Interview Preparation. A few Questions and my plan.

KoalaT

2+ Year Member
Nov 11, 2015
247
248
Status
Pre-Medical
TL;DR ***Skip to the asterisks to see the question.

So I recently received interviews. Many are within the first 3 rounds! I'm very excited to interview and confident in my application. Now I need to prepare and here is what I was thinking. I'd like some input.

I am a very sociable person and usually quite good at thinking on my feet. However, I don't like leaving things to luck. Luck is simply where preparation and opportunity meet. I have the opportunity - now I'm wondering how to prepare.

*******************************************************************************
Of course, I plan to know my application and check out some lists of "common questions" on google. But here is my gameplan that I'd like to have some commentary on:

I plan to prepare about a dozen "stories". These stories are going to each meet different characteristics. For example, a story that can display leadership/initiative/confidence/drive. Another story will display compassion/sympathy/understanding of the human condition, etc. Another story could display an ethical or moral dilemma/a difficult choice once made, etc. I would assemble them all and ponder how they meet different characteristics or display certain attributes. Nothing would be scripted.

The point is not to go into the interview like a robot and spit off a script. It's simply to think about "a time when..." I displayed important characteristics. If I have an arsenal of memorable and compelling stories, I feel I will be more prepared and not freeze up or stumble for a good answer. As well, telling a short story is far more remember-able and believable than simply saying "I'm a leader and I'm confident".

What do y'all think of this game plan?
 
Jun 15, 2016
137
69
Status
Pre-Medical
TL;DR ***Skip to the asterisks to see the question.

So I recently received interviews. Many are within the first 3 rounds! I'm very excited to interview and confident in my application. Now I need to prepare and here is what I was thinking. I'd like some input.

I am a very sociable person and usually quite good at thinking on my feet. However, I don't like leaving things to luck. Luck is simply where preparation and opportunity meet. I have the opportunity - now I'm wondering how to prepare.

*******************************************************************************
Of course, I plan to know my application and check out some lists of "common questions" on google. But here is my gameplan that I'd like to have some commentary on:

I plan to prepare about a dozen "stories". These stories are going to each meet different characteristics. For example, a story that can display leadership/initiative/confidence/drive. Another story will display compassion/sympathy/understanding of the human condition, etc. Another story could display an ethical or moral dilemma/a difficult choice once made, etc. I would assemble them all and ponder how they meet different characteristics or display certain attributes. Nothing would be scripted.

The point is not to go into the interview like a robot and spit off a script. It's simply to think about "a time when..." I displayed important characteristics. If I have an arsenal of memorable and compelling stories, I feel I will be more prepared and not freeze up or stumble for a good answer. As well, telling a short story is far more remember-able and believable than simply saying "I'm a leader and I'm confident".

What do y'all think of this game plan?
Although I think that it's important to prepare for an interview by knowing you application, I don't think that I would go to this extent. Yes, you should participate in some mock interviews and be personable to a stranger. However, I would not recommend these "stories" that you are preparing. Although you know not to be like a robot, I think that in the moment it will not seem fluid and genuine and instead you will be trying to remember what you wanted to say no matter how many times you have practiced it. I think you should go into the interview refreshed and simply ready to have a conversation with them and show them who you really are, because that's what they really want to see.

Anyway, just my opinion. Good luck on your interview(s)!
 
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KoalaT

KoalaT

2+ Year Member
Nov 11, 2015
247
248
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Pre-Medical
I do agree. How would you suggest one prepares then? Other than mock interviews and knowing my application? I feel I should spend some time preparing rather than just twiddling my thumbs and waiting for the moment.
 

Abc123YouandMe

2+ Year Member
Jul 1, 2015
17
16
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
To prep for interviews, I literally just learned about the school so I could ask questions, etc. Thought it was more natural that way - and it turned out great. Don't worry about prepping stories, those characteristics will come through when you talk naturally to your interviewers.

Don't worry, you will be fine!
 
Jan 5, 2015
22
5
Status
Pre-Medical
@Abc123YouandMe, I also wanted to take this approach to be as natural and real as I could during interviews. Did you do any mock interviews? I'm only planning to do one if any, but I was wondering if doing multiple mock interviews were necessary in this process? I also heard most interviews were conversational in nature which often isn't the case in a mock interview.
 

Abc123YouandMe

2+ Year Member
Jul 1, 2015
17
16
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Depends on the person, I guess. I didn't do any mock interviews. Like you said, most interviews are, in fact, conversational. If you have an MMI, I would prep by just looking over some practice questions.
 
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KoalaT

KoalaT

2+ Year Member
Nov 11, 2015
247
248
Status
Pre-Medical
Okay, so I spent the evening speaking with physicians I work with, family member physicians, and even a member of an admission board.

What I learned was basically to be natural. When they ask you a question, most people rattle off something that tries to make them sound good or generic. Truth is, they really don't care about your answer as much as the way you deliver it. If you simply have an enjoyable conversation with the person across from you and have honest/personal/decent answers, they will like you. And in the end, the interviewers rarely fight for interviewees "who had remarkable answers" as much as they fight for those they truly enjoyed speaking with.
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
53,653
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Somewhere west of St. Louis
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It's good to be prepared for the common questions, but you can't count on always getting the common questions. And if you try to script something , you're going to fall flat on your ass whenthe interviewers try different questions, or interrupts you because they don't like where you're going.

Take a look at my post on guide to interviews.

And look at some Youtube videos on med schools interviews. You definitely see things on what NOT to do.

You should have your stories and memories naturally, because they're a part of you. It's like me asking you about whatever sport you liked in high school, or your favorite museum or park.

EDIT: one more thing; look at the Interview feedback section of SDN!



TL;DR ***Skip to the asterisks to see the question.

So I recently received interviews. Many are within the first 3 rounds! I'm very excited to interview and confident in my application. Now I need to prepare and here is what I was thinking. I'd like some input.

I am a very sociable person and usually quite good at thinking on my feet. However, I don't like leaving things to luck. Luck is simply where preparation and opportunity meet. I have the opportunity - now I'm wondering how to prepare.

*******************************************************************************
Of course, I plan to know my application and check out some lists of "common questions" on google. But here is my gameplan that I'd like to have some commentary on:

I plan to prepare about a dozen "stories". These stories are going to each meet different characteristics. For example, a story that can display leadership/initiative/confidence/drive. Another story will display compassion/sympathy/understanding of the human condition, etc. Another story could display an ethical or moral dilemma/a difficult choice once made, etc. I would assemble them all and ponder how they meet different characteristics or display certain attributes. Nothing would be scripted.

The point is not to go into the interview like a robot and spit off a script. It's simply to think about "a time when..." I displayed important characteristics. If I have an arsenal of memorable and compelling stories, I feel I will be more prepared and not freeze up or stumble for a good answer. As well, telling a short story is far more remember-able and believable than simply saying "I'm a leader and I'm confident".

What do y'all think of this game plan?
 

iforget2

7+ Year Member
Jun 23, 2012
780
323
Status
Medical Student
I'm interviewing this Friday, and was actually more or less preparing in the way that you are. I know I have stories that can answer the interview's question, but I don't trust myself on recalling them quick enough under pressure and when I'm nervous. I do hope my interviews aren't too tough on ethical and political questions, though :eek:
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
10+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
23,178
32,846
Status
Academic Administration
Sounding rehearsed is not a good thing. It can be forgiven at the end of the cycle when the assumption is that you've already told this story six other times but at the beginning of the cycle it can be interpreted as insincerity.

Also beware of the slight twist on a question such that your prepared story doesn't exactly fit the prompt. I get really tired of listening to prepared speeches that don't answer my question. Too much like political stump speeches for my taste.
 
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