Practice session Q and A

It is my hope that many of your questions about the MMI, MPI or panel/traditional interview practice sessions I offer will be answered in this Q and A. If you have other questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Who knows, maybe your question(s) should be here too. Unless otherwise specified, responses to the questions below relate to MMI, MPI and panel/traditional  interviews.

Describe your typical MMI, MPI or panel traditional interview practice session?

A practice session is approximately one-hour in length. I start off a session with a short check-in, ask you how your week went, discuss anything left over from the previous session, and review any assigned homework. This is followed by commencing to work on the questions. I use different sets of questions in my  practice sessions, including standard interview questions, ethical decision making questions, collaboration activities, discipline-related questions (medical, pharmacy, dentistry, etc.), critical thinking questions, problem solving questions, quotations, pictures, debate questions and role play scenarios. For the MMI practice session, you will be given two minutes (timed) to formulate an answer to the question or role play scenario and then, depending on the school you are interviewing at, six, seven or eight minutes (timed) to respond. We usually complete three or four questions per one-hour practice session. For the MPI practice session, we will complete about 4 clusters of questions, each times at 12 minutes each. Directions on each process used is given to students prior to staring a coaching relationship. For those doing a mix of MMI and panel interviews, we are flexible to switch from one interview process to another.

Will you provide feedback on my response to the questions?

Most definitely, and it’s completed after each response to provide instant feedback and reflection. I believe providing feedback after each response is important so that it is fresh in your mind and you can see how it ties in with your answer. Students appreciate this timely feedback. My evaluation of your response will consist of the good things you said, helpful tips on how to possibly shift an answer, how to develop consistency in your answer, how to formulate a strong opening and conclusion and, helpful hints on communication skills including body language.

Why should I pay for a service like yours when I can have my friends help me?

This is a good question that can be summed up in one word, experience. I have almost 30 years combined experience in counselling, interviewing, teaching and coaching individuals. In addition to an undergrad and graduate degree (M.Ed.), I am also a Certified Coach Practitioner (CCP).  As an interviewer I have experience interviewing individuals in a variety of disciplines including employment; the voluntary sector; research, (both individual and facilitating focus groups) and MMI/MPI practice sessions. My coaching experience includes confidential coaching to individuals for employment issues, leadership, public speaking, communication skills, self confidence, time management and stress management.

Do you have any references?

I most certainly do and will be happy to provide those to you upon request. Due to the confidential nature of my work, I will only provide references where a person has given me permission to share their letter of reference. On my website here, you can see some testimonials from last year and when I respond to student inquiries about my service, I always include a list of my most up-to-date testimonials. Maybe one day, you will write me a testimonial.

How do I get started?

Once you decide you want to engage my services the first thing I will offer you is a free 30-minute, no obligation session. This will allow us to discuss the coaching process. I will have you complete an application and we will sign-off on the contract (an electronic sample will be sent to you prior to our meeting). I will answer any questions you may have and we will schedule our first three sessions.

How soon after I contact you can I start my practice sessions?

This will largely depend on both our schedules and arranging a time for your free 30-minute, no obligation session. We will arrange this within days of you deciding to engage my services. I like to encourage students to commence working on their practice sessions sooner than later; the time you invest in this process should be viewed as an investment in your future plans. It is strongly advised to start practice sessions before you even receive an invitation for an interview…feedback from many students only completing three sessions state they wish they would have had more sessions.

How many practice sessions will I need?

This will also depend on you. There is no set “number” of practice sessions, although my minimum is three sessions (either three one hour sessions or one three-hour session). I have worked with students for the minimum of three sessions and with others on a weekly basis for as long as 6-months prior to their interview. During the practice sessions I not only work with you on your response to the questions, but also on such things as body language, nervousness, verbal crutches, how to start off right and conclude a response, etc.. The number of practice sessions will depend largely on you and when you feel you’re ready for your interview. As a coach practitioner I will be in tune with what’s going on with your practice sessions. If I observe something needing to be address (e.g., nervousness) I will discuss this with you and we will work on some appropriate solutions for a better outcome. Additionally, after the three initial sessions, you can choose to quit the sessions at any time, with a short notice.

How frequent should I meet you?

The usual frequency is a weekly session, although some prefer to meet twice a week as the interview date draws closer (these should be booked in advance). As well, if your schedule does not allow a practice session once a week, we can talk about a frequency that is most convenient for you. Most practice sessions are held in the evenings, from Sunday evening to Thursday evening.

 I’m very nervous when it comes to interviews and I’m worried this will affect my demeanour during my interview. Can you help me with this?

It is very common to be nervous in unfamiliar surroundings and situations, including interviews. I was once interviewed by a panel of eight people. To say I was nervous during that interview is an understatement. There are a number of techniques I employ to help you overcome your nervousness and we will practice some of those during your interview practice sessions.

I lack confidence in an unfamiliar situation and feel this will be a liability when participating in my interview. How can you help?

Building confidence does not happen overnight; in fact for some people it takes a long time to build a comfort level in certain situations. Keep in mind that building confidence in oneself is a gradual process. Throughout the interview practice sessions I will help you overcome your lack of confidence about yourself. The more you become familiar with the process and the questions asked, the more confidence you will build in yourself. I will also help you overcome nervousness you have when in unfamiliar situations. Some of my testimonial letters refer to this help.

I stumble with my answers to questions in an interview setting and I wonder, during my time with you, if you could help me with that?

Research shows that in an interview when we are unfamiliar with how to answer a question we stumble and falter in our attempt to respond. On the other hand, if we are familiar with the question we are more apt to do a good job with our response. During your interview practice sessions with me, there will be questions that are more difficult to answer than others. I will be patient with you as you work through this. For some of the questions, it might be in your best interest to practice answering it a second time, perhaps a week or two later.

I have a friend who will also be doing an interview. Can she sign up your services?

Yes, by all means. In fact, if you are one of my clients and you refer a friend or family member (sibling, cousin, etc) who also signs a contract for my service and completes the first three practice sessions, you will receive a 10% discount off each subsequent payment. The more friends you sign up, the greater your discount.  You will keep receiving that 10% discount for each friend/family member for as long as your they continue to see me.