Interview Preparation

Researching the Residency Program

  • MedScout
  • Residency program web sites: "Word on the Street"
  • Faculty
  • Alumni
  • Other International Medical Graduates
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Common Interview Questions

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What are your strengths/weaknesses?
  • Why should we accept you?
  • Describe a patient who challenged you.
  • Do you have any questions?
  • Explain (failing grades, leaves of absence, low test scores, etc).
  • Where do you see yourself in (5, 10, 15) years?
  • Do you plan on having a family?
  • If we offered you a position, would you accept?
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Choosing an Interview Wardrobe

  • Conservative suit - blue, black or gray
    White or blue shirt for men; muted colors for women
    Nothing bright, shiny or sheer
  • Minimal jewelry
    No rings, except for wedding rings
  • No earrings or necklaces for men
    Small earrings, necklace O.K. for women
  • Conservative shoes (women: black or blue low heels or flats, with flesh-colored hose). Note: Make sure shoes are shined and in good condition.
  • No cologne, perfume or after-shave
    Keep hair off of your face
  • Simple makeup
  • Nails should be short and clean. Clear or pale nail polish for women.
  • Invest in a briefcase. No backpacks, gym bags, etc.
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Mock Interviews

  • Ask a faculty member to perform one with you.
    Dress and behave as you would during a real interview.
    Tape yourself (audio or video) during the interview. Any bad habits you have will jump out at you.
    Pay attention to non-verbal cues
  • Handshake
    Tone of voice
    Speaking pace
    Eye contact
    Body language
  • Answering questions
    • Take a breath before you answer because it will 1) will send oxygen to your brain, 2) give you half a second to think of your answer
    • Okay to ask for a moment to think before you answer
    • Don't talk just to fill empty space
    • Better to take a moment than to give a damaging answer
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The Day Before the Interview

  • Make sure clothes are ready to wear.
  • Assemble your notepad, copies of your CV, extra pens, breath mints, etc.
  • Confirm your interview time and review the directions to the interview location.
  • Don't drink alcohol or take any drugs that might impair your performance.
  • Don't eat garlic, onions or anything else that will stink the next day.
  • Don't over study your notes.
  • Get to bed early and try to get plenty of sleep.
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Interview Day

  • Morning
    • Wake up early and give yourself plenty of time to get ready.
    • Don't drink more coffee or caffeinated tea than you normally do.
    • Don't drink milk or eat any dairy products.
    • Plan to get to the interview 15-20 minutes early.
  • Lunch
    • Order something easy to eat: no pasta, soup, salad, tacos, etc.
    • No stinky food (garlic, onions, etc.)
    • No alcohol, even if it's offered!
    • No coffee or caffeinated tea.
    • No dairy.
    • Drink plenty of water.
    • Don't over eat.
  • Post-interview reception
    • No alcohol, even if it's offered!
    • Don't let down your guard. You are being judged just as much here as during the interviews.
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What You Should Never Do

  • Attend an interview without doing your “homework” on the residency program: unprepared.
  • Show up late
  • Tell inappropriate jokes
  • Not wear appropriate interview attire
  • Bad mouth your (school, professors, supervisors, etc).
  • Drink alcohol or smoke
  • Lie
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Post Interview

Writing Thank You Letters

  • Why write them?
    • Gives you another chance to sell yourself to the program. Helps interviewers remember you.
  • Content
    • Keep it brief
    • Mention specific details of the program that interest you.
    • The tone should be enthusiastic.
  • Send it out within two weeks
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Additional Interview Resources

  • Residency Interview Workshop Slidecast
  • Getting Ready for the Interview Videos
  • Interviewing for Residency
  • Preparing for Residency Interview
  • Residency Interview Question: Tell me about yourself
  • Practicing for the Residency Interviews: Mock Interviews
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Updated October 2010