10 Things I Learned as an Interviewer for the Interviewee
As a fourth year medical students (yikes) I was able to
become an interviewer for my medical school. So yes, that means maybe someone I’ve
interviewed may one day see this. Though probably not. Anyways, it was very surreal
to be on the other side of the process all these years later and while I’m
getting ready for interviews myself (anyone want me for residency, btw?)
A lot of expectations and previous notions about
interviews that I had really did change and I can see how intricate the process
actually is, and I get why we get asked the questions we do. At least somewhat
All experiences and interviewers are different but here
are some things I think can really help out the interviewee. Maybe things you
thought were hard and fast rules but aren’t or things you didn’t expect us to
be looking for. Anything to help! And while this is directed at pre-meds, the
advice should still general enough that anyone can use it, if they want.
Some things to know beforehand; I was part of a two-on-one
interview setting which lasted 30 minutes with a few preset questions we needed
to ask. The interview was blind, so we couldn’t see stats.
Take a second to
observe your interviewers.
This isn’t an open invitation to judge your interviewers,
but most of us are pretty telling in the way we present ourselves. If you can
take a break for the nerves for a second pay attention to our introductions,
our demeanor and how we’re dressed. It can give you a sense of how relaxed or
stringent we may be and what our personalities may be like even if we were told
to stay stone cold poker-faced. And always keep in mind who your interviewers
are and what departments they’re from. It can help guide the tone we set for
the entire interview.
Play off the
Now that you’ve taken a moment to take in your
surroundings use those to your advantage. If we’re playing tough, answer with
strength and intention. If we’re relaxed, don’t sit so stiff and maybe get us
to laugh. If you are asked thought provoking questions, take time to think about
it and provide thought provoking answers. The more you work with us, the easy
and more open a dialog becomes and the more personable the interview will
become. It’s a great way to show flexibility and adaptation, and for the
interviewers who did this well we found ourselves impressed.
If I’m offering
you information, take it.
If I am telling you that I am a 4th year and I
can answer your questions about rotations, classes, or student life I am
literally giving you questions to ask me in the event you have forgotten all of
yours. If faculty tells you which program they are a part of and what they
specialize in they are opening that line of information for you. They are
telling you were their interests and focuses are and you can run with that, if
Please, please do
We had an application who couldn’t tell us what they
liked our school. Had no idea what the mission statement was or what the goals
of the school were. Didn’t have a clue. I had to use my doctor face so I could
stay neutral. It was bad. I get that you just want to be in medical school but
come on. Point blank, there is no excuse for anyone to know nothing about the
program they’re interviewing for. You should also have worked out answers for
frequently asked questions. Getting stumped on classic medical school questions…it’s
a big red flag. So please plan ahead and do your research.
Pick the length of
your answers carefully.
Different types of questions prompt different types of
answers. There are a lot of questions that can prompt follow up questions.
Hobbies for example; going into every detail about your hobbies is probably
counterproductive. But that’s assuming you have a fair amount of things you
like to do that aren’t medicine. You can add a snip here and there, like “I’ve
done that for 15 years” or “it’s really a huge passion of mine” but if there is
interest in hearing more, we’ll most likely ask. If you only have one thing, don’t
think “I like running” is a good enough answer. Give us something to work with.
There are questions, especially theoretical ones or tell me a story situations
that are meant to be longer. And always keep in mind your time limit.
Be confident, not
There is a huge difference between smug and confident. We
had one prospect who gave this shit-eating “gotcha” grin after every question
they thought they had aced. It was almost like they were trying to directly
challenging me. It got to the point that I stopped caring what they were saying
and was just getting pissed. The answers could have been great (they weren’t)
but all that stuck with me was the cockiness. Not sure if you do that unintentionally?
That’s what practice interviews are for. There are very clear differences when
someone was proud of an answer and were pleased, and what this individual was
doing. And if you do act that way, personally, I don’t want you representing my
school, regardless of what your application looks like.
I don’t care about
the “right” answer. I care why.
I know there are certain questions answers that are kind
of set in stone. And I know straying too far from say, an ethics question, is
hard to do in a new and unique way. The way to make yourself stand out from the
crowd is to explain the reasons why you believe this to be the “right” answers
since those tend to differ among applicants and shows your critical thinking
skills past “well obviously this is the right answer”. Aside from that most
interviewers don’t have specific expectations for most questions. We’d rather
just hear about you and your personal experiences, honestly.
We’re not always
looking for your spoken answer.
Sometimes we’re looking at your body language. I will
purposefully ask questions I know there are only a few answers too. Not because
I want to know if you know it, but rather how you viscerally respond. Do you
look uncomfortable when answering an ethics or grades question? Did you answer
robotically? Are you still looking at me? Can you pick yourself back up after a
rough question? What you do speaks just as loud as the things your saying and I’m
looking for it.
Use your personality
and responses to show you want to be here. Not your grades.
This was not an isolated event. I had a few prospective
students speak about a class and sneak in “which I got an A in” and continue. Not
really a fan of that. I naturally assume that everyone we interviewed had good
enough grades and scores because, well, you’re at the interview. At this point
in the process all I want if for you to shine beyond those things and prove to
me that you can be a doctor on paper and in person.
Make me feel
connected to you.
In the end, I want to feel like I know who you are. I want
to know what you stand for and I want to experience the person who wants to
become a physician. I want to appreciate your story and how far you’ve come. We
don’t need to become best friends, we don’t need to have similar thoughts or
values or personalities. But I want to feel like we could understand each other
now and in the future. Let me be excited about you and for you. Let me want you
to be here so I can check accept.
I hope someone was able to get something useful from this because for all of you here dying to enter this crazy profession I want you to reach your goals. I really do, and I’m just doing all I can on the internet. Good luck to everyone on your interviews!
10 Things Shawn Mendes Definitely Will Do : A Dad List
1. Make breakfast every Saturday morning and plate it on those ceramic dishes your kids made you for Mother’s Day a couple years back.
2. Be completely oblivious to how all of your daughter’s teachers flirt with him at parent-teacher conferences.
3. Come home late after a long day of press and just HAVE to take pictures of how you and all your kids are curled up on the couch, all snuggled and sleepy.
4. Think absolutely everything your kids do is ingenious and makes it hard for either of you to punish them for something like writing on their bedroom wall because Shawn’s always saying things like “but look at how accurate that dog drawing is.”
1. Pulling every call light in your room won’t make us move any faster. Be patient.
2. Everyone always has to go to the bathroom at the same time so again, be patient. We are aware you have to go.
3. Be as independent as you can for as long as you can because you will miss the little things when we have to do it all for you. Ex. Buttoning your shirt or brushing your hair.
4. 98% of the time we will be short help so I apologize in advance if I rush you or feel rushed. It’s not you, it’s me.
5. You will fall even if we do everything we can to prevent it.
6. I will be there to patch you up and hold you when you do.
7. Tell us about your family and your childhood. It’s more interesting to us than you think.
8. I know lifts aren’t ideal, but neither is having my back replaced at 25 so bare with me.
9. I will sit with you if you’re afraid to die alone and cry for you if your family doesn’t when you pass away.
10. You make me a better person. Stubborn or not. I know it isn’t easy to need help, but I’m thankful you let me help you anyway.
First and foremost, emotional stability would be nice!
Not being able to keep a straight face/hide my emotions
People thinking that I’m cute and innocuous and not taking me seriously for it (yes, I have a sharp tongue and an even sharper brain under all this -girliness-)
Jumping from person to person like I have the shortest attention span and am easily amused/pleased by anyone…no loyalty… ugh… (Please know I haven’t forgotten about you!!!!)
Being terrible at responding to messages (I’m so sorry!!)
People attempt to manipulate you…and succeed (by playing to your love of novelty or people or what the hell ever)
My inability to express my annoyance at someone to their face, resulting in inadvertent backstabbings and passive-aggressiveness.
People think you’re weird for being so excitable.
I’m so self-conscious and socially awkward… is this an ENFP thing? I feel so goddamn fake when I use my superior social skills that I inevitably bung it up
Idealising/praising/respecting people, and then realising that person wasn’t so great after all, or, even worse, they didn’t deserve any of that in the first place! (This happens more than I care to admit…)
I hate the way you talk to me, and the way you cut your hair. I hate the way you drive my car. I hate it when you stare. I hate your big dumb combat boots, and the way you read my mind. I hate you so much it makes me sick; it even makes me rhyme. I hate it, I hate the way you’re always right. I hate it when you lie. I hate it when you make me laugh, even worse when you make me cry. I hate it when you’re not around, and the fact that you didn’t call. But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.
What I Want People Without ADHD To Understand About ADHD...
1. I don’t do things for the obvious reason.
Your mind goes A, B, C, D. Mine goes B, 5, X, cucumber. Don’t try to guess my motivations because you’ll get it wrong and I won’t know how to correct you.
2. I’m deeper than I seem.
My hyper appearance always makes me look superficial. I’m not. I’m a deep thinker.
3. I don’t know how to say my thoughts.
I speak brokenly. Punctuated with “uh, um, like” , and mumbled segments, I speak too fast and rarely communicate what I mean. It’s frustrating.
4. I do not overreact or underreact. I process things wrong.
My brain doesn’t understand the hierarchy of reactions, which is why I’ll calmly talk about how my friend completely dissed me, and then freak out for hours if I get a C on a paper.
5. I feel more than you do.
Are you distracted by humming lights? Will a leaf blowing across your peripheral vision break your train of thought? When was the last time you had to unplug your phone because it was making too much noise while charging? Right now, there’s a clock ticking somewhere, and it isn’t in my room.
6. You will never see things the way I do.
And I’ll never see things the way you do.
7. It’s not on purpose.
I jump from conversation to conversation. I interrupt or ignore by accident. I’m sorry.
8. I have static in my head.
You know those ADHD tests that ask if there is static or “noise” in your head? That’s not a trick. Some of us do have actual static.
9. My thoughts are truly distracting.
When I try to sleep, I hear music in my head that’s so loud it hurts my ears. I’m serious. It’s not even funny.
10. I’m good at a lot. I’m not “lucky,” it really just levels the playing field.
If I was at your level of brain power, I would not function. All of it would be spent on the little focus I have now. I’m wicked smart, yeah. I also couldn’t organize anything if I wanted too and paying attention in class…well…anywhere…
Some things I have learned from fandom over the years:
…no, really. So much sex.
Everywhere. In every conceivable position. Using the whole chicken.
2) Sometimes you are going to inadvertently upset people. Their response may be reasonable or it may be blown out of proportion. Anger does not mean someone is right to feel outraged or hurt. It also doesn’t automatically mean that they are wrong.
Pay attention to content. Recognize that you may be in the wrong here. Remember that you deserve better than to be abused. Try to find a middle line that values the worth of everyone involved. Listen to what they have to say, make amends where you can, but don’t allow it to eat away at you and recognize that there’s nothing wrong with drawing a line and walking away to protect your own sanity.
3) Obsession. You’re my obsession. Who do you want me to be… Wow, people will find all sorts of ways to twist characters around and get them together.
Mortal enemies? Family members? Friend in deeply committed monogamous relationship with someone else? Family pets? Clearly meant to be.
Are those two species even compatible? How could you even ask such a question? They’re meant to be!
How did you even fit those two fandoms into the same universe? I don’t know, but I’m impressed. And a little bit weirded out.
4) Sometimes others will upset you. Take a deep breath. Remember there is someone else on the other side of the computer. Consider your options before jumping in. The internet gives you the luxury of time to think before you respond. Take advantage of that.
6) Your fandom is not my fandom, but your fandom’s okay.
7) Everyone has the right to control their own internet experience. There is nothing wrong with requesting content warnings. Many people are happy to provide them in hopes of creating a safer environment.
There is also nothing wrong with someone refusing to provide content warnings. Sometimes they’re too much work or it’s difficult to remember things. Sometimes one doesn’t know how to discern what it is one is meant to be tagging. Sometimes one just doesn’t want to. There’s no burden of responsibility requiring that any given part of the internet is a safe space.
Even within areas that do encourage tagging and trigger warnings, there’s no perfect system ensuring that things won’t slip through the loop. There will be times when it is your job to decide for yourself whether it’s worth it to leap into the unknown and take your own risks. You always have the freedom to back out of corners of the internet that make you feel uncomfortable.
8) You know that one weird, perverted story you’re ashamed to admit you ever read, much less enjoyed enough to bookmark and download and go back to over and over again? You’re not the only one who read it, you’re not the only one who loved it, and you may suddenly find yourself in a room full of people all exclaiming how marvelous it is. It’s a good feeling.
9) Sometimes people will make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe. The block button isn’t hugely helpful against full on stalkers, but it can certainly create a helpful barrier between you and the person who implied that you hugging a friend platonically is on order of molesting a child. Hypothetically speaking, of course.
10) “This story has been deleted,” may be some of the most tragic words you have ever seen.
1. The perfect Fall day when the air is crisp, the sky is bright blue, and leaves are falling. 2. Curling up in bed with my guy having the perfect conversation. 3. The inexplicable satisfaction my body feels after a vigorous walk. 4. Apples and peanut butter. 5. The moments when I connect with my guru in absolute clarity. 6. Deep soulful meditations. 7. When my children are happy, nothing makes me happier. 8. My grandbabies! 9. When I am completely absorbed in the study of Astrology while drinking copious amounts of tea. 10. The color Teal, I can never have enough of it. It just makes me smile:)
If you read this and want to share that would make me very happy:)