Paramedic School Interview Questions

Kookaburra

Forum Lieutenant
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Sooo, I'm just finishing up my EMT-B classes, and I'm going to be applying to the fall 2009 Paramedic program at my school. They allow people in based on a "point" system, and since I don't have any experience working with a volunteer department I'm missing a big chunk of points that most of my classmates have. I only have one "B" in my pre-req's (and that was a 94%, the grading scale was bumped up), the rest are "A"s, though.

I'm going to have to make up most of the points on my interviews. Can anyone give me some idea of what sort of questions will probably be asked?

I know there will be the inevitable "Why do you want to be a Paramedic?", and I'm honestly wondering if my reason will seem to pat, or insincere. I want to work in EMS because I love working with the elderly, but couldn't work in a LTC facility, and I enjoy variety. I want to be a Paramedic, because I want to be as highly trained as possible while still working on an ambulance. Also, I want to be the person who knows what to do in a crisis.
 

el Murpharino

Forum Captain
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One thing about interviews is that you give off more information via non-verbal cues as opposed to your actual response. If the reasons you give are sincere, the interviewers should pick up on it.
 

Veneficus

Forum Chief
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The 2 questons I always ask people interviewing are:

"What was your greatest accomplishment?" Not because I really want to hear about some outstanding story or award, but because I want to see what the person values.

If your greatest accomplishment is being the first in your family to come to college, you are raising a family, didn't give in to the urge to cheat when everyone else did, or achieved a long ternm or career goal it says a lot about your values.

"What was your greatest failure?"

This question is even more important. Everyone fails at some point. Did you pck yourself up and keep going? Did you just give up and quit? What did you learn from it? How did (do you) overcome it? A person who tells me they never failed, or has only minor setbacks, is an unknown quantity. Because of the demands of paramedic school, I am a little hesitant about people who have never failed. Law of averages is against them and this may be one of the biggest challenges they face.

Spin:

Without lying, it is important to address shortcomings. If you couldn't volunteer because you had to work to feed yourself, take care of somebody etc, say that. You might not have felt secure enough to see patients with just Basic class. (ie: wanted more education first)

I also have found in my teaching time that people without experience are easier to deal with. Especially more so than the ones who pick up "street medicine" or other bad habits and preconceptions of what being a paramedic is.

To me a student right out of basic has considerably more credibility in admiting he/she doesn't know very much than an experienced basic who thinks they know it all.

I also hate "canned" answers very much. like "I want to help people" or "my greatest weakeness is working too hard." As it was said, due to body language, most interviewers I have met will spot a fraud very easily.

I also don't like 1 or 2 word answers. The purpose of an opened ended question is to try to see logic or thought process.

If education is your strength go with it.
If life skills are your strength go with it.
If experience is your strength go with it.

If you have no strength, you are a blank canvas looking to be painted on. (aka open to learning) go with it.
 
OP
Kookaburra

Kookaburra

Forum Lieutenant
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Wow, thanks for the great input, Veneficus. Some of things made me think about things in my life that I didn't think of as an accomplishment before, but I could spin it that way.

Well, I'm volunteering now (the fire dept in my area is ALL volunteer), but I couldn't start early enough to get the credit. (has to be 1 year at least, I decided to become an EMT about 1 year ago today, and actually had no idea that FD and EMS were related) And besides, the department doesn't transport patients at all, and only allows EMT's to do up to I level skills, even if they're Paramedics. Most people in the dept. are first responders or less. The emphasis is very much on fire and rescue (40% of our calls are fire).

One of my greatest weaknesses is procrastination and I can be pretty scattered. But because I know that about myself, I've worked out methods to keep myself on task and organized, and I know I just have to stay on top of myself all the time.

I think my biggest disappointment is that I didn't get a scientific degree in college, but instead went for a softer option. (I'm an art major- I love art, but I realized after I was out I didn't want to make a career out of it.) I took science courses for fun in college, but you need the degree to do anything with them! Doing this was kind of my way to get into a field that's (supposed to be) on the cutting edge of medical science. I mean, that's why I started, but then I fell in love with geriatrics during my clinicals/coursework.

Hmmm, I will have to think about my greatest accomplishment. Maybe actually joining the volunteer FD? I grew up PETRIFIED of fire, and I joined (in part) to face that fear.

Thanks for listening to me talk about myself, heh. It's just that I feel a little disconnected from my fellow students because pretty much everyone else in my class is either with a department, or have been working on this their whole lives, so their answers to these things were soooo different from mine, that I often feel unsure if there's something "wrong" with me or my perspective to go into this field.
 

medic417

The Truth Provider
5,104
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Many now ask for your facebook, myspace, email names, etc. Then they will check out your information. Make sure you clean up any dirt you don't want them to see.
 
OP
Kookaburra

Kookaburra

Forum Lieutenant
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Ha ha, good thing I can't stand those sites, then. And have several email aliases for things that I don't want connected my real name.
 

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