YOOOUK09

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I interviewed at what might end up being my #1 overall and things didn't go as well as I would have liked. What can I do to clean up the mess?

First, I am a competitive applicant in terms of board scores, letters, background, clerkship grades, etc. I have interviews from many of the "most competitive" programs in the country. My #1 choice is a very good program, but not a national-level player. I am interested in going there for personal reasons, and I think I'll accomplish all my career goals there as well.

They gave me a stress-type interview - asking me in a challenging way why I only had an average class rank in my 3rd year medicine rotation. It was very strange because I go to a highly competitive medical school and average on medicine is pretty good. I can only think that they were trying to see how I responded to criticism. All I could do was tip my hat to the students who did better than me, and re-iterate that I have high board scores. I felt kind of dumb. I was probably a little cocky going into the interview, and was caught off guard.

Being challenged this way in the beginning of my interview, I wasn't able to recover well and establish good rapport. I was kind of shell-shocked, because the criticism seemed totally unwarranted. After all, until a few months ago I was planning on going into medicine and I actually have a very strong medicine background. Also, I know many will say "watch out, could be a malignant program" but I know first-hand that it isn't malignant.

Now I haven't gotten any follow up from them. It's unlike the other interviews I've been on where programs have sent me thank you letters, emails, etc. I do plan on returning there for a second look and letting them know of my interest (esp if I decide I'll rank them #1).

I sent a strong thank you letter to the PD. Is there anything else I can do to mitigate a bad interview at my top choice?
 
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whopper

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If you got a stress interview, they're usually testing your ability to work under pressure.

You can't change what already happened.

The guy that gave you the stress interview may be known to the program as that type of interviewer. I don't know. I do know that the worst stress interview I got, not everyone got the IED interviewer that I had, & the program was well aware that the interviewer had a problem with his anger. Good thing for me though was this guy made me not give a damn if I got into that program or not. (The guy was later accused of assaulting a resident). I didn't even put that program on my match list as a safety.

I can tell you to not contact the program too much over this. Calling the coordinator 10x, and leaving messages that you're worried will only pin you as someone who is excessivly insecure.

If you got a list of good choices under your belt, I wouldn't worry too much. If you don't...well you can't change what already happened.

In general I've seen medstudents worry too much about these things. I've seen dozens of students worry about getting at least 1 interview, then they end up getting over 10.

Only thing I can think of is give the coordinator a call, tell him/her you're very interested & if there's anything you can do to prove your interest in the program. Aside from that, keep calm. Everytime my program got someone who called up too many times, it just ticked off the coordinator & program director, both were up to their eyeballs in stress & the last thing they wanted to do is talk to a person 10x answering the same questions over & over again.
 
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atsai3

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They gave me a stress-type interview - asking me in a challenging way why I only had an average class rank in my 3rd year medicine rotation. It was very strange because I go to a highly competitive medical school and average on medicine is pretty good. I can only think that they were trying to see how I responded to criticism. All I could do was tip my hat to the students who did better than me, and re-iterate that I have high board scores. I felt kind of dumb. I was probably a little cocky going into the interview, and was caught off guard.

This does not sound like a stress interview to me. Actually, it sounds like a very reasonable question to ask during the course of a routine interview. Your interviewer was probably just curious about whether something happened such that you only received an average rank.

-AT.
 
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YOOOUK09

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This does not sound like a stress interview to me. Actually, it sounds like a very reasonable question to ask during the course of a routine interview. Your interviewer was probably just curious about whether something happened such that you only received an average rank.

-AT.

Thank you for your honest response. Having sat through a few interviews where programs just told me how great I was, I guess I let my head get a little big.

Perhaps in an act of overkill I wrote a very strong thank you letter to the PD.

Any more suggestions on mitigating a less-than-great interview? Is it really true that you never get a second chance to make a first impression?
 
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kstotes

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It's funny because when I was interviewing I did get those interviews I thought were set up to unsettle me. I'd heard of programs assigning interviewers roles- mean indifferent, etc. Taking phone calls during the interview, only offering "do you have any questions" (though i doubt this was anything more than a poor interviewer), asking about a pass on my psych rotation. I hated that stuff. Why be manipulative in assessing your applicants?

However now as an intern who will be someone's back-up next year, I pray to God they screen these kids for an ability to handle pressure. I wish we could skip the CS exam and have like a mock call scenario. Simply stated: in my mind it is really important to know if someone is going to start call, get three patients in the ED at one time, and then break down and cry leaving me to do the work. If I could interview over I think this would be the answer to my "what makes you unique" question- I would emphasize the hell out of my ability to find answers to questions I don't know the answer to efficiently, logically, and independently and to manage hectic and overwhelming situations in stride. If you could promise me every intern I have next year could do this I will take that over any board score. Call me at 4am every night to ask if you are supposed to give Haldol IM or PR if it means you aren't calling me because "sigh, I'm having a crisis down here, I'm about to have a breakdown, ::sob sob::, the nurses are yelling at me and the patient said mean things about me.

Sorry, little rant but this thread just made me think of how important that quality is for a psych resident.
 

Doc Samson

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It's funny because when I was interviewing I did get those interviews I thought were set up to unsettle me. I'd heard of programs assigning interviewers roles- mean indifferent, etc. Taking phone calls during the interview, only offering "do you have any questions" (though i doubt this was anything more than a poor interviewer), asking about a pass on my psych rotation. I hated that stuff. Why be manipulative in assessing your applicants?

However now as an intern who will be someone's back-up next year, I pray to God they screen these kids for an ability to handle pressure. I wish we could skip the CS exam and have like a mock call scenario. Simply stated: in my mind it is really important to know if someone is going to start call, get three patients in the ED at one time, and then break down and cry leaving me to do the work. If I could interview over I think this would be the answer to my "what makes you unique" question- I would emphasize the hell out of my ability to find answers to questions I don't know the answer to efficiently, logically, and independently and to manage hectic and overwhelming situations in stride. If you could promise me every intern I have next year could do this I will take that over any board score. Call me at 4am every night to ask if you are supposed to give Haldol IM or PR if it means you aren't calling me because "sigh, I'm having a crisis down here, I'm about to have a breakdown, ::sob sob::, the nurses are yelling at me and the patient said mean things about me.

Sorry, little rant but this thread just made me think of how important that quality is for a psych resident.

:laugh::laugh:

This reminds of a few times when I was phone back-up as a PGY-4 when the resident calling in the wee hours of the morning could hear Mrs.DS swearing at them from her side of the bed... "Are you f#$%ing kidding me, you woke us up for this bullsh!t! Of course you should should [email protected]#$ing hospitalize them you f#$%ing *****!" Anything I said seemed quite educational and balanced in comparison.
 

OldPsychDoc

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:laugh::laugh:

This reminds of a few times when I was phone back-up as a PGY-4 when the resident calling in the wee hours of the morning could hear Mrs.DS swearing at them from her side of the bed... "Are you f#$%ing kidding me, you woke us up for this bullsh!t! Of course you should should [email protected]#$ing hospitalize them you f#$%ing *****!" Anything I said seemed quite educational and balanced in comparison.

I have an entirely different picture of Dr.Mrs.DS* in my brain now--and I think my head might have just exploded...:eek:

(*previously imagined as a sweet-talking child psychiatrist)
 

Anasazi23

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:laugh::laugh:

This reminds of a few times when I was phone back-up as a PGY-4 when the resident calling in the wee hours of the morning could hear Mrs.DS swearing at them from her side of the bed... "Are you f#$%ing kidding me, you woke us up for this bullsh!t! Of course you should should [email protected]#$ing hospitalize them you f#$%ing *****!" Anything I said seemed quite educational and balanced in comparison.

Awww, she sounds sweet.
 

wolfvgang22

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I kinda like stress interviews, because I know then that I either don't want to work with them, or they are just testing me, in either case I act the same way: low expressed emotion. I assume they can't help being difficult and don't worry about it too much, it's their disorder, not mine.

What is more interesting to me is the psychoanalytic interview. Got asked the other day: "So why do you hate your father?" What the heck? I don't hate anybody...well, maybe Bin Laden, I don't know. :lol:
 
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masterofmonkeys

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I kinda like stress interviews, because I know then that I either don't want to work with them, or they are just testing me, in either case I act the same way: low expressed emotion. I assume they can't help being difficult and don't worry about it too much, it's their disorder, not mine.

What is more interesting to me is the psychoanalytic interview. Got asked the other day: "So why do you hate your father?" What the heck? I don't hate anybody...well, maybe Bin Laden, I don't know. :lol:

I hate lots of people. Great relationship with my parents. But I am one psychologically well-adjusted dude. I'm kinda looking forward to my psychoanalytic interview this monday.

edit: I should say I was a psychologically well-adjusted dude before interview season started lol.
 
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xthine

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So I had my last interview for the season yesterday. I was really looking to meeting everybody in the program since they really looked good on paper. The day started off horribly, the PC was MIA because of the bad weather and everybody else was late too (I managed to get there 15 minutes early *shrug* and I'm from out of town).

There was one other applicant (an AMG) and we were both interviewed by the PD and 1 other attending. No one gave us a copy of the schedule so we were just sitting there waiting for some semblance of organization and direction. There was a flurry of residents waiting to get to class a few of them took the time to ask how we were doing.

The worst part for me was being asked questions about my being a single mom. I may be being overly sensitive but I felt the attending crossed so many lines and for me it just seemed inappropriate to be psychoanalyzed during an interview. I'm an IMG and i've been to a couple of other interviews and it's been great meeting all these different attendings, until yesterday. I was pimped in 1 other program..but I'd rather have that than be asked about my family dynamics, the father of my daughter and other circumstances surrounding my being a single mom.

What a way to end the season.:(
 

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eh, bad interviews happen. i think most people had at least one. it sucks when it happens at your number one choice. i had a bad interview (2 interviewers- one was a stress interview, one was a psychodynamic interview). i left feeling absolutely awful. but at my number one spot, something i think even worse happened. it wasn't a bad interview, it was just that everyone else interviewed with 3 people, but for some reason, they goofed up my schedule, and i was only scheduled to interview with one attending. he was not a native english speaker, and there was definitely some things lost in translation - i didnt understand the exact nature of his question all of the time, and he definitely missed some nuances in my answers (i often wondered how he does with his patients if we, two educated adults with the same interests, couldn't connect). i still ranked them first. i didnt match there. the lesson here is - bad interviews happen. other than sending a nice thank you note, maybe one phone call, perhaps a second look if you can, there's not a lot you can do. not matching at my first choice actually turned out to be the best thing for me - sometimes its just the way things are meant to be. go with the flow. let the chips fall where they may. it always works out. try not to stress about it too much. and quite possibly, it didnt go nearly as bad as you thought it did.
 

xthine

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Yes I wrote him a very thoughtful thank you note. I just wish he had been more tactful in asking his questions. But hey, after that interview he got me thinking about certain aspects of my life (again) and the future of psychotherapy in residency training.. so it's all good in a way. :rolleyes:
 

masterofmonkeys

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the hardest thing for me was keeping my cool when people hadn't even looked at my application packet. I recognize you're busy, and that you don't get paid for your time with the residency selection committee, etc.

I'm busy too. And broke. And I just spent over 500 dollars to come to this interview. This is the rest of my life here. A few minutes to look over the CV and maybe glance at the PS is, IMO, not too much to ask.
 

whopper

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I kinda like stress interviews, because I know then that I either don't want to work with them, or they are just testing me, in either case I act the same way: low expressed emotion.

Exactly what I'd reccomend.

If they're testing you, keeping your calm is the right thing. Shows you can think under pressure.

If the interviewer isn't testing yout, and the stress interview is really just the interviewer having an anger management problem, keep your cool anyway. That's just a signal you shouldn't be at that program, and no reason for you to worry about getting into it.

Either way--the answer's the same. Keep your cool and do your best. That's always enough.
 

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the hardest thing for me was keeping my cool when people hadn't even looked at my application packet. I recognize you're busy, and that you don't get paid for your time with the residency selection committee, etc.

I'm busy too. And broke. And I just spent over 500 dollars to come to this interview. This is the rest of my life here. A few minutes to look over the CV and maybe glance at the PS is, IMO, not too much to ask.

Yes, but I'm sure they read your application afterward. These are psychiatrists! Some of them want a naive interview, meeting you and getting to know you without knowing any prior history.

At one interview, a psychoanalyst said, I haven't read your packet. Should I read it? Yes, please, I've heard that it's good, I replied. He said, Ok, but I'll talk to you now, and I would bet you that my impression at the end of this conversation is not going to be too different than my impression from reading this file.

Truth is, had he read it in advance, the interview might have been more about what I have done with me life, but in the end he assessed parts of my personality, got me to tell him some very personal stuff (more than any other interview), and it was fine.

Bottom line, MoM, your application and excellent essay were surely appreciated after the fact, even if they skimmed it in ten minutes.
 
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