Caffein3

Projection Room above the Auditorium
2+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2014
427
404
Status
Pre-Medical
So, if you're at an interview and you get asked about your research, how much detail should you go into? Should you give a quick 45 second "elevator speech", or a more detailed insight? I wouldn't want to bore the interviewee with the nitty gritty, but I wouldn't want to gloss over details and make it sound too simple.
 

raindropx

Membership Revoked
Removed
Aug 12, 2015
285
71
Status
Pre-Medical
Yea don't tell them the stats or anything
I would start snoring
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
10+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
23,169
32,776
Status
Academic Administration
Know your audience. With a smart phone you should be able to figure out who your interviewer is, where and when they went to school and in what subject area (not all interviewers are physicians and some will be very old). From there you should be able to tailor your presentation. If you are being interviewed by a PhD histologist you can go into different detail than if you are being interviewed by a bioethicist or an 80 year old psychiatrist. Some interviewers will want to see how well you can speak to patients and so will ask you to describe your research in terms that a child or a lay person can understand. Again, take your cue from the interviewer.

Better to say too little and be asked a follow-up question than to go on too long and bore your audience. I'd say that 30 seconds (the length of a TV commercial) should be the right length to start. I'd go with "We are interested in knowing more about ___. We use _[technique]__ to [verb] [object]. We hope that this may advance the field of ___. I've learned how to___. I found _[describe failure]__ to be very frustrating but when _[describe success]__ I felt the thrill that goes with discovery." Don't memorize this speech but some of these sentences should cover what you want to convey.
 

raindropx

Membership Revoked
Removed
Aug 12, 2015
285
71
Status
Pre-Medical
Know your audience. With a smart phone you should be able to figure out who your interviewer is, where and when they went to school and in what subject area (not all interviewers are physicians and some will be very old). From there you should be able to tailor your presentation. If you are being interviewed by a PhD histologist you can go into different detail than if you are being interviewed by a bioethicist or an 80 year old psychiatrist. Some interviewers will want to see how well you can speak to patients and so will ask you to describe your research in terms that a child or a lay person can understand. Again, take your cue from the interviewer.

Better to say too little and be asked a follow-up question than to go on too long and bore your audience. I'd say that 30 seconds (the length of a TV commercial) should be the right length to start. I'd go with "We are interested in knowing more about ___. We use _[technique]__ to [verb] [object]. We hope that this may advance the field of ___. I've learned how to___. I found _[describe failure]__ to be very frustrating but when _[describe success]__ I felt the thrill that goes with discovery." Don't memorize this speech but some of these sentences should cover what you want to convey.
Should we say we if it was independent
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
10+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
23,169
32,776
Status
Academic Administration
Should we say we if it was independent
Independent?? Like you own the lab? As in not having a supervisor? What kind of research were you doing?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Easonred57 and Goro

InsertMemberNameHere

5+ Year Member
May 26, 2014
109
136
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I would recite your abstract, then if they want to know more they'll ask
I wouldn't do this. Reciting an abstract sounds really boring!

So, if you're at an interview and you get asked about your research, how much detail should you go into? Should you give a quick 45 second "elevator speech", or a more detailed insight? I wouldn't want to bore the interviewee with the nitty gritty, but I wouldn't want to gloss over details and make it sound too simple.
Go with the elevator speech route. You don't want to spend too much time talking about anything in an interview, including research.

Hit the major points. Summarize the points in a way that it makes sense and is somewhat interesting. Make sure you include the significance of your research - that's what many people want to know about. And if you could tie the experience into medicine or medical school somehow, that's always a bonus (I wish to continue doing research as a physician; or I hope to participate in research as a medical student to continue my development as a scientist - maybe something along those lines).

My advice for interviews is always threefold: 1) Be personable and be yourself. 2) Be engaged and be professional. 3) Emphasize why you like their school/would be a successful medical student/are qualified to be a good doctor, etc.

This is a medical school interview, after all! Don't lose the forest through the trees. Convince them that you have what it takes to be a great medical student at their school and a great doctor!

Section #10 includes my full interview tips: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/insertmembernamehere’s-10-tips-on-getting-into-medical-school.1109841/#post-15935798
 
  • Like
Reactions: Goro and Caffein3

raindropx

Membership Revoked
Removed
Aug 12, 2015
285
71
Status
Pre-Medical
Independent?? Like you own the lab? As in not having a supervisor? What kind of research were you doing?
My PI supervised my project--so I would say "we" for everything correct?
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
10+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
23,169
32,776
Status
Academic Administration
My PI supervised my project--so I would say "we" for everything correct?
It is always better to use "we" to show that you were part of a group/team. Don't hog the glory. You can say "I was personally responsible for x and I helped with y."
 
OP
Caffein3

Caffein3

Projection Room above the Auditorium
2+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2014
427
404
Status
Pre-Medical
I was definitely planning to err on the side of simplicity. @InsertMemberNameHere great advice on relating it back to medicine and how it will fit into your role of a physician and medical student.

@LizzyM my lab was awfully independent. I would see my PI once every week at lab meeting and then he would just tell me what results he wanted to see next week. I didn't have a grad student, and I was usually in lab alone. I also worked on a project of my own creation and didn't have a grad student supervisor. Acceptable to say "I", then? I am still indebted to my PI though for even allowing me to have the opportunity so I'd rather err to saying "we".
 

raindropx

Membership Revoked
Removed
Aug 12, 2015
285
71
Status
Pre-Medical
I was definitely planning to err on the side of simplicity. @InsertMemberNameHere great advice on relating it back to medicine and how it will fit into your role of a physician and medical student.

@LizzyM my lab was awfully independent. I would see my PI once every week at lab meeting and then he would just tell me what results he wanted to see next week. I didn't have a grad student, and I was usually in lab alone. I also worked on a project of my own creation and didn't have a grad student supervisor. Acceptable to say "I", then? I am still indebted to my PI though for even allowing me to have the opportunity so I'd rather err to saying "we".
That still counts as PI supervision. I would say we
 
  • Like
Reactions: Goro and Caffein3

raindropx

Membership Revoked
Removed
Aug 12, 2015
285
71
Status
Pre-Medical
Do we need to include what we personally learned from it on this ~30 sec speal or can we wait for them to ask
 

InsertMemberNameHere

5+ Year Member
May 26, 2014
109
136
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I was definitely planning to err on the side of simplicity. @InsertMemberNameHere great advice on relating it back to medicine and how it will fit into your role of a physician and medical student.
Exactly! You got the point!

And it's a point that is missed surprisingly way too often.

The interview is all about you convincing the interviewer that you are qualified and ready to be a successful medical student at their medical school and also be a great doctor someday in the future!

Most of the time it's up to you, the interviewee, to keep the interview about that. Your interviewers will ask you many, many questions ranging from the more standard questions to bizarre questions that we could not possibly predict. It's okay to get a little off the central subject every now and then, but whatever it is - research, life background, etc - try and relate most of your answers back to medicine/medical school in some shape or form. This is an interview for you to try your best to gain admission into their medical school!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Caffein3

raindropx

Membership Revoked
Removed
Aug 12, 2015
285
71
Status
Pre-Medical
Exactly! You got the point!

And it's a point that is missed surprisingly way too often.

The interview is all about you convincing the interviewer that you are qualified and ready to be a successful medical student at their medical school and also be a great doctor someday in the future!

Most of the time it's up to you, the interviewee, to keep the interview about that. Your interviewers will ask you many, many questions ranging from the more standard questions to bizarre questions that we could not possibly predict. It's okay to get a little off the central subject every now and then, but whatever it is - research, life background, etc - try and relate most of your answers back to medicine/medical school in some shape or form. This is an interview for you to try your best to gain admission into their medical school!
Interesting, never been given this advice but sounds like it can help
 
Jan 1, 2013
22
14
Status
Pre-Medical
Know your audience. With a smart phone you should be able to figure out who your interviewer is, where and when they went to school and in what subject area (not all interviewers are physicians and some will be very old). From there you should be able to tailor your presentation. If you are being interviewed by a PhD histologist you can go into different detail than if you are being interviewed by a bioethicist or an 80 year old psychiatrist. Some interviewers will want to see how well you can speak to patients and so will ask you to describe your research in terms that a child or a lay person can understand. Again, take your cue from the interviewer.

Better to say too little and be asked a follow-up question than to go on too long and bore your audience. I'd say that 30 seconds (the length of a TV commercial) should be the right length to start. I'd go with "We are interested in knowing more about ___. We use _[technique]__ to [verb] [object]. We hope that this may advance the field of ___. I've learned how to___. I found _[describe failure]__ to be very frustrating but when _[describe success]__ I felt the thrill that goes with discovery." Don't memorize this speech but some of these sentences should cover what you want to convey.
Is it acceptable to quickly use your phone during the tours/orientation breaks/lunch to do this? I know it depends on the structure of the interview day, but if one of the interviewers sees you on your phone while waiting for the interview, will this be a problem?
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
10+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
23,169
32,776
Status
Academic Administration
Is it acceptable to quickly use your phone during the tours/orientation breaks/lunch to do this? I know it depends on the structure of the interview day, but if one of the interviewers sees you on your phone while waiting for the interview, will this be a problem?
These days, it is almost expected that people will be on their phones for a few minutes while in the waiting room or during other down time.
 
  • Like
Reactions: raindropx and Goro

raindropx

Membership Revoked
Removed
Aug 12, 2015
285
71
Status
Pre-Medical
These days, it is almost expected that people will be on their phones for a few minutes while in the waiting room or during other down time.
I'm glad you told me, guess I was thinking of the hospital volunteering shifts where phone=dead
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
53,610
78,834
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
You should be able to either give the "elevator pitch" or explain like you would to Gramma.


So, if you're at an interview and you get asked about your research, how much detail should you go into? Should you give a quick 45 second "elevator speech", or a more detailed insight? I wouldn't want to bore the interviewee with the nitty gritty, but I wouldn't want to gloss over details and make it sound too simple.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Caffein3

Oh_Gee

5+ Year Member
Nov 15, 2013
1,697
1,049
rock hurtling through space
Status
Medical Student
Know your audience. With a smart phone you should be able to figure out who your interviewer is, where and when they went to school and in what subject area (not all interviewers are physicians and some will be very old). From there you should be able to tailor your presentation. If you are being interviewed by a PhD histologist you can go into different detail than if you are being interviewed by a bioethicist or an 80 year old psychiatrist. Some interviewers will want to see how well you can speak to patients and so will ask you to describe your research in terms that a child or a lay person can understand. Again, take your cue from the interviewer.

Better to say too little and be asked a follow-up question than to go on too long and bore your audience. I'd say that 30 seconds (the length of a TV commercial) should be the right length to start. I'd go with "We are interested in knowing more about ___. We use _[technique]__ to [verb] [object]. We hope that this may advance the field of ___. I've learned how to___. I found _[describe failure]__ to be very frustrating but when _[describe success]__ I felt the thrill that goes with discovery." Don't memorize this speech but some of these sentences should cover what you want to convey.
will we know in advance who our interviewers will be so we can google them
i don't wanna whip it out as i sit down and look at their name tag
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
10+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
23,169
32,776
Status
Academic Administration
will we know in advance who our interviewers will be so we can google them
i don't wanna whip it out as i sit down and look at their name tag
Sometimes you'll get the interviewer's name at the beginning of the day and have some time -- in other instances you may not but if you can figure out anything about the interviewer even from the name on the door, the decor of the office, their age and appearance, you may be able to modify your presentation without being condescending if the person is elderly or a non-scientist.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Goro
May 4, 2015
916
374
Status
Medical Student
If you were writing a proposal for a grant judged by a society governed by a diverse faculty you would probably begin with the impact of your research subject, its methods and changes that you made over time, and the product's ultimate significance for the greater community. These 3 points are what I would mention and they would act as succinct descriptors; take that from a person who has been a grant advisor for students so some experience?
 

avgn

Lv 30, HP 85
2+ Year Member
Jul 21, 2015
1,813
1,762
Blackthorn City
bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net
Status
Medical Student
Exactly! You got the point!

And it's a point that is missed surprisingly way too often.

The interview is all about you convincing the interviewer that you are qualified and ready to be a successful medical student at their medical school and also be a great doctor someday in the future!

Most of the time it's up to you, the interviewee, to keep the interview about that. Your interviewers will ask you many, many questions ranging from the more standard questions to bizarre questions that we could not possibly predict. It's okay to get a little off the central subject every now and then, but whatever it is - research, life background, etc - try and relate most of your answers back to medicine/medical school in some shape or form. This is an interview for you to try your best to gain admission into their medical school!
Hm I ain't buying the method here. Not everything you do/say has to related to being a physician and getting into medical school. Interviewers want to know who you are as a multifaceted person, not just a drone who does everything in order to become a physician. If you're asked about a hobby, talk about your damn hobby and don't try to stretch it too far. If your research does not have direct medical implications, don't stretch it into some BS that relates it back to medicine. If you did scut work, say so, etc. As someone who's interviewed people (for entirely different purposes, obviously), it's just so annoying when someone does everything they can to stretch an answer to answer something that I never asked. Related 2-3 things back to being a physician. There is just no need to sprinkle in hints at every single chance you can get. You should be controlling the conversation whenever you can, but knowing how to answer questions directly without additional useless BS is just as important.

No offense but seeing as how you were 1 for 5 from interviews to acceptance, that corroborates my gut feeling that strategy does not seem like the best one to use.
 
  • Like
Reactions: LizzyM

mw18

5+ Year Member
Jan 7, 2014
890
959
Status
Medical Student
When I was asked, my response was very similar to lizzyM's template.

It was also very similar to the way I explained it to my parents or my roommates (just more professional in delivery.) However, the key is to be ready to go into more detail whenever it is necessary. Don't pretend you ran the show if you didn't.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Caffein3

oopsaloo

2+ Year Member
Feb 1, 2015
106
64
Status
Medical Student
Sometimes you'll get the interviewer's name at the beginning of the day and have some time -- in other instances you may not but if you can figure out anything about the interviewer even from the name on the door, the decor of the office, their age and appearance, you may be able to modify your presentation without being condescending if the person is elderly or a non-scientist.
It's not enough to just be a student coming for an interview... we also have to be Sherlock Holmes? :p
 

InsertMemberNameHere

5+ Year Member
May 26, 2014
109
136
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Hm I ain't buying the method here. Not everything you do/say has to related to being a physician and getting into medical school. Interviewers want to know who you are as a multifaceted person, not just a drone who does everything in order to become a physician. If you're asked about a hobby, talk about your damn hobby and don't try to stretch it too far. If your research does not have direct medical implications, don't stretch it into some BS that relates it back to medicine. If you did scut work, say so, etc. As someone who's interviewed people (for entirely different purposes, obviously), it's just so annoying when someone does everything they can to stretch an answer to answer something that I never asked. Related 2-3 things back to being a physician. There is just no need to sprinkle in hints at every single chance you can get. You should be controlling the conversation whenever you can, but knowing how to answer questions directly without additional useless BS is just as important.

No offense but seeing as how you were 1 for 5 from interviews to acceptance, that corroborates my gut feeling that strategy does not seem like the best one to use.
Couple things. One, I specifically mentioned in my post that not EVERYTHING has to be directly related to being a physician/medical school - just most of it. This is what you want to focus your medical school interview on. Many interviewers are nice and most interviewees will feel "good" coming out of most interviews, but this does not necessarily mean you had a successful interview - even if you spent most the time talking about unrelated things.

At the end of the day, most interviewers have to grade you on selected material, and you really want to make sure you hit home that you are qualified to be a good doctor and want to attend their medical school. This advice is more or less a "get back to the basics" approach to interviewing. I try and keep it simple. Be personable. Be professional. Sell yourself.

Lastly, are you familiar with the Texas match system? You can only match into one of the public schools in Texas no matter how many you interviewed at! Please do more background research on something like that before you criticize someone so harshly!
 
May 7, 2015
13
17
Status
Medical Student
Hm I ain't buying the method here. Not everything you do/say has to related to being a physician and getting into medical school. Interviewers want to know who you are as a multifaceted person, not just a drone who does everything in order to become a physician. If you're asked about a hobby, talk about your damn hobby and don't try to stretch it too far. If your research does not have direct medical implications, don't stretch it into some BS that relates it back to medicine. If you did scut work, say so, etc. As someone who's interviewed people (for entirely different purposes, obviously), it's just so annoying when someone does everything they can to stretch an answer to answer something that I never asked. Related 2-3 things back to being a physician. There is just no need to sprinkle in hints at every single chance you can get. You should be controlling the conversation whenever you can, but knowing how to answer questions directly without additional useless BS is just as important.

No offense but seeing as how you were 1 for 5 from interviews to acceptance, that corroborates my gut feeling that strategy does not seem like the best one to use.
I really hope that you don't come across like this in an interview....

Also, you'd think that someone who obviously knows everything about admissions would know that Texas schools do admission differently.
 

avgn

Lv 30, HP 85
2+ Year Member
Jul 21, 2015
1,813
1,762
Blackthorn City
bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net
Status
Medical Student
Couple things. One, I specifically mentioned in my post that not EVERYTHING has to be directly related to being a physician/medical school - just most of it. This is what you want to focus your medical school interview on. Many interviewers are nice and most interviewees will feel "good" coming out of most interviews, but this does not necessarily mean you had a successful interview - even if you spent most the time talking about unrelated things.

At the end of the day, most interviewers have to grade you on selected material, and you really want to make sure you hit home that you are qualified to be a good doctor and want to attend their medical school. This advice is more or less a "get back to the basics" approach to interviewing. I try and keep it simple. Be personable. Be professional. Sell yourself.

Lastly, are you familiar with the Texas match system? You can only match into one of the public schools in Texas no matter how many you interviewed at! Please do more background research on something like that before you criticize someone so harshly!
Good reply, but I stick to my case that only a few questions should relate back to being a physician, not "most of it."

And yes, I know about the match system, thank you. But pre-match offers also exist, so my point still stands. I don't think you used the best interviewing strategy and I would guess that it hurt your chances. But hey, just a guess on my part is all.
 

InsertMemberNameHere

5+ Year Member
May 26, 2014
109
136
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Good reply, but I stick to my case that only a few questions should relate back to being a physician, not "most of it."

And yes, I know about the match system, thank you. But pre-match offers also exist, so my point still stands. I don't think you used the best interviewing strategy and I would guess that it hurt your chances. But hey, just a guess on my part is all.
I don't think you knew how the match system works in Texas. Otherwise, you probably would not have said your "1 for 5" comment like you did.

In any case, you can take my advice or leave it. I think it is best to get back to the basics when it comes to interviewing. OP was asking about how much time he should talk about research, and my answer is not too much.

Ultimately, you want to hit on most of the big parts of your application, yourself and why you are a good fit for their medical school and for medicine. You don't want to spend too much time talking about any one thing. It's your job to sell yourself and really hit home on why you will be a great physician someday. Like I mentioned before, this is a very simplistic "back to basics" approach to the medical school interview.

Here is a fantastic video about medical school interviewing:
omg I got a like from @LizzyM!!! Definitely a highlight of my SDN career thus far :smuggrin:
Also, congrats!
 
  • Like
Reactions: sunset57

avgn

Lv 30, HP 85
2+ Year Member
Jul 21, 2015
1,813
1,762
Blackthorn City
bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net
Status
Medical Student
In any case, you can take my advice or leave it. I think it is best to get back to the basics when it comes to interviewing. OP was asking about how much time he should talk about research, and my answer is not too much.
Unless they're at a top private school that values research, regardless of whether it directly makes one a better physician
 

UNMedGa

Newbie!
2+ Year Member
Feb 2, 2015
2,874
3,592
Capital of Passive-Aggression
Status
Medical Student
How prepared should you be? Be prepared to talk about the nitty gritty details, including research design, variables, how you could have improved the design of the project etc.

What should you start out with? Not a lot. Just the details of what you did and what your role was.
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
10+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
23,169
32,776
Status
Academic Administration
It's not enough to just be a student coming for an interview... we also have to be Sherlock Holmes? :p
Why not? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a physician, don't you know? And Sherlock Holmes was fashioned after one of Doyle's instructors who was very observant when faced with a patient with a puzzling ailment.
 

oopsaloo

2+ Year Member
Feb 1, 2015
106
64
Status
Medical Student
Why not? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a physician, don't you know? And Sherlock Holmes was fashioned after one of Doyle's instructors who was very observant when faced with a patient with a puzzling ailment.
Ah, no wonder Watson's accounts from a medical perspective were so compelling... :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: LizzyM

Samir Desai

Member
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Mar 9, 2000
169
49
Houston, TX
www.TheSuccessfulMatch.com
Status
Attending Physician
If you're asked about your research, I would recommend spending no more than 1-1.5 minutes providing an overview of the work that makes sense. It's best to not assume that your interviewer has any background knowledge in the area so start with the overall purpose and mission of the work to orient the listener. In your answer, you can discuss your duties/responsibilities, and qualities and skills gained through your involvement. If you're interested in making research a part of your career in medicine, you can bring this up and indicate that you are excited about the opportunities the school offers to build a stronger foundation in research. Be ready to tackle the deeper questions that may follow - some of my admissions colleagues make it a point to ask these questions, and many applicants run into trouble.

Samir Desai, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Baylor College of Medicine