Finallystartingmedicine’s Blog

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The interview

     I’m at work and to say I’m bored shitless is something of an understatement.   So I’ve sneaked out for an hour and I’ll doubt they’ll notice that I’m gone.  What has prompted this, besides from the danger of falling asleep while listening to my colleagues trying to sound busy is a sudden desire to talk about the medical interview.   A couple minutes ago a person who was one of the references that I put down for this whole process, came and congratulated me on being accepted.   Now, besides from the feeling of how great it is to still tell people that I finally got in, there were a few interesting things that arose from this conversation.

     Firstly, the selection panel didn’t contact either of my references.  That might’ve been because my resume and personal statement had “future outstanding medical student” written all over it or more likely it’s that anybody smart enough to manage to pass GAMSAT will also be smart enough to pick two people who are likely to say nice things about them rather then give a subjective appraisal. 

     Next thing that struck me was how my impression changed of how the interview went before I got accepted and after.  I, like a lot of people I imagine, over-analyze everything and that was the case with the interview.  I walked away thinking it went ok, but with every passing day, bits of the interview would come back and flood my subconscious until I was forced to look at it and admit that I could’ve said something more appropriate.  It got so bad that I convinced myself that I had bombed again (I’ve had two interviews, the less said about the first one the better).  But once I received the offer I reappraised everything and concluded that it actually went quite well.  So well that I’m convinced I could coach someone through the interview and obtain a medical place.

     The interview is basically a sit down with a panel and they ask various questions that deal with motivation, leadership, conflict resolution and empathy.  For mine there was no smoke and mirrors, no good cop bad cop and not even a discernable trick question.   I tried to be as honest as I could, answering the questions in the spirit of how the process is meant to function.  When they asked what qualities a good leader had I named them.  When they asked for three qualities I had that made me a good leader I (perhaps foolishly) only gave them two, despite reeling off a host of them a moment ago.  I didn’t think to plagiarise them as I was being honest and it had to be true.  We talked about conflict resolution and I shared a brilliant example that I had prepared doing my best to assure them that I had the negotiating skills of Henry Kissinger.  However when they asked me about something that frustrates me about working in a team I picked an example about a work conflict that I couldn’t solve and is still an on going problem this day. 

     The point I’m going to make out of that mess that is the previous paragraph is the importance of honesty when trying to sell yourself in interviews and especially interviews that pertain to a profession where ethics are as important as they are to doctors.   I made it a pervading point throughout the interview that I was honest despite the obvious risk in doing so.  By convincing the panel that I was honest it gave all my other arguments that I was the right candidate to practice medicine more weight.  While stressing how honest and fantastic  I was, I also pointed out (repeatedly) that I wasn’t better then anybody else which is ironically important to acknowledge when selling yourself.

     I have a whole hemisphere of my brain taken up by interview knowhow but rather then put them to paper (so to speak) I’m going to keep them locked away to share with people I know will make good doctors and that are doing it for the right reasons.  (I’m still shocked to meet people that do it or want to do it for the wrong reasons, it’s almost comical to hear the motivations they have to become a doctor)  I will say this though, don’t try and fool the panel as there are three of them and only one of you and they will see through you.  To a small extent I employed this during my first interview and was found out.  Though it cost me a year, I’ll admit a begrudging satisfaction that when I was brutally honest with myself and the panel was the time they saw the doctor in me.


December 3, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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