Sunday, October 25, 2009

Interview #1

Went really well. Between the two off us we only made three mistakes. Two of which were mine.

When Drew arrived at the hotel there was a welcome note and a basket of treats. He had two interviews at the hotel, before dinner. In total I think there were seven candidates. A hotel shuttle took us to dinner at a local country club. We had dinner with program coordinator and the program director (and a resident joined us for dessert). They told us that normally more attendings are at the dinner but a few of them had conflicts and I believe some of them were out of town at a conference. Dinner was good but, my favorite part was a delicious chocolate cake for dessert.
After dinner the program coordinator put on a presentation about the program that was quite informative. He spoke about their staff, facilities and specialties. The most impressive part of the presentation was a list of the number of surguries and procedures that they do in a year. They divided them up by type of procedure and compared them to other residency programs in the midwest. It essentially showed how many procedures/surgeries their residents do during the duration of their residency at the program. It is clear that their residents get a lot of operating experience over the training simply due to the volume of cases they receive.
Although I only got to meet two of the attendings, I can see why Drew feels so comfortable at the program. Both the program director and coordinator were extremely friendly and approachable. I was very surprised not to find them intimidating. After the dinner and the presentation the attendings left and a resident joined us. He spoke to us about his experiences with the program and answered any questions.

The hotel shuttle brought everyone back to the hotel. (Below is a less than flattering picture of Drew and I at the end of the night)

Then on Friday morning they had interviews with more of the staff, as well as grand rounds, a tour and lunch. Unfortunately I had to head back home to work, early Friday morning, but Drew said the day went pretty well. He even stayed after his interview to help with a surgery/procedure. Below is a picture of Drew Friday morning before his interview (apparently I was too tired to notice that his eyes were barely open in the picture!)

And for those of you wondering about our mistakes....

The first was that I failed to rise and stand when shaking other people's hands. But in my defense, I was sitting close to the door so right as people came in they would stick out their hands and I couldn't stand up fast enough to shake their hands. So for the most part I was in between standing and sitting when I shook their hand. Clearly awkward.
And I realized my second blunder as the program director ripped his roll. Suddenly Kathi's post about manners and etiquette flashed through my head and I remembered "don't cut your bread.... tear it." But at that point it was far too late as I had already cut my roll in half and buttered it. I honestly don't think these errors were deal breakers but they were definitely blunders.

Now Drew's mistake I think came from being too relaxed. The first interview was at the location he is doing his third and final away rotation at. Which if I haven't said already I think is nice because he had been working with the program for several weeks now and already feels comfortable with the staff. And this is true. He definitely felt comfortable. So comfortable that when we were talking with just one of the residents (the attendings had already left), Drew was picking his fingers. I'm not sure anyone else noticed, but as his wife, it was driving me nuts! I was so embarrassed. But I do think it was because he was so relaxed. And because it was only the other candidates and one resident I don't think it is going to effect his chances with this program. And although I really, really wanted to elbow him, I refrained from doing so because I figured the only thing that would worse than him picking his fingers would be having his wife elbow him!
I did tell Drew after dinner and the poor guy was really embarrassed, but I figure I'm glad I was there to see it to make sure he doesn't do it again in any other interviews. Especially interviews in which he is meeting people for the first time!
So like I said I don't think our mistakes will be deal breakers, but they are worth noting so that we don't make them again, and to share with others so that you can avoid making them as well!

Finally, a piece of advice for those of you who are spouses: do not assume you cannot attend part of the interview process just because spouses/significant others aren't invited. At this first interview spouses were not explicitly invited. But since Drew felt comfortable with the staff he asked if I could come because I was in town. They welcomed the idea and were happy to meet me. We also have another interview next month that I am able to join him on and Drew emailed the program coordinator to let them know that I would be in town with him and that I would like to meet the staff and asked if I could attend the dinner. Again they said that would be fine. Personally I think it shows interest if you ask if a spouse can attend, and I figure the worst that can happen is that they say "no." And if a program is going to hold it against us that I am active in the interview process then that is not a program I want to be at. A lot of it will depend on your comfort level, but I would definitely encourage you to at least inquire about attending the dinner or reception.

Cost of Interview #1
Transportation = 1 tank of gas for me (approx $35.00)
Hotel = free
Other expenses = none
TOTAL = $35.00*
*This will probably be our (by far) cheapest interview!


Ams said...

Sounds like things went well!
I don't think your guys' mistakes were anything too serious, and I TOTALLY didn't know about tearing the bread. How do you know these things?! lol
That scares me!!
I think the interview sounds like it went really well :)

LittleMissDreamer said...

Omg, if they look at things like tearing bread, my fiance will never get accepted anywhere haha. He knows nothing about proper etiquette!

It's really interesting to hear about your experiences! I probablly won't write about too many of mine because I don't want to run into the chance of someone from my work reading my blog. They don't know that my fiance' is looking elsewhere other than where we're at. Of course, the process requires you to interview at multiple places, no matter where you're interested. But they don't see it that way. How are you dealing with your workplace?

I'm glad to see that your husband wore a gray suit. For some reason, I heard that black is a no-no- being that it makes you look like you are interviewing for medical school. I made my fiance get a brownish stripped one after his first interview.

I'm glad that your husband takes your advice. If I give too much, mine thinks I'm nagging. lol. Good luck with the process and keep us updated on your future experiences. I love hearing about them!

MW said...

Tearing bread is one of my big things that I'm a stickler about. Because of this, I can tell you that hardly anyone follows it! I'll even be out with sorority sisters whom I KNOW have been taught better slicing their bread. Drives me batty, but I'm pretty sure no one else cares. :)

Congrats on your first one down! Kudos to the program for the room-drop.

MW said...

oh - and LMD re solid black suits: they're for undertakers and servants. So, don't go out and buy one. :)

That said, I doubt anyone really cares. A well-fitted suit in a neutral color can never be that obvious of a faux pas.

DH has a dark grey pinstripe suit and a navy suit. He also has a black pinstripe, but I'm hoping that one will leave his rotation as it doesn't fit as well.

MW said...

*correction: solid black suits are for servants and the dead, not servants and undertakers.

(Sorry for the multiple comments, Marissa!)