I recently interviewed for a position at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey's (UMDNJ's) CRNA program. This is my account of that experience.
We arrived, still asleep, at 7am. In the cold classroom overlooking the Newark/Manhattan skyline, we were given nothing to eat, although we were given water and/or coffee. The director of the program gave us a brief presentation of the program which was enjoyable and injected with some good humor, leaving me with a good impression of both her and the program.
The ten or so of us (the applicants) then waiting in the room and were given the opportunity to speak with some current students as well as former graduates of UMDNJ's CRNA program. The students spoke highly of the program and seemed to feel they were gaining a good experience in a supportive environment.
As we waited, applicants were called one at a time into another room to meet with the admissions committee. Hours passed and everyone was hungry. It was also cold. I spent the time getting to know everyone, both applicants and students, and I truly liked them. There were some bright, interesting people, and although some of us were in competition, I couldn't help but pull for them. We were not given the opportunity to interact with the faculty at all.
Later, some unprofessional behavior was exhibited by the assistant director of the program which seemed to cause embarrassment for the students. One of them actually apologized on his behalf after he left the room. The student who apologized looked uncomfortable.
When I was called in to interview, I was sitting at one end of a table, opposite about 8 or 9 people. They did not introduce themselves, but I recognized the director, assistant director, and a current student. (I don't know who the rest of the people were. I assume some of them were clinical coordinators and possibly former graduates.)
They were sifting through a pile of papers, apparently they had lost my dossier and credentials. They asked the standard "Why do you want to be a CRNA", and then immediately began asking me clinical related questions, all of which I felt were valid and practical. They were, however, extremely rushed. For example, we did not discuss my unit, my practice, my patients, what my personal interests were, my background, how to handle conflict, how to collaborate with others, how to disagree tactfully, how to comfort a worried patient, how to talk to a family when disconnecting life support, or any other number of questions which are equally important and relevant to practice. I got the feeling they really didn't know anything about me.
I was then told I had "30 seconds" to explain why they should choose me over the other applicants. They cut me off mid sentence by saying "Well, that's more than 30 seconds." They concluded with "Any questions?" I think the entire interview lasted about 10 minutes.
I happily pulled on my jacket and stepped out into the freezing cold. Fortunately, there is a Wendy's down the street from the facility. I can't remember the last time a burger tasted so good.