It’s always a success to join medical school. And after three years of managing to complete the two major board examinations, you have to apply for your residency placement. It is the next vital achievement that you need to earn in your career journey. As the last phase involved in practicing to become a physician, a chance to get a residency is vital. Getting into the program means you have to undergo an interview. Therefore, you will need to prepare well enough to ace every residency interview opportunity you get confidently. So, let’s dive into some of the preparations that can help you out in the interview.
Preparation Tips of Residency Interview
- Prompt Response to Your Received Interview Invitations. It’s vital to keep refreshing your email inbox during an interview season. There are high possibilities of receiving different interview dates from multiple programs, and some might even conflict. Keep tabs on the various schedules.
- Revamp Your Personal Statement. Before proceeding with an interview, the residency program will first need to review your personal statement. Therefore, you need to make a strong essay that will point out to the program directors the need to choose you ultimately. OCSGD, Dr. John Madden from St. George University confirms the importance of having a great personal statement. He encourages that crafting the essay should also involve a great edit to it so that there are no mistakes found that might disqualify you.
- Do Extensive Research on the Program. Residency interviews require in-depth research on the particular program. You need to understand the general structure of the hospital, rotations are done, and have a clear scope of the whole program. You can get information via their website; check the related department and any other information on the notable biographies of various faculties and the Managing Director. It will help you build a rapport and connection during the interview.
- Make Preparations on Your Skills. You need to prepare for the skills practically you will use during the interview. Probably begin with making voice responses. Dr. John Madden states that students can take a video of themselves to gauge their conversation flow; hence it will help identify the areas of weakness which require improvements. Another option to test your skills is by engaging in mock interviews.
- Understand the Interview Format. You need to develop a structure using the schedule you receive about the given interview details. You will get to know the area where the interview will take place, the number of interviewers, and the interviewees present. Plus, it will assist you to feel less intimidated, among other many things. Remember to practice maintaining your focus and contact with the interviewer.
- Network with Other People Before the Interview. Dr. Vincent Ho, an ophthalmologist, encourages students who are anticipating going for an interview to develop their network first with others who have previously been interviewed by their chosen program or those going for the same interview. One should avoid holding back from asking about the necessary interview tips and the expected scenarios while there.
- Avoid Using Wrapped up Answers. It’s vital to understand the various expected questions that might be poised on you, hence crafting each response to be authentic. If your answering question like you mastered a script, the interviewers would easily notice. All interviews involve some similar questions, and it’s necessary to refer and prepare them with a precise related answer. After the interview, you might get a chance to ask the interviewers questions; hence you need to prepare for that. Sometimes, if you don’t do so, they might take it that you don’t have any interest in the program.
- Check on Your Dress Code. There are specific traditional attires for a residency interview. The male applicants are required to put on a grey, navy blue or black suit plus tie. For the women, they can wear a dark jacket, dress, or suit. Avoid over-styling yourself with trendy fashion wear and bright colors. Rather, opt for fashion attires that are professional and conservative.
What Can You Expect From a Residency Interview?
There is a similarity in the candidate’s goals and those of the residency program. The interviewers aim to measure how like-minded you are to their work residency visions. They desire to know you in-depth as they also evaluate your shortcomings and strengths. As a candidate in a residency interview, expect an informal time that will allow you to interact with staff, residents, and faculty of the place. It’s a given chance of getting asked individual questions while you answer. Additionally, there might be activities of team-building or dinner which are set up. The meet-up of each person in the area might be scheduled for 30 minutes per person.
What are You Supposed to do During and After the Residency Interview?
Strategically reflect and take notes during and right after you are done with the interview. The activity will help you when making decisions because the characteristics of each person you will meet are different; hence you can successfully rank your order list without any difficulty. When you are undertaking the interview, be open-minded, poise to the interviewers’ many questions, and ensure maximum interaction with everyone. Your evaluation may begin from the time you arrive to when you depart.
After you finish your residency interview, you need to opt to decide if there are other questions you need to ask or offer a note of thanks. The National Resident Matching Program has its own outlined rule which program should follow to the latter. So, you may get a further request of what to and not do after you are done with your interview. If you’re not sure of anything, inquire from an available program representative of the protocols instead of assuming.
Intimidation might be a feeling you experience during the period of the residency interview. However, from the earlier mentioned preparation techniques, you will be okay. Take as much time as possible to practice and conduct enough research on the various interview questions. Additionally, keep in mind that interviews are a chance for you to conduct evaluations on various programs. Your decision should also be based on feedback from the current residents and their curriculum.
Frequently Asked Questions
- When is the Season of Residency Interviews?
After submitting ERAS, you might get early invitations from some of the few programs. However, most invitations for residency interviews occur in October.
- Why is it necessary for you to Join our Program?
It would be best if you were precise and real in answering this question. Be honest about what you can achieve and what you can offer to the program so that you can be viewed as an asset. Also, answer the question using practical examples that you have achieved. An example of answering this question is as follow;
“I’m attracted to your residency program because I feel that its curriculum is strongly unconventional. During my time in medical school, I was a volunteer who dealt with undervalued patients. At the time, the outpatient work had me become exposed to various people and ailments. But my work was more important, as I found satisfaction in providing medical care to the local communities. Additionally, this opportunity gave me the needed experience to be diverse with working with both inpatients and outpatients.”
- What Drove you to Choose Such a Specialty?
The following question is among the most important which the interviewer is keen about. They want to evaluate if this is something you wanted to pursue in your life. Therefore, your answer might make you appear inauthentic to the interviewers or baffle them. Remember to uphold your consistency with the information that you provided when submitting the personal statement. Here is an example of an answer that relates to the above question;
“Previously, my dream was to become a pediatrician before I got into medical school because of the in-depth passion that I had for kids. However, radiology made me realize that I can help people more by diagnosing them through the radiologist’s eye. The whole rotation process is enjoyable for me, and talking to a radiologist helped me figure out my true calling. Despite my love for children, I prefer solving problems in a technical area. The situation has helped me realize that I might extend my exploration to pediatric radiology in the future.”
- Which Strengths and Qualities Categorize you as a Good Physician?
Here, it would help if you addressed the interviewer about what makes you a special candidate who fits the program. You might be an outstanding candidate, but they prefer to know more about you through your strengths and unique qualities. Therefore, be the banged-up candidate that they need from the rest of the crowd.
Display your qualities towards the program and how much change you can offer using your strengths. It’s the best time to showcase how much closer you are to getting the job. Make a point to prove your general strength or one in action or give an overview of a period in which you displayed your strength.