What are the Different Types of Residency Interviews?

Medical Residency Application & Interview Preparation Specialists

There are various different types of interview that may be used for Residency programs, especially in the wake of COVID-19, with digital forms now being much more common. Here, we’ll take a look through some of the main differences to be aware of. Ideally you should be well-aware of the exact format of an interview before you attend, and ready to deal with the particular challenges that each type poses. Try to practise for each different type to some extent and develop a way of approaching each which works for you.

Dinner vs No-Dinner

It might seem an odd differentiation, but it’s a vital one for in-person interviews. Many programs, if not most, will offer some form of dinner, drinks, or other reception the night before the interviews take place. Alternatively, they might offer a different form of activity which you can take on together – perhaps a team-building activity, like an escape room, in which you can bond with others and get to know one another in a less formal setting. If anything of this nature is offered, it’s vital that you attend. It will be seen as a chance to feel out how well you will get along with one another, and for the program to see who fits in with the existing faculty and staff. Likewise, you might have one-on-one opportunities to chat with various members of the team, which you should take up.

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Pre-recorded Interviews

A pre-recorded interview is much simpler for a program to use than any other form of interview, as it requires minimal time from interviewers. However, it’s likely to be used as a pre-interview of sorts, rather than an interview proper. Here, you will sit and face a range of questions that are, as the name suggests, pre-recorded. There will therefore be no chance for the faculty to ask follow-up questions, and neither for you to initiate a discussion. Instead, you will need to provide solid answers to fairly regular, standard questions.

Virtual Interview Days

These have become increasingly popular recently; a program will attempt to recreate the true in-person experience as best they can virtually. You might therefore meet on Zoom early in the day for icebreakers, before having a range of talks and chances to ask questions, then a range of interviews and activities with a number of staff. You will likely find it as challenging and tiring as a true interview day; ensure that you are prepared to pick yourself up after challenging questions and face another round of interviews. Ensure that you are strong on the basics (why the program, why the specialty, your attributes, etc) so that these simpler questions can be handled with ease, without you becoming tired.

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Asynchronous video interviews

An asynchronous video interview will involve you answering pre-recorded questions, again, but will allow the program to chase their questions on another date if needed. In other words, you might face questions from one member of the faculty, answer these, upload the videos, then face another set of questions on another day. In this manner there is much of an opportunity for the program to assess you and the way in which you respond to different prompts or content compared to a one-off pre-recorded interview. However, at no point will it feel like having a true conversation with the faculty; you will still be speaking to yourself, in essence. As such, practise delivering answers that cover all that needs to be said without prompting, and speaking clearly and confidently over a period of time – you might be speaking for 90 seconds to 2 minutes without much in the way of pause.

Second-look interviews

These interviews are designed to check certain candidates and their suitability after the initial interview process. It should be seen as an indication that you are on the program’s list of likely candidates, and you must take it as a chance to impress and secure your spot. Ensure that you have considered any doubts the program might have, and that you are ready to address these with clear, coherent and compelling answers. This discussion may well be optional, but in reality you will likely need to attend in order to gaurantee a match.

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