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What was the most difficult Interview Question You Ever Had?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Premed315U, Mar 12, 2002.

  1. Premed315U

    Premed315U Senior Member

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    These Interview Stories are Grrrreeeaat!

    What was the most difficult question you had, and how did you answer it? Looking back, are you glad you answered it that way, or wish you had answered it a different way? And, did you get in?

    Sorry, I'm just a junior so no interview antecdotes until next year. But I love reading all your stories <img border="0" alt="[Clappy]" title="" src="graemlins/clappy.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="[Clappy]" title="" src="graemlins/clappy.gif" />
     
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  3. Jamier2

    Jamier2 SDN Hillbilly Moderator
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    If you do a search, you're sure to find plenty of tough interview questions. :)
     
  4. nebula7

    nebula7 Senior Member

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    I was asked "What's the most awful thing that's ever happened to you." I know I should have been prepared for it, but I guess I just didn't expect it to be phrased this way. I answered by describing when a close family member was close to death and I flew from GA to WA state during the middle of the semester to be with him.
     
  5. VC15

    VC15 MS4

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    This is a pretty common question I think, but what's a good way to approach "what makes you unique?" or "why should we pick you over the next person in the interview waiting room?" I guess I never thought about this too much, but instead just why I would be a good candidate. I don't have any exceptionally standout (or weird) activities to point out, plus I don't know what the next person in the waiting room has done, so I don't think it's fair to compare myself to him/her. :) Any general advice?
     
  6. El Jefe

    El Jefe The Jefe

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    I got asked where I saw myself in 30 years, but was told not to talk about family or anything. I thought the practice vision question was bad, but this one trumped it. My answer: "Uhhh, gee I dunno, that's a long time..." Then I proceeded to spout out some other vagueries, and in general made myself look like an ass for not thinking beyond my residency.
     
  7. UCMonkey

    UCMonkey Senior Member

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    Here's mine (from all 2 of the interviews I've had so far). If you could invite 3 people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be and why?

    I was completely stumped by this. I came up with 1, but then didn't get any farther. Luckily my interviewer said that HE had thought about it and didn't have an answer himself, so I used that way out.
     
  8. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat

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    One of my interviewers asked me to describe the most difficult or awkward social situation I had ever been in.

    Not having a good/funny story come to mind quickly, I described how my best friend's girlfriend and I REALLY did not get along, in part because I thought she was dishonest and self-centered. I tried to walk a tightrope, not saying it was all her fault, but not painting myself as immature/petty/difficult either. I ended by saying that she cheated on my friend (which was true) and they broke up. Then they interviewer says, "Well, that's good -- it seems like you were right about her all along."
     
  9. meals

    meals Member

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    My most difficult question was actually a series of questions. I had a very strange interview at Duke. My alpha interview (the one that's supposed to focus on academics, etc.) began with a question about my research. I do work related to apoptosis so my interviewer started asking me questions about that. But these weren't just "So, tell me about apoptosis" questions. He wanted to know pathways and details that I just didn't have a clue about (and have nothing to do with my research). That led him into asking about free radical mechanisms and antioxidants. At this point, I was mortified at my very apparent stupidity and I couldn't answer any of his questions, even the ones that I knew the answers to.

    I know some other people had this same interviewer at Duke and had similar experiences with him.
     
  10. fluffyj

    fluffyj Local Chipmunk

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    This isn't about one question, but a series of questions. At one interview, when I walked in the room, the interviewer gave me a big hug, and went on for 5 minutes about how beautiful I am. She seemed so nice, and it was so relaxed, that I thought, this will be easy. But then she started asking me questions like a drill sergent, and before I would finish, she would ask a new question. Sometimes she made faces at my answers like that sounds stupid (admittedly some of my answers were). The whole thing was very unnerving. At the end of the interview, all she said was, "well you are a beautiful young lady". She didn't say anything about the interview, meeting me, etc. I am still waiting for a response from the school. Luckily there were two interviews that day. Maybe they will average out. :confused:
     
  11. imtiaz

    imtiaz i cant translate stupid
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    what are your weaknesses? i was totally unprepared and blurted out something that probably didnt sound as articulate as the answers that i gave before this question was asked.
     
  12. pipper

    pipper Member

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    I work as a student researcher at the NIH. At one of my interviews, the doctor interviewing me was totally harping on this section of my vision statement where I talked about lab-grown organs. (this is not my field of expertise.) He kept asking more and more in depth questions even after I admitted that I had only really written that sentence after attending an interesting lecture at the NIH on the topic. After about ten minutes of me saying "I don't really know anything about that," he finally admitted that this was HIS area of research and he wanted to know where the NIH stood in the field. Man that was rough! <img border="0" alt="[Wowie]" title="" src="graemlins/wowie.gif" />
     
  13. Scooby Doo

    Scooby Doo IEatShavedPussyCats

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    "Why are you NOT wearing any pants? Hmmm...and it looks like you are happy to see me, eh?"
     
  14. Mystique

    Mystique The Procrastinator

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    Not too long ago, we had a thread for this, so here's the link.

    <a href="http://www.studentdoctor.net/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=008834;p=1#000024" target="_blank">Tough Interview Questions</a>
     
  15. Papa Smurf

    Papa Smurf Thug 4 Life

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    How comfortable would you be accepting HIV positive patients in a capitated payment structure? &lt;----WTF??? Not fair!

    Suppose you have many patients with serious heart disease who need a heart transplant. If there were only one heart to donate and it was tissue compatible with more than one patient, what factors would you use to decide who gets it?

    How many "kittens" have you killed in your lifetime?
     
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  17. Doctora Foxy

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    I just found this list of questions I has saved on my computer. I think it's from the EssayEdge website. If anyone's interested:

    Outline of Interview
    I. Questions about self
    II. Hypotheticals
    III. More questions about self
    (5-15 minutes per section. ~30minutes total)
    Questions about self
    1. What led you to pursue medicine as a career?
    2. Why do you want to be a doctor?
    3. Have you considered other health care careers?
    4. What qualities do you have that convince you you'll make a successful doctor?
    5. How much have you worked with or interacted with physicians?
    6. What qualities did those doctors exhibit that you admire?
    7. What qualities did they have that you disliked?
    8. If I had to choose between you and one other very similar applicant, what makes you stand out from the other applicant?
    9. What are your biggest weaknesses?
    10. What do you do in your spare time? Why?
    11. Tell me about your hospital experiences.
    12. What is the most difficult thing you've had to experience?
    13. What sort of adversity did you face in your life?
    14. What do you consider your biggest failure in life? How did you deal with it?
    15. What is a difficult ethical dilemma that you have personally had to deal with?
    16. What is your personal philosophy about effective learning?
    17. Do you have any experience with foreign health care systems? What is better about them? Worse?
    18. What is the last book you read for leisure?
    19. How many schools did you apply to? Have you been accepted yet? What is your first choice? Would you re-apply if you don't get in to your first choice?
    20. Why did you re-take the MCAT? How were you able to improve your score?
    21. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 20 years?
    Hypotheticals
    1. What would you do if a 15 year-old in your small town asked for an abortion and you were the only provider?
    2. What is the biggest healthcare problem today and how would you change it?
    3. What is/was the most newsworthy item (so far) in 2001/2002?
    4. What are some of the difficult issues facing doctors today?
    5. How would you respond to a terminally ill patient's request that you assist in their suicide? What if they wanted you to simply kill them? How would this differ from "removal of care?"
    6. You are a resident at a local hospital, and while driving home from a movie one night you notice your attending physician on the side of the road undergoing a DUI test. What do you do?
    7. At the nurses' station you notice that the file of a prominent local politician happens to be out, what do you do? What if it is already open? What if you accidentally notice some of the info? What if it was a relative? A distant friend from college?
    8. You suspect a patient is complaining of pain solely to get pain medication. What do you do?
    9. What do you see as some of the responsibilities of a physician in the community beyond being a health care provider?
    10. A 25 year-old man involved in a motorcycle accident is brought in to the ER DOA. His family and wife of less than a year arrive. She says they have been trying to have a baby, and comes up with the idea that some of his sperm could be removed and used for artificial insemination. How do you respond?
    11. Three people need a liver transplant. One is a 15 month old baby with Downs, another is a 42 year old jailed alcoholic, the last is Walter Paytons who has a rare liver disorder. Who do you decide gets the transplant?
    12. A 62 year-old widow is on life support, and her two sons have conflicting views as to whether she should stay on or not. What do you decide?
    13. How do you envision this "health care" system being implemented that you wrote about in your application?
    14. How do you feel about the death penalty?
    15. You get a needle stick while doing blood work on a homeless IV drug user. How do you react? Look up records? Surreptitiously test him?
    16. How do you feel about Bush's new prescription plan for seniors?
    17. A patient you have been following with terminal cancer calls you to say he is planning to take a large dose of cached pain pills that you have prescribed him. You are in the middle of an exam, how do you respond?
    18. Does it worry you that over one third of residents reported in a recent poll that they would not choose medicine as a career path again?
    19. A good friend comes to you for STD treatment, but he/she asks you not to hell his/her spouse. What do you do?
    20. The 12 year-old child of a Jehovah's witness is being treated after being hit by a car while riding a bicycle. He needs a blood transfusion, but his mother refuses as it is against their religion. What do you do? (the child looks scared, and is asking his mother questions that indicate he wants the transfusion)
    21. How do you feel the Bush administration will affect abortion rights in the US?
    22. How can we control health care costs?
    23. How do you feel about limiting services as a way to control costs (such as HMO's have been known to do)?
    24. If you could freeze time for 30 days, what would you do in that time?
    25. Are you interested in rural care? Why?
    26. How do you feel about the fact that the majority of private practices in the state of Washington LOST money in the year 2000.
    27. A surgeon you work with tests + for HIV, yet wants to keep it a secret and continue to work. What about if you notice he is being unsafe with patients?
    28. Who would you choose as Time person of the year for 2002? Who was Time person of the year in 2001?
    29. A patient with a DNR order is going into heart failure. With some last gasps, he says "I change my mind, I want to be saved." What do you do?
    30. You suspect a mother of child abuse, what do you do?
    31. A mother and daughter from Africa come to your office requesting that the daughter be "circumcised" as is customary in their country. What do you do?
    32. Who are your US senators? Who is the US congressman from your district? Who is the mayor of your city? Governor? (esp for state schools)
    33. What do you think will be the biggest medical breakthrough in the next five years?
    34. How do you feel that many "breakthroughs" in medicine are simply high-priced alternatives for procedures that are mostly elective anyhow?
    35. How can we reduce the cost of prescription drugs?
    36. Should drug companies be forced to give away HIV or other medications to poor countries in Africa or Latin America?
     
  18. CalBear

    CalBear Senior Member

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    what will you do when your first patient dies?

    i wasn't expecting this one and had to pause b/f i sputtered out a somewhat okay answer!
     
  19. darkmatter

    darkmatter Senior Member

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    An interview last week gave me the most difficult situation I've ever faced. One of two sessions inquired:

    I can see from your application that you are weaker in many (areas) than most applicants we've invited. Now is your chance to tell me why you deserve to be here.

    That question, coupled with the "where else have you been invited/accepted" question gave me a difficult time. Another question: If I were to contact this (specific) doctor from our teaching hospital (which you volunteer in), what would he say about you? The question was problematic because I've hardly spoken to this doctor and it's only the nurses that I've gained greater acquaintance.

    The student interviewer wasn't good too. She was really stressed out.
     
  20. darkmatter

    darkmatter Senior Member

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    An interview last week gave me the most difficult situation I've ever faced. One of two sessions inquired:

    I can see from your application that you are weaker in many (areas) than most applicants we've invited. Now is your chance to tell me why you deserve to be here.

    That question, coupled with the "where else have you been invited/accepted" question gave me a difficult time. Another question: If I were to contact this (specific) doctor from our teaching hospital (which you volunteer in), what would he say about you? The question was problematic because I've hardly spoken to this doctor and it's only the nurses that I've gained greater acquaintance.

    The student interviewer wasn't good too. She was really stressed out.
     
  21. Dr. Will

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    Just got back from my first interview. My perception is that it did not go well at all. Started out with some basic questions, but turned difficult quickly.

    I was asked about the politics of a country I haven't lived in since I was two. Then I was given an ethical question of whether I would treat an undocumented patient, not treat him, or call INS. I said if this person needs emergency attention I would treat him. Then the interviewer changed the conditions to someone who has high blood pressure. I answered that I would follow hospital procedures and the law in this situation. And if it involved placing a call to INS, even though I wouldn't want to, I would follow procedures. He then answered "Don't you think there is a higher law we follow called professionalism?" A nice silence ensued. I wonder what would have been said if I chose either of the other options since they all have their own consequences.

    After getting through this, the interviewer wanted me to explain why the mortality rates of new borns was 50% across the street from the hospital. Answered this one, and he changed the conditions again. Arggh!

    The rest of the interview became quite conversational, but I felt he had already sized me up according to my responses. A pretty dissapointing first interview!
     
  22. Suz177

    Suz177 Senior Member

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    I had an awful time with the what are your weakness question. After I struggled through it at an interview earlier in the year, I pondered it for a long time before my next interview and came up with what I thought was a decent answer. When I was asked it a second time, I thought from the interviewer's reponses that I was doing a decent job. Turns out I got rejected from both those schools (and not any of the others I interviewed at, who didn't happen to ask it).
     
  23. Dr. L

    Dr. L Senior Member

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    I was asked about my feelings about abortion...not necessarily difficult but a touchy issue. Plus, when I told him I was pro-choice, he asked how I could believe in the 10 commandments and be pro-choice because of thou shalt not kill...
     
  24. oldman

    oldman Senior Citizen
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    I remember I had a tough question at my 1st interview. It was a while ago, so I'm not going to be able to recall it verbatim.

    The question was a long the lines of stating my opinion on the fact that managed care providers will switch patients from doctor to doctor over the period of many years. Unfortunately I misinterpreted the question and answered something else.

    Luckily, I was accepted! :)

    For those of you with tough questions in which you just screwed up, did you have good luck too?
     
  25. oldman

    oldman Senior Citizen
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    ok..that's just strange. :)

    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by fluffyj:
    <strong>This isn't about one question, but a series of questions. At one interview, when I walked in the room, the interviewer gave me a big hug, and went on for 5 minutes about how beautiful I am. She seemed so nice, and it was so relaxed, that I thought, this will be easy. But then she started asking me questions like a drill sergent, and before I would finish, she would ask a new question. Sometimes she made faces at my answers like that sounds stupid (admittedly some of my answers were). The whole thing was very unnerving. At the end of the interview, all she said was, "well you are a beautiful young lady". She didn't say anything about the interview, meeting me, etc. I am still waiting for a response from the school. Luckily there were two interviews that day. Maybe they will average out. :confused: </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">
     
  26. oldman

    oldman Senior Citizen
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by CalBear:
    <strong>what will you do when your first patient dies?

    i wasn't expecting this one and had to pause b/f i sputtered out a somewhat okay answer!</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">you can't answer that question until it finally happens.

    when I had my first death; it totally changed me. I thought about whether I could have done more. I thought about all the things I didn't do. it ate me up for awhile. I cried and then i felt better.
     
  27. Suz177

    Suz177 Senior Member

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    I thought abortion was an illegal topic for interviewers?!?!
     
  28. brandonite

    Moderator Emeritus

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Suz177:
    <strong>I had an awful time with the what are your weakness question. After I struggled through it at an interview earlier in the year, I pondered it for a long time before my next interview and came up with what I thought was a decent answer. When I was asked it a second time, I thought from the interviewer's reponses that I was doing a decent job. Turns out I got rejected from both those schools (and not any of the others I interviewed at, who didn't happen to ask it).</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I really struggled with the weakness question the first time I heard it, as well. I'd never even thought about it. Firstly, I said I was too polite, but then I realized that I probably should give them more than that. Then I said I'm used to being a leaders, so I would have to work on becoming more a team player. But I think that might have been giving them too much. I haven't heard back from that school yet.

    My toughest question had to have been, "What is the former name of Zimbabwe?". A close second would have been "Who is the current Prime Minister of Australia?". :)
     

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