发信人: ericusa ([ZT] Residency Interview Tips), 信区: MedicalCareer
标 题: Re: [ZT] Residency Interview Tips
发信站: BBS 未名空间站 (Thu Nov 4 09:34:50 2010, 美东)
Basic Interview Tips – The Do's and Don'ts
- Act relaxed, even if you aren't. If you come off as stiff, it will hurt
- Smile and laugh during your interview.
- Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ as much as possible...but don't make a
show out if it.
- Get a nice interview suit that FITS. Don't wear the suit that fit you 25
- Shine your shoes. Iron your shirt.
- Go to the dinner if at all possible. If you can't go, make sure they know
- Scout out the route to your interview the night before, time permitting.
- Write down things you discuss in your interview to include in your thank-
you note. Especially when many of you will do 5-10+ interviews at similar
- Talk about your accomplishments (even your research) anywhere but inside
the interview room. Especially at the pre-interview dinner.
- Be late. If the schedule gives a range of time to arrive, shoot for the
earliest time. You still won't be the first person there.
- Come without a list of questions to ask. Interviewers always ask if you
have questions. You do.
- Beg for a spot. Act interested and excited, but not desperate.
- Drink a lot of caffeine (soda, coffee). There's only so many bathroom
breaks per day.
- Fall asleep during morning/noon conference. (Easier said than done by
January or if post prandial)
Remember - you are always being evaluated...by every resident you meet, by
the secretary you say hi to, by the residents at dinner the night before (
despite what programs tell you), by the guy you hang out with in the reading
room for 20 minutes between interviews, etc. There are so many applicants
these days for limited spots, all it takes is for a resident/secretary/
janitor, to say to a PD that a certain guy at dinner the night before was a
complete a** (and there are unfortunately a few people a year that fit this
description) and you're pretty much screwed, same thing goes for pretty much
every person with whom you interact, just keep that in mind....
Oh yeah, one other thing, don't interrupt the attending giving conference to
ask a question, you won't sound smart. Trust me...
Only a Resident there....knows what it is like to be a Resident there.
If you are interviewing at a program outside your Medical school's region,
be prepared answer (perhaps multiple times) why you are interested in the
program. As mentioned above, if you are interviewing at MGH you don't need
an excuse why you are interested in the program; just research who the key
faculty are. If you are interested in a smaller community program, try to
have some kind of significant connection to the program and area so you are
not seen as Carpet Bagging (although they presumably screen for that before
granting an interview).
Additional Interview Tips:
1) Do have some standard questions, but try not to make them seem rehearsed.
-This process is not just you trying to impress the PD and make him/her pick
you, it is also you trying to find out if a program is a good fit for you.
I'd recommend sitting down and thinking about what things matter to you in
picking a program and formulating them in an easy to answer format. Try to
make them open-ended, but not specific enough to be answerable. Having these
questions in the back of your mind is great when an interviewer springs the
deadly "So, any questions for me?" ten seconds in. However, don't act like
you're going down a checklist, be able to ask your "standard questions" in a
relaxed, conversational manner.
2) ALWAYS be able to answer why you chose to interview at that place.
-Assume you will be asked this at every interview you attend. Sometimes it
will be because you're interviewing somewhere geographically far away and
they wonder if you would really be interested in attending. Sometimes it is
because your stats are slightly above the average a place is used to and
wonders if you're using them as a safety. This is not a hard question: you
chose to pay the money to send your application there for a reason. And I
think most interviewers aren't expecting some soul searching answer. Simple
explanations about reputation, family ties, etc. work well, just don't be
caught flat footed and mumble something incomprehensible when the question
3) Have some idea of your future, but be open.
-This is the exact same advice I give people interviewing for medical school
. You've been exposed enough to radiology by now that you should have some
idea of the variety the field encompasses, and you probably have some idea
of some areas you like more than others. In my opinion, it's authentic to
say "You know, I worked with a great neuroradiologist during my rotation,
and I've always found this area of medicine fascinating so I' could see
myself doing a neuro fellowship" or "I enjoyed OB/GYN so I'm really
interested in womens imaging". I think these statements show a concrete
interest in some area of the field. Of course, the flipside is being too
concrete. Like the guy who wants to go to medical school JUST so he can be a
cardiologist is probably wrong, there are plenty of people who are CERTAIN
they're going to do a certain field (IR seems to be the biggest culprit) and
don't seem to realize you're going to spend a lot of time learning ALL
areas of radiology. So be aware of that and don't make it seem like you've
got too much of a laser focus.
Sample Interview Questions:
Below is a list of sample interview questions you may consider asking on
that important day:
Do you anticipate any changes in the near future to this program? Have you
recently implemented any changes?
If you could change something about the residency, what would you change?
How do you expect to accommodate the new rads residency structure?
What is the one thing about this program that sets it apart from other
programs in this area?
What is your strongest section/department?
If you could change one section/department which one would you change and
how (essentially, what's the weakest department)?
Do you expect to continue to be the PD?
What made you pick X program to teach/work?
These are questions that will help you get a feel for the "essence" of a
program. E.g. if an interviewer says that the best thing about the program
is the research opportunities then you may not fit in well if you dislike
research. If an interviewer informs you that half the faculty recently left
(recent change) then you might want to think about why that is (conversely,
it can be spun that program X recently hired a lot of new people - good
follow-up question - ask if they were replacing people or if they were
expanding the faculty).
Other nonspecific questions that seemed to get the conversation going:
What are the qualities that you notice most in the best residents? (i.e.
what is it that you're looking for in a potential resident?)
If you were going to give one piece of advice to a new resident, what would
What are some potential qualities that can make a resident difficult to work
These questions will hopefully help you get a feel for a place, and you can
also ask them every interviewer. Everyone will have an answer for these
questions. If you visit some of the bigger departments then you will likely
interview with a lot of staff who are kind out of the loop on the nuts and
bolts type of questions. You do not want to have a lot of, "gee, that's a
good question, but I don't really have the answer to it" responses.
Ask questions that require a thoughtful answer - you do not want canned
answers that can be otherwise discovered in the handouts and/or website.
What clothes to wear for the interview?
Most of you get this right, but many of you show up in monochromatic black,
dark grey or navy suits. Interview day looks like a funeral director's
convention. But that's all right. A suit is very acceptable for men and
women. A splash of appropriate color would be nice. Be clean, groomed and
well dressed. Avoid trendy fashion statements and cleavage. Cut and clean
your nails. Avoid excessive makeup and jewelry. Don't wear your hair in a
funky spiked do. You aren't applying for American Idol, you are applying for
a professional position in a medical school/hospital environment and we don
't want you to scare the patients or the faculty.
Every other year, some applicant on the interview trail loses their luggage
which doesn't get delivered to them in time for their interview. These
unlucky folks show up to the interview in the clothes they were traveling in
. You know how many of us dress for air travel. When you come to your
interview, you will need to explain to the Program Coordinator what has
happened so she can feel sorry for you instead of thinking you just don't
know how to dress for an interview. During interview season I recommend you
travel with your interview suit in a carry on luggage you won't be separated
from. Wear nice comfortable shoes. My daughter wore high heels the day of
her interview and the tour took them outside where construction was going on
and the ground was not level. She did not enjoy walking in those heels.
The Day of the Interview
Get a good night's rest because most interviews last from half a day to a
full day and involve not only sitting, having conversations and answering
questions but also walking and touring.
Be very nice to the secretaries, residents and faculty you meet. Don't be
rude to a secretary or to anyone else. Remember, we are already a family.
You want to join our family. I look at interview day as a courtship and I
expect you to behave your very, very best on that day. If you behave
anything less than nice, that information will make its way back to the
selection committee and your name will not likely appear on our rank order
list. We have too many excellent candidates with good manners to have to
worry about a rude person, even if he/she is AOA.
On interview day, you will probably listen to a small presentation about the
residency program. The presentation will give all the interviewees some
general information about the residency and may answer a lot of your
questions about the program. After that presentation, the individual one-on-
one interviews begin. At UT Houston, a candidate interviews with three
faculty members of the Residency Executive Committee or two faculty members
and a chief resident. Usually at the end of each interview, the interviewer
asks “Do you have any questions for me?” and they really want you to have
questions. It is not good to say “No, I don't have any questions.
Everything I wanted to know was answered in your presentation.” Make sure
you still have questions to ask of your individual interviewers.
Do your homework before going to Program Y. Read up about the program on
their website, Google the program, etc. When you come interview and show you
know about program Y, that tells program Y that you are interested,
resourceful, unafraid of doing a little bit of work and background checking,
etc. Never be caught asking “How many residents do you take per year?” or
“Who is your chairman?”. That is stuff you can readily answer for
yourself and should already know before taking the trip to Program Y.
Make eye contact with the person speaking with you. It is disturbing to talk
to someone who is looking over your shoulder at your bookcase or who is
looking at his/her lap throughout the entire interview. Stop twitching and
wringing your hands. That makes us uncomfortable.
Breaking bread on Interview Day
Many of the places you go for an interview will either treat you to lunch on
the day of the interview or take you out to dinner with a group of
candidates the night before. Be on your best behavior during those times. We
are watching to see if you know which fork to use.
I will give you a true example of a lunchtime mishap which occurred over 18
years ago, but which I remember as though it happened just last winter. I
was Program Director at another medical school then, not at UT Houston. We
would have lunch catered in our brand new conference room. This particular
Saturday, we were having Chinese food. The food was placed atop two long
tables covered with white tablecloths. There were two fried rice platters,
one with shrimp and one without shrimp, two Lo Mein noodle platters, a tofu
vegetarian platter and a chicken with wild mushroom stir fry platter. Dishes
and cutlery were on a side table which also had the desserts as well as a
selection of water, tea, coffee or soft drinks. On each side of the tables
there were candidates and faculty lining up to serve themselves. People were
seated haphazardly throughout the room, talking and eating. I had noticed
that a young man (I'll call him Gus, not his real name) had a mountain of
fried rice on his plate and he was hovering over the plate shoveling forkful
after forkful into his mouth. Must be tasty, I thought. All of a sudden,
Gus began to cough, and cough and wheeze, and look distressed, and emit such
horrible sounds that have stayed with me to this very day, etc. What
probably lasted two minutes felt, in slow motion, like an hour.
Finally, one of the candidates darted across the room and gave Gus the
Heimlich maneuver. Heidi (her real name) stood behind the choking victim,
vigorously compressed his subxyphoid region several times with her two
clenched fists, and at last Gus expelled a piece of chicken from his trachea
, immediately followed by vomiting onto our new rug. We were all in shock,
we felt so bad for Gus. What a thing to happen on his interview day. My
Program Coordinator asked him if he cared to freshen up in the bathroom.
Someone came to clean away the vomit. Most of us stopped eating. Gus
returned in approximately 15 minutes, went back to the table, served himself
another mountain of fried rice and proceeded to shovel more food into this
Those of us on the Selection Committee excused ourselves to go to another
room and discuss the candidates we had seen that day. When we came to Gus,
the three who had interviewed him that day said similar things: “He's got
good grades from medical school”, “He has a good USMLE score”, “He seems
interested and hard-working”, etc. As Program Director I exercised my veto
power and we did not rank Gus. Why, do you ask????? Because Gus exercised
very poor judgment. If this had happened to most of us, we would have felt
so embarrassed we might not have returned back into the room after cleaning
up, but if we did return, we would sit and quietly sip water from a straw
and eat no more. Gus went back to doing the exact thing that had caused him
to choke in the first place. If he does this to himself, why should I think
he would be any different with a patient. If Gus were doing a barium enema
on a patient who says to him “That's enough barium, doc, I feel like I'm
going to explode” do any of you think Gus would stop the flow of barium???
Excelling in Interviews
Interviews are pleasant experiences for the vast majority of students. In
fact, many interviewees say that the interviews should be called “marketing
discussions” because program directors and faculty really try to “sell”
them on their respective programs.
Interviewers do this because they want to give you the information you need
to make the decision that they would hope for (i.e., for you to rank them
high on your list), and they want you to tell others how great they are. In
fact, being invited to interview means that the program considers you to be
someone in whom they are interested.
The interview gives both you and the program a chance to see if you “fit”.
This fit is important because you will work long hours with the faculty and
residents for years.
What composes this “fit”? Perhaps it’s a mixture of compatible philosophy
, backgrounds, similar interests, and personality type. Whatever it is, many
students state that they can sense if they fit with a program within an
hour after being around a place.
Thus, it’s in your best interests to excel in interviews. Excelling means
being yourself and discussing information that reinforces the “fit”
between you and the program. Here are some things you can do to excel on
Remember the Basics
Relax. Get to the interview site early and find where you are supposed to be.
Check yourself out in front of a mirror to make sure that you look
Dress conservatively, males with a well-fitting suit and tie and females
with a business suit. Take a bath before the interview. Pack extra shirts,
ties, panty hose, and a needle and thread. Carry your interview attire on
the plane – don’t check it in your baggage (airlines frequently misplace
luggage!). Refrain from consuming beverages or food during an interview
unless you’re really
coordinated and not prone to accidents. Look interested during the interview
by leaning forward and paying attention to the interviewer.
Be nice. Being nice, being informed, and showing interest will increase your
chances of being ranked high by a program. Programs want to “fill” during
the Match, but they don’t want to get a complainer, late-arriver, jerk,
etc. So, they put those folks on the “reject” list. You are under the
microscope during any interaction with a program (including a telephone call
). So be nice and appear
interested and appropriately enthusiastic during all aspects of your
Be kind to everyone, including ancillary personnel, and don’t complain
about anything. Smile lots, ☺, and say “thank you” even if that
sandwich is stale!
Seek out contact with residents. These are the folks with whom you will be
Ask yourself whether they seem happy, inspired, and challenged. Do you “fit
in”? Are they the type of residents you would be proud to call colleagues?
Get Ready for These Questions
Interviewers differ widely in terms of the questions they ask. A few will
ask questions that are impossible to anticipate. Fortunately, most ask
predictable questions for which you can prepare a framework of an answer.
Check out Iserson’s Getting Into a Residency for more questions and
plausible responses. Here are a few questions for
you to consider.
“Tell me about yourself.” This open-ended question should be answered in
no more than a minute. Identify categories that you can discuss. Examples
Undergraduate education, medical school experience (e.g., basic science
courses you liked and why, and your favorite clerkship), your research
interests (if you have any), and your personal interests. Watch the
interviewer. If the person appears to want more, tell them. Otherwise, wait
for them to ask another question.
“What questions do you have about this program?” This is where an in-depth
knowledge of the program pays off. Ask the questions that will inform you
about the program, but avoid touchy issues like salary and benefits.
“What do you see yourself doing in 10 to 15 years?” The interviewer wants
to get a general idea about your career plans. Talk in general terms by
using the following terms as they apply to you: caring for patients,
interdisciplinary setting, clinical research, coordinating, managing,
expanding my knowledge base, community involvement, professional involvement
, and personal interests.
“Name your three greatest assets.” Respond with honesty, humility, and
confidence. This is no time to be shy. Assets like “working with others,”
“being able to delegate,” “being able to prioritize and accomplish goals,
” and “empathy for patients and other health care providers”, or however
you want to phrase them, are what most programs want in their residents.
“What are your three greatest faults?” Turn your faults into strengths.
For example, don’t say: “I have trouble managing my time.” Instead, say:
“One of the things that I’m currently working on is feeling comfortable
when I delegate something to someone. In the past I spent too much time
following up insuring the work
was done. I now spend time insuring the person knows what’s expected and
can actually perform the task.” (rephrase in your words)
“Why are you applying to this program?” Before the interview specify one
or more reasons for interviewing in that program and be ready to discuss
“Why do you want to go into this specialty?” You should reflect on why you
are pursing a career in a particular specialty and prepare a brief and
inspiring response to this item. (Hint: NEVER say: “I want to be a _______
because I didn’t like anything else!”)
Ask someone to conduct a “mock” interview with you. Dress as if it’s a
real interview. Note the questions that you handle easily, and get guidance
on those that are difficult for you.
Review the Information You Have About the Program Before the Interview
Summarize all you know about a program on one page. Review this summary the
night before and the morning of the interview. An interviewee who knows
specifics about the program and asks intelligent and thoughtful questions
communicates enthusiasm and interest. Be familiar with the types of patients
served, the attendings’clinical interests, and articles attendings have
recently published, but interviewers don’t appreciate interviewees who
appear to refer to this information to “get points.”
Interview Date: _____________________________
Program Title: _____________________________
Telephone Number: _____________________________
Fax Number: _____________________________
Program Director: _____________________________
Key Faculty: _____________________________
Reasons Interviewing: _____________________________
Marketed Strengths: _____________________________
Possible Needs: _____________________________
Look For: _____________________________
Prepare a one-page synopsis of a program to review just before your
Call the faculty “Dr. Lastname” until you are told differently. Record the
name of each person who interviews you or spends time with you. Write down
key aspects of your interaction (e.g., “talked about fly-fishing and made
me feel comfortable”). Keep these notes, because you should...
Write “Thank You” Notes to Interviewers
Immediately after the interview write a thank-you note to each person with
whom you really “bonded” and refer to the conversation (verified by your
notes, above) to make it more personal. An example of a sample thank-you
note follows. (Ours is typed, but write yours in your best handwriting.)
Caution: Any person who talks to you during an interview visit might be
asked to comment about you. Therefore, guard your comments and questions
carefully, especially with residents. Get the name and telephone number of a
resident with whom you establish rapport during the interview. You can use
that person to obtain more specific program information (like benefits)
without seeming too pushy.
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