A Guide to Successfully Taking Your Medical Residency Interviews

A Guide to Successfully Taking Your Medical Residency Interviews

Jun 07, 2020 Published by Kathrin O'Neill

Table of Contents

Preparation is always key in successfully passing your medical residency interviews. These include practicing ahead and reviewing the details of your letter of recommendation, personal statement, and curriculum vitae.

The Importance of the Interview

The interview phase of the medical residency application is no doubt intimidating for most applicants which can cause high levels of stress and anxiety. Preparation and practice is the key to acing your interview.

The interview is a critical stage in applying for residency programs and the goal of the interview is to help determine if the applicant is fit for the program. This will also provide an opportunity for the residency admissions committee to personally review and get to know the applicant of the medical residency program.

Requirements to Prepare for Your Interview

Before you march into the interview room, you have to prepare a number of documents and send them ahead. These documents include the letter of recommendation, personal statement, and curriculum vitae. It is important that the information in your documents is consistent with what to say during the interview.

What to Expect in the Interview

The medical residency interview is similar to your admission interview during medical school except that you are expected to showcase what you learned during your academic years and highlight your clinical skills and experience. It is closer to a job interview than an actual interview for admission.

Not all interviews are the same so expect that the interview questions can vary depending on the program. Typical interviews are conversational and collegial as the purpose of the interview is to help the admissions get to know you and see if you are a perfect fit for the residency program.

Preparing for the Medical Residency Interview

Having the right first impression during the interview matters, that is why it is important to sharpen your verbal and non-verbal communication skills. The best way to prepare for the interview is to practice. Form a group with your peers to conduct practice interviews with each other to build up your confidence. Another form of practice is a group interview where you and your peers take turns asking each other questions, this helps you get used to facing multiple people during the interview.

Once you built up your confidence and communication skills with your peers the next step is to ask an advisor, faculty member, or mentor for a formal mock interview. Having an experienced professional medical practitioner interview you will help you point out your strong points and weak points. Knowing your weaknesses will help you know where to improve. Schools typically provide classes to help you brush up your communication and interview skills.

There are also a lot of resources available online that will help you gauge the residency program that you have an interview on. Doing background research in the institution provides you with additional talking points that can help you start the conversation.

Researching on the residency programs and the faculty website to help you get to know your interviewer ahead. This will help you prepare mentally and emotionally because you already have an idea of who you are going to talk to during the interview.

Always set aside time for yourself to allow you to blow off steam and relax. Overworking yourself can have a negative impact on your performance during the actual interview.

Interview Practice Questions

Doing practice interviews will help you prepare mentally and emotionally so doing them often until it becomes second nature to you will help reduce the risk of a mental block due to anxiety and nervousness.

  • What made you decide to take the medical profession?
  • What was the most memorable experience you had in medical school?
  • What made you choose your field or specialty?
  • Why did you choose our residency program?
  • What do you hope to accomplish in your residency?
  • What are your short term and long term goals?
  • What are your plans for your medical career?
  • Where do you see yourself after 10 years?
  • Describe your best accomplishments in medical school?
  • What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
  • Tell us more about yourself?
  • Tell us more about your medical school?
  • Who are your role model?
  • Have you done any volunteer work?
  • If could not be a physician, what career would you choose
  • Describe your ideal residency program?
  • How do you deal with stress?
  • What are the challenges that you expect to face in the program?
  • How do you cope with failure?

These are just some of the questions that your interviewer can potentially ask you and there are no right and wrong answers as long as they are the truth. The interview questions are a mix of topics that focuses on your personality, experience, skills, prowess, and knowledge. Always speak directly and avoid too much filler words or starting away from the interviewer.

Remember that the interview is a two-process so this is the perfect opportunity to ask questions about the residency programs.

Guidelines for the Interview

Always be prepared ahead of the interview. If your interview is on-site, familiarize the locations ahead to avoid being lost or being late in the interview. First impressions last so always arrive ahead of schedule so that you’ll be on time for your interview. Always dress appropriately and professionally and if possible bring an extra pair of shirt, tie or dress just in case. Always carry yourself with confidence and be respectful and courteous to the people around you especially to your peers and the staff of the program.