Category Archives: Interviewing

The Top follow-up questions YOU should be asking at your PA school interview

More often than not, your interview panel will ask if you have any questions for them at the end of your interview. Out of all the questions asked during your interview, the last thing you want is to be caught off guard by the very last question!

PA interviews are designed so the program can gauge whether or not you’re a viable and valuable candidate for their program, but they’re also set up so YOU can get a good sense of a program and whether it’s a good fit for you and your goals. By asking some of the following questions as a follow-up, you’ll show that you’re genuinely interested in learning more about that specific program while showing that you’re a competent and observant individual. Here are the top questions you should be asking:

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Working Through Constructive Criticism

Whether it’s been at work, school, or in a personal setting, all of us have received constructive criticism at some point.  Constructive criticism is a type of evaluation that involves both positive and negative feedback.  While this type of feedback is typically used to help improve the recipient and to encourage personal or professional growth, it has the potential to cause a negative reaction.

It’s important for physician assistants to have the ability to receive constructive criticism graciously. You can be sure that a physician assistant will receive plenty of constructive criticism over time, especially in the early part of their career.  In some ways, it’s the nature of the profession, but it can also be the nature of practicing medicine as there’s always more to learn and there will seemingly always be someone more knowledgeable than you.

If you find yourself on the receiving end of constructive criticism, how can you work through it in an affective and tactful way?  Framing your criticism positively is arguably the easiest way because, if you think about it, most constructive criticism already includes at least one “positive” you can focus on.  For example, if you keep making the same mistake but it’s coming from a place of good intentions, reassure yourself that your intentions and motivations are the “positive” but you need to change the actions you’re taking to help improve the “negative”.   This will allow you to focus on the steps needed to correct your actions rather than turning inwards and questioning yourself.

There are two phrases that should never come out of your mouth- “I can’t” and “I know”.  Saying “I can’t” is extremely detrimental psychologically to a person who hopes to pursue a career in medicine.  The rigors of the education alone require an extremely positive attitude to achieve success.  Similarly, saying “I know” makes you seem like a know-it-all while not actually acknowledging the things that may need improvement.  If you respond to every critique with “I know”, you come across as arrogant, disinterested, and closed minded.  If you’re perceived as a closed off person, you could inadvertently lose some important opportunities for growth and personal improvement.

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How to Demonstrate Professional Integrity During Your PA School Interview

During the PA school interview process, you will be asked a handful of ethical questions.  These questions are designed to evaluate your professional and academic integrity, as well as your sense of morality.  These questions are a way to see how you would react in situations that challenge your ethical standards, and generally place you in an uncomfortable scenario.  In these scenarios, you’ll likely have to balance your emotional response, moral code, and understanding of what a PA can and cannot do when providing care.

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Make a Great First Impression With These 8 Steps

People often get first impressions of others- like judging a book by its cover, a restaurant by the pictures on its menu and even cities or whole cultures by the first person they meet from that city or culture. Although it is human nature to make judgments at first sight, there is a way for you to get ahead of that reflex.

If you break down the different phases of approaching your interview, you’ll find that there are 8 key steps to mastering your first impressions:

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Adapt, Improvise, Overcome – Three Traits PA Schools Are Looking For

“Improvise, Adapt, Overcome” is an unofficial slogan among the Marines.  Regardless of who you are or what you do, the ability to put these words into action leads to accomplishing your goals and overcoming any hardship.  These three words are also the keys to being a standup PA student.

Let’s dig into each word to see how they apply to successful PAs.

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Work Through Your Interview Anxiety In Real Time

Applying to PA school is stressful. Between researching schools, writing your personal narrative, getting your application materials together, and making sure you have enough patient contact experience, you’ll have your fair share of stressful moments- and that’s all before you even step foot into an interview room!

Managing stress outside of an interview is easier because you’re not put on the spot and actively being assessed by other people. Yes, you have a great deal of preparation to do and a lot of work ahead of you, but the stress can be managed on your own time and in private. On interview day, the stress you feel must be dealt with and suppressed in the moment and in public, so it makes dealing with stressors all the more difficult. Read more »

What Really Motivates You To Become a PA?

If you’re going to convey honesty and transparency in your PA school personal narrative, it’s crucial to understand what motivates you.  It’s unlikely that your interview panel will directly ask what motivates you, but they may ask about the reasons you chose to become a PA.  If you’re just looking for notoriety, a decent salary, or for the opportunity to “help people” your motives will undoubtedly be questioned.

To present your story most effectively in your narrative and at the interview, it’s imperative that you know yourself it the context of what motivates you.  There are six major motivating factors and most people are influenced by two or three of these.  Here’s a breakdown of each factor.

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The 5 PA School Interview Questions You Need To Know ASAP

When you wake up on interview day, you shouldn’t be wondering what the interview panel will ask you. If you don’t know what you’re going up against because you haven’t taken the time to prepare for your interview, you may find yourself at an extreme disadvantage.

Listed below are the 5 most common interview questions potential PA students are asked. You should take ample time before interview day to prepare answers to these questions- doing this can save you from poor interview performance.  Make sure you give yourself enough time to brainstorm the answers to your questions but also internalize them.  Having these questions memorized to the point where you can answer them as quickly as “when is your birthday” will help you stay relaxed on interview day.

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Dos and Don’ts on your PA School Interview Day

You’ve heard the saying “knowledge is power” time and time again, but it’s not totally accurate.  Knowledge is actually potential power, like an arrow in a drawn bow waiting to be unleashed.  Knowledge is not power until it is used, and the effectiveness of that power is relative to the skill with which you put it to use.

In the case of developing rapport between yourself and your physician assistant school interviewers, understanding how to communicate and how to develop areas of commonality is crucial.  Knowing what to do and, more importantly, what not to do, can put the power in your hands and help you easily build rapport.  All you need to do is put this knowledge into action come interview day, and you’re sure to ace your interviews.

Here are a few do’s and don’ts for your interviews:

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How Do PA Schools Judge Applicants?

Do you know what PA programs look for when judging their potential students? Knowing what each program looks for and how they’ll be assessing both your interview performance and application materials are crucial in determining your success.  Think of it this way: its much easier to get a high score on a test if you know how you’re being scored.  The same concept rings true for your acceptance into a PA program.

There are three main scoring criteria all programs use when judging their candidates; cognitive and verbal abilities, motivations, and interpersonal skills.  By keeping these three main scoring criteria in mind, you’ll have a much easier time writing your personal narratives and conducting yourself during your interviews.

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