T Nation

How to Approach an Interview?


So I recently passed my entrance exam into paramedic school in the chicago area, and now I am going for an oral interview the end of August. This particular program had 80 applicants, and anyone who scored an 80% or higher on the entrance exam gets invited back for an interview. They will only take a max of 30, and word is average is 22-25 students.

They say they prefer EMT-B's with experience and I have 6 months experience in the street, granted it is with a private, but it is still experience, and from my testing date alone at least 10-12 people had 0 experience.

Now how should I approach the interview? I really do not know what to expect. I do know that one of the main areas on paramedic school is anatomy, of which I only took in high school and didn't really learn much.

I have recently purchased an anatomy book and intend to teach myself some before class just to be a little more prepared, the first month or so of the class is all anatomy so it will be taught there. I just dont want to come off wrong if they ask how Im preparing and i go on to say ive bought books etc. Does that seem ok??

I really dont know what else to ask, just if anyone has ever been to an interview for this or something like this, where it will all come down to the teachers preference of people, she can take as many as she wants up to 30 or as few as she wants. I want to make a good first impression, but not come off as needy.

Thanks All,


Talk to someone in that line of work. Interviews for med/dental school aren't pop quizzes. They are more to get to know you on a personal level. Without knowing what kind of interview this is and whether they will be "testing" you any advice is generic.


Thanks for the input prof. To my understanding there is no "testing" it is as you said to get to know you. Ive already taken the test and passed and this is the next step. Ive been talking to a lot of guys at my work who are medics and theyve been helpful just thought Id throw it up to the tnation crowd and see if there was anymore input.

I guess basically just be myself and be honest and hope she likes me. One of my old partners who has now moved up to working as a medic finished the class as the valedictorian and said he would put in a good work for me if the opportunity arises without forcing it.

Well she said the class will be decided by Oct. 1st I will update as I know if anyone cares.


My roommate recently had a similar interview out here. Don't do what he did. Wear clothes and make sure you don't reek of hooker spit and cheap booze.


I dont know what I would do without you. Id be F'ed. so clothes and high end hookers and booze?


Topsy turvy that motherfucker.


OK here is some generic interview advice that will work in any industry - guaranteed.

It's all about giving a great impression and getting off on the right foot. Dress well and appropriately for the interview situation. If in doubt being a little more formal than required is better than going the other way. Walk in, stand up tall. Smile and and look the interviewer in the eye.

Extend your right hand for a firm (not a strong) handshake. Put your left hand on their right elbow, remember, keep looking in the eye and SMILE! Now the important part: pull them in close to you and smash your forehead into the bridge of their nose as hard as possible.

You want to show them that you aren't no push over and won't take any shit. If you have done this right there will be blood everywhere. Good. Now sit down in your chair, take out a book and say 'when you're ready' then start reading.

Job is yours.


No, no, no. You can't smell like hookers and booze at all. But if you have any needle marks, don't make any outlandish attempts to hide them. Just tell them that you were practicing hooking people up to IVs.


Fighting, I'm sure if you give this thread into the beginning of the week some people with experience in this field will reply. I know I've seen some responding on other threads. DB I'm going to admit when you give a serious response to a thread question it always throws me off balance. You know....the two times you have done so :wink:


Give me some credit here Deb, I've made at LEAST three serious responses since March of 2009. And when I do, you gotta admit I make it pretty damn well, if I do say so myself.


Acknowledged on both counts DB


Wear a suit, go out and buy one if you have to.

Eye contact, smile, firm handshake, BE YOURSELF.

Do not try to memorize sentences or certain topics or any of that. They want to get to know you and want to know why you want to be a paramedic. UNDERSTAND WHY YOU WANT TO BE A PARAMEDIC.

Do not sit down in the chair before they ask you to sit down, or while they are still standing and did not gesture for you to sit down.

BE YOURSELF, the interview is not that big of a deal so there is no need to be nervous.


Leon is the best! Here he is pretending to be Larry's Jewish friend "Danny Duberstein" suffering from Groot's disease...

To the OP, I'm not exactly clear on the particulars of the interview you're facing, but a lot of companies are asking behavioural-style questions now. They tend to give a better indication of competence, they test how you think on your feet and more importantly it's very hard to bullshit them with a canned answer, if the interviewer is good.

An example of an old-style, obsolete question: "What is your greatest strength?". It's so easy to rehearse a canned answer to this..."my greatest strength is that I'm an luminescent beacon of synergy in the dark, cold night of mediocrity and negative thinking".

Behavioural Style: TELL ME ABOUT A TIME WHEN ___________. (ie: you had to go above and beyond the call of duty to complete a task). Always answer these questions in STAR format (Situation, Task, Action, Result)

"Well, this fat woman became stuck in her bathtub after eating a 'Vermonster' sundae from Ben and Jerry's (SITUATION). My fellow firemen gave the job of dislodging her to me (TASK). I doused her in WD40 to make her more slippery (ACTION), and as a result she flew out of her porcelain sarcophagus like a wild boar being shot out of a cannon (RESULT)."

Here, they're testing to see if you can construct a logical answer and think on your feet. Your actual answer isn't as important as HOW you answer. They can also see if you're bullshitting here too by asking probing questions, sometimes called "peeling the onion". "How many other firemen were there?", "was it one of those old style bathtubs?", "how did you feel when you were entrusted with this task?" etc.

Finally, if someone asks you the inevitable question "What is your greatest weakness?", don't give them a strength made to look like a weakness. A lot of interviewing books advise you to do this and I completely disagree with it. So many people answer this with "I'm a workaholic" or "I'm so committed to my job that I take on additional tasks". Give them a genuine weakness (not too bad...if you like to kill hookers keep this on the down-low), but more importantly talk about the steps you've taken to improve it. "I've felt my organizational skills are good, but not great, so I've taken classes on time management, starting writing down daily and weekly goals, etc etc etc".

Just my advice. I used to interview applicants at a pharmaceutical company so I know a decent amount about the process



and don't wear an over-the-shoulder-single-strap carryall from some boutique on the French Riviera


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When they really start grilling you:


First you gotta come in wearing a motherfuckin' six piece suit, you gotta walk up in that bitch with all the swagger of all the fuckin' pimps and all the cock suckin' hookers in the world rolled into one ball. You gotta have your hat cocked to the side like one cocky bastard Frank Sinatra, and bright orange pocket square coming out of your black or white suit (probably white it'd go better with that damn orange). When you walkin into that fucking office you gotta be smoking a cigar or a cigarrette (matters how manly you are, if you're a little bit of a limp wristed bitch go with the cigarette). Now, don't say a mother fuckin' word until you sit down in your chair, and you should have sun glasses on (yes, bitch I know it's inside shut the fuck up if you want this fuckin' retarded job, I'm trying to help you our moron) so they can't see your eyes, look up at them and grin like you're a Chester-The motherfucking-Cat. Take a swig of whiskey from your flask, and then take off your glasses and ask them, "Why the fuck should I take this job?"

If you don't get the job, obviously they are all gay, and you don't want to be around a bunch of homo's with needles, might get AIDS or so me shit.


thanks for all the replies both the helpful and non helpful ones lol. I really like the START method, im definitely gonna steel that one. BBB thanks a lot i will definitely think through some of those questions. Anyone else im forgetting that gave helpful advice its really appreciated. Sorry im posting from an iphone while at work.

As for the suit thing i was contemplating a suit but dont want to be over formal. I was thinking maybe slacks and a sport coat instead? or is the vote leaning towards suit? I have both so no worries there.


Wear the suit. Better overdressed than under. Wearing a suit to an interview never looks ridiculous unless the position involves shoveling tiger shit at the zoo...