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Guest OnBelay

Interview Tips

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Guest Shannon S

This is a great thread!

I notived on the SAAAPA sample questions there was 1 that asked to define what a dependent practioner is? Do they mean to explain that a PA needs to practice under a MD or more in terms of someone not being able to able to be assertive about diagnosing their patients, etc. TIA

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If I can give any applicants one peice of advice, it would be from my experience in helping out with our schools interview process. I wasn't in on the interviews but more like being an escort for the applicants and also proctoring essay times or QandA sessions.

 

One applicant stood out, in a BAD way. He wore a flashy suit...nothing wrong with that. I like flashy suits sometimes, but his brought attention to him and his piss-poor behavior. During the times when the applicants were with us and away from faculty, he would seclude himself from the rest of the group, not speak, not answer questions, would absolutely not participate in anything. It was so bad the other applicants were noticing. He was seen numerous times by current students and our dept. secretary on his cell phone. He walked out of one meeting on the way to lunch (the program buys lunch in the campus dining hall) and asked me, "What time do we have to be back?"--Why are you thinking of leaving?--"I'm not eating that crap. That crap is horrid." WHAT?!?!?! He actually said it! Don't think that the staff didn't notice either. Needless to say, he was not invited to join the program.

 

Lesson learned: Even when you aren't in your interview, you are still being watched, interviewed and looked at by how you interact with the other applicants, students and faculty. Not to increase your stress, but you are always ON until you drive out of the parking lot.

If you are going to wear something flashy, bring the flashy personality to back it up.

Don't act like the whole interview process is beneath you. If you are lucky enough to get granted an interview, the faculty obviously believe you would make a good student in the program, they just want to make sure you fit the program and the program fits you.

 

Just some advice from the interviews I helped on.

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Guest Shannon S

One more question before I leave for my interview in 2 days!

When being asked why you want to be a PA over going to med school, is it better to say you want to be more involved with your patients (where I work it seems the PA has more time with them than the MD's) or better to say due to my personal commitments (I have a small child and husband that travels weekly for work) med school isn't feasible for me now? Those are both honest answers, but I just don't want to waive any flags.

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I suggest you be honest. Both of the reasons you have are good ones. Not wanting to give up raising your child while you go to medical school and wanting a job where you can spend more time with your patients (wish I could too, but that's another story!) both paints a picture of someone who is well-grounded as to her values.

 

Good luck!

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No such thing as a silly question? OK then, is Stead (as in Eugene) pronounced like "Sted" or "Steed"???

 

I thought this applicable to the interview thread as this is when we do the talkin' not the writin'. I may have to mention this legend of a man this weekend!

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Thanks guys, just one more trick up my sleeve for this interview! To keep this thread going in the "Tips" direction, I'd say knowing the history of the program is important. Did it start in the 70's or the 90's? Have they had the same program director for 15 years, or cycled thru them every semester? What is the history of the university? I'll let you'all know on Monday if I forgot anything! Thanks for the great thread.

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Guest Shannon S

This forum has been such a great help to me. Since I'm done with both my interviews and got offers from both, I thought I'd share some tips.:)

Dress as nice as you can. You can never be overdressed.

The SAAPA questions are great practice, but don't count on those exact questions. My questions were very similar, but with different variations.

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Guest CDWalker

I have had several interviews where I have been asked the question "Tell us about a time when you have had a conflict with a supervisor and how you handled it" I have a few more interviews (Jan 11th and 16th) and this question I seem to never know how to answer because I've never really had a conflict with a supervisor before.

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Same here. I haven't really had any conflict with any supervisor until now. Did you give this answer? How did the comission react?

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Hm. I don't know, guys. I think you can search your memories of past jobs and come up with an answer.

 

I'm just another of those students who has helped out on interview day, proctoring an essay, guiding a tour, and answering some questions informally. But to me, this sounds like a classic question; I think they expect everyone will have had some kind of experience at some point in their working life when they had to deal with at least some minor level of conflict.

 

I mean, maybe it was a summer job in high school, and you'd told the boss you had to get out right at 4:00 (because you wanted to meet your friends), but he made you sweep and mop behind the counter of the Kwik-E-Mart anyway. Or maybe it was a sports coach rather than a boss at work, who said she'd think about your ideas for a West Coast Defense, and then blew them off when the playbook came out. Someone who changed the plan on you or made you feel unpleasantly surprised.

 

It doesn't need to be a big conflict, with yelling, angry words, and stony glares. Just a situation where you the employee and this other person the boss were at odds.

 

I guess if nothing like that has ever, ever happened to you, then that has to be your answer, because it's the truth. And it's certainly not a bad answer. It just communicates something different than it otherwise would. It says one of the following:

 

a) "I've never had a real job, ever."

b) "I'm not self-aware enough to know when people disagree with me."

c) "I instinctively shy away from conflict."

d) "I so desperately don't want to look bad at this interview that my brain has frozen up."

 

:)

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OK, here goes:

 

The interviewers expect that you probably have some personal values that might not be shared by your employer and that this could lead to conflict. Your choices are to blow up, ignore the conflict and swallow your values, or work out the problem like an adult.

 

Here is a hypothetical: assume your supervising physician doesn't want you EVER to spend more than 15 minutes with any patient because he will lose money on the transaction. You, having gone through school to help people, sometimes feel that it takes whatever time it takes to solve a patient's problem. Do you:

 

a. Call your SP a moneygrubbing imbicile and storm through the office, shouting and throwing things

 

b. Say "yes, sir" and buy a timer for your clinic so you can interrupt the patient in mid-syllable more effectively, or

 

c. Work out a solution that generally involves working on the patient's most serious problems and scheduling follow-ups for less critical problems, while both agreeing that sometimes important problems come up that take more time.

 

This is just a hypothetical, but it points up that the intersection of differences in personal values, medicine, and business is rife with the potential for conflicts that need to be resolved. While there ARE occasions in which you should walk out -- the "nuclear option" -- such as to avoid being involved in something unethical or illegal, the vast majority of conflicts involve working out mutually agreeable solutions.

 

Hope this helps. Good luck!

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"d" could happen with me. If the supervisor is not from your healthcare jobs, yes, I could find something. But at the interview... I might just freez up. :p

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Guest CDWalker

Febrifuge and Ugolong...thanks so much, that is actually very helpful...I always looked at that question as a very serious conflict, and the job I have now my supervisor is so easy to communicate with and work things out to an agreeable solution...they don't even seem like conflicts, but your suggestions made me realize I have tiny conflicts occasionally!! Thanks so much

 

Also..In the past I've answered "I honostly can't think of a time when I've had a conflict with a supervisor" and I never received positive feedback from it, so I think they thought I was giving the D choice also!

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A twist on this question is, "Describe a time in your professional life where you felt like you were criticized unfairly. How did you handle yourself?"

 

This was one of the hardest questions I had to answer on the spot during my PA interview, but I felt really good about my response. How would you answer?

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Guest jdunham

I was once called unorganized on my first day in my new job, I felt very insulted but I was the bigger person and asked for suggestions in developing a daily routine and everyone seemed impressed by my willingness to take suggestions and criticism. is this a good example?

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jdunham,

 

Yes it is. You listened to criticism and dealt with it factually and constructively. Very mature.

 

Good luck!

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Does anyone have any suggestions for interviewing at a school that's offering a BA program vs the MS? I've shadowed PAs and have volunteered in medical settings, but don't have as much hands on experience as is required for the Masters Programs. Any idea if the questions will be a little bit different from that side?

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I don't think a masters program requires more hands-on experience than a BS program does.

 

In general, MS level programs tend to get people not very far out of their BS degrees, in the early to mid-20s, though some of us were older. You will probably tend to see people who toyed with the pre-med route in college until they "saw the light" or whatever.

 

Every school has its own requirements for prereqs and hands-on experience. I don't believe you will see differences ininterviewing styles just due to the level of the program. All programs have to cover the same material.

 

Good luck!

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I have a interview for scheduled for next week and I am really nervous. I came across a question on the aaspa website that I am stuck on. The questions is -If you had to be a member of a healthcare team other than a PA what would you choose? Part of me whats to say I want to only be a PA but if I had to choose I would choose another mid-level health care profession, that allows me to make desicions in regards to patient care. What do you think?:confused:

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Guest RightInTwo

I notice "never lie" has been said.

 

But then you also arent supposed to say "this is a backup school" and you pretty much are supposed act like the school you are being interviewed by is your top choice.

 

hmmm

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I notice "never lie" has been said.

 

But then you also arent supposed to say "this is a backup school" and you pretty much are supposed act like the school you are being interviewed by is your top choice.

 

hmmm

 

 

 

The reason for interviewing and visiting schools is for you to decide which is the best fit for you and to see how much they impress you as well since you are interviewing them. You have a good idea hopefully before you go, but that could change once you get there. Your #1 could be all wrong for you and one you hadnt given much thought about could end up being perfect.

 

Good luck.

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Never lying is a sound personal philosophy.

 

You should also realize that there is such a thing as an inappropriate -- or prying -- question and you are under no obligation to answer these completely. Asking you whether this school is your first choice is one of them. Your personal thoughts are no one's business but your own.

 

Still, I would suggest that you answer even the prying questions truthly, diplomatically, but incompletely. For example, "You have a great program here and I am very interested in it." That is true, incidentally, even when they are your third choice.

 

As an aside, my third choice became my first choice during my interview visit, when I saw how well they treated their students and learned they would give me the opportunity to live home for my clinical year.

 

Yours ranking of prospective programs is not only your own business, it is likely going a dynamic list that will change as you learn more.

 

Good luck!

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