on why. Also if he/she asked a question that you have no clue of ,is it better to say politely I don't know?

    Also one more thing question is, "if there is one spot and it is between you and another student, why should we take you?" I really am confused specially about this one, what kind of answer are they looking for?

    Thanks in advance.
    Marco.
     
  37. senzabee

    senzabee Member
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    I was asked about what my co-workers would say is my weakness. I couldn't think of anything, but decided to talk about how when I first started working as a pharmacy tech and got calls from rude RNs saying they're missing something, that I used to think the pharmacy was always right and that the nurses were lazy...BUT that after going to the floors and working with the clinical pharmacists, I saw that the RNs really are busy (some are still lazy...), etc etc. I just started rambling a little about that and how my attitude changed, and basically ended with that I couldn't think of any real weaknesses I had. Luckily, my faculty interviewer smiled/laughed and said, "Oh maybe that's a good thing." Phew. But I still felt stupid for rambling and not giving a definitive answer :p I guess I got away with that "I don't know" answer.

    I would think about what you would say. It doesn't have to necessarily be a weakness you have now, but one you could have had before and somehow improved even. Or one of those turn-a-negative-into-a-positive (i.e. "Oh, I'm a perfectionist...I sometimes take too long to do things but it's because I want to make sure things are done correctly"). Just watch what you say and how it may counteract anything you said in your interview or essays :p
     
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  38. GreyFox2002

    7+ Year Member

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    Wayne State Interviewer: So tell me what you did for research?

    Me: Rattling on about my research........"So basically, I was a lab rat."

    Yeah, really professional

    I got accepted anyways.
     
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  39. dumbguy

    2+ Year Member

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    ok so this is my second year of interviews and i've suffered through numerous waitlists and rejections. Please don't feel sorry for me but I've learned what not to do during interviews. I can probably write a book on it. :laugh:
    But here are some key points.

    1.) don't try to be too funny. I'm a funny guy who likes to crack jokes. But in my 2 interviews where I continously told jokes throughout my interview, I got flat out rejected. Damn, I wish I could have done it differently.
    2.) don't address the the professor with the pharmd degree by his/her first name. To be on the safe side, call him/her by Dr. So and So. I called my interviewer by first name throughout the interview and I had a feeling he was offended by it.
    3.) for men, button your jacket before entering the interview room. I unbuttoned my jacket while in the waiting room and forgot to button it up during the interview. My interviewer kept staring at my jacket during the entire interview.

    If you want to know my other mistakes, feel free to private me.
     
  40. fmbzp5

    10+ Year Member

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    I saw a shirt for sale that said "Lab rats have more fullfilling jobs than me"
     
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  41. SoylentGreen

    10+ Year Member

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    When they asked me to talk about a controversy in pharmacy.. I don't remember what I said but I talked about something that he told me wasn't even controversial. I looked clueless. I should have just talked about pro-life pharmacists and birth control pills.

    Also, when he asked me to describe what I expected a typical day as a pharmacy student to be like, I didn't say anything about working in groups, even though they had already said we would be working in groups. They probably thought I was an antisocial loner.
     
  42. omnione

    omnione SDN Pharmoderator
    Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

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    I didn't have any questions about the Iowa program when my interviewers asked. The interviewer just stared at me with a "WTH" look on his face.

    I still got into Iowa, but I thought it was a blunder at the time.
     
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  43. ilovedimsum

    2+ Year Member

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    Last year.. I interviewed at a school..it was my first and only interview and i just got braces.. and if anyone has had braces.. u tend to spit if youre not use to it.. during my inteview.. i accidentally spit a lil.. n i didnt know if i should apologize for it or pretend like i didnt know it happened.. i guess i shouldve apologize =P but i did pretty bad on that interview.. i was like a rock..cuz im a pretty shy person and on top of that.. unprepared
    Then this year.. I had an interviewer who just did not seem to like any of my answers. With every answer I gave.. he responded with either a question or he questioned my answers.. as if it was not good enough..it got very frustrating.. with one question he asked .. he asked me.. why do u chose this school.. so i started talking baout the school and my reasons y id like to attend...and after all that.. he was like "what school r u talking about?" and i said "o my god"...
    and then at another interview.. i actually went blank when they asked the kinds of problems i see in pharmacy.. i dunno why.. cuz ive worked as a tech/clerk for a year.. and volunteered at several pharmacies for 2 yrs..i guess i was tryin to think of the "best" problem.. n the more i thought of it.. the more i got nervous..i actually said "im sorry im kinda going blank"n the interviewers laughed....ahh when will i learn!
     
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  44. Straight_ahead

    Straight_ahead New Member

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    haha the stupid things...

    interviewer: can you name a time when you showed integrity?

    I blanked for like 20 sec.... the question just caught me off guard and i was shuffling through all stories in my head.. haha, came up with a pretty bad one. ::oops:
     
  45. jun99

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    At one of my interviews, there was this informal mingling session that preceded the actual interview. A bunch of interviewees just chatted amongst themselves and there were a few first year pharm students in the mix available for questions and comments. One guy introduced himself to me and we talked for a good 20 minutes about being nervous, the pros & cons of the school, etc. He seemed to be pretty knowledgeable about the program and something he said made me assume he was a reapplicant, so I asked him all sorts of questions like "so what have you heard about the selection process?" and "do you really think this school is such a good school?"

    Then, I suddenly noticed that he had a more formal-looking name tag than either me or most of the people around us....long story short, it turned out that he wasn't an interviewee or a reapplicant at all; he was one of the pharm students facilitating the mingling session. :eek: I felt like such an idiot, and I tried to scan the 20-some minute conversation that we had just had, to make sure that nothing I said could be conceived as rude or inappropriate....sadly, I think there were quite a few things I said to him that I wouldn't have if I had known who he was.

    Looking back now, I don't even think he had any input into decisions about admissions or anything...but I was still fairly mortified by the misunderstanding.
     

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