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Residency Interview Dos and Don’ts

Medical Residency Application & Interview Preparation Specialists

The following is a comprehensive list of Dos and Don’ts for Medical Residency Program Interviews. It should give some insight into how you should act, carry yourself, and prepare when taking on this challenge part of the application process. The following is largely relevant for in-person interviews, with some points suitable for virtual interviews too.

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Medical Residency Interview: What You Should Do

– You must give notice if you are cancelling an interview. In general, students recommend that you provide at least 1-2 weeks of notice, but others advise that you should cancel as soon as you can. This allows the program to then offer that interview spot to another applicant, and in turn reflects well on your university – and you. Whatever you do, you must not simply not show up on interview day, as this will reflect poorly on you, your referees, and your university too.

– You must ensure that you have given yourself a time buffer to make up for possible delays on your way to the interview. This means getting there the day before (to the city or area) and setting off with plenty of time (on the day of the interview itself). Bear in mind possible traffic, weather conditions, getting lost, finding the correct area of the hospital, etc.

– Prepare for different weather. Some students recount stories of having prepared for interviews in their home state, before flying into a completely different season for the interview. Make sure you’ve checked the weather and brought suitable clothes.

– Make sure to bring your interview outfit in carry-on rather than leaving it in the hold, just in case your bags get lost during transit. Make sure to do this for all valuable items that might be needed during the interview itself – like your watch, phone, etc. You don’t want to spend the interview worrying about lost items.

– Take the time to explore the area and reflect on whether you can see yourself living there. Remember, you’re choosing somewhere to live as well as somewhere to train.

– Make sure to double check your schedule the night before the interview and ensure that you are confident on where you need to be, and when.

– Ensure that you attend the dinner the night before the interview. Not attending will be seen as a red flag. Ask questions of the attendings and residents and ensure that you are polite. Speaking to current residents might be the best barometer of what the program is like, and whether you will enjoy it.

– Ensure that you are prepared for clinical scenarios. Be ready to face a range of situations that a first year might realistically encounter.

– Go over some common interview questions beforehand so you’re ready for them, as a sort of warmup.

– Have a set manner of wording your answer to difficult questions, or contentious questions. This is to avoid offending or biassing the faculty – consider whether there are any questions of this nature that might be asked.

– Do be friendly towards others who are applying alongside you – you might be working with them in the future.

– Do remember that a program’s feel and culture is largely created by its residents, so get to know them as much as you possibly can. Other applicants interviewing alongside you might distract you from this – but it’s the residents that you speak to who are guaranteed to be there next year, not the other applicants. Make sure to be as warm as you can with them, especially those who have taken time out of their schedules (or alongside their schedules) to help with the interviewing process.

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Medical Residency Interview: What You Should Not Do

– Do not drink too much at dinner the evening before the interviews. This is a mistake that many applicants make. However, leaving yourself hungover to face the interviews and with memories of embarrassing yourself the night before is not the best way to make an impression.

– Do not leave your phone on during interviews. It will make you appear distracted and unprofessional.

– Don’t use the interview day to ask other applicants questions about their home institutions if you have interviews there – wait until later when the faculty are not there.

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