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Interviewing Masterclass: Free masterclass on interviewing from SDN and Medical College of Georgia

tell me about yourself...

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by shamthis, Oct 14, 2002.

  1. whats the best way to answer this question: "So...let's start off by you telling me a little about yourself..."
     
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  3. smilez428

    smilez428 Senior Member
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    oooh, i hate this question....

    i've been asked this question twice (at both interviews i went to so far) and i just answer by saying stuff that they may not get off the application in front of them.

    good luck! :)
     
  4. medicine2006

    medicine2006 Happy Pisces
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    They would like to see if you lived an interesting life. So say something about yourself that goes beyond school.
     
  5. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much
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    I also hate this question. Luckily I was only asked it in one of my interviews. I don't remember what exactly I said, but I know I should have practiced this answer better. I was given an acceptance to this school but really felt like I sounded stupid when I answered them.

    This is one question that EVERYONE should PRACTICE what they will say. It is not as easy as it seems.
     
  6. neuromd03

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    "Tell me about yourself."

    Basically, this question really is "so why is medicine your chosen profession and what makes you think you're good enough to enter our medical school?"

    If you start rambling about where you grew up, you're only boring the interviewer and they'll wonder why you're not trying to sell yourself. So be assertive and get to the point! :)

    Also, "yeah" should not be in your vocabulary. It's either "yes, sir" or "yes, maam." If your interviewer is a surgeon, you'd want to be even more formal as they are a conservative breed.
     
  7. lola

    lola Bovine Member
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    are you in the south or military or something?! geesh. i don't think i've ever uttered those words. i'll try to stick with just yes.
     
  8. neuromd03

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    Surgeons look for disciplined and reliable assistants and believe it or not, there is a strict chain of command in the OR and on the floors. You better know this or you'd look foolish during the interview.

    Also, there is nothing wrong with a little social courtesy. :)
     
  9. poloace

    poloace Senior Member
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    this is when i try to cry and look up to the ceiling... god, acting is rad.
    p
     
  10. neuromd03

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    Here's another interview tip.

    Address your physician interviewer as Dr. _____ during introductions but do not continue to use the title "Doctor." Instead, use "sir" or "ma'am." Doctors are conditioned to believe that anybody in a fancy suit who continues to address them as "doctor" is either a drug rep or a hospital administrator.
     
  11. cabruen

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    Also don't forget to salute, bow, cursty, and bend over. Otherwise the interviewer might actually think the applicant has self-respect, and lacks proper groveling skills.
     
  12. Mr. Z

    Mr. Z Senior Member
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    I think these Dr's are bright enough to figure out that they are interviewing a med school candidate, and not a drug rep or an admin. Using "Sir" and "Ma'am" is not only antiquated, but it is a surefire way to come of as a kiss ass. Just be courteous and be yourself and you'll do fine.
     
  13. neuromd03

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    I think this is a big mistake. I know so many applicants who foul up because they get too cozy with the interviewer. Surgeons (and physicians!) have worked long and hard to earn the respect that they deserve. All the students and residents that I know, have at one time used "sir" or "ma'am" when addressing senior members ("attendings") of the health care team. And most of them are not from the South or the military.

    It is not kissing ass. It's called tradition.

    It helps also if you incorporate "sir" or "ma'am" into your everyday speech to make it sound natural, rather than a military bark.

    Just some advice.
     
  14. lola

    lola Bovine Member
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    i was born a poor, black child
     
  15. gotgirth

    gotgirth Greatest Icon in Wrestlng
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    After talking to the med advisor at my school, I think this question is more of an "icebreaker" question than a "why do you want to be a doctor" question. Certainly it can lead into lots of other stuff, but you're not going to cover all the main points of your interview in one "tell me about yourself" answer. Personally, I'd just give a little summary, maybe some anecdotes (sp?), and see where it leads. Of course each interviewer might be looking for something different/posing the question in a different way, so I guess you sort of have to play it by ear.
     
  16. silver_eyes

    silver_eyes Senior Member
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    explain please.
     
  17. Tweetie_bird

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    you would think the other way...that if you show too much respect, you are not putting yourself on the same team as the AD COM and threfore, this person can't be a fair judge of your character. I mean, no body wants a kiss ass...especially not if that ass kissing is not done wholeheartedly. It will take me a LOT of practise before I start calling somebody "sir" or "maam" simply because I find it demeaning to myself. Maybe it's a girl thing, but I am definitely NOT calling any man "sir...." especially if I have worked this hard to prove my intelligence and promise.

    I have used one tip for myself frequently that has always helped. Before I meet any doctor...or atleast the first time I speak with a new doc, I ask, "What may I address you as?" And usually ALL the docs have said "oh just call me BOB..." (or whatever their first name is.) Trust me, that has helped me get so close professionally to the person. I am probably the only research assistant that calls our boss by his first name and I defininitely see how (well) he treats me compared to others. When people see you giving them too much respect, that code of honor can actually work against you when you want this person to rave about you when it comes decision time.

    Now, I have not applied before and I don't know much about interviews since I haven't yet had one. I do know that I will be addressing everybody as "Dr." because that is what they are addressed as by OTHER colleagues of theirs. And since I am going to be one of them, i see nothing wrong with addressing them as Dr.

    Just my 2$$.
     
  18. Ma!

    Ma! Senior Member
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    Shamalama-I thought about this all through dinner and a "Dr. Phil" quote came to mind: "You know, son, its hard to look at yourself if you don't got a mirror"
    Now here is an idea for you-ask your own Ma to tell you a little bit about yourself....I think you will be pleasantly surprised at her insight and maybe come up with a thing or two you hadn't thought of.
     
  19. neuromd03

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    From top to bottom

    Attending Surgeon
    Chief Resident
    Senior Resident (according to postgrad year)
    Intern
    Sub-I
    MS4
    MS3

    The chief resident leads rounds and does the major surgeries, the senior resident takes consults and does some major surgeries, the intern does most of the floor work (i.e., taking care of the patients on the surgical floors and in the intensive care unit) and scrubs for the less challenging cases, medical students write notes and assist in positioning, retracting, blotting, suctioning, cauterizing, suturing, driving the laparoscopic camera, drilling Burr holes, bringing path specimens to the lab, and doing other tasks in the OR. Sometimes you may do an entire case yourself such as placing a Hickman catheter (of course you'll be closely supervised).
     
  20. neuromd03

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    This is excellent advice and is a sign of maturity. A good student is always willing to ask for feedback.
     
  21. Street Philosopher

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  22. neuromd03

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    Whatever you do, do not say the above to any interviewer! .:eek:
    I'll tell you why. First, it suggests that you are uncomfortable working with authority. Second, it reveals a potential attitude problem and conceitedness with a possible history of difficulty working well with others ("I have worked this hard to prove" [how great I am and how others are inferior]).

    I suggest you practice your interview. :)
     
  23. neuromd03

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    I forgot to talk about that, didn't I? :)

    A sub-I (sub-intern) is basically a fourth-year medical student who takes on the responsiblities of an intern. Sub-I's are closely supervised by the chief or senior resident. Generally, these students are interested in going into the specialty where they are doing their sub-internships.
     
  24. neuromd03

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    Tweetie,

    If I don't say Mr. (Patient) or Ms. (Patient), I always say sir or ma'am out of respect. The patients love it. It's not just a doctor thing.
     
  25. Tweetie_bird

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    LOL, I would never say the above to an interviewer. You are right, I do have a hard time with authority especially if "ass kissing" is required to be a part of it. I have no problems showing respect in any other form--my disposition, way I talk, never interrupting...etc. And although one may think it has to do with an "attitude problem" or "conceitedness," I beg to differ. I think respect can be shown in ways other than address labels. The way I am in person when I talk to people; the tone of my voice; my ability to LISTEN first and then talk; these are things I think will matter far more than using words like "ma'am" or "sir" especially to DOCTORS who are taught to be egalitarian (is that the word?). And to be frank, I dislike OTHERS calling me "ma'am" also. Perhaps it has to do with my upbringing which was in a different country and there is a social....stigma...??

    I feel that everybody should FEEL like they are on an equal level, although they may not necessarily ACT like it. How many times do you see a med student refer to a chief or even the dean as "sir?" I personally haven't seen much of it, and I have worked in health care for 5 years. In any case, I do see your point and will try and incorporate what you said because an acceptance means MORE to me than feeling low about having to address another man as "sir."

    So basically, you are right. I do need to practise my interview more. And if need be, I will just have to suck it up and address people as that at the interview.
     
  26. Tweetie_bird

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    Oh of course! I do the same with our patients right now. It's just that I have a hard time calling somebody "ma'am" or "sir" in an INTERVIEW especially when I know I am supposed to "be myself." I would rather address them as Dr.
     
  27. neuromd03

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    As students you address residents by their first names. If before patients, you'd want to address them as Dr. So and So, since the patients would rather be treated by a Dr. than by an intern named "Joe" (professionalism puts patients at ease). As for addressing the dean "sir" by students, that happens everyday. I have never seen it happen in undergrad but in medicine these salutations and titles are important. There is a medical hierarchy that has been around for ages (you haven't heard of "pimping" or "scutting?") and it'd help to know what you're getting yourself into.
     
  28. Bikini Princess

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    actually, i think that acting humbly (ie kissing up) does help for evals, match, lors, aoa, etc. I also think that personality maybe contributes more to your success than some people assume.
     
  29. lola

    lola Bovine Member
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    if somebody wants me to kiss their ass, then they can kiss my ass :laugh:

    seriously, adcoms/dr's are human and probably do not want to be addressed as sir or ma'am. i certainly wouldn't want someone to call me ma'am no matter how important i was.
     
  30. Sweet Tea

    Sweet Tea Girl Next Door
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    Hmmm...here's the southern manners part of me coming out again, but Emily Post was my mother's hero.

    I really don't see using "sir" and "ma'am" as kissing ass-- it's just good manners. I was raised to call anyone in a postition of authority as sir or ma'am, and it's second nature to me. I call my EMS patients and my research participants sir or ma'am. It just shows respect for the person you're talking to. It is, however, definetly a learned trait, and one you must practice if you want to use it.

    However, I don't think that there's anything wrong with calling an interviewer "Dr. Smith" or whatever. If you're more comfortable with using Dr., then by all means use Dr!! I would, however, refrain from using "yeah" or anything less formal than "yes" or "no". I don't think anyone's ever been rejected from med school b/c they didn't use "ma'am" or "sir". You want to be formal and respectful, not stilted, at an interview.

    Now that I've lectured you all on handwritten thank you notes and sir/ma'am, I will be leading a discourse in how to set a table for a formal dinner. ;) :laugh:
     
  31. neuromd03

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    Great post. :)
     
  32. Samoa

    Physician Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

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    To me, calling someone "sir" or "ma'am" is not so much an issue of power as it is of social graces. I use them whenever an extra measure of politeness is in order. I do think it's possible to convey respect for authority without using these particular forms of address. The important thing is to convey your respect, and the manner in which you do it is not so important.

    Neuromd is correct from what I've seen. As an interviewee, you'd definitely want to err on the side of formality. And when you get to the hospital, the heirarchy is very clear.

    The rule of thumb that I use for titles is this: people in my department get called by their first name; outside my department, all students, staff, middle management and the residents I know personally are called by their first names. Everyone else is called Mr., Ms. or Dr.
     
  33. Nefertari

    Nefertari Undercover Premed
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    I personally would feel too obsequious addressing adcoms as "Sir" or "Ma'am". Safe to go w/ "Dr" since some are quite proud of that MD after their name (& some don't care).

    The best thing is to use whatever respectable greeting you're comfortable w/. The interview is already going to be tense and formal. Saying something b/c you feel you should will come across as unnatural / stilted. The content of your discussions should be more significant than the greeting.
     
  34. Curci

    Curci The Master Chief
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    I'm a lowly current applicant, so you should take what I say with a grain of salt. I've had a few interviews so far. They have all been professional, but they haven't really been as formal as some of you are making them out to be. I think there's an important difference. Part of being a good doctor is making people feel comfortable talking to you, and the super formal sir/ma'am act doesn't work on everyone. I've had interviewers who were MDs, PhDs, or just "plain ol'" Mr./Ms./Mrs. They set the tone of the interview, and sometimes this would be pretty formal, but some of them also were on the informal side, telling jokes or stories or whatever.

    Believe me, I know all about the near military attitude of the hierarchy of the hospital, but I did not encounter this at all during any one of my interviews so far, even the most formal ones. I doubt that they really expect us to know what the "traditional" form of address in a hospital is anyway, since we're only interviewing for med school now. Keep in mind that these interviewers don't all have superiority complexes. Most of them volunteer to conduct interviews, so they want to get to know the applicants. Personally, I've found my interviewers for the most part to be very welcoming and friendly.

    I think people tend to worry about interviews more than is necessary. I've found the best way to approach them is to relax, be honest, be courteous, be yourself, and be flexible. Determine the tone that your interviewer is setting and act appropriately.

    I should also add that my interviews have all been in the northeast, so we may not get into the sir/ma'am thing so much around here. I can only speak from my own (limited) experience.
     
  35. PimplePopperMD

    PimplePopperMD Senior Member
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    I just have a quick thing to say...

    I'm a fourth year medical student who has been involved in interviewing applicants.

    Don't get too hung up on this! They will introduce themselves. If you should feel the need to address them by name, address them by the way they introduced themselves.

    I've never seen this as a problem in an interview situation. The question in the beginning of this post "tell me about yourself" HAS been a problem for applicants.

    It's a question that I disagree with asking (and never have) but my collegues in the interviews have always asked. Practice your response to this, and remember to (seriously) be yourself during the interview. Generally, your manner is as important than your content. Come across as confident, and honest and open.

    If calling someone "sir" makes you feel weird, that will come across, and don't do it. IF NOT calling someone "sir" will make you feel weird, then CALL HIM SIR!

    But most importantly, be yourself, and come across as earnest.

    Good luck!
     

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