Category Archives: Interviewing

How to Identify and Handle Inappropriate Interview Questions

When you’re in the interview room, the last thing you want to do is lose your focus. It’s easy to lose your focus if you’re unprepared, but you can be thrown off if you’re asked a question that’s out of bounds or inappropriate, even if you’ve spent the past year preparing for your interviews.

Questions should be about your qualifications to become a physician assistant, not about your personal information. If you find yourself facing an uncomfortable or seemingly inappropriate line of questioning, know your rights as an applicant. You do not have to answer out-of-place, unrelated, or illegal questions directly and can choose to either defer your answer or address the questions as inappropriate.

Here are some examples of questions that should not be posed during your interview. Read more »

Eight Tips to Make a Stellar First Impression at your PA School Interview

You never get a second chance at making a first impression. Just like judging a book by its cover or a restaurant by its pictures on Yelp, people often judge each other immediately upon meeting.  If we apply this to the PA school application process, this means you’ll be judged as an applicant the moment you walk into the interview room.  To help maximize your first impression, you first need to identify what aspects people focus on when forming an opinion about a person they don’t know.

The following items comprise the Eight Stages of Approach, a foolproof list of attributes we use as the criteria for evaluating another person. To ensure you make a memorable first impression on interview day, you’ll want to focus on each of these items individually before interview day.

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The Dos and Don’ts of your PA School Interview

The interview process for a PA program can be slightly different for each candidate.  As the interview unfolds, the questions being posed and topics being covered will vary wildly depending on your unique experiences and responses.  That being said, there are a few steadfast rules you should follow in the interview room.

Here are a few of the most important do’s and don’ts for your interview.  Keep these in mind when prepping before interview day and try to remember them right as you set foot in the interview room. Read more »

The Dos and Dont’s of your PA School Interview

The interview process for a PA program can be slightly different for each candidate.  As the interview unfolds, the questions being posed and topics being covered will vary wildly depending on your unique experiences and responses.  That being said, there are a few steadfast rules you should follow in the interview room.

Here are a few of the most important do’s and don’ts for your interview.  Keep these in mind when prepping before interview day and try to remember them right you step foot into the interview room. Read more »

Tips & Tricks For Answering Behavioral Questions at your PA School Interview

During your interview process, you’ll be asked behavioral questions. The goal of questions like these is to isolate examples of skills, characteristics, and experiences that directly relate to your value as a prospective PA.   Answering these types of questions well is vital because they give your interviewers clear, concrete examples of who you are as an individual.  You’ll want to make sure your answers are not only full of detail, but clear and concise.

Nothing sets you up for success better than prior preparation. Taking the time to go over the most common behavioral questions asked during an interview is a great way to practice and get comfortable with these types of questions. In addition to practicing common behavioral prompts, you’ll be able to easily answer any behavioral question thrown at you by using the following tricks.

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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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