Researchers at the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine completed a study about personality types and the multiple mini interview (MMI). Extroverts perform well in the MMI and extroversion and agreeableness are more likely to result in acceptance offers. While it is great to have data, this finding is no surprise; Dr. Freedman’s New York Times Letter to the Editor echoed similar sentiments.
MMI interviewers are not seeking “the right answer.”
I find that medical school interviewees are often focused on giving “the right answer” and this is not really what the MMI interviewer is seeking. MMI interviewers are more concerned with understanding your thought process, gaining insight with regards to how you navigate a problem and work with others, and to get a sense of your values and ideals. This is why extroverts, who are good at talking, discussing, and listening, and enjoy being around new groups of people, tend to perform better than introverts who tend to be more reflective and comfortable with small groups of people whom they know well. For many extroverts, the multiple mini interview format is ideal. For introverts, however, it can be incredibly anxiety provoking and may hurt their chances of acceptance.
Different Interview Styles
Perhaps MMI interviewers should take in to account the fact that introverts might have different interview styles and approaches and should be evaluated accordingly. Based on the Myers-Briggs definition, introverts prefer to be alone and only like to “act” once they have had time to reflect – they often don’t “move quickly enough.” Not great for an MMI interview. Is it time to evaluate applicants differently depending on whether they are introverts or extroverts?
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