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Politeness / A$$ Kissing


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On 8/9/2017 at 0:08 PM, ralk said:

There's lots of methods interviewees employ to buy a bit of time to think through an answer and I generally don't have a preference which is used. Even "can I think about that for a minute" is fine with me. Heck, even awkward silence works! I don't care about speed, I care about approach, content and presentation. Taking a bit of time to answer a question, regardless of how it's done, is a fine approach in my books, especially with some of the weirder questions that tend to pop up.

Where "that's a really interesting question" or other rehearsed stalls can run into trouble is if it's clear flattery and not related to the question, as TARS mentioned, or if it's clearly being used to buy time and that time isn't used effectively. That is, if you say "that's a really interesting question" and then don't have a particularly good answer, I'd probably dislike that even more than just a mediocre response that they took some time to think about. Candidates struggling with a question is common and I won't hold that against them beyond the score for that question itself. Candidates struggling with a question and using rehearsed language to placate me in an attempt to cover up those struggles? Yeah, that's a problem with both approach and presentation, on top of content, and I will rate a candidate lower on their overall communication skills for that. No one's perfect in medicine, but I want colleagues who screw up honestly far more than I want people who attempt to cover up their mistakes (especially if they're good at it).

Hmm, hadn't thought about this before, good point. I think I ended up shifting to the blatant "can I think about that for 30 seconds" and the awkward silence simply because giving a time frame felt like I have the time to properly think and be less pressured to come up with an answer as soon as possible. Thanks for the insight!

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