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Performed Poorly In All 5 Interviews... Please Help!


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#1 mastermeow

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 03:17 AM

I like to think of myself as a fairly outgoing and confident person with strong interpersonal skills and a developed set of morals, but I underperformed in all 5 of my interviews this cycle.

I'm not entirely sure where I went wrong. I was very nervous for all of them and know I can be a bit rambly and unorganized with my answers, but I thought I still did pretty well in a few of my interviews. Not sure where to go from here and am now left doubting my personal characteristics.

Please help!

#2 shikimate

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 03:38 AM

I like to think of myself as a fairly outgoing and confident person with strong interpersonal skills and a developed set of morals, but I underperformed in all 5 of my interviews this cycle.

I'm not entirely sure where I went wrong. I was very nervous for all of them and know I can be a bit rambly and unorganized with my answers, but I thought I still did pretty well in a few of my interviews. Not sure where to go from here and am now left doubting my personal characteristics.

Please help!

 

In retrospect did you feel your answers addressed the deeper issue or remained superfluous? For example, hire more ER doctors is a superflous solution to ER wait times,whereas the underlying structural issues such as poor coordination of outpatient clinic may be the deeper issue.

 

Also in retrospect did you feel your answer is well structured with a thesis, exploration of the issue, balancing of both sides, and satisfactory resolution/cadence at the end? In other words, if you were to write down your answer on paper, would it make a coherent, "A" grade essay? or does it more resemble an excerpt from from **DELETED**/twitter?


"I try to decorate my imagination as much as I can." - F. Schubert


#3 mastermeow

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 04:24 AM

Hmmm... I do feel my answers addressed the deeper issue and felt my content was strong. I was also often able to draw on personal experiences.

However, my answers did lack structure and this is something I struggled with during prep. I think I managed to address both sides of the issue, but lacked overall organization. In the end I decided that my personality and strong desire to practice medicine would shine through and win me enough points (oops).

Many of the questions I received also seemed very conversational and I didn't really think they would fit some of the strategies I had in my back pocket. I obviously have it wrong, but a few strategies I tried while practicing felt a little too staged/robotic/disingenuous? I also struggled with efficiently using the 2 minutes beforehand as I was too nervous/too busy flipping out.

Any specific suggestions on how to improve organization? Any specific strategies that worked well for folks? How about calming the nerves?

#4 shikimate

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 05:07 AM

Without seeing you in face, it's difficult to make specific suggestions. While I do not know the details of these MMI rubrics, I would imagine they may resemble OSCE rubrics, where there are specific check marks for accomplishing certain tasks. Some people perform poorly on OSCE not because they lack knowledge or are not agreeable, but because they aren't familiar with the style of the rubric. Those with insights into MMI rubrics are welcome to chime in.

 

I've noticed the most nervous candidates are the ones that smile the least; whether conscious act of smiling  can lead to relaxation during interviews, that is something of interest.


"I try to decorate my imagination as much as I can." - F. Schubert


#5 Lactic Folly

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 05:49 AM

Did you do any practice interviews speaking out loud? Try videotaping yourself for feedback? Get input from others who've heard you speak?

 

Given that you yourself felt your answers were disorganized, this may well be the problem. What you see as 'a bit rambly,' others may see as lack of clarity in communication. What you see as 'staged,' others may see as evidence of someone who has worked hard to be well prepared. (This is the context of interview questions that call for structured answers - I agree it is not desirable to come across as insincere.)

 

Just some food for thought. Overall, you want to come across as a mature (for one's age), poised, articulate future professional. Good news is that this is a skill that can definitely be improved with practice/coaching, and does not reflect on your morals/personality.



#6 mastermeow

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 12:12 PM

I practiced with around 8 different people (some close friends, some strangers) who all thought I was doing great and were surprised to hear the final outcome. However, said individuals are unfamiliar with the rubric. I also did a couple of very helpful mock MMIs with med students, but unfortunately their feedback was fairly neutral.

I think for next cycle I will start prepping much earlier, film myself (thanks for the suggestion), and look into getting a coach/help from someone who may know more about what the interviewers are looking for.

Any med students that might be willing to help me out in the future over Skype please PM me. I would truly appreciate the extra help.

#7 ralk

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 01:50 PM

When it comes to candidates underperforming on interviews across the board, there are a few common culprits.

 

First and foremost is simply a failure to answer the question being asked. It doesn't matter if you gave the most insightful, passionate reply that showcases all of your unique talents and accomplishments if it doesn't address the question at hand. Some candidates fall into the trap of thinking they have to show off in the interview, making every question about how they are an especially-capable person and miss giving an actual response to the question. Others end up giving great replies, just to a different question than what was asked. In this second case, I find candidates have a really strong anecdote that tangentially applies to the question and is, of course, more comfortable for the candidate to talk about, but misses the point entirely. In both cases the candidates can come out thinking they gave great, substantive answers because they've shown what they want to show about themselves, but they've failed to show what the interviewers wanted to see with their question.

 

Second is being over-rehearsed. The best candidates can think on their feet and while they may have some strategies, they don't have a clear script. Their answers are fluid and adaptable to the question (see point #1). Candidates who have spent too much time coming up with the "perfect" answers either miss touching on relevant details specific to the question or get obviously rattled when they have to go off-script (which tends to lead to content-poor rambling).

 

Lastly, there are those with unprofessional communication styles. The odd "um" and "like" aren't a problem, but when they're every other word, that's a problem. Use of idioms or phrases that might not be familiar to older interviewers (or just those not in undergrad anymore) can be a barrier as well. A lot of words get said, but few of it meaningful to the interviewers.

 

I've seen people with rambling answers fall into each of these categories, and the big thing from my perspective is that it's not the rambling that's the problem. Sure, a concise, complete answer is best, but interviewers get that you're nervous and could ramble a bit. I don't think rambling answers alone explains going 0 for 5 in interviews, especially if you weren't running over your time. Given what information you've given so far, I can see you falling into any one of these three common pitfalls, or perhaps a combination of several. Despite what interview prep companies say, there's no secret or trick to interviewing - schools are looking for honest, relevant answers that you can back up with some degree of personal experience and present in a warm, professional manner. That's about it.


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#8 Bambi

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 02:02 PM

1. Read through future_doc's pinned thread carefully, including the comments of ontariostudent.

http://forums.premed...d-part-i-of-ii/

 

2. In my experience, being relaxed, flexible and just yourself goes far in improving your performance! And it removes any perception of seeming to be rehearsed.

 

3. Treat the actual MMI as "a practice run", do not go into it with an overload of performance anxiety.

Those applicants wgo followed this simple advice ALL got into medical school in the next cycle.

 

4. Treat the examiner as if he/she is an inquisitive, intelligent 12 year old child to whom you are imparting

knowledge and explaining how you got to your answer.

 

5. Lactic Folly's suggestion of videotaping yourself for feedback is excellent.

 

6. Being rambly and disorganized, as you have learned, is the kiss of death. You need to be organized, logical, build upon your answer, just as you would need to do if explaining an important aspect of recommended treatment to a patient.

 

7. Whatever you do this year, ensure you are in situations where you improve your communication skills when under pressure, be it in customer service, public speaking, interactions one on one in tutoring students and/or in volunteer activities because you need to communicate clearly for the MMI as an ethical, quick thinking problem solver under severe time constraints.

 

8. Each of us are different and so, one recipe does not fit all. I found that for me the best preparation were my cumulative life experiences where I was required to react professionally to numerous extreme situation that were out of the box and required immediate decisions to solve problems, contain or minimize difficulties for others, and therefore, the MMI was not a particularly difficult situation for me, rather I went in with the attitude to have fun. And this worked for me.  


PGY2


#9 mastermeow

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 01:36 AM

Thank you for the suggestions!

#10 MountainAmoeba

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 03:21 PM

The fact that your friends and practice partners thought you were doing well might be a key problem. You want people who will give you feedback, and are willing and able to be critical. The point of practice isn't to hear you are doing well (don't get me wrong! It's nice to get positive feedback on what you do well) but rather to gain insight into what you could improve on. In the future tell people you want constructive criticism. Focus on practicing with people who are able to reflect critically on your performance.

Good luck!
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#11 OwnerOfTheTARDIS

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 01:57 AM

I practiced primarily with my parents (dad is a doc, my mum works as an event host/coordinator). What really helped me was having one parent do the mmi (usually my dad as he was great at thinking up follow-up prompts) and have the other take notes on body language, nervous tics, and unprofessional/repetitive language. Because my dad was focused more on the content of my response, he sometimes missed the bad habits that my mum picked up on. 

 

Is it possible for you to find two people to help you? One to ask the questions and one to watch from off to the side?

 

(Note: the reason I personally chose to practice with family was because practicing with friends and other applicants made me so anxious and worked up. As my primary goal in practising was learning how to relax and be less mechanical, I wanted to avoid pre-interview anxiety at all costs - this approach may not work for everyone, but it was what I felt I needed to address my weaknesses. Other people might find that practising with a wide variety of people helps them reduce interview anxiety).


UBC MD Class of 2021 - Island Medical Program


#12 anon5678

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 06:13 PM

exact same boat here my friend. botched all 5 on my interviews 



#13 Pippa756

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 06:49 PM

Interview prep is really, really tough to get right. IMHO you need to be careful how and with who you do your practice with as you need to be practicing and developing the 'right skills'. Remember even if someone has aced an MMI in the past it does not mean that necessarily understand what makes for a successful MMI performance. Definitely research and look into management of nerves and anxieties. I found 'The Sound of Your Voice' by Dr. Carol fleming really helpful for getting rid of 'ums' and other vocal ticks so I felt much more confident with delivery. Understanding the interview format and being able to quickly identify question types will help you so much, you can find lots of info about that online (found this blog helpful as a starting point for my MMI prep -  https://bemoacademic...i-interview-mmi). Also, make sure you are working on your non-verbal skills as well - lots of people forget this! Also, had a friend who was a HR consultant, very experienced as an interviewer, and she really stressed yogic breathing practices as her best tip to anyone who asked her how best to prepare for an interview - lol. Best of luck with your preparations! :-)  



#14 shankarpro

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 03:03 PM

Me too buddy, 7 interviews -> no offers yet. 

Def hang in there, you have the capacity to be a doctor and these cycles will always test you but they will help you grow into the doctor that is truly you. 

It is not easy to know where you went wrong, it's a short moment under high pressure in front of someone you have no clue about. There is no telling what you will say, what they will understand and how that will come across to them. 

 

Agree with the general tips above. Be relaxed, know yourself, answer it like an essay question (structured + insightful) and show some personality :) Practice beforehand and trust yourself, your experiences. Remember, the med schools are ROOTING for you- that's why they brought you on board for the interviews



#15 excellentinterviewee

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 03:59 PM

Me too buddy, 7 interviews -> no offers yet. 

Def hang in there, you have the capacity to be a doctor and these cycles will always test you but they will help you grow into the doctor that is truly you. 

It is not easy to know where you went wrong, it's a short moment under high pressure in front of someone you have no clue about. There is no telling what you will say, what they will understand and how that will come across to them. 

 

Agree with the general tips above. Be relaxed, know yourself, answer it like an essay question (structured + insightful) and show some personality :) Practice beforehand and trust yourself, your experiences. Remember, the med schools are ROOTING for you- that's why they brought you on board for the interviews

 

 

7 interviews and no offers. Thats crazy. I hope you have better luck next year



#16 shankarpro

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 04:20 PM

7 interviews and no offers. Thats crazy. I hope you have better luck next year

Thanks buddy! Well I am waitlisted at some schools so the year's not over for me! but nevertheless, onwards we go! 


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