GCS-15

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So, I've found some great resources on SDN for interview advice and tips on how to prepare.
But for people who applied last cycle and had a couple of interviews, I wanted to ask:

what do you think happened at your interview that caused you to not get in? Was there anything different you did/thought you did at other interviews where you got in? Looking back on your interview, is there anything you would have done differently/prepared differently?

Any answers/personal experiences would be great!
 
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Goro

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This will be hard for a lot of people to answer because many are poor judges of how they interview, and/or how interviews went.

Here's what I've written in my guide to interviews:


Being unprofessional for any reason. An example is addressing a faculty member by their first name. Another is chewing gum during the interview. If you have a dry mouth, suck on a lozenge instead. BTW, the interview lasts all day. Acting unprofessionally during your tour, like yelling at a parking attendant, or trashing the school, or expecting the Admissions Office staff to hang up your coat or fetch you coffee is duly noted and affects your fate accordingly.

Not taking the interview seriously, like showing up poorly dressed. This is suit and tie time (and nice dress/outfit/suit for the ladies). You're going into character. Yes, if the airline loses your luggage, we understand that.

  • Do NOT be arrogant. People who think that they're God's gift to Medicine do not go into Medicine.
Being too shy or nervous. Being quiet is OK; being monosyllabic or robotic is not.
  • Not making eye contact is also a no-no (yes I'm aware that in some cultures, one does not look elders in the eye, but this is the USA and you need to look people in the eye here).
  • Any hints of immaturity will be lethal for your chances. We expect you to be thoughtful and self-aware. Would you admit the gal who, when asked a hypothetical, "What would you do in this situation?" answers, "Oh, that wouldn't happen."
  • Showing you're greedy.
  • Showing any hint of entitlement. This includes the “I was accepted to XSOM, so what are you going to do for me?” The answer will be “Good luck and have fun at XSOM.

  • Being clueless as to why you're choosing Medicine as a career.

    Doing this because your mom/dad wants you to be a doctor (or don't think you can be doctor).

    Completely lacking people skills (4.0 automatons are a dime a dozen, really).
  • Showing that you're more interested in research than Medicine. This might be OK at Stanford, but it won’t fly at most other schools.

  • Still being the hyper-gunner...I rejected a 4.0 gal who wanted to answer the questions I asked of another person in the interview panel. I don't want to admit someone who will be in my office whining about how they got a 95 on an exam and deserved a 96.

  • Having a flat affect. This might be due to medication, or a mental or personality disorder. You ever meet someone who could never crack a smile? I don't want someone like that touching patients.

  • Copping an attitude. I asked a woman why she didn't have any volunteer experience. She replied that she was too busy working. Fair enough, some people have lives, but she copped an attitude while delivering this, and I just wrote down "reject".
  • Coming in with scripted answers and being unable to deviate from said script.
  • Being ill-prepared for fairly common interview questions (e.g. Why this school? Why Medicine?)
  • Thinking that always circling back to your accomplishments and how great you are impresses us.
  • Making excuses for misdeeds. We had rejected someone once who had some fairly benign misdemeanors, but blamed it on the policemen who gave him the tickets.


  • Don’t do show and tell. I don’t want you pulling out a binder with your resume or portfolio. Let your application speak for you.
  • Being a babbling idiot. These are those people who can't answer a question concisely. I've sure you've met people like this...why bother using one word when ten will do? I suspect that they’re thinking for an answer while they're speaking, so the mouth is going while the brain tries to come up with something.
  • It’s OK to gather your thoughts, but it’s not OK to blank out. This group includes the people who do something like this (and I am NOT making this up!):

    goro: So tell me about this trip to Honduras
    Interviewee: Well, we went there for a mission trip and...what was the question?
    goro: (thinking: reject!)
Or the guy who, when asked "How does your hobby relate to the practice of Medicine?", and can't even say "It doesn't", and definitely can't even BS an answer, but sits there in a coma?
 

tryingtobeanasiandoc

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Feb 23, 2017
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@Goro do student ambassadors that give the applicants tours around the school generally have a say in the selection process?
 
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Dr. Stalker

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This will be hard for a lot of people to answer because many are poor judges of how they interview, and/or how interviews went.

Here's what I've written in my guide to interviews:


Being unprofessional for any reason. An example is addressing a faculty member by their first name. Another is chewing gum during the interview. If you have a dry mouth, suck on a lozenge instead. BTW, the interview lasts all day. Acting unprofessionally during your tour, like yelling at a parking attendant, or trashing the school, or expecting the Admissions Office staff to hang up your coat or fetch you coffee is duly noted and affects your fate accordingly.

Not taking the interview seriously, like showing up poorly dressed. This is suit and tie time (and nice dress/outfit/suit for the ladies). You're going into character. Yes, if the airline loses your luggage, we understand that.

  • Do NOT be arrogant. People who think that they're God's gift to Medicine do not go into Medicine.
Being too shy or nervous. Being quiet is OK; being monosyllabic or robotic is not.
  • Not making eye contact is also a no-no (yes I'm aware that in some cultures, one does not look elders in the eye, but this is the USA and you need to look people in the eye here).
  • Any hints of immaturity will be lethal for your chances. We expect you to be thoughtful and self-aware. Would you admit the gal who, when asked a hypothetical, "What would you do in this situation?" answers, "Oh, that wouldn't happen."
  • Showing you're greedy.
  • Showing any hint of entitlement. This includes the “I was accepted to XSOM, so what are you going to do for me?” The answer will be “Good luck and have fun at XSOM.

  • Being clueless as to why you're choosing Medicine as a career.

    Doing this because your mom/dad wants you to be a doctor (or don't think you can be doctor).

    Completely lacking people skills (4.0 automatons are a dime a dozen, really).
  • Showing that you're more interested in research than Medicine. This might be OK at Stanford, but it won’t fly at most other schools.

  • Still being the hyper-gunner...I rejected a 4.0 gal who wanted to answer the questions I asked of another person in the interview panel. I don't want to admit someone who will be in my office whining about how they got a 95 on an exam and deserved a 96.

  • Having a flat affect. This might be due to medication, or a mental or personality disorder. You ever meet someone who could never crack a smile? I don't want someone like that touching patients.

  • Copping an attitude. I asked a woman why she didn't have any volunteer experience. She replied that she was too busy working. Fair enough, some people have lives, but she copped an attitude while delivering this, and I just wrote down "reject".
  • Coming in with scripted answers and being unable to deviate from said script.
  • Being ill-prepared for fairly common interview questions (e.g. Why this school? Why Medicine?)
  • Thinking that always circling back to your accomplishments and how great you are impresses us.
  • Making excuses for misdeeds. We had rejected someone once who had some fairly benign misdemeanors, but blamed it on the policemen who gave him the tickets.


  • Don’t do show and tell. I don’t want you pulling out a binder with your resume or portfolio. Let your application speak for you.
  • Being a babbling idiot. These are those people who can't answer a question concisely. I've sure you've met people like this...why bother using one word when ten will do? I suspect that they’re thinking for an answer while they're speaking, so the mouth is going while the brain tries to come up with something.
  • It’s OK to gather your thoughts, but it’s not OK to blank out. This group includes the people who do something like this (and I am NOT making this up!):

    goro: So tell me about this trip to Honduras
    Interviewee: Well, we went there for a mission trip and...what was the question?
    goro: (thinking: reject!)
Or the guy who, when asked "How does your hobby relate to the practice of Medicine?", and can't even say "It doesn't", and definitely can't even BS an answer, but sits there in a coma?
I think one of my favorite tips is when you mentioned interviewing students copping an attitude. The admissions office employees aren't there to "take your coat and fetch you a cup of coffee"

Do people SERIOUSLY do that kind of nonsense at a f*cking medical school interview?
 
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CyrilFiggis

5+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2014
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So, I've found some great resources on SDN for interview advice and tips on how to prepare.
But for people who applied last cycle and had a couple of interviews, I wanted to ask:

what do you think happened at your interview that caused you to not get in? Was there anything different you did/thought you did at other interviews where you got in? Looking back on your interview, is there anything you would have done differently/prepared differently?

Any answers/personal experiences would be great!
Are you saying those who got rejected or just not accepted outright? With many schools, your performance in the interview doesn't dictate everything. They still have to make an up or down decision about you as a whole candidate. In some schools, those who select interviewees are not the same as those who select admission.
 
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GCS-15

GCS-15

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Are you saying those who got rejected or just not accepted outright? With many schools, your performance in the interview doesn't dictate everything. They still have to make an up or down decision about you as a whole candidate. In some schools, those who select interviewees are not the same as those who select admission.
The main goal was to get personal experience from people who got rejected after interviewing; just wanted to see if they had any tips to offer or reasons as to what went wrong and why they didn't get in (compared to other interviews where they got accepted)
 

Goro

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I think one of my favorite tips is when you mentioned interviewing students copping an attitude. The admissions office employees aren't there to "take your coat and fetch you a cup of coffee"

Do people SERIOUSLY do that kind of nonsense at a f*cking medical school interview?
Both LizzyM and gynyn have posted stuff about this that give me a knee-jerk response of "You made that up!"

Sad to say, they were NOT making it up!

Gyngyn told the story of someone whose dad literally pushed them into the interview room.


@Goro do student ambassadors that give the applicants tours around the school generally have a say in the selection process?
They have offered feedback when a candidate has acted unprofessionally on the tours. This is extremely rare.
 

P0ke

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The only interview that I got rejected post-interview (not waitlisted) was because I think I was hungry/hypoglycemic during the interview. They said they would provide breakfast, so I didn't eat breakfast and got there at 8am expecting something hearty, but all they had was cheese and crackers and water. They then had us sit through about 3 hours of lecture about the history of the school without feeding us, then they walked us to the interview rooms at about 1-2pm. AFTER the interview they fed us a full meal, and I started to liven up. Suggestions to med schools: have lunch before the interview... don't interview your students after starving them and having them sit through several hours of boring lectures!
 
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gonnif

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There is also just that issue that the interviewee wasnt particularly bad but that so many applicants are so good. You have thousands of applications reduced to several hundred interviewees that need to be reduced to a few hundred acceptances. The competition is just intense and you have more good candidates than spots. That is the reality of this olympic level event where the medal winners may just be a fraction of a second faster than the rest
 

ciestar

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This will be hard for a lot of people to answer because many are poor judges of how they interview, and/or how interviews went.

Here's what I've written in my guide to interviews:


Being unprofessional for any reason. An example is addressing a faculty member by their first name. Another is chewing gum during the interview. If you have a dry mouth, suck on a lozenge instead. BTW, the interview lasts all day. Acting unprofessionally during your tour, like yelling at a parking attendant, or trashing the school, or expecting the Admissions Office staff to hang up your coat or fetch you coffee is duly noted and affects your fate accordingly.

Not taking the interview seriously, like showing up poorly dressed. This is suit and tie time (and nice dress/outfit/suit for the ladies). You're going into character. Yes, if the airline loses your luggage, we understand that.

  • Do NOT be arrogant. People who think that they're God's gift to Medicine do not go into Medicine.
Being too shy or nervous. Being quiet is OK; being monosyllabic or robotic is not.
  • Not making eye contact is also a no-no (yes I'm aware that in some cultures, one does not look elders in the eye, but this is the USA and you need to look people in the eye here).
  • Any hints of immaturity will be lethal for your chances. We expect you to be thoughtful and self-aware. Would you admit the gal who, when asked a hypothetical, "What would you do in this situation?" answers, "Oh, that wouldn't happen."
  • Showing you're greedy.
  • Showing any hint of entitlement. This includes the “I was accepted to XSOM, so what are you going to do for me?” The answer will be “Good luck and have fun at XSOM.

  • Being clueless as to why you're choosing Medicine as a career.

    Doing this because your mom/dad wants you to be a doctor (or don't think you can be doctor).

    Completely lacking people skills (4.0 automatons are a dime a dozen, really).
  • Showing that you're more interested in research than Medicine. This might be OK at Stanford, but it won’t fly at most other schools.

  • Still being the hyper-gunner...I rejected a 4.0 gal who wanted to answer the questions I asked of another person in the interview panel. I don't want to admit someone who will be in my office whining about how they got a 95 on an exam and deserved a 96.

  • Having a flat affect. This might be due to medication, or a mental or personality disorder. You ever meet someone who could never crack a smile? I don't want someone like that touching patients.

  • Copping an attitude. I asked a woman why she didn't have any volunteer experience. She replied that she was too busy working. Fair enough, some people have lives, but she copped an attitude while delivering this, and I just wrote down "reject".
  • Coming in with scripted answers and being unable to deviate from said script.
  • Being ill-prepared for fairly common interview questions (e.g. Why this school? Why Medicine?)
  • Thinking that always circling back to your accomplishments and how great you are impresses us.
  • Making excuses for misdeeds. We had rejected someone once who had some fairly benign misdemeanors, but blamed it on the policemen who gave him the tickets.


  • Don’t do show and tell. I don’t want you pulling out a binder with your resume or portfolio. Let your application speak for you.
  • Being a babbling idiot. These are those people who can't answer a question concisely. I've sure you've met people like this...why bother using one word when ten will do? I suspect that they’re thinking for an answer while they're speaking, so the mouth is going while the brain tries to come up with something.
  • It’s OK to gather your thoughts, but it’s not OK to blank out. This group includes the people who do something like this (and I am NOT making this up!):

    goro: So tell me about this trip to Honduras
    Interviewee: Well, we went there for a mission trip and...what was the question?
    goro: (thinking: reject!)
Or the guy who, when asked "How does your hobby relate to the practice of Medicine?", and can't even say "It doesn't", and definitely can't even BS an answer, but sits there in a coma?
I sort of fell into the babbling idiot category. I was told I didn't fully answer questions I was asked. At another school, I was applying for a special program and was rejected because of SO's job and the likelihood I'd move to a rural location after graduation . I received four rejections of the seven interviews I attended. Makes me wonder what would have happened if I went to the other three schools I got II to.
 

mellie0

2+ Year Member
Apr 23, 2015
386
447
Status
Medical Student
This will be hard for a lot of people to answer because many are poor judges of how they interview, and/or how interviews went.

Here's what I've written in my guide to interviews:


Being unprofessional for any reason. An example is addressing a faculty member by their first name. Another is chewing gum during the interview. If you have a dry mouth, suck on a lozenge instead. BTW, the interview lasts all day. Acting unprofessionally during your tour, like yelling at a parking attendant, or trashing the school, or expecting the Admissions Office staff to hang up your coat or fetch you coffee is duly noted and affects your fate accordingly.

Not taking the interview seriously, like showing up poorly dressed. This is suit and tie time (and nice dress/outfit/suit for the ladies). You're going into character. Yes, if the airline loses your luggage, we understand that.

  • Do NOT be arrogant. People who think that they're God's gift to Medicine do not go into Medicine.
Being too shy or nervous. Being quiet is OK; being monosyllabic or robotic is not.
  • Not making eye contact is also a no-no (yes I'm aware that in some cultures, one does not look elders in the eye, but this is the USA and you need to look people in the eye here).
  • Any hints of immaturity will be lethal for your chances. We expect you to be thoughtful and self-aware. Would you admit the gal who, when asked a hypothetical, "What would you do in this situation?" answers, "Oh, that wouldn't happen."
  • Showing you're greedy.
  • Showing any hint of entitlement. This includes the “I was accepted to XSOM, so what are you going to do for me?” The answer will be “Good luck and have fun at XSOM.

  • Being clueless as to why you're choosing Medicine as a career.

    Doing this because your mom/dad wants you to be a doctor (or don't think you can be doctor).

    Completely lacking people skills (4.0 automatons are a dime a dozen, really).
  • Showing that you're more interested in research than Medicine. This might be OK at Stanford, but it won’t fly at most other schools.

  • Still being the hyper-gunner...I rejected a 4.0 gal who wanted to answer the questions I asked of another person in the interview panel. I don't want to admit someone who will be in my office whining about how they got a 95 on an exam and deserved a 96.

  • Having a flat affect. This might be due to medication, or a mental or personality disorder. You ever meet someone who could never crack a smile? I don't want someone like that touching patients.

  • Copping an attitude. I asked a woman why she didn't have any volunteer experience. She replied that she was too busy working. Fair enough, some people have lives, but she copped an attitude while delivering this, and I just wrote down "reject".
  • Coming in with scripted answers and being unable to deviate from said script.
  • Being ill-prepared for fairly common interview questions (e.g. Why this school? Why Medicine?)
  • Thinking that always circling back to your accomplishments and how great you are impresses us.
  • Making excuses for misdeeds. We had rejected someone once who had some fairly benign misdemeanors, but blamed it on the policemen who gave him the tickets.


  • Don’t do show and tell. I don’t want you pulling out a binder with your resume or portfolio. Let your application speak for you.
  • Being a babbling idiot. These are those people who can't answer a question concisely. I've sure you've met people like this...why bother using one word when ten will do? I suspect that they’re thinking for an answer while they're speaking, so the mouth is going while the brain tries to come up with something.
  • It’s OK to gather your thoughts, but it’s not OK to blank out. This group includes the people who do something like this (and I am NOT making this up!):

    goro: So tell me about this trip to Honduras
    Interviewee: Well, we went there for a mission trip and...what was the question?
    goro: (thinking: reject!)
Or the guy who, when asked "How does your hobby relate to the practice of Medicine?", and can't even say "It doesn't", and definitely can't even BS an answer, but sits there in a coma?
as I read this, all I noticed were basic, common sense stuff! I can't believe some people just don't know this.
 

Goro

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Jun 10, 2010
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as I read this, all I noticed were basic, common sense stuff! I can't believe some people just don't know this.
It takes some work to get outright rejected after an interview. But sad to say, I have seen all of these behaviors, except the yelling and the mistreating the office staff incidents, which were reported in these fora by the wise LizzyM.
 
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