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Interview question: Describe your Greatest Failure?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by jammin06, Nov 13, 2005.

  1. jammin06

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    I was asked this question at an interview this past week and I was wondering how other people would approach this?

    The answer I gave probably wasn't the best, but something along the lines of getting deffered and waitlisted from my top choice school (where i ended up getting in) during college admissions. I kind of talked about having perseverance and working hard for anything you really want.

    Any thoughts?
     
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  3. mrhealth

    mrhealth Member
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    thats tough. im sitting here and i cant think of anything, so im sure i would have looked like an idiot at the interview. the fact that they phrase it as your "greatest" failure makes it seem like it needs to be on a pretty grand scale. why cant interviews just involve normal questions and conversations?
     
  4. jammin06

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    seriously, all my other interviews were very conversational, but this one was pretty rigid. She asks question, I respond, she writes, no conversation...move on to next questin
     
  5. Pretty POHA

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    My greatest failure happens when I forget to learn from my mistakes... It's never one specific time or situation that I can think of-- mostly because I don't dwell on failures, instead I focus on my successes-- but any time I make the same mistake twice, that is when I've enacted my greatest failure.
     
  6. DrBowtie

    DrBowtie Final Countdown
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    Sounds like a good interview BS answer.
     
  7. jmnykrkts

    jmnykrkts Registered Hoser
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    haha. I was looking for the stinky cheese emoticon. (j/k)
     
  8. jebus

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    Oooh, that's good, and now it's my idea. I'm sorry, but you didn't call it and I just did.
    Seriously, and I am going to have a very hard time saying this in an interview, but when I started college I thought I was King **** of Pimp Mountain and then I got my arse handed to me. So, years ago after I saw my arse on the platter (while it was being handed to me) I decided to make goals and better myself. Simple goals, like be less cynical, be a more effective speaker/writer/communicator, stop looking like a crack head and un-suction my mouth from the bong, be more patient and less impulsive, etc. Whenever I see myself relapse I cringe, especially when I start to look like a crack head. That way I know it's time to shave. Yikes.
     
  9. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS
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    If I were your interviewer, and you tried to feed me this line, I would roll my eyes at you.
     
  10. DrHuang

    DrHuang SDN Donor
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    my greatest failure? getting rejected from medical school. twice.

     
  11. BooMed

    BooMed Optomist
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    Not calling my aunt more/visiting her when she was dying of cancer. I don't think there's anything on earth that I feel worse about. :(
     
  12. Pretty POHA

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    Hee hee....
    I'm going to be a psychiatrist someday. Just practicing.
     
  13. 1SwtWrld

    1SwtWrld Senior Member
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    Haha.....ya I had one like this at MCW, He had absolutely no ability to carry a conversation whatsoever. Actually had a list of about 50 questions that he just ran down, checking off the ones he asked. He even got visibly upset when I could not answer one of them, like I was messing up his flow or something, telling me to come back to it at the end of the interview. Whatever....It happens sometimes.
     
  14. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS
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    that answer sounds like something you would read in one of those annoying self help books that Oprah sells. Maybe if you had a female interviewer, she would buy it - but a guy would reach for a vomit bag with this answer,,, :laugh: :laugh:
     
  15. coco

    coco Senior Member
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    I got asked that question and I had no idea what to say. I even thought about it days in advance because I had seen it on the interview feedback for that school and I could not come up with anything that i thought would be considered a "failure". It's such a strong word! So I was like...eh whatever, i'll just hope they dont ask me that during the interview...and well...she did. And I was like...hmm...interesting question (as if i hadnt thought about it for days!), and then im like...wow i really dont konw, nothing comes to mind. (why was i so STUPID!! why didnt i just come up with SOMETHING in advance!) and i thought oh well, it'll be over, we'll move on. but NO, she says...well what about something someone close to you has done, such as a friend, or a family member...

    and to make things worse, I came up with this story on the SPOT, like about a friend...totally LAME, and I couldn't keep going, cuz I couldn't finish it up, and she could probably tell I was BSing so half way through my mumbling, I was like...well I guess it really wasn't a failure since I would've done the same thing (OK PEOPLE WHAT WAS I THINKING!) ahhh it was a nightmare...she moved on after that..but i didnt...i still think about it all the time...ugh..so stupid!

    so i think you did fine with your answer...really.
     
  16. ClearDay

    ClearDay Senior Member
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    But what personality trait are you displaying to the interviewer by giving such answer? They'd think that you don't learn from your mistakes - ever! :cool:
     
  17. jammin06

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    that's kinda what i was hoping to address with my answer (see above), but i don't know if it came across that way.
     
  18. ClearDay

    ClearDay Senior Member
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    I think you gave a good answer. I was asked something similar at one of my interviews and it took me a little while to answer. Good luck :)
     
  19. dinesh

    dinesh Senior Member
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    I would of probably made something up, or use something academic.
    Maybe how you failed out of a course that you needed in college, or you frigged up your SAT's the first time.Then throw something in about how you learned from it, and it helped motivate you...this is all after the devastation.
    Something about a cloud having a silver lining :)
     
  20. glp

    glp Vegas Baby Vegas
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    i would have just said, "This interview." and then run out of the room.
     
  21. Karim

    Karim The Egyptian Undergrad
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    I have a feeling that it's got to be something a little more personal and specific, not just some generic answer like "sometimes I don't learn from my mistakes." Although BooMed's circumstance was very unfortunate (not spending time with her aunt when she was dying of cancer), I think it properly answers the question, as well as reveals her compassion for human beings.
     
  22. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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    Yeah, this is a very good answer. I got asked this question once as well, and I talked about how my parents didn't come to my college graduation b/c of sheer stupidity on my part as well as theirs. We'd had an argument, and we were barely speaking. I wouldn't give in and tell them I really wanted them to come--I just said that they could come if they wanted. They wouldn't give in and admit that they wanted to come either--they said they'd only come if I said that I really wanted them to come. So, we were all stubborn and stood our ground, they didn't come, and then we were all sorry afterward. :laugh: Two good things came out of this: 1) the interviewer and I then proceeded to talk about how much smarter our parents magically became by the time we turned 30 compared to when we were only 20, and 2) I've already extracted a sworn oath from my parents that they'll be there this spring to see me get my PhD. ;)
     
  23. dajimmers

    dajimmers Hedgehog!
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    Well at least now you've got an answer for the next time you are asked this.
     
  24. BooMed

    BooMed Optomist
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    I really think it's best to be honest. Once you start BSing your interviewer is going to be: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep:
     
  25. Pretty POHA

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    What if you don't think that anything you've done is a failure?
     
  26. WholeLottaGame7

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    Haha then I would say your inability to recognize your failures is your biggest failure :)
     
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  27. DrHuang

    DrHuang SDN Donor
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    :laugh: :laugh: :thumbup:
     
  28. kirexhana

    kirexhana Make Me A Sandwich.
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    my sex life
     
  29. Samoa

    Physician Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

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    I got this exact question at my Tulane interview...

    my response: "Gosh, where do I start?" :laugh:
     
  30. DropkickMurphy

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    Exactly....

    But seriously, I'd have to say it was not being able to intubate my best friend after he was badly injured in a car accident. He coded on the way to the hospital and was pronounced dead a few minutes later.
     
  31. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS
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    :eek:
    :eek: :eek: OMG!!! I am so sorry!! I think that is everybody that has ever worked on an ambulance's worst nightmare - I can't even express how sorry I am that you had to go through that.
     
  32. DropkickMurphy

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    It's alright....one of the worst days of my life, it still bothers me, but with going on five years since it happened it doesn't hurt nearly as acutely as it did then. I'm a very big believer in the "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger" theory of things, so I do honestly believe that losing John was in some strange way something helped me become better at my job. It cut away the excessive parts of my ego and left me with a good grasp on the idea that you can't save everyone, but you still can try to make a difference.

    So no need to be sorry Flop, but your empathy is greatly appreciated.
     
  33. 63768

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    while my story isn't as dramatic and heart-wrenching as praetorian's, mine obviously revolves around the cheating incident i had in college. parents were divorcing and i couldn't handle both school and family. i messed up and here we are today.
     
  34. gdbaby

    gdbaby Prettier than before
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    Oooh let me take out the scroll of failures and see which one is currently at the top: I am going to go with being an immature, selfish, low-self-esteem, pain in the ass person to my first husband.

    Now I am mature, only slightly selfish, too esteemed, still pain in the ass to my second husband! :)
     

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