Top 5 Things To Do During Residency or Fellowship Program Interviews

Top 5 Things To Do During Residency or Fellowship Program Interviews

Dec 03, 2019 Published by Kathrin O'Neill

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Interviews play a great deal about the selection committee’s decision to select an applicant. Most of the time, these are turning points for applicants as to whether they will be accepted to the program or not. With these, we’ve listed down a few highly recommended things that residency and fellowship applicants should do during their interviews; check them out below:

1. Discuss your volunteer work and extracurricular activities

During your interview, you will be asked what are your other engagements other than your profession. The reason why the committee asks about this is that they are looking for well-rounded people who are flexible and adaptable in different environments. There are many scenarios that could happen during your residency and fellowship and being exposed to different types of activities can help you adapt quickly. So, discuss what are your other engagements as a doctor — have you joined a medical mission as a volunteer? Share what are the most common cases you’ve encountered in a community you’ve visited, explain why do you think such cases are common and state what was your proposed solution for those problems. If the committee sees that you are someone who is able to understand the root cause of the problem and has the knowledge to address it, you will be perceived as a competent doctor. Also, talk about the peers you’ve worked with in your other activities — what learning or experience has taught you the most? What type of questions did you ask your peers? Being open to learning and accepting the fact that there is much to learn in the rapidly progressing field of medicine is a good quality in the eyes of the committee. Even after many years of studying — they would want someone who is teachable and always hungry for learning.

2. Tell them about your academic journey

Your academic performance is one of the factors the committee will weigh in during their evaluation. Most of the time, grades do not speak alone for themselves. This is why you need to discuss your academic journey — emphasize your progress. Your grades may not be always above average but it is important to highlight that you’ve been progressing. Here’s a list of the things you’ll need to discuss in a specific manner:

  • Medical Literature Comprehension. As you grow professionally, discuss how you’re methods in reading and understanding medical journals have changed. What type of papers interest you? This will give evaluators an insight as to whether you are capable of publishing or participating in their program’s research.
  • Study Habits. Whenever you’re handling a case or just preparing for an exam — how do you prepare for it? Your study habits will likely reflect your work ethic, which is a big factor for qualification in the program. State what kinds of. Study habits and techniques are effective for you and cite some examples.
  • Medical Diagnosis Strategy. Let the committee know about your strategy into getting a diagnosis; this is an effective way of showing your skill and competence. More likely you will be cited as an example, if not take the opportunity and present a case you’ve handled yourself.
  • Subjects Or Topics You’ve Considered Difficult. Almost every doctor’s academic background is not perfect but to reach a point where you’re applying for residency or fellowship is already a milestone itself. Discuss the topics you deemed to be difficult and explain how you were able to surpass that difficulty.

3. Ask relevant questions about their residency or fellowship program

The program you’re applying to will have a big effect on your career as well as your personal life so it is a must to get as much information as you can by asking the right questions. You can use this information to asses if your goals are aligned with the program or if the program can sustain yours and your family’s needs. Here are some of the questions you should ask:

  • What are the goals of the program for your specialty? Ask if the goals are aligned with your career goal to ensure that you are applying to the right program.
  • What are the program’s ongoing research and opportunities? If you’re going to specialize in a certain field, ensure that the program has allocated resources and opportunities for research.
  • What are the plans for salary increase throughout your stay in the program? Finishing the program alone will take years and you will have to support yours and your family’s needs with your salary, so make sure that the salary is sufficient for your needs.
  • What is the mentorship program between residents, fellows, and attendings? Ask if what type of mentorship or as to what extent is the mentorship done on the residents and fellows.
  • What is expected from the residents and fellows when they are finished with the program? Ask this question to set your mind and expectation as to what you should gain by the end of the program.

You might get shy about asking such questions but what’s important is that you have this information to be more confident about your career decision.

4. State and explain your goals and aspirations

State not only your career goals but also your personal goals. What do you want to achieve when you reach a certain age? What are your aspirations to reach such goals? Speak about your goals and aspirations in a realistic manner, they will reflect on your character not only as a professional but also as a person. Stating these will let the committee see you as a goal-oriented and a highly-motivated person - both of which are desirable qualities of a doctor.

5. Be Yourself!

Throughout the interview, try to be yourself. Be confident and speak honestly whenever asked about questions. Whenever you are asked by something you are not confident about - be honest. Instead of dwelling on these things, explain how these difficulties changed your perspective and how you approached such problems. The important thing during your interview is to present yourself as a qualified applicant in the most honest and genuine way.