In this Tweet, Melissa Few (@MelissaFew) - an aspiring family physician - showed more than just pluck; she also demonstrated humor, humility, and a good bit of creativity to boot. This kind of well-designed, personalized, virtual "hand-raise" is an idea that a lot of other med students could benefit from, and it's definitely earned her a follow from us. Best of luck Melissa!
BBMD tip of the week
All these conversations with MS4s recently has reminded us of a core truth about the world in general and interviews + negotiations specifically that's easy to forget.
It's lonely at the top
Most of the MS4s we've talked to speak about program directors as if they're some all-powerful, gatekeeping Gods whose wrath makes them all but unapproachable.
And while those who seem to have the "power" in an exchange - whether because of a leadership position or an informational advantage or scarcity or social/political capital or any number of other reasons - are certainly in a privileged position and are often gatekeepers, they're also human. Which means:
- They have fears and goals, just like you
- They likely have someone in a position of power above them, just like you
- They have informational gaps and uncertainty, just like you
- They want to be empathized with and have positive interaction, just like you
They're powerful yes, but more times than not they actually want you to approach them - if you have something of value to offer.
In terms of their goals, people decisions are the most important decisions the majority of institutional leaders make. Hiring a great person can literally be everything to a program, and hiring the wrong person can be a catastrophe. Yet women will only apply for a job if they meet 100% of the requirements, while men will do so if they only meet 60%. Kanye West is running for president for God's sake. If you're a good fit for a role, you're doing them a favor by letting them know.
In terms of their fears, public-facing risks like a lawsuit or bad press are what keep institutional leaders up at night. So empathize with that, express how you can help minimize that risk for them, and all of a sudden you'll be a name rather than a number.
It's all about humanizing - humanize your counterpart and the organization they serve, and they in turn will humanize you (you can also humanize yourself in many ways, one of which is employing humor like in the Tweet we highlighted this week).
Do that, and in the minds of these leaders you'll go from:
"Potentially sufficient candidate 642"
"<INSERT YOUR NAME HERE> WHO WE JUST HAVE TO HAVE I DONT CARE ABOUT THE BUDGET JUST GIVE HER WHATEVER SHE ASKS FOR AND MAKE IT HAPPEN!"
We teach more specifics about this in the "Finishing School" portion of our curriculum: