This community has been a great resource for me, so I've been looking for a way to give back. Ever since D-day (aka May 10th for my fellow OMSAS warriors), I've been getting lots of PMs about interview skills. Partly because I got multiple offers, and partly because on my A/W/R posts I noted how well the interviews went. Rather than answering each PM separately I figured I'd make a post to point people towards so that others might benefit in the future.
I'm not an interview god, I didn't know how to interview before I started, and I wasn't confident in my skills going in. However, the people I practiced with did compliment me quite a bit, and during my interviews several interviewer remarked on how well the conversation was going. I'm pretty sure that interviewers aren't supposed to give you any sort of feedback, but mine did. At the end of my Western interview, my interviewers spent about 10 minutes talking about how perfect I am for Western and vice versa. During my U of T interviews, one interviewer ended the conversation by saying "good job buddy", another by saying "you're an amazing story teller", and another with "this was the most engaging conversation I've had today". So while I'm not a natural interviewee, and I was quite nervous about the whole interview process, things went well. Bellow is why I think it went well for me. It may work for you, it may not. This is a case study with n=1.
There's nothing magic about it, there are no secrets. There are, however, golden basics rules. Follow them, they work, and don't tell yourself that you can skip the hard work and figure our how to interview by "cramming" for a week.
-Find a good medical ethics book (ie: Doing Right, and some basic CanMEDS resource)
-Find a good person (ie: a med student or anyone who interviews well and can give feedback)
-Read the book, practice with the person (realistic role play), take their feedback and edit your answer. I couldn't always find someone to practice with so sometimes I would pretend someone was in the room, time my self, and hope others didn't think I was hallucinating.
-Wash, rinse repeat on a regular basis (I did 1-2 hours per day for a few weeks). Only time will make your comfortable, confident, and cunning at MMI. See attachment for the Big List of MMI Questions, do as many as possible.
For traditional interviews:
-List ALL of your interesting personal stories (including ABS)
-create a cool narrative (even if its short) for each one
-incorporate a CanMEDS characteristic into each one (don't force it, it should be obvious from the way you tell the story)
-Look up the top health/social news stories of the last 2-3 years and develop an opinion/narrative about those
-Practice with someone (realistic, timed, role play), or alone (but still outloud) if need be
-Wash, rinse repeat on a regular basis (I did 1-2 hours per day for a few weeks). Only time will make your comfortable, confident, and cunning at traditional interviews. See attachment for the Big List of Traditional Interview questions, do as many as possible
-Start doing realistic practice early, even if you're still new to interviews, and do it frequently.
-In my opinion you should start prepping for MMIs before you prep for traditional interviews, because the MMI "mindset" (fair, balanced, thoughtful) will be invaluable for traditional interview questions.
-If you can walk in confident and calm, you've won half the battle. Practice this every time your practice interviewing.
-Learning to interview well is a life-changing experience. It teaches you how to connect and interact better, it teaches you how to summarize sell your personal brand in a short period of time, it teaches you how to see what's important in someone else's eyes, and as a PhD student who is about to defend, it taught me how to make my research meaningful to pretty much everyone.
Best of luck to all the MD hopefuls. If you have questions, please post in this thread instead of PMing me. If you have a question, chances are someone else will too, so it saves me from having to answer it multiple times and helps more people out. Plus, someone else might have a better answer than me.
PS: I don't know who the original compiler/poster of these "Big Lists" is, but if someone does please link them so they can be credited for their awesome work
Big List of MMI Questions.pdf
Big List of All Traditionl Interview Questions.pdf