I signed up to be a student interviewer for the incoming class of 2011, and today was the training class for interviewers. I was most impressed by one point the instructor made. She encouraged us to ask difficult, controversial questions of the applicants, just to see that they can think on their feet, etc. But she added, "the one question you aren't allowed to ask is anything relating to abortion." I was rather mystified. But rules are rules. The other great line, she said "please reserve a ranking of 1 (the highest we can award an interviewee) for someone who walks on water, leaves you breathless, and is generally everything you could possibly desire from an applicant."
I'm excited about interviewing though. I love my school, and I look forward to having some say in what its future looks like. I'm also looking forward to asking odd questions. When I prepped for med school interviews, we were told to be prepared for such off the wall questions as "who won the 1968 World Series" or "Who do you think killed JFK?" But no one ever asked me any odd questions. The hardest one I got was "what historical figure would you most like to meet and why?" I think that interviewer will probably always remember me, because my answer, with only a second's pause, was "Genghis Khan." That was an interesting conversation.
I wasn't accepted at that school.
More to the point, I'm looking forward to the opportunity to hone my interviewing skills from the other side of the table. I've done quite a few interviews in my scholastic and professional career, and seeing all angles will probably make me better at them.
I'm reminded, in writing this, of something I read today in Dorothy Sayers' Mind of the Maker. She states "[i]t is a plain fact that ninety-nine interviews out of a hundred contain more or less subtle distortions of the answers given to questions, the questions being, moreover, in many cases, wrongly conceived for the purpose of eliciting the truth."
Here's hoping I can elicit truth effectively and fairly, without distortion.
Good thing everyone gets two interviews, eh?