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Interview: "Do you have any questions?"

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by NRAI2001, Nov 21, 2005.

  1. NRAI2001

    NRAI2001 3K Member
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    When an interviewer askes you "Do you have any questions for me or about the school?" what are good questions to ask?

    I ve had this question asked to me during job interviews and I never know what to say. Sometimes I ll say no and they ll just stare at me in an akward way. I am sure that this bad and it would look much better if you showed more interest and actually asked a few questions.

    So any ideas?
     
  2. indo

    indo Feed me a stray cat
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    I said, "no. I think yesterday's information session, today's financial aid presentation, the tour guide, and the dean of admission's presentations answered all of my questions."
     
  3. IgweEmeka

    IgweEmeka Senior Member
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    I think that would be a great time to initiate a conversation that isn't necessarily about medicine. When i went on my out of state interview and the same question was posed to me, I asked; If you don't mind my asking, where are u originally from and how was it relocating and eventually settling down in connecticut what are some great things about connecticut as a city. For my second question, i asked; I am a huge italian food fan, is there anywhere u recommend or know that I should stop by before i leave?
    I think this is the time to show the interviewer that you do have a personality and do have a life besides being pre med and tryin to be a doctor.
    I got accepted to the school by the way, so i guess u can take my advice for what its worth.
     
  4. NRAI2001

    NRAI2001 3K Member
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    Thats a good idea :thumbup:

    Any questions to ask about the school? I am guessing you could ask about what types of research is going on at the schools, other programs...etc?
     
  5. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS
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    I think you MUST ask at least one intelligent question that shows that you have given real thought to the school. Consider that you may have multiple acceptances, and you will have to decide between this school and some other school, what information do you want to know?

    Just make sure NOT to ask something that you could have found out with a little research. Questions like, "What is this schools biggest weakness and what is being done to correct it." are good questions that can get the interviewer talking (and give you interesting information. Other good questions, "When you asked me _____ I am curious how you would have answered." might give you insight into a good possible answer.

    Other questions, "May I see your match list" is always a good one.

    If you know which two schools you will likely be choosing between, straight up ask the interviewer - if choosing between this program, and program X, what advantages does your program have that program X does not have.

    You may also ask about the local area if you are unfamiliar. "What neighborhood do medical students tend to live in?"

    If you are interviewing at a school affiliated with a church, you may ask how the affiliation affect patient care with regards to teaching about contraception, abortion, etc.

    What are the opportunities for patient care and service outside of the classroom? Are there opportunities to get an MPH? Do research?

    Have any students in the past done anything of note during the summer off?

    Hmm.. there are a lot of questions, and I would make sure to ask at least one - shows that you are awake.
     
  6. NRAI2001

    NRAI2001 3K Member
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    Good questions, thanks :thumbup:
     
  7. TimmyTheWonderD

    TimmyTheWonderD Takin' it 1 day @ a time!
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    do research on the school, and in doing so you will probably naturally come up with some as you find yourself wondering..."hmmm, i wonder why they do/do not do that", etc. i did research for the school i recently interviewed at and i probed their current students before hand, so my questions were about their grading system, some comments that students had made, etc. they were then all aimed at that particular school, which the interviewers appreciated and it showed that i had in fact given quite a bit of consideration to their school and it helped me personally, for these were questions that i genuinely wanted answers to BEFORE i went to school there.
     
  8. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    If you are going to ask a question, be sure to listen attentively to the answer. Nothing turns off an interviewer faster than not listening to the response to the question. (Well, maybe putting your feet on the desk :D but second to that, not listening to the answer of a direct question you've asked.)
     
  9. veenut

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    i think that as a general rule, if you do ask a question, it should somehow convey how interested you are in the school. i think flop's first question "what's the school's biggest weakness" would come out sounding too negative, like you're trying to find something wrong with the school. that's a question that should be saved for the student tour guide. personally, i like to just ask for a more detailed description of a certain aspect of the school, i.e. curriculum, research opportunities, community involvement
     
  10. VPDcurt

    VPDcurt 2K Member
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    I hope for your sake that this isn't an exact quote of what you said during your interview. If so, maybe you should consider preparing for your interviews by reading SDN, your AMCAS, and studying an atlas for a couple of hours.
     
  11. SuzieQ3417

    SuzieQ3417 Senior Member
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    I always research the school website thoroughly before an interview to make sure I understand everything they have posted, but inevitably I will have questions about curriculum, housing, financial aid, etc....so I make a list and take that with me. Most of those questions get answered during various presentations/tours throughout the day, but sometimes they don't or sometimes it just leads to more questions. If the school has something unique in their curriculum I will usually ask them to elaborate on what makes that program special..what are the goals, etc. I also like to ask the question "what direction is this medical school headed?" You get a lot of different answers that tell you a lot about the school. One told me about funding problems, but how they are overcoming that in various ways. Another talked about a new research park they were building and what projects would be funded. Another elaborated on major curriculum changes the school was undergoing and how they felt about it. Very informative, and assuming I get multiple acceptances it will help me choose which school is right for me.
    If you honestly don't have any questions by the time you get to the last interviewer at the end of the day, don't ask something for the sake of trying to look interested. But assuming you are interested in the school, you would be surprised by how many questions come up before and during the interview day. It helps to bring paper and a pen to jot these down so you don't forget.
     
  12. chef_NU

    chef_NU G-Unit
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    Personally, if you are sitting across the desk from an M.D.!! with years of experience while interviewing for school to obtain your M.D.!! and you don't have any questions to ask, you have chosen the wrong profession. What are you smoking bub? This is your chance to get a personal firsthand perspective on the practice of medicine, and you get to pick the topics! What the hell!?!
     
  13. Thundrstorm

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    Some ideas:

    Can you tell me about your own career path?

    How do you like living in this city?

    Ask them to answer a question they asked you. (One interviewer asked for my definition of a good physician; at the end of the interview, I asked for his opinion. This can be a good way to gauge how well you answered the question).

    I understand that the curriculum is PBL/traditional/fill-in-the-blank, but can you please tell me more about the courses and aims of the curriculum? How do you feel this prepares students for Step 1?

    What kind of physician does the school hope to graduate?

    If I am in the position to choose, why should I come here?

    Sometimes I truly am out of questions, so I either repeat a question I asked earlier (that last one gets a different answer from everyone), or state that I am simply out of questions, but that I have enjoyed my time at the school.
     
  14. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    No - if you don't ask a question, it is a clear sign of disinterest. The best thing to do will be to have done some research on the school, and then ask a question such as "I saw on your website that... How does that impact on the med students experience..." or "I see that the med school is on the forefront of .... research -- is there any opportunities for students to get involved in this type of project/research/clinical trials" etc. (if you are in fact interested, etc.). or "I see that the school tries to add clinical context (or PBL, etc.) to first year classes -- how is this done and has it changed the student experience? Or whatever you can dig up in the web or local press to ask about and sound informed. This kind of question both shows you are interested, and makes you seem mature. I agree with the prior poster that you have to actually listen intently to the answer. And ideally ask follow-ups based on the response.
     
  15. jebus

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    So, is writing down the answer while the interviewer responds considered verboten, or is that ok as long as you maintain some eye contact and nod and say "ok", "I see", "right" appropriately?
    I mean, there are some issues about which I am particularly interested (sundry details about programs at the school) and would want to consult my notes later.
     
  16. veenut

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    it is NOT a clear sign of disinterest to say that the admissions office and tour guides did a great job of giving you a comprehensive view of the school. i said exactly this at a few schools and was met with responses that seemed genuinely happy that the school did such a good job on their interview day. don't ask lame questions just because you think you have to, it might look a little stupid if you start reaching for random questions.
     
  17. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    I think you are incorrect, but you are welcome to your own view. While there is certainly the pretense that the interview is a vehicle for your getting informaiton you need, the true point of the interview for the applicant is to sell themselves as better qualified and more mature than the other interviewees. You are unable to do this if you close off avenues of dialogue such as indicating you have no questions. Far more interviewers are going to feel that you aren't interested or are unprepared if you don't have questions than the few who may think it a sign that their staff did a good job. But to each his/her own.
     
  18. BOBODR

    BOBODR Senior Member
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    at NYMC you stay with a student host, have presentations given by the admissions director, a presentation given by a fourth year student, and have tour guides that give a very thorough tour. I told my Interviewer that I had already asked a good deal of questions and had many answered by these previous sources, but I did ask about the Rheumatology Department there since thats my intended speciality and she told me how they have two reknown ped rheumatologists. I did not ask any other questions. I dont know how she took this but she gave her card and told me to call if I had anymore questions. I hope she understood I just didnt want to make stuff up or ask questions I already had answers too. :confused: I did send a thank you card saying I wishI had taken the time to ask her about her experiences since she was in the newspaper for saving three triplets lives at the same time ( didnt know until post interview). Hopefully I didnt shoot myself in the foot.
     
  19. veenut

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    the adcom member who gave the intro speech at wash u said that when a student tells him they have no questions, his first thought is "good, they did their homework". so it's not just my perception of the interviewers.

    i think that if you have legitimate questions about details that you couldn't find on the website, handouts, from the tour guide, etc. then you should go ahead and ask the interviewer. but when you ask a question that could easily have been ascertained if you had looked for it, i think you run the risk of looking much more unprepared than you would had you just not asked any questions.
     
  20. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS
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    I think it is a matter of tone, and style. I asked "what is this schools biggest weakness, and what is being done to fix it" in the context of raving about how impressed I was about the school (Loyola) and how I had not really noticed any down sides. Interviewers will often ask the applicants similar questions.

    One reason I asked this was because all of my prepared questions had already been answered, and my backup of asking the interviewer to answer a question he had asked me wouldn't work because nearly 100% of my interview was about my background and research. When I asked this question, it sparked an interesting dialogue that we had, and really gave me some insight into the school.

    When on student tours, I ask the question again, and you can really learn a lot by asking this question. I agree though, one must be careful with tone, and approach when delivering this question.
     
  21. indo

    indo Feed me a stray cat
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    You can get all that information in this website and the schools' websites. I'm suprised you didn't already know that since you come off as some kind of expert.

    If there is something I want to know more about I will ask but I'm not going to show up to an interview with a bunch of fake questions just for the sake of having questions. I'd rather have SDN write out a bunch of questions so I could print them out, take them to the interview and go through them one by one with the interviewer.
     
  22. SearsTower

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    No offense, Flop, but If I were your interviewer, I could sniff right through these cheesy questions. You'll come off sounding like a geek who scripted his interview. In other words, you'd sound like you're trying too hard. These are perfect statistical survey questions for a brochure or a news article.
    Relax, ask them more down-to-earth questions & show them you're a real person, not a nerd.
     
  23. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS
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    I am going to have to disagree with your assesment of my questions.. I don't think they are "nerdy" or "cheesy" Which question would you NOT like to know the answer to?
     
  24. indo

    indo Feed me a stray cat
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    But, the answers are all available online.
     
  25. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS
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    Not true... did you even read my post? The first thing I said was to make sure to NOT ask any question that could be answered online. My questions such as the INTERVIEWERS opinion about the schools weakness, how the INTERVIEWER would answer difficult questions, what the INTERVIEWERS opinion of comparing two schools are all designed to elicit an opinion and engage in a dialogue with the person you are being interviewed by.
     
  26. indo

    indo Feed me a stray cat
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    I generally do not read much of what you write but I did in this particular thread.

    Match lists are available online.
    School comparisons are available online.
    Discussions of housing options are available online.
    The religious question is a good one but you could probably get that info online too.
    Community service, MPH, research opportunities, and summer research type stuff is all available online too.

    Besides that, all of this information is pounded into your head when you are getting the "big sell" from the current med students.
     
  27. jebus

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    Flop's questions seem trite, the answers may be available elsewhere, etc., but they are essentially the questions the AAMC tells you to ask: http://www.aamc.org/students/applying/about/31questions.htm
    Well, they told you in 1992 but you weren't paying attention back then. Their age shows: Do you have computer labs? Doesn't every school? Isn't the question now, "Does your school firewall the ports for bittorrent so that I'm totally screwed if I want to steal 'Sin City' off the internets during my lectures?"
    You may get "the sell" from the med students but let the adcom members sell you the school. And just because the info is available online it doesn't preclude you from asking about it. I'm interested in International Elective Programs at various schools and the most extensive descriptions online are about 2 paragraphs.
    Oh yeah, even though I'm saying all of this, I wouldn't ask most of those questions. The answers are available elsewhere. I'd prefer to spend my limited time fostering that ever so important personal connection with the interviewer. I need an advocate in the adcom meetings! My time is important and the interviewer's time is more important.
     
  28. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Surely from reading the website you can generate some questions that aren't actually answered online. Plus you can always ask about the interviewers opinions and thoughts on things -- that won't be online. FYI - I'm just offering help because I've already successfully walked this road -- feel free to ignore it.
     
  29. J1515

    J1515 Member
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    Don't you think interviewers know everybody thinks the same way and they've heard the same questions thounsands of times? At one interview I was at, after my interviewer got done with all her questions to me she goes "ok, now you can ask me any questions you want...the hard part of the interview is over and you don't have to try impress me with asking me stuipid questions that I'd have no idea what the answer is anyway." I started laughing and she goes "don't laugh, you'd be surprised at some of the things I get asked because people think it makes a good impression...if you genuinely don't have any questions that's perfectly ok." It just so happens that I did have a legitamate question about the area the school was in, but it just goes to show you that every piece of advice someone gives you should be taken with a grain of salt. Be yourself, if you're curious about something, ask. If everything you wondered about has been answered, then say that. The interviewer will get an idea of your personality from the other 45 minutes of interview time he/she has with you.
     
  30. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    For every one interviewer who has this attitude there are probably a dozen others who don't. And since you did in fact ask a question, you will never know if it would have hurt you if you didn't. Again, the point of the interview is only tangentially about gathering information and much more about selling yourself, and if you limit the conversation by not asking things, you lose a chance to shine.
     
  31. SearsTower

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    too much talking
     
  32. smartreader

    smartreader Senior Member
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    Here's how one of my interviews concluded

    Interviewer: "Well... that's it, do you have any questions?"

    Me: "hmm.. not really"

    Interviewer: "Good... when applicant's normally ask me questions, it often seems contrived."

    Me: "Oh"
     
  33. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    While your anecdote is interesting, there are certainly many interviews that end very differently when one doesn't have any questions. Some interviewers may consider it a lack of interest, others will consider it being unprepared or un-thought out. Additionally it prematurely cuts off the dialogue and thus limits your chance to shine to whatever transpired in the preceding portion of the interview, which unless it ran long may not be enough. In my mind the downside of having thought up some questions is far outweighed by the benefit. Good luck.
     
  34. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    While your anecdote is interesting, there are certainly many interviews that end very differently when one doesn't have any questions. Some interviewers may consider it a lack of interest, others will consider it being unprepared or un-thought out. Additionally it prematurely cuts off the dialogue and thus limits your chance to shine to whatever transpired in the preceding portion of the interview, which unless it ran long may not be enough. In my mind the downside of having thought up some questions is far outweighed by the benefit. Good luck.
     
  35. calvinandhobbes

    calvinandhobbes Senior Member
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    i've been staying with student host for all my interviews, and they honestly have answered every single question i've ever had. i feel like i should purposely not ask them something to save my surprise and interest for the interviewer's answer.

    nowadays, websites are so complete with info that it is really hard to have questions. although i still try thinking up of questions, i feel that i am also being a little trite in asking them. nevertheless, i agree with law2doc that it prematurely cuts off the interview. at one interview, i was explicitly told that half the interview will be the interviewer asking me questions, and half will be me asking...so they pretty much demanded questions out of me.

    what a stupid dillemma.
     
  36. SearsTower

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    calvin & hobbes is the greatest comic strip ever written
     

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