Category Archives: Interviewing

Receiving and Growing From 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. Read more »

How to Spot 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.

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

Do you know what the top PA programs are looking for?

You’ve completed your personal narrative, submitted your application, and may have even completed your interview. You know that, based on your experiences, grades, and demeanor that you’d be a great pick for any PA program. You may think you’ve got this in the bag – but do you really know what PA programs look for when judging their potential students?  Read more »

How to Deal With Perfectionism

When faced with the question “what is your greatest weakness”, many people defer to describing themselves as perfectionists, thinking it will give them an easy pass on the question.  They admit their need to always do exceedingly well and their refusal to accept any standard short of perfection as a weakness, but then always subsequently try to spin it as strength.  Truthfully, the perfectionist response is fairly stale and doesn’t actually say anything about you besides “I picked a boiler-plate response to this question.” Read more »

The Easiest Way to Gain 200 Hours of Patient Contact Experience

If you’re racking your brain to come up with direct patient contact experience, stop for a second and consider all of the direct experience you get just through the Excell Pre PA Assistant Clerkship program!

Not only do you get over 200 hours of real-life patient experience over the course of your clerkship, you’ll come out the other side being able to speak directly to your role as a patient advocate and liaison.  By the time you’re done, you’ll have developed skills in bedside manner, gotten direct patient interaction, detected and resolved patient quality of life issues, worked as a liaison between patients and staff, experienced being part of a healthcare team, and more! Read more »

Demonstrating Personal 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. Read more »

What’s your true motivation to become a PA?

If you’re going to convey honesty and transparency in your 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. Read more »

Ace your PA School Interview By Building Your Memory Database

There’s nothing better than having the answer to a question ready at a moment’s notice, and that goes double for interview questions.  Knowing that you have the perfect response to fall back on allows you to focus on other things such as appearance and body language.  But how to you build this collection of “perfect answers” to the point where you can easily refer to it?
Read more »

Reduce Interview Stress Using The STAR Technique

Do you suffer from stress or anxiety? Nobody is immune to the pre-interview jitters, and other than getting a good night’s sleep and drinking some relaxing tea, there’s nothing that will settle your nerves better than being prepared ahead of time!

Preparation is the key to conquering stress, but stressful situations can happen at any time and affect even the most prepared person.  If you’re easily susceptible to stress or have a hard time getting control of your nerves, the STAR technique can help.  When used properly, this simple technique can target the root of your stress and obliterate it. Read more »

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