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microwaveoven

Treating interview more conversationally?

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As I progress more in my interview prep, I find myself sometimes getting detached, robotic, and weary in my answers when I try to adopt the cliche standard structures that med student friends encourage me to do. It just doesn't feel like I'm being myself when I try to do this. I consider myself a decent conversationalist IRL.

Anyone else get in and just approach the interview very conversationally without the conventional intro, points, and conclusion structure? I interviewed last year and approached it very conversationally. I think I could've definitely done more to develop more fleshed out discussion points and I got an average interview in the end. I don't want to necessarily overstructure my responses and go the other way in coming off as too performative and not myself.

Thanks for the insights! :)

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1 hour ago, microwaveoven said:

As I progress more in my interview prep, I find myself sometimes getting detached, robotic, and weary in my answers when I try to adopt the cliche standard structures that med student friends encourage me to do. It just doesn't feel like I'm being myself when I try to do this. I consider myself a decent conversationalist IRL.

Anyone else get in and just approach the interview very conversationally without the conventional intro, points, and conclusion structure? I interviewed last year and approached it very conversationally. I think I could've definitely done more to develop more fleshed out discussion points and I got an average interview in the end. I don't want to necessarily overstructure my responses and go the other way in coming off as too performative and not myself.

Thanks for the insights! :)

Yes. I found it helpful to try to summarize a bit as I went, and to take a few seconds to think before I just started talking blindly.  But I found it much easier to approach things like a bit of a conversation and not to worry too much about planning or structuring what I was saying. You just have to remember that it’s still going to be kind of a one sided conversation, as there are limited prompts that they can give you. 

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Just remember to be yourself, smile, and have a genuine convo with the interviewer (have fun!) Just don’t forget that you need to approach the prompts from multiple viewpoints to do well

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Me! I practiced for a solid 4 hours running over a couple questions with a friend. I had 0 predefined structure going in. I got accepted first interview.

The key for me was that I'm excellent at critical thinking and engaging personally with people, but mediocre at best at following structured presentation formats. Rather than being a poor version of everyone else, I just decided to be me. I figured if sincerely answering everything to the best of my ability and acting normally didn't work, I definitely wouldn't be able to do it robotically.

To each their own, but I had a great experience at my interview, and got in. It all comes down to playing to your strengths - if you're the type of person who's great with extremely structured approaches, use them! If you're not, you 100% do not have to.

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OOP who got accepted to UBC a few years ago but turned it down for another school - I encourage you to strike a middle ground between structured discussion and conversation!

This is a bit anecdotal, but the first time I applied to med school years ago, I was rehearsed, robotic (IMO), and would give the classic textbook super-structured "answers" to MMI scenarios (I think I even said the words "in conclusion" a few times - yikes). It didn't work out well for me - got rejected post-interview at a few schools with one low waitlist. The next cycle, I loosened the hell up and just had fun with it while still keeping some structure in my answers. I think it's important to meet that balance between sounding like you know what you're talking about, while still sounding like an actual person. I cracked a couple jokes here and there, made some interviewers smile, and as a result of the relaxed vibe I overall just felt confident (which probably showed). With that strategy I got multiple OOP acceptances.

Really, what the interviewers want to see is someone who can enter a room somewhat blindly and be calm/confident, pleasant, professional, and well-spoken (i.e. the qualities of a doctor!). Yes, bringing up good points to the prompts is important (especially acknowledging other viewpoints/challenging your own argument), but less so is making sure you've covered *every* little detail, thereby losing the nuance of what makes a conversation a conversation, and turning yourself into a robot. I think the mistake a lot of pre-meds make is that they think the interviewers have some ultra-structured scoring sheets which give out scores for tiny things like knocking 3 times (lol), re-stating the question right after you walk in (lol), or rehearsing "in conclusion, I believe" (lol). Just recognize that the interviewers are regular people who just want to see how you act in a stressful (MMI) scenario and what your thought process is.

Most important of all: be yourself!

 

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