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Online Interview Annouced due to COVID 19

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I second @theevilsloth ‘s comment and want to add that they will also have a tough time gauging people’s peripherals and overall body language, which are so important IMO. Not to mention that U of A’s wifi barely works on a good day, so I’m interested to see how they’ll pull off mass virtual interviews using a server that probably runs on a hamster wheel.
At the same time I understand cases have been cropping up and sharing air with 500+ people might not be the best idea right now. Also preventing people from travelling could be a public health benefit. 


 

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This is the most important job interview of our lives. We have worked so hard to display ourselves in the best way possible. Prepared for the interview, paid for flights, hotels, Airbnb’s. A virtual MMI sounds like a joke. 
 

I understand the concerns over COVID-19 and I don’t think we should take it lightly. But that is not to say holding an in-person interview is impossible. There are ways to deal with the issue such as increasing distance between candidates, reducing the # of candidates per session, disallowing handshakes, sanitization of the area as well as ourselves. 

 

It is hilarious that thousands of students are currently going to classes. The halls are filled with people, and they are worried about interviewing 500 people who will arguably be the most conscious individuals regarding the virus. 

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14 minutes ago, RiderSx said:

This is the most important job interview of our lives. We have worked so hard to display ourselves in the best way possible. Prepared for the interview, paid for flights, hotels, Airbnb’s. A virtual MMI sounds like a joke. 
 

I understand the concerns over COVID-19 and I don’t think we should take it lightly. But that is not to say holding an in-person interview is impossible. There are ways to deal with the issue such as increasing distance between candidates, reducing the # of candidates per session, disallowing handshakes, sanitization of the area as well as ourselves. 

 

It is hilarious that thousands of students are currently going to classes. The halls are filled with people, and they are worried about interviewing 500 people who will arguably be the most conscious individuals regarding the virus. 

While your frustrations are understandable, I think it is also important to consider the school's side here. This is not just about a ton of people gathering together. The bigger issue is the fact that people are travelling from all over the country and even internationally to come to the interview, quite substantially increasing their own and other people's risk of getting sick. 

I also would not classify a bunch of eager premeds as the "the most conscious individuals regarding the virus". At this point, even medical students, who've had far more training in PPE and disease control, are being asked to refrain from many activities.

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I also received the email this morning. I am disappointed that the normal MMI process will not be happening, but I completely understand why the U of A chose to make this decision. I am coming from out of province, so I sympathize with anyone who had to book hotels/accommodations and flights. However, I strongly believe that it is better to take a preventative approach and potentially stop a case from spreading then to forge ahead and have candidates get sick and bring the virus back to their university. It sucks, but as future health care professionals we should understand that sometimes sacrifices must be made to protect society as a whole. 

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I just received the email too. It is so frustrating as I have spend over a thousands to book flight and hotels for me and my parents who are very excited to visit the beautiful campus. Not to say that I do not understand the school's point but it is a lot of money going down the drains since the travel are not cancel by the official air services. In addition, I personally felt it is very hard to show senserity through Internet and there will be a lot issue the school need to consider (e.g.  Body languages and possibility of unfair advantage of individual with better technology...) I am just upset by their decision as any other schools also are facing similar worries but they still proceeds with in-face interview.  

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Having been in your shoes before, I understand the frustration amongst the candidates. However, as a resident who is involved in the interview process this year.... I think it is for the safety of all the people involved.

Most interviewers are medical students, residents, and doctors who directly involved in caring for the sickest and most vulnerable part of our population, and if infected (there will be huge number of people in a small space if interviews are done in person), have potential to transmit to not only our patients, but also to other health care professionals (or at least put them in quarantine). Our health care system is already pretty stretched out as is.... Imagine a resident on ICU rotation have positive COVID 19 confirmation. People who had contact with that particular person (a.k.a. all residents, attending, nurses in ICU AND the patients and their families) is now at risk. So who is going to take care of the ICU? Imagine that scenario for all the wards in the hospital... OR... ED. The magnitude of damage is huge. So as much as it may be "This is the most important job interview of our lives" (which, trust me, it is not even close to the most important job interview....) the benefits outweigh the risks. Safety of our society takes precedence imo 

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@medbruh @hopeful_med I think that most of the applicants understand and agree with the reasoning behind the cancellations. I do, however, think its inappropriate to completely change the format and style of the interview and give less than 2 days notice to interviewees. I'm more worried about the logistics and how the faculty will standardize the interview process, it just seems like 2 days isn't enough time on their end or on ours. They should maybe look into pushing out the virtual interview dates? 

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I empathize with all of you that are feeling frustrated with this last minute change. I know you all have put so much work into it. All the hard work leading up to the medschool applications and travel plans/accommodations, the personal sacrifice and financial loss that each one of us puts is tremendous. 

But this pandemic is not a joke. I want you all to consider this CBC article (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/covid19-first-case-doctor-hamilton-health-sciences-1.5493530). An Oncologist that flew back to Hamilton from Hawaii. She was not sure aware that she was carrying the virus and went on to see 14 cancer patients before developing any symptoms. Once she realized, she immediately self-quarantined. All those cancer patients are being tested. If they do contract the virus, their prognosis, unfortunately, may not be the best. 

Through our interviews, each one of us that has travelled or displayed any cold/flu like symptoms could potentially have the virus. If it is passed on to another student, or God forbid, a doctor/nurse/resident that may interview us, can you imagine the implications? They may unknowingly pass it to more vulnerable people, they themselves become sick, and overall add tremendous strain to our healthcare system. 

No matter how much precaution we take, even if 1-2 has the virus, it is a problem. I know other schools and gatherings are still going on. They also need to consider the importance of containing this pandemic. 

Often times, people don't take these things seriously until it affects us in a personal way. But if we or a friend or family member gets sick, it becomes a serious issue. Around the world, so many events have had to be postponed and delayed. So its not about just "me" and "I". 

As future health care professionals, try to understand that this was a decision made to protect you, your friends & family, the most vulnerable (elderly & immunocompromised). Trust that the school will have some sort of a system to fairly assess us. It will be hard for them, but let us try our best to accommodate them. 

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5 minutes ago, acacna said:

Often times, people don't take these things seriously until it affects us in a personal way. But if we or a friend or family member gets sick, it becomes a serious issue. Around the world, so many events have had to be post-poned and delayed. So its not about just "me" and "I". 

As future health care professionals, try to understand that this was a decision made to protect you, your friends & family, the most vulnerable (elderly & immunocomprised). Trust that the school will have some sort of a system to fairly assess us. It will be hard for them, but let us try our best to accomodate them. 

Wonderfully said. I agree wholeheartedly.

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1 hour ago, medbruh said:

While your frustrations are understandable, I think it is also important to consider the school's side here. This is not just about a ton of people gathering together. The bigger issue is the fact that people are travelling from all over the country and even internationally to come to the interview, quite substantially increasing their own and other people's risk of getting sick. 

I also would not classify a bunch of eager premeds as the "the most conscious individuals regarding the virus". At this point, even medical students, who've had far more training in PPE and disease control, are being asked to refrain from many activities.

I understand that people coming from across the country do increase the risk. But that is mostly true for OOP candidates which make up a smaller portion. My point still stands that students roaming the halls and attending lectures in the thousands, every single day, is a bigger risk than the interview process. With this logic in mind, we would have to close every single university, high school, kindergarten, and every company building holding more than 500 people at a time. This is simple logic. 
Have you seen busy bus terminals. Busy subways. Busy malls. The risk that the normal population is currently exposing  itself to is far more great than this interview. We should absolutely close malls, transit systems and schools with this logic.

If the main concern is flight risk, then have all OOP candidates virtually interviewed as a wholly separate stream. Much more feasible and the health risks are significantly reduced. It would still be unfair, however, but understandable given the circumstances we are in with the pandemic. 

If this was a congregation of 10-20K attendants like a conference or football game, then it would be understandable to cancel the event. However, for 528 people, it is manageable to conduct an interview process that heavily minimizes the risks. The interview could be held in several separate buildings. On top of that, additional interview dates could have been added. Ottawa interviews only 8 candidates on some days. So it is very possible to do such a thing. There are many ways to figure this out.
 

My last point which I think is also important: I don’t believe a mass virtual interview of 500 people will be fair. I could go on, but just think about the different experiences that candidates will have with wifi connectivity. Some audios will be cut, delayed, some videos will be blurry. Some videos will be perfectly visible. Some will have their facial expressions fully available. Some won’t. Non-verbal expressions are absolutely important in conveying yourself. Can UofA promise that every candidate will have the same fair opportunity of displaying their voice, body language and facial expression?

Again, I am not saying the interviews should have proceeded as planned. But whatever the solution, a mass virtual interview does not sound like a feasible or fair one. 

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I am not saying that I do appreciate the schools perspective and for sure it is a serious issue to handle with precaution. But I felt the school should be more supportive in this situation. For instance, considering working together with the airlines or their recommended hostal to find a way to compensate for possible financial loss. For me it might just be a month of part-time income evaporating but for lot of others it might be significantly sacrifices. 

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Just now, Applicant95 said:

@fymg1103yxy seriously! This is so frustrating. I'm low-income and having spent $450 on flights which is now going down the drain is really frustrating.

I'm trying to cancel my flight through WestJet but they have an 8 hour hold. So frustrating

How did you even get through to them? I'm trying to cancel my westjet flights but the phone numbers are disconnected..

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48 minutes ago, coffeeandmed said:

I also received the email this morning. I am disappointed that the normal MMI process will not be happening, but I completely understand why the U of A chose to make this decision. I am coming from out of province, so I sympathize with anyone who had to book hotels/accommodations and flights. However, I strongly believe that it is better to take a preventative approach and potentially stop a case from spreading then to forge ahead and have candidates get sick and bring the virus back to their university. It sucks, but as future health care professionals we should understand that sometimes sacrifices must be made to protect society as a whole. 

What email did you receive this morning? I only got one last night? 

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I understand why Alberta's doing this but I'm also really curious how online interviews play out - won't the quality of mic's/camera influence how the interviewers perceive us? Esp if camera is rlly pixelated/mic isn't the best

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26 minutes ago, theevilsloth said:

How did you even get through to them? I'm trying to cancel my westjet flights but the phone numbers are disconnected..

Yeah dude it was really frustrating lol. I just called them like 30 times and eventually one went through. Good luck! Btw, the website says that there's a 7-8 hour backup on the phone lines, but I actually got through in an hour and managed to get a full refund (unfortunately credited to my WestJet account and it only lasts a year, but still better than nothing). So definitely keep calling them until a call gets through.

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38 minutes ago, Applicant95 said:

@fymg1103yxy seriously! This is so frustrating. I'm low-income and having spent $450 on flights which is now going down the drain is really frustrating.

I'm trying to cancel my flight through WestJet but they have an 8 hour hold. So frustrating

That is good to hear at least you got tge credit back. I booked my through Expedia so I do not think I will be getting anything back due to their no refund on personal cancelling policy.  

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Just now, fymg1103yxy said:

That is good to hear at least you got tge credit back. I booked my through Expedia so I do not think I will be getting anything back due to their no refund on personal cancelling policy.  

 https://blog.westjet.com/questions-and-answers-for-our-guests-on-coronavirus-covid-19/?sm_cid=social:ws-world:coronavirus-response:twitter

It seems like all WestJet flights (as long as you booked before March 3) are eligible for a full refund (as shown in their post above). You have to cancel at least 24 hours before departure to qualify, so I'm guessing that you should get on that ASAP!

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4 minutes ago, Applicant95 said:

 https://blog.westjet.com/questions-and-answers-for-our-guests-on-coronavirus-covid-19/?sm_cid=social:ws-world:coronavirus-response:twitter

It seems like all WestJet flights (as long as you booked before March 3) are eligible for a full refund (as shown in their post above). You have to cancel at least 24 hours before departure to qualify, so I'm guessing that you should get on that ASAP!

O that is good to know but I need to contact Expedia since I have a mixed air canada and Westjet flight... But thanks for the heads up! 

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24 minutes ago, jkadsjfpewklcxnlkasdjpw said:

It could be really possible that they do a pre-recorded prompt interview like kira interview instead since they have that system in place for other departments. that's still quite bad though.

man that sounds awful ... how would they conduct the panel portion of the interview I wonder

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