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Interview kisses of death

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by medgirl02, Nov 28, 2001.

  1. medgirl02

    medgirl02 Guest

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    Okay kids, I'm on the admissions board for my medical school, and I just want to say that even if you are a 4.0, 13 MCAT, multiple publications student, you can screw up the interview and be instantly rejected. I have watched it happen. SO, and I'm sure that most of you know this, here are a few kisses of death in the interview:

    1. Arrogance. Do NOT, I repeat, NOT be arrogant. Even if you are interviewing at Piece of crap-U, don't be arrogant. And don't think that the folks on one admissions board are completely isolated from other admissions boards. They talk, trust me. Cut yourself a big ol' piece of humble pie before you interview.

    2. Telling a school that they are not your top choice. Even if they are your last choice, don't tell them that!! You really don't know if they will be the only school that will accept your sorry butt. If you don't want to go to a school, don't apply there! If they ask this ridiculous question, say something like, "well, I don't really have a preference right now, that's why I really wanted to see the school in person. But certainly your (insert program strength) makes it number one in that area for me. I hope to learn about your other strengths today. Could you tell me about the (insert other unique aspect of program here)". The key here is once again egos. Doctor's have big egos! Don't stomp on them, or they will take great delight in stomping on you.

    3.Looking unenthusiastic about being there. Listen, we really don't have any desire to waste our precious time on a candidate that doesn't want to be here. Even if it's just an act, ACT EXCITED about the chance to interview. If you look disinterested, we question your motivations for becoming a doctor.

    4. Telling us you really dislike patients. Okay, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING HERE? If you dislike patients, you don't need to be a doctor, and I sure as hell don't want you as a third or fourth year student on my wards. Understand that you spend all of your third year and most of your fourth year with patients. You have to learn to work with them. And if you upset them, then we, as your seniors have to clean up your mess. I hate messes. SO, I'm not going to take a candidate that HATES patients. If you have a lot of research experience, but no clinical experience, you may get asked what you think about working with patients. Tell them that you realize your lack of real world medical experience is a weakness in your application, but that you like working with people, and that you look forward to applying research to actual patients.

    5. Give one-line answers to questions. Unless the question is something like "did I pronounce your name correctly," be prepared to elaborate on your answer. Understand that much of medical school is people assessing your ability to think on your feet. And to think well, for that matter. You will spend most of your clinical years learning to think on your feet. But we want people who already show some ability to think on their feet. When I ask you an ethics question, and you answer "I could see both sides" and don't elaborate, I'm picturing us on the wards. I see me asking you questions and you saying "I don't know" or other equally impressive one-liners.

    6. Really focusing on a school's weakness. The truth is, EVERY school has an area they are weak in. Some schools will ask you what you see as the school's weakness. INSERT DIPLOMACY HERE! You are treading on thin ice with this one. Sometimes, you have no idea what your interviewers do. If you bash their field, they will not like you!! Say something like "Well, I've heard there are some changes going on in the such-and-such area. I guess that might be a weakness. Can you tell me what the school is planning for this area?" And don't just say (i.e. not asked about it) a school is "weak" in an area unless you are really sure of it. Stick with the "I hear there are changes being made here, and lots of changes can mean disorganization and some potential weakness" route


    Anyway, with that said, I want to say that candidates with strong records, and good recommendations, are always looked at favorably unless they really mess up the interview. The cards are stacked in your favor already. Just come in and be nice and say a few intelligent things, and trust me, you're in. Nervousness is perfectly fine with me. That tells me that you care about this interview, and ultimately, that you care about becoming a doctor.

    Just though I'd share!
     
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  3. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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    Wow!! Thank you. And welcome to SDN! :D
     
  4. none

    none 1K Member
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    Thanks for the info! I'd really like to know why interviewers ask questions they don't want truthful answers to.
     
  5. md2be06

    md2be06 Senior Member
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  6. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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  7. md2be06

    md2be06 Senior Member
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    Ordinarily, I'd agree with #1, but I think it varies from school to school. Some of the most arrogant premeds I know are the ones that already have acceptances under their belts. These people have suberb GPA's and MCAT's, and make sure that everyone around them knows it. From a numbers standpoint, they're more than qualified to be med students. However, I'd never want a physician who would be so cocky and intransigent in his views! They don't act all that humble in interviews from what I gather either, and they still get in. I think some schools actually like that their students be a bit cocky to tell you the truth. After all, where do you think future surgeons come from?
     
  8. medgirl02

    medgirl02 Guest

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    Just want to clarify something. Medical schools look at an average of your MCAT's three scores. Take your total score and divide it by three. A 13 = 39. Obviously they look at the individual scores too. And you may get asked about a particularly weak score. So a 13 is exceptionally good.
     
  9. PainMan

    PainMan Senior Member
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    WHAAAATEVER!!! I will say what I have to say when I want to say it. Dont give me your conservative crap and tell me how to answer questions! If you are as fed up as you sound pick another ECA maybe kinder kare is hiring
     
  10. Keith

    Keith Senior Member
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    medgirl 123, Thanks for your input.
     
  11. WarmFuzzyKittens

    WarmFuzzyKittens Senior Member
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    thanks medgirl...i appreciate your helpful advice on getting through this round of hell...
     
  12. lake show

    lake show Senior Member
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    osmosis, where in the world did that rant come from? you say and do whatever you want to. from the sound of your post, it seemed as if medgirl was forcing you say those "conservative" things with a gun pointed at you. loosen the hell up.
     
  13. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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    I think osmosis is taking his frustration with AMCAS out on medgirl123. Another interview tip, osmosis: don't communicate with AMCAS anytime around your interviews! ;)

    It's either that or he thinks this is TPR!

    Really, osmosis, you were way out of line, and will have problems in interviews if you go in with this attitude.
     
  14. PainMan

    PainMan Senior Member
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    ah...that was the underlying theme coleone. Why would you want 200+ people acting the same way and saying the same things? And the ones that act completely out of line...why coach them? If you have to tell someone "dont let them know you dislike patients"...

    it was a little rapid fire, but come on....
    P.S. I think it would be absolutely hilarious to hear some left field inappropriate answers! I was asked plenty of inapproriate questions! :D
     
  15. PainMan

    PainMan Senior Member
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    smw, oohhh yea you are on the mark. SCAMCAS has already been cc:'d on a couple letters.

    Out of Line !! isnt that the whole problem? I dont want to be in line....I want to be a FREE RANGE chicken!
     
  16. medgirl02

    medgirl02 Guest

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    Osmosis, you are completely right. You can say whatever you like. This is America. However, you err on the side of idiocy if you choose an interview as the time to flex your first amendment rights. Interviews, in any area, are a time to be conservative and to cater to your interviewer. In medicine, there are MANY, MANY times when you have to bite your tongue. You will be under the whim of your attendings and residents. You can say what you like, but they don't have to pass you. Many of them relish that revenge, and if they put a nasty note in your dean's letter, you can kiss your residency chances goodbye. And it has been my experience that Free-range chickens get roasted on surgery and OB.

    You will also have to edit yourself with patients, or you'll get a visit from your not-so-friendly, neighborhood lawyer. But you are right, you may say whatever you wish in an interview. No one will force you to edit yourself, but they will also take great delight in rejecting you if you make them mad.

    As for left field answers, most physicians have had their share of psychiatry training. They are more likely to question your mental stability than to think you are cute and creative. Doctors are generally conservative, even the liberal ones!! Disregard that advice at your own peril. It's bad to have you interviewer stand up in the board meeting and say "I'm concerned this one might be schizotypal".

    As for myself, I'm not burned out at all. I truly enjoy the interview process, and I think I am generally nicer than many of my colleagues. I just wanted to let you guys know that these areas were kisses of death for candidates that had otherwise stellar scores and recommendations.
     
  17. PainMan

    PainMan Senior Member
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    thanks for the retort. oh yea, mesquite coals please. :D

    Didnt see it was your 2nd post, but apparently you are taking it in stride.

    So what do you think? put a good word in for me ;)
     
  18. redherring

    redherring Member
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  19. medgirl02

    medgirl02 Guest

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    Redherring, I know those applicants. They will be in any medical school. People who are truly arrogant and antisocial generally become outcasts in medical school. The rest of us quickly realize we are no longer the smartest person in class (by a long shot in some cases) and learn to enjoy the company of generally intelligent and interesting people. However, you have to understand, the people who are the most haughty and distant in their pre-med classes are often excellent interviewees. Which is why we TRY to look at community involvement and letters of recommendation very closely. You would be surprised how candid some of those rec letters are. But there is certainly a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Some people take giant leaps across that line. They don't get into my medical school. I'm pretty sure this is not unique to my medical school. I've met board members in many regions. And really, if you dislike that kind of person, would you really want to go to a school that caters to them? Look around at the people you interview with. If they drive you nuts, they are going to drive you nuts for the next four years.
     
  20. Barin

    Barin Member
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    By the way, I'm going to stay away from admission offices and (please, God!) from interviewing anyone while being at medschool and after that as well. Only really sick people would do it after they went through this crap themselves...
     
  21. alice

    alice Senior Member
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    WOW, Medgirl, are you for real? I am just amazed that someone with NO vested interest whatsoever would start spewing advice to a bunch of neurotic, stressed out premeds. It's so unusual and AWESOME to hear your thoughts. Please continue to post your insights on this whole process!! As you well know, we are in the midst of a lot of interviewing and waiting anxiously by the phone, computer and mailbox... I, for one, am so grateful that you reached out a kind hand! :)
     
  22. redherring

    redherring Member
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  23. BeckyG

    BeckyG Senior Member
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    Hey Medgirl123,

    That was a very amusing and enlightening to read! The reasoning behind many of your comments is what I would imagine my PBL leader (an ER doc) would say. I had never thought about the ward interaction assessment as a function of the interview, but it makes so much sense. I'm sure the applicants on this site would welcome any thoughts or info you can provide to "demystify" the process. Take care,

    Becky
     
  24. md2be06

    md2be06 Senior Member
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  25. Original

    Original Ogori-Magongo Warrior
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    Medgirl123 thanks for your insight. Until I started interviewing, I was completely clueless as to how important the interview is. It is drastic! A person with a 30 MCAT can easily be ranked higher than a person with a 40. Anyway, I personally like people who are down to earth. People who "keep it real" so to speak. I'm quite uncomfortable around people who are too self-conscious and who put up an act 23 out of 24 hours in a day. One of the MSTPs I met at one of my interviews bragged for over an hour about his upcoming Harvard residency program. He spontaneously threw in anecdotes about his 7 years in med school. The dude was really entertaining and he cracked all of us up every other minute. One applicant laughed so hard he became teary eyed. I thought this MSTP guy was awesome. It's always best to be humble; however I think it's far more important to be sincere. Sure we all cannot be comedians like this guy, but I think alot of people can use a little loosening up.
     
  26. Ranger Bob

    Ranger Bob Senior Member
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    medgir123, Thanks for your insider's perspective on the interview process. I believe that interviewers tend to overestimate the predictive value of interviews. For instance, it is unlikely that you can accurately predict a student's future behavior on the wards from a 30-60 minute interview. I'm somewhat familiar with research into the utility of interviews in the business world. Studies have shown that while interviews are a great forum for basic information sharing, interviews are NOT an effective way to evaluate a candidate's aptitude or behavior in real-world situations. I nevertheless appreciate your post because, as a premed student, I have to learn to play the interview game, and insight into the mind of an interviewer helps me to do that.
     

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